Concrete countertops are a durable, stylish option for kitchens, bathrooms and even outdoor living spaces, and they’re more affordable than granite, marble and quartz, especially when you build them yourself.
However, to make sure your countertop is built to last, consider these tips.
1. Don’t Use Regular Concrete Mix
When it comes to concrete countertops, not just any mix will work. While traditional concrete mixes are great to have on hand, Quikrete Concrete Countertop Mix is specifically made for this type of project.
Remember: There’s no substitute for Concrete Countertop Mix. That’s because it has a special ingredient — super-plasticizer — that helps the mix flow better, and prevents shrinking, cracking and air bubbles.
Quikrete has an easy-to-use Concrete Calculator to determine exactly how many bags you’ll need for your project. Just enter the square feet of your countertop, and the Quikrete will tell you how many bags you’ll need for the preferred thickness of your countertop.
2. Don’t Use Wood Forms
You need to build a melamine, not wood, 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; this will help later, when you need to release the form from the concrete.
Next, mix the concrete according to the package’s instructions and pour it into the form.
Your countertops should stand the test of time — and whatever else life may throw at it — so use rebar for reinforcement. This increases the structure’s durability, and it’s a must if you have cutouts for a sink or range.
3. Don’t Forget to Tap the Forms
Don’t forget to 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.
Otherwise, unsightly air bubbles will always be a part of the countertop, and once the concrete cures, there’s not much you can do about them.
4. Don’t Remove the Forms Too Soon
It’s tempting to pour a countertop and remove the forms right aware to admire your handiwork, but be patient to avoid any issues.
For instance, the concrete could develop hairline cracks — that’s the best-case scenario — or, at worst, it could weaken and collapse.
Fortunately, the Quikete Concrete Countertop Mix can be removed from the form in 18 hours, so you can complete the entire project in just a couple days.
5. Don’t Wait Too Long Before Sanding
Finally, when it comes to sanding concrete countertops, time is not on your side. It may seem safe to save sanding for later, but for the best results, you actually need to sand the countertop before it is completely cured and brittle.
As soon as you remove your countertop from the form, sand it, or use a brick to smooth out the edges. After sanding it, wait 30 days before sealing the countertop.
Follow these tips and you’ll have a beautiful and durable concrete countertop for years to come.