No and yes. There are many pros and cons with all countertop surfaces. Appeal, practicality, durability, cost, design and uniqueness all come into play. To compare concrete to the 15 or so materials used for countertops throughout the country is difficult. The following questions and answers may help you decide whether concrete is best for YOU.
You can make the most beautiful, strongest concrete but if it doesn’t fit, it is no good. The two most important steps in artisanal concrete production are templating and form building. Both these steps require wood and great precision. Being a skilled carpenter also allows me to make more complex and accurate forms.
As with most natural solid surfaces like granite and marble, there is a risk of staining and etching. For this reason natural solid surface fabricators seal the stone. The concrete counters Informed fabricate are also sealed. Various sealers are used on our concrete. Countertops in the kitchen require a different sealer than say an outdoor planter. The sealer chosen will depend on its application. On countertops the sealer we use gives some of the greatest protection available from not only staining and etching, but amazing resistance to abrasion. As with most kitchen surface products scratching is possible, with this in mind it is always recommended to wipe up spills as soon as possible and always use a cutting board. This avoids damaging your knife and the sealer. DIY touch up kits are provided with your countertops.
Color choices are endless as well as the colored stones and sand that can be added to the mix. Certain colors are harder to create than others and can be more costly. Customized color samples are available at a small fee and will be credited to the final cost of the counter. Inlays such as tiles or shells, are a great way to personalize your concrete or carryover a certain element of design.
It varies for different pieces. Using countertops as an example, from the day of templating, which is not done until the cabinets are installed, you may have to wait up to four weeks until installation. Although this is a general guideline it is a case by case situation. A more accurate idea of a timeline can be given after consultation.
Yes. Concrete countertops have come a long way in the past 30 or so years. A lot of science has gone into the production from the types of concrete used and the admixtures used in the concrete. Reinforcement has been refined to minimize and almost eliminate structural and cosmetic cracking. Perfecting sealers for concrete countertops has involved experimentation and now can hold up to the conditions countertops face.
Although concrete itself is a relatively cheap material, the many steps involved in countertop fabrication are very labor intensive. Concrete counters are by no means a cheap alternative to granite or other solid surfaces. You should anticipate on spending something comparable to a higher grade granite. Because the concrete is custom made, prices per square foot will differ. An estimate can be provided after the initial consultation or on receipt of a design.
Yes. The concrete mixes used are suitable for interior or exterior use and can withstand New England’s seasonal variations.
No. The concrete mixes used are not the regular bags of premixed concrete found at your local hardware store.
Extremely strong. The strength achieved with the mixes used far exceeds the usual stresses that homeowners put on their counters. Most of the stresses put on these counters are in the early days during production, transportation and installation.
This is what makes concrete so unique: concrete has few limitations. The principle limitation as with most construction projects is cost. The more intricate the design is the more labor is required. This is the same with size of the countertop. The bigger the piece becomes, transport and installation becomes more difficult.
Custom shaped and sized sinks, furniture pieces for inside and out, architectural elements both new and to replicate something existing, water features, custom tiles.