Choosing the material for your kitchen countertops can be hard with so many options available. Getting the opinion of other homeowners are of little help, as they give such wildly varying advice that you end more confused as ever.
Trends can usually point you in a general direction of a good choice, and you will find that most of them indicate quartz or granite as the best choices. Occasionally, however, trends can lead you down a path that you will regret following. One of these is concrete countertops.
You might think that concrete countertops would look like the stuff used for paving driveways and roads, but it does not look like that at all. It looks like solid rock, and they come in a wide variety of colors. Some may even look like granite, and some of them are quite exceptionally beautiful. You might find some designs that include tiles, glass, seashells, wood, and even semi-precious gems. Concrete countertops are highly customizable, so you can ask the designer to make it look like anything you want.
Concrete countertops are durable, although not to compare to granite countertops. They are also heat resistant as well, so they are a good choice for kitchen countertops. However, it is not all rainbows and roses. Concrete countertops have some serious issues that should give you pause. Here are some grim facts about concrete kitchen countertops.
The cost is prohibitive
Since they are made of readily available and common building material, you might think that concrete countertops are cheap. The fact is they cost much more than granite countertops. By comparison, granite countertops cost between $40 and $60 per square foot, installed. Concrete countertops cost upwards of $65 per square foot for the simplest designs and can go up to three times that much for complex designs.
The main factor affecting the cost of concrete countertops is labor. Producing a concrete countertop can take many weeks, as it takes concrete about a month to cure enough to install properly. The curing time applies whether it is a pre-cast or onsite poured product.
Additionally, it takes considerable skill and experience to mix concrete the right way, and to do all the design processes such as colorizing, texturing, and embedding. The creator of what is practically an art piece does not work for cheap.
Porosity is a big issue
Step aside to your concrete driveway as rain starts to fall, and you might notice how the concrete darkens as the water hits it. This is because concrete is very porous and absorbs water quite quickly. Concrete countertops are the same, which is bad news for kitchen owners.
Concrete is much more porous than granite, and even marble, and stains quickly with any liquid. Worse, once it sets in, it is almost impossible to get it out. These stains are also very noticeable in most concrete countertops, unless the design is very intricate, so you end up with splotchy, unattractive kitchen countertops. However, the most concerning thing about this porosity is that it could encourage bacterial growth, which is a problem for a room where you prepare and serve food.
Maintenance is a chore
Concrete countertops require some maintenance to keep it in good condition. Because of its porosity, you need to seal it quite regularly, probably more often than you would need to do for marble, and more than for granite. Some people state that resealing annually is a great idea, but this depends on how you use your kitchen countertops. You will also have to avoid anything too strong or abrasive when cleaning them, as this might hasten the deterioration of the seal.
Concrete countertops also require a monthly application of wax to keep it looking smooth and nice. You can skip it if you like but be ready to come home to less-than-pristine kitchen countertops.
Hairline cracks frequently appear
You might have noticed that concrete pavements show cracks along stress areas, but they probably do not cause you any sleepless nights. This is a result of the concrete settling as it cures. However, if you see them in your concrete countertops, it is another matter.
Since the concrete used in pavements and countertops are essentially the same, you can expect hairline cracks to appear in your kitchen countertops. This is particularly a tendency for onsite poured countertops, although it could still happen with precast countertops.
To keep these cracks to a minimum, fabricators use different methods of support, especially along cutouts and overhangs. Some put in wire mesh, while others favor fiber support as it has more flexibility. Still others use rebar. The purpose of these support strategies is to strengthen the integrity of the concrete and keep it from settling too far and producing cracks.
The good news is these hairline cracks are usually reparable, and quite easily. That said, you can avoid having to deal with these things if you choose granite countertops from a reputable countertop specialist.
While concrete countertops are all the rage now, it is bound to be short-lived as more homeowners discover the grim facts about them just described here. They say experience is an excellent teacher, but you can skip a grade by keeping these facts in mind when choosing a material for your kitchen countertops.
You should also be aware that granite, marble, and quartz countertops are far from perfect. However, if you get them from a reliable countertop specialist, you can be sure any drawbacks will not be on the level of concrete countertops.
Silver Marble Granite is your best source of top-quality kitchen countertops in the areas of Washington D.C., Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church, Fairfax, Chantilly, Herndon, Centreville, among others. We are your ONE-STOP SHOP for home improvement, and we specialize in the best kitchen countertops in Northern Virginia.
We work only with the best brands in the business and can offer better prices and faster turnarounds than big box stores. We carry top brands in engineered quartz, including Silestone, MSI, Cambria, and Caesarstone as well as granite and marble slabs. You can visit our showroom in Sterling, VA to see the products before you buy.
Check out our website for some of the best deals in kitchen countertops and other products to make your home a better place. We offer free quotes for the asking. You will be amazed at the deals we can offer you!