Concrete countertops are a durable, stylish option for your kitchen, bathroom, and outdoor living spaces. Concrete countertops prove to be a cost-effective choice compared to granite, marble, and quartz — and you can build a concrete countertop yourself for more savings. 

To make sure your countertop stands the test of time, consider these tips.

Don’t Use Regular Concrete Mix

When it comes to concrete countertops, not just any mix will work. While traditional concrete mixes are handy to have, Quikrete Concrete Countertop Mix is specifically made for this project. You can find it at most hardware stores.

Quikrete Concrete Countertop Mix contains ingredients like polymers, synthetic fibers, and a flow enhancer that prevents common issues like shrinkage cracks, weak surfaces, and air bubbles. It is specially formulated to have a smooth, consistent texture and appearance.

Regular concrete mix lacks these additives and is prone to flaws when used for countertops. It can develop cracks over time and may not withstand heavy usage. Quikrete’s mix was engineered for the demands of countertops — there’s no substitute for Concrete Countertop Mix. 

Quikrete has an easy-to-use Concrete Calculator to determine how many bags you’ll need. Just enter your countertop’s square footage, and it will recommend the quantity needed for your preferred thickness.

Build and Seal a Melamine Form

Before mixing and pouring the concrete, you need to construct a sturdy melamine form to shape the countertop. Building the form is a crucial first step that lays the foundation for success.

Build a melamine form and then seal joints with silicone sealant. Melamine-coated sheets prevent concrete from sticking to the form.

Then, apply a thin coat of shoe polish inside the form. Its wax acts as a release agent, so the concrete won’t bond to the melamine. Apply it evenly everywhere.

Next, mix the concrete per package instructions and pour it into the form. To prevent sagging or cracking, the concrete should be mixed to a fairly stiff consistency. Test the mix on a flat surface to ensure it holds its shape without excessive sagging or spreading. Adjust the water ratio as needed.

Your countertop should stand the test of time, so use rebar for reinforcement. This increases durability and prevents cracks at stress points like corners and cutouts. 

Tap the Forms to Release Air Bubbles

Tap the form’s sides with a rubber mallet while the concrete is still wet. This releases any trapped air bubbles that could mar the surface. Find an affordable rubber mallet at hardware stores if you don’t already have one.

Air pockets get trapped during pouring but can be coaxed out by firmly tapping the forms — if you forget this step, unsightly bubbles will permanently mar the countertop. Once cured, there’s not much you can do about them. Tap the forms to eliminate bubbles during pouring.

Wait at Least 18 Hours Before Removing Forms

It’s tempting to remove the forms right away to admire your work, but be patient to avoid issues.

Removing forms too early risks the concrete deforming under its weight while still soft.  At best, hairline cracks may develop — at worst, it could collapse.

Fortunately, Quikrete’s Concrete Countertop Mix can be removed from the form in 18 hours. You can complete the project in a couple of days — the mix contains accelerators to speed curing while achieving full strength. Quikrete Concrete Mix allows much earlier form removal than regular concrete.

Today’s Homeowner Tips

Always allow the concrete to cure for at least 18 hours before attempting to remove melamine forms. Test a small area to ensure adequate hardness before removal. 

Sand Before Concrete is Fully Cured

When sanding concrete countertops, time is critical. Although it may seem prudent to postpone sanding, for the best results, you should sand the countertop before full curing.

Remove the countertop from the form, sand it, or use a brick to smooth edges while still somewhat soft. Easily fix imperfections before concrete is fully cured. 

After sanding, wait 30 days before sealing to allow complete moisture evaporation for proper sealer penetration.

Careful pouring and finishing ensure proper curing with a smooth, even surface. Then, enjoy your beautiful, durable concrete countertop for years to come.

So, Is a DIY Concrete Countertop Right for You?

Concrete countertops offer an attractive, durable, and affordable option for your kitchen but require diligent planning and workmanship. With moderate DIY skills and significant time investment, the results are rewarding.

I recommend you purchase quality materials and closely follow crucial steps for mixing, pouring, curing, and finishing. Rushing or cutting corners leads to cracking, air pockets, or other flaws. Patience and care produce custom concrete counters rivaling high-end versions.

Just be sure to consider the commitment realistically and whether you have the necessary skills and time. If doubtful, hire a professional. 

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FAQs About Concrete Countertops

How thick should a concrete countertop be?

The standard thickness is 1.5 inches, but 2 inches or more provides even greater durability for high-use areas.

Can concrete counters get wet?

Yes, concrete is highly water-resistant, so it doesn’t need sealing. Just wipe spills quickly to prevent staining.

How heavy are concrete countertops?

Concrete counters weigh 20 to 25 pounds per square foot, so professional installation is recommended. Cabinets must support the weight.

What color options are available?

Concrete can be tinted or stained in a wide range of colors. Embedded glass or stone provides unique looks.

Can concrete counters develop cracks?

Hairline cracks may form over time, but proper reinforcement and curing minimizes this. Larger cracks indicate an underlying problem.

Editorial Contributors
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Laurie Engle

Expert Writer & Reviewer

Laurie Engle is a freelance writer who provides insights to homeowners on topics such as the home warranty industry, relocation issues, and real estate trends. As a licensed Realtor since 2001 Laurie has acquired extensive expertise in dealing with home warranty companies and navigating the intricacies of the real estate market. In addition to her commitment to helping clients with their home buying and selling needs, she maintains a sharp awareness of market dynamics, including property values, interest rates, and local regulations.

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Jeff Zoldy

Jeff is a writer, editor, and marketer based in Charlotte, North Carolina. He has been editing on the Home Solutions team for over a year and is passionate about getting homeowners the information they need when they need it most. When he’s not working, Jeff can be found at baseball games, golfing, going to the gym, reading, watching movies, and playing video games.

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