Can you still install a concrete kitchen countertop in a world where almost everyone is recommending granite?
Today, few countertops are as trendy as concrete. You can install it in your kitchen whether you need a contemporary or traditionally themed kitchen and customize it to look better than other stone countertops. However, you need to understand the pros and cons of concrete countertops before you install it.
Concrete countertops were a trend before granite and quartz remnants took over. The countertops are making a comeback thanks to the fact that they can now be customized to be whatever a homeowner needs them to be. Before you try them, weigh the pros and cons of concrete countertops and see whether you need them in your kitchen. Read on to learn more.
Pros and Cons of Concrete Kitchen Countertops: The Cost Factor
Most homeowners would prefer concrete countertops with the feeling that they are more affordable compared to granite and quartz countertops. However, that is not entirely true as the cost will depend on whether you install your concrete countertop or you hire a professional to do it for you. The cost is also dependent on the pigmentation, staining, and textures you choose. Lastly, pre-cast and poured-in-place concrete countertops will not cost the same.
Concrete Network estimates the cost of concrete countertops to be between $65 and $135. If a professional installs concrete countertops for you, it will cost you between $40 and $50 per hour. If you need a countertop to start using immediately after installation, concrete is not it as it takes about 28 days to fully cure. If you can’t wait for 28 days, see what experts from Caesarstone give as an alternative to concrete countertops.
The Pros and Cons to Concrete Countertops: The Pros
Easy to Customize
Perhaps the biggest advantage of concrete countertops is that you can customize to look like any other stone countertop in the market today. This way, homeowners can match their kitchen countertops with any home décor. The customization options are endless.
For starters, you can pick virtually any color or shape you need – select from a variety of edge profiles, add embeds and even polish the countertop surface to give a shiny finish. You can choose to leave concrete countertops in their natural grey color or customize them to look like granite, marble, or wood.
With concrete, you can choose from different textures and finishes to create a design style that looks traditional, contemporary, modern, industrial, or rustic. To make your countertop functional, you can cast different features on your countertop including trivets, drainboards, and chopping boards.
If you need a stone-like appearance, you can add glass or stone aggregates to the mix to give the countertops a shiny finish that resembles natural stone. Integrated lighting or a stenciled logo further makes the countertops appear trendy.
Concrete is durable. Think of all the houses that were built more than a century ago and they are still standing strong. You will not have to worry about replacing your countertop in the next few decades. Concrete is the same material that you find on sidewalks and if it can last for several years on sidewalks, think how much it can last as a kitchen countertop.
Easy Repair and Maintenance
If concrete ever cracks, most of the cracks it forms are not overly noticeable. The good news is, you can easily repair the cracks. You can seal the concrete to make it less prone to water and stain damages.
Pros and Cons of Concrete Kitchen Countertops: The Cons
Concrete has found its place in many homes. It has its imperfections but so are many other countertops. The choice you make on whether to or not to install concrete will depend on the look you want to achieve in your kitchen and your budget. Even with its imperfections, you might still enjoy the rustic look especially if the look matches the décor in your kitchen.
If what you need is a perfect countertop, concrete is not for you as these pros and cons of concrete countertops will show you. However, if you love the rugged look of concrete, its ease of installation, and its patina, you can try out concrete. That said, here are some of the reasons you might not want to try concrete.
Concrete is prone to hairline fractures which can make its surface appear unsightly. These small fractures are common when the concrete is poured in place and not precast. To ensure the cracks do not form, you need fiber reinforcement, wire mesh or rebar. Even with reinforcement, cracks are still bound to happen after some time. This means that you will need to repair the concrete whenever the cracks appear.
Stains and Scratches
Like any other countertop, concrete is susceptible to stains and scratches. Unlike other countertops, however, flaws on concrete countertops are more visible especially when the natural grey color is left on the countertop.
Concrete is porous unless you seal it. Its porous nature means that it can absorb liquids and this might lead to bacterial growth. Upon installation, therefore, you need to seal the surface of the countertop. After six months, you might need to reseal the countertop.
Sealing is supposed to make your concrete countertop resist stains, scratches, and heat. However, even sealed concrete might still show some markings that make it unsightly. Spills such as water, olive oil, coffee, juice, and red wine are notorious stains.
If you need the look concrete but instead prefer a natural stone that is more resistant to scratches, stains, and heat, choose grey quartz countertops. Quartz is one of the toughest kitchen and bathroom countertops making it very durable. It is also customizable, just like concrete, and you can achieve any finish you need. The grey quartz resembles the natural grey color of concrete. Unlike concrete, quartz countertops are ready-to-use immediately after installation.
The decision to install concrete countertops should be advised by your likes and dislikes. Note that, every other countertop material has pros and cons. With good care and maintenance, concrete countertops will give you value for money.