When I first heard about making a countertop out of concrete I thought it was a crazy idea. Then I started thinking about it and a whole new set of ideas came to mind.
Concrete is really quite an extraordinary material that is practical and it can be both expressive and aesthetic at the same time. The possibilities for creative expression are quite endless. You can grind, polish, stamp, or stain it. Some people love to embed meaningful objects within it.
Concrete has substance and mass, permanence and warmth. It feels hard yet earthy, and is at home in both traditional and modern settings. Concrete is also surprisingly tactile. Cast and shaped, it can feel like stone rounded by the sea. Textured and colored, it can echo the patina of timeworn tile. It can be transformed from formless slurry into virtually any shape that becomes a solid mass. It is used to form things that are part of our daily lives-bridges, highways, floors, buildings, walls and for some of us even countertops.
If you wander into a display of modern kitchens, you will be sure to find some very beautiful counter tops made out of concrete. I don’t mean the gray, pour-it-into-a-hole type. This concrete is smooth, beautifully colored, & polished to a soft, marble-like glow. This concrete is elegant, expensive-looking, & classy.
Because of its adaptability, concrete finds itself welcome in all areas of the home, especially in the kitchen and bath, but also in fireplaces, walls and floors. Concrete can also be used as a floor material with enormous creative advantages whether stained, stamped, painted or diamond-finished. It can be finished to an attractive look of its own or be used to support tile, mosaics, decorative aggregates, stone, wood, or metal. It is inexpensive, durable, noncombustible, impervious to decay, and also very effective for passive solar gain in the right application.
Architects and developers have discovered the many benefits of concrete. They know that it is reliable and durable, making it perfect for walls, floors, pillars and columns. Concrete coatings add a decorative, protective coating that not only enhances the appearance of the concrete (no more drab gray color) but also improves the strength and durability of the concrete. Consider either staining your concrete floor surface or applying a decorative epoxy coating.
While the finishing process strengthens the material, concrete tends to be more than strong enough for most home improvement projects. For residential applications, concrete finishing is usually focused on creating a decorative surface. With one type of finishing process concrete can be made so smooth it’s difficult to identify it as concrete at all. An expert concrete contractor can manipulate concrete to imitate nearly any other material available.
Walls are also a great place to explore form. With vertical treatments, concrete gives us an opportunity to recapture some of the feeling of the monolithic wall-the feeling of substance, of protection. A wall doesn’t have to be flat or straight, but can curve and undulate. It can be textured to be rough as stone or smooth as glass.
The new motto is becoming: Concrete, the new everything. Surrender to the impulse… carve your initials in concrete.