Concrete countertops’ beauty, durability and versatility make them a popular choice for kitchens, bathrooms and outdoor living areas.
Despite an array of other options — from inexpensive laminate, ceramic tile and butcher block, to high-end granite, marble and quartz — concrete countertops stand out!
They’re loaded with options.
Creating a concrete countertop is a DIY-friendly project for homeowners who want their kitchen to match their personalities.
You can mold the materials into any shape, size, thickness, color or texture for maximum customization. And you can embellish the surface with glass, stone or tile.
They provide a focal point.
Concrete countertops make a statement, whether they’re stone gray — a common selection — or have instant color added with pigments to match the room, like Quikrete Liquid Cement Colors.
You can grind the surface to expose underlying aggregate — rocks — for an industrial feel, or polish it for a smooth, modern look. Colored aggregates or glass beads also make for an interesting appearance. The slab can be an inch thick like most countertops or 6 inches thick to add real weight!
And, to complete the look, you can add concrete pendant lights overhead.
They age well.
Concrete countertops last for decades if properly maintained, regularly (dependent on use), with non-abrasive cleaners, wax and sealant.
The best defense is a good offense, so take precautions, and you’ll avoid problems. If you’re chopping tomatoes or any other produce, grab a cutting board to prevent stains and surface damage, and quickly clean any messes.
When well-maintained concrete countertops do age, they’ll do so in style. Because concrete develops a patina — a natural, glossy film — that gives the countertop more character.
They’re easy to create!
Fortunately, for many homeowners who enjoy tackling do-it-yourself projects, concrete countertops are not difficult to create.
You just need the right material, like Quikrete Countertop Mix, water, and a good, strong form.
Concrete mix designed for countertops is the best choice for this project because it contains less aggregate — or rocks — than a general-use mix. It also has plasticizers that make the mixture flow well with less water, and the formula minimizes shrinkage.
The easiest way for a do-it-yourselfer to create a concrete countertop is to build an inverted form. This means the bottom of the form is the top of the counter.
Melamine is the best material for the form because it has a hydrophobic (water-resistant) coating that allows concrete to cure at the surface, making it easier to remove when the concrete is cured.
How to Make a Concrete Countertop
Build the form. Screw melamine-coated sheets together, cut to size. Then caulk the seams and corners with silicon. Make sure the form is perfectly flat and well supported, so it won’t sag from the concrete’s weight. Pour in two lifts, then imbed rebar or wire mesh at the center of the form if your form is more than four feet long.
Determine how much mix you need. 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 Quikrete will tell you how many 80-pound bags you’ll need for the preferred thickness of your countertop.
Mix and spread the concrete. Mix up the Quikrete Countertop Mix, as directed, and pour it into the form. You’ll want to evenly spread the concrete so it’s level with the top of the form’s sides.
Then, while the concrete is still wet, tap the form’s sides with a rubber mallet to release any trapped air bubbles that could mar the surface. You can also use an orbital sander along the sides to release air bubbles.
Let it set. Allow the concrete to cure for a week before removing the form. Then sand any sharp edges on the concrete and polish the surface if desired. You can cut the thin wires that suspend the rebar after the concrete has completely dried.
Let it cure. After the concrete has cured for 30 days, apply a concrete stain, if desired, and seal it to give the countertop a finished look. Don’t stain the countertop if you used Quikrete Cure & Seal.
Watch the video above for step-by-step instructions.
To recap, a concrete countertop project’s success depends on these things:
- Creating the forms from a smooth, nonporous material like melamine.
- Providing ample support with rebar and reinforcement wire for forms longer than 4 feet.
- Coating the forms with lubricant for easy release.
- Using concrete mix designed for countertops.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Use Regular Concrete for Countertops?
Do not use regular concrete for countertops. You’ll need to use a concrete mix that has a PSI of at least 6,000. PSI stands for pressure per square inch and is the unit used to determine concrete’s strength. Quikrete Countertop Mix has a PSI of 6,000 after 28 days of curing.
How Do You Seal a Concrete Countertop?
Pick the finish of the sealer you prefer. Quikrete has a Concrete & Masonry Gloss Sealer for a wet finish, Acrylic Concrete Cure & Seal for a satin finish and Concrete & Masonry Waterproofing Sealers for a natural finish.
Wear impervious gloves and apply the sealer with a high-density foam roller. When using the acrylic sealer, apply one coat uniformly across the countertop surface.
With a gloss sealer, apply a second coat perpendicular to the first coat after two hours. Wipe off excess sealer from the countertop before it dries, and clean up with warm, soapy water.
With a waterproofing sealer, a second coat can be applied while the first coat is still wet after five to 10 minutes. Apply it coat perpendicular to the first. Wipe off excess sealer from the surface before it dries, and don’t let the sealer pool. Clean up with warm, soapy water.
For sanitary purposes and improved acid resistance (citric acid, vinegar, etc.), concrete countertops intended for kitchens should be sealed with a suitable high-solids acrylic sealer; epoxy coating or a food-safe wax. Consult the sealer manufacturer’s recommendations for application to finished countertops.
What is the Average Cost for Concrete Countertops?
Making a concrete countertop yourself is affordable because you’ll save on labor costs. Quikrete Countertop Mix is sold in 80-pound bags at about $20 each. How many bags depends on how big you want your countertop. Quikrete’s Concrete Calculator will tell you how many bags you’ll need for the size you want. A standard countertop is between one and a half to two inches thick.