Do It Yourself Concrete Countertops

Do you love the look of concrete countertops, which is the hottest trend in kitchen and bath design?  Think the cost of professional installation puts them beyond your budget?  Guess what!  With planning, practice and a new crop of DIY-friendly materials, you can install your own concrete countertops.

"Concrete countertops are absolutely a do-able DIY project," says Fu-Tung Cheng of CHENG Concrete, a top concrete designer. You donít even need a power tool.

Concrete countertops are appearing up in high-end kitchens across the country. Designers love the beauty and warm profile of concrete. Consumers savor the durability and customization. The materials needed to make concrete countertops are relatively inexpensive compared with other high-end countertops like granite or natural stone. Until recently, however, labor costs of professional installation made concrete one of the most expensive types of countertops.

You can really add to the beauty of your home by designing and installing your own concrete countertops.  Sakreteís 5000 Plus eliminates many of the problems contractors have typically encountered when installing these countertops, such as cracking, warping and shrinking.

As with any home improvement project undertaking, be sure to educate yourself before getting started. Hereís a primer on the basics you should know about concrete countertops:

  1. Concrete countertops can either be poured in place, right on top of cabinets or cast elsewhere and then installed on the cabinets. With either method, the first step is to start with a sturdy frame into which the concrete is poured Ė the concrete form.

    Start out by measuring your space to determine the size and shape of the form. To construct the form, many experts recommend a coated particle board that will not stick to the concrete after it has cured.  Openings for sinks, faucets, cook tops, etc. may be required.  This is accomplished by placing smaller, appropriately-sized molds to create voids for these fixtures or hardware.
     
  2. Once the form is completed, itís time to mix and pour the concrete. Common problems include getting the mixture just right, and cracks that develop as the concrete cures. Using a pre-mixed, consistent blend of concrete will yield the same visual results as more complicated mixtures, with the added benefit of less risk for errors. Sakrete 5000 Plus mixed with CHENG Pro-Formula concrete additive, virtually eliminates cracks, chipping and unevenness Ė both as the concrete cures and when itís done, and only requires the addition of water.
     
  3. To further enhance the strength of a custom countertop, reinforcing materials such as diamond lath or reinforcing rod can be used. Then, pour the concrete over the materials. This will further reduce cracking during curing and result in a stronger finished product.
     
  4. Finishing is the final step, and a critical one; the ease of working with Sakrete 5000 Plus and the consistency of the mix simplifies this job. The skill used to tamp, screed and trowel to the finished appearance is the big pay-off.
     
  5. Countertops should cure for at least 48 hours before removing the form. As with any job using concrete, the more slowly the water evaporates from the concrete, the stronger the finished product will be.
     

Finally, if you need more incentive to install a concrete countertop consider this: whether you hire a contractor or do-it-yourself, countertops are a green project. By installing your own countertop, you conserve the energy consumption and pollution associated with mass producing and shipping manufactured countertops.  Also, you can boast a unique, one-of-a-kind product in your home.

To learn more about do-it-yourself concrete countertops and Sakrete 5000 Plus, visit www.sakrete.com or www.concreteexchange.com

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