Frequently Asked Questions About Concrete Kitchen Countertops, Concrete Products

 

General

Do you offer a warranty on your concrete designs?

Yes. Concrete Commander provides a 1-year warranty on the structural integrity of the concrete piece after installation. Concrete kitchen countertops will last a lot longer than the warranty, but if any problems were to occur, they would occur within the first year. We subject the concrete to much larger stresses while handling it than clients ever could once it is installed. Concrete Commander provides each client with an Owner’s Guide and a direct phone number for support from Drew Teaman, President.

Concrete Countertop Uses

Where can I use concrete countertops in my home?

Concrete countertops can be used in the kitchen (both indoor or outdoor), bathrooms and anywhere else your imagination wants to put them. Horizontal countertops must be at least 2” thick, but can be made thicker for structural or aesthetic purposes. Front edge returns are available up to 10” deep.

Concrete countertops can be straight, curved, notched, multi-level, etc. Unlike granite, which would drastically increase in cost for curved shapes, creating curved concrete shapes involves little extra complexity and labor in forming.

Concrete can also be used in vertical applications such as backsplashes, shower and fireplace surrounds. For vertical applications, concrete is generally 5/8-1” thick.

Maximum slab length for standard depth countertops is about 10-16 feet. Seams are located around sinks and stove tops, or wherever required for structural reasons. We will work with you to design seam placement that is both structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing. Seams are typically 1/16” wide, similar to tile grout lines. However, it is important to realize that concrete countertops are handmade and hand processed; they are not machine cut, so tolerances for seams are more generous than with granite. Seam appearance is minimized by using color-matched acrylic caulk.

Integral and vessel sinks are possible. Please visit our sinks page or contact us for more information.

Concrete Design Colors

What colors are available for my concrete design?

Any color! Your color options are virtually as diverse as the option in a paint store. Any color can be produced in a solid, speckled or variegated pattern. And, you can specify embedded stone, glass, or other objects. You can specify the color, size and density of embedded objects. Coupled with the many color choices, you have myriad design options. We recommend our five base colors (natural gray, graphite, sand, walnut, white) but the options are endless.

What is the difference between Basic and Premium colors?

In general, basic colors are un-embellished, solid colors, whereas premium colors are any color with embedded objects such as glass, stone or industrial fossils. Some bright solid colors such as red, blue and purple qualify as premium colors because the special pigments we use to create them are both more difficult and more expensive to obtain. Our variegated colors are also premium because of the special processing used to create the effect. Custom colors may be priced at either the Basic or Premium level.

What is the process for custom colors?

Concrete Commander specializes in custom color development. We can customize existing colors or match the color of an item such as a paint chip or fabric. The process takes about two weeks. We produce two or more 6” x 6” samples and submit them for your approval.

How much color variation can occur?

Concrete is a natural, handmade material. Many factors such as humidity, sand lot and cement lot can affect the final appearance of the concrete. All of our color formulas record the type of sand, type of cement and exact measurements of pigments to 1/10th of a gram. We use software developed to calculate mix design. However, colors can still vary because of the aforementioned factors.

Another factor that contributes to perceived variation is simply the size of samples. A 3” x 3” sample, or even a 6” x 6” sample, will look different than a whole countertop simply because the small sample does not capture all of the natural, random variations that will occur over a large surface. The color in a 3” x 3” sample may appear completely uniform, but a whole countertop in that same color will not appear as uniform. The same situation occurs with other natural materials such as granite. If you are looking for perfect uniformity, the solid surface might be a better countertop option for you.

Concrete Countertops

How much do concrete countertops cost?

Trade prices range from $95.00 to $125.00 per square foot. Contact Concrete Commander at 904-466-6910 or fill out a contact form for an estimate on your project.

What edges are available?

For concrete, edging is formed and cast rather than cut like granite or solid surface. Therefore, edge choices depend on the availability of appropriate trim molding. For example, Concrete Commander can do pencil, beveled, concave and reverse cove edging and other custom edges may be available. Edging may be placed on top or bottom of the countertop. Bullnose edging is available for 2” thick countertop edges.

What kind of sinks can be used with concrete countertops?

Concrete Commander concrete countertops can accommodate all types of sinks including drop-in, under mount and apron front sinks. The minimum lip of concrete around all sides of sinks is 2”. Concrete can also accommodate drop-in stove tops. The minimum lip of concrete in the front of a stove top is 2 inches.

Concrete Commander can make integral concrete sinks of almost any shape. Bathroom vanities are an excellent application of integral concrete sinks.

Concrete vessel sinks are also possible. The versatility of concrete means that the sink can be any color and shape.

Do you make concrete backsplashes?

Concrete backsplashes are cast and finished separately and deck mounted after the countertops are installed. Backsplashes are nominally 1” thick and can be from 3” high to full height. Outlet openings are cast in the concrete, not cut on site.

Will concrete countertops stain?

Bare concrete is very porous and will readily stain. Virtually all concrete countertops are sealed to prevent staining; however, the degree to which these sealers work varies significantly. Commonly used sealers include wax and penetrating acrylic sealer. Both of these are inexpensive and easy to apply. However, neither offer significant stain or heat resistance and both require frequent reapplication to prevent the formation of a “patina.”

Will concrete countertops scratch?

While the sealer is durable, kitchen concrete countertops can scratch if cut with a knife or subjected to heavy, sharp objects dragged across the surface. Cutting on the concrete may compromise the integrity of the sealer and allow stains to permeate the concrete matrix. Cutting on the concrete will also ruin knives. Remember, concrete is made with stone, the same thing used to sharpen knives (and will therefore dull them just as easily). If you do scratch a countertop, you can easily repair it yourself using the concretecommander.com Touch-Up Kit.

Can I put a hot pot on my concrete countertop?

As with almost all types of countertop surfaces, it is best to use trivets. Concrete can micro-crack if exposed to high heat. The sealer is not elastic enough to “absorb” these micro-cracks. The surface will appear “crazed”. However, the Touch-Up Kit can be used to minimize the appearance of these micro-cracks, just like it is used to touch up scratches.

How are concrete countertops made?

All of the slabs are precast in our shop and fully finished and sealed prior to installation.

When it comes to concrete countertops, there are two basic processes: cast-in-place and precast. Cast-in-place involves building forms and pouring concrete in place, directly on the cabinets. While this avoids the hassles of transporting heavy slabs, it does tie up the site for many days (or weeks), and it involves a messy process. In addition, cast (or pour) in place provides fewer options and less control over the finished product. Generally the only finish available is a trowelled surface, which is either acid stained or colored with pigments. The quality of the concrete, the finished appearance and ultimate performance of the countertop are all hampered by the fact that it’s all being done on-site under a rushed time schedule.

Precast concrete countertops, on the other hand, move all of the processes off-site into a controlled environment. In the structural engineering community, it is well known that precast concrete is superior to cast in place concrete, mainly because tighter quality control can be exercised. Curing, which is a critical step that is commonly misunderstood, can be closely monitored. Moving the process to a shop allows greater flexibility in terms of the look of the concrete. Glass, stone and other objects can now be embedded; these require extensive wet grinding with diamond power tools to reveal the embedded objects and tone and smooth the resulting surface.

What is the lead time needed for a concrete countertop?

Although countertops are one of the last items to be installed, concrete countertops should be selected as early as possible. Here is an outline of the process:

    1. Color selection
      • Concrete Commander often performs custom color matching and submits samples for client approval. We ask that you allow about two weeks for this process. See the section on custom colors for more information.
    2. Templating
      • Templating is done from finished and installed cabinetry, and it takes less than one day.
    3. Fabrication
      • The typical time required to fabricate most concrete countertops, depending on their size and complexity, is four to six weeks. Note that the fabrication process may not start immediately after templating depending on how full our production schedule is. A good guideline is to contact Concrete Commander at the beginning of the project, or at the latest one month before cabinetry is scheduled to be installed, both to allow time for custom color samples and to secure a spot on our production schedule.
      • In the case of a residential project such as a complete kitchen remodel, homeowners are usually willing to wait longer for their custom-made, handcrafted concrete countertops. However, temporary countertops can be a way to minimize inconvenience. Temporary plywood countertops are one possible solution. Or, the contractor can preserve parts of the old countertop to provide some work surfaces.
    4. Installation
      • Because Concrete Commander’s concrete countertops are precast and prefinished, installation generally takes less than one day.
How is my concrete countertop template made?

Concrete countertops are templated just like granite. Almost all concrete countertops require physical templates from the finished and installed cabinetry. Your contractor needs to arrange for removal of existing countertops/cabinetry (if applicable) and installation of new cabinetry from which to create the new concrete countertop template.

How is my concrete countertop installed?

Concrete countertops are handled and installed just like granite. Seams are caulked with a color-matched acrylic caulk. Your contractor needs to arrange for plumbing and electrical hookup no earlier than 24 hours after the countertop installation.

Are there any special structural considerations for my concrete countertops?

Typically, no special considerations are necessary for standard kitchen concrete countertops or bathroom vanity countertops. A square foot of 2-inch thick concrete weighs about 15 lbs; a square foot of 3 cm granite weighs about 16.5 lbs. Cantilevered slabs, bar tops on knee walls and similar situations sometimes require brackets or other structural supports for the countertops. Concrete Commander can advise on support requirements.

If you can’t find an answer to your question, contact us today and we’ll be happy to reach out to you!