There once was a time when granite countertops were the ultimate luxury kitchen must-have. Today, homeowners have endless choices when it comes to countertops, from butcher block to marble, soapstone and quartz and, yes, concrete. Concrete countertops can give your kitchen an industrial look that works well in both ultra-modern and farmhouse country kitchens alike.
Concrete countertops are made with a mortar mix usually consisting of one part cement and three parts sand. However, there are variables in both prepackaged mixes and mixes made from scratch by pros. Ingredients such as accelerators, superplasticizers, pigments and decorative aggregates will affect both the performance and final look of a concrete countertop. Whatever mix is used, the countertop will need to be polished once it’s been installed and has had time to cure. The grinding and polishing process removes the rough finish and adds an attractive sheen. Then, because concrete is porous, the countertops must be sealed with a food-safe sealer. If you’re leaning towards concrete for your own kitchen countertop material, here are a few concrete countertops pros and cons to consider.
Concrete Countertops Pros and Cons
Pro = Durability
There’s no doubt concrete is rock solid and extremely durable. Concrete countertops will last you a lifetime if properly sealed and maintained.
Con = Maintenance
Speaking of maintenance, concrete countertops do require consistent upkeep. You’ll need to regularly reapply sealer and wax to protect the surface of your counters and avoid stains. Spills and messes should be cleaned up right away.
Pro = Customization
Concrete countertops are extremely customizable. They can be formed to fit most counter configurations, and you get to choose the exact color, edge profile and sheen. Custom finishes include marbling and veining, dish draining ridges, and you can choose decorative add-ins, such as stones, colored glass or metal shavings.
Con = Price
Concrete countertops are handcrafted, which requires a lot of labor, so these countertops are not cheap. The average cost per square foot is $65 to $135. (For comparison, marble countertops cost about $110 to $250 per square foot.) If labor is quoted separately, that can run an additional $40 to $50 per hour, per person. But remember, because concrete countertops are considered a premium material, they will increase the value of your home; so keep that in mind during your countertop selection process.
Con = Time
If you’re short on time, concrete countertops might not be the best choice. To design, cast and cure, you should plan for turnaround time to be at least a few weeks. Curing itself can take from three to seven days. And, keep in mind that the more humid the climate where you live, the longer the cure time. Choosing the material for your kitchen countertops is a big decision. We hope these concrete countertops pros and cons have helped you get one step closer to the kitchen of your dreams.