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Concrete Countertops for the Kitchen - Solid Surface on the Cheap

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BUY EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO COMPLETE THIS PROJECT HERE!

So I wanted to redo the kitchen in my 1916 Foursquare and I was bored with all the countertop options. Unless you're getting formica, they all cost about the same as granite or marble, look just like granite or marble, and are as typically typical as granite or marble.


The one material that I found was much more customizable than the other solid surfaces was concrete. The colors and textures are endless, you can mold it into just about any shape you can imagine, and it retains the advantages of solid surfaces. But it's concrete, so it must be cheaper than milled stone, right? If you have a professional do it for you, it can actually cost MORE than other solid surfaces...do it yourself, and you can save a bundle. I priced granite countertops in my kitchen and they came out at around $4,000. My custom concrete counter tops ended up coming in at below $800, including the rental of the concrete mixer.

Now before you get ramped up and ready to pour, I will preface all of this with the drawbacks to doing your own concrete countertops.

+ This is not a project that can be completed in a weekend. No matter how small the countertop is, there's at least a 10 day curing process which you will need to do your grinding and polishing in.

+ Concrete needs to be properly sealed at the beginning and waxed about every 30 days to avoid staining.

+ The final outcome might not be exactly what you expected, especially if you're doing it for the first time. The good news is that there's ways to remedy many outcomes that you may not like.

I highly recommend that you buy the book Concrete Countertops by Fu-Tung Cheng before attempting ANY concrete countertop project. Fu-Tung Cheng is the Master and if you're looking to be the Karate Kid of concrete countertops, buy this book. Ralph Macchio wouldn't even think of doing concrete countertops based on my instructable.

 
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I'm getting ready to pour some countertops for my new apartment and this instructable is a incredibly helpful. I already have the Cheng books, thanks to the comments here.
I read every comment (so far) and took notes. I figure that these orgnized notes from your collective wisdom could be helpful to others, so I put them up on my blog. This is no replacement for reading everything yourself! I am sure to have missed things and new comments come in all the time. Here's a link to my notes.
Thanks, that is a helpful resource for everyone who comes here. Good luck with your project and really glad everyone here was able to help!
cmc705 years ago
Thanks for the help. I also bought the book. Together, the project wasn't that tough at all...
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cmc70 the countertops look great. Did you use anything extra to support the eating overhang on the island?
sj.. sorry I havent been back to here in a while. Yes, I used some Stainless Steel arcs anchored to the studs in the Island and the underside of the countertop. It is not finished here in these pictures.

C
hivoltage5 years ago
Hi I built a concrete desk following your instructions, and have posted it as an Instructable! I have referenced your great Instructable in it, you can find it here: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Build-a-Polished-Concrete-Desk/
Thanks for the detailed instructions, they helped me greatly in my project!

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Great work!
doubleabattery (author)  hivoltage5 years ago
Great Job! It's awesome to see people that have gotten help from my instructable and thanks for sharing.
romac6 years ago
hi thanks so much for posting this instructable!
I used this instructable as the main inspiration for doing my own concrete countertops as part of a larger (super-cheap-ass) kitchen reno.

i've attached a couple pics and the link to the public facebook gallery in which I have a few more pics of the process. kitchen reno gallery
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doubleabattery (author)  romac6 years ago
BTW, I saw from your Facebook account you're in Atlanta...I'm just a hop, skip, and a jump to Chattanooga...
And I'm in Columbus! :D
monam808 Kaiven6 years ago
Hi Is that Columbus GA?? We are in Cols Ga and doing some concrete cabinets. M
Kaiven monam8086 years ago
Yes, we are talking about Chatanooga and Atlanta, so I think I mean Columbus Georgia.
nilmahj Kaiven6 years ago
And I'm in Nashville! :D
Kaiven nilmahj6 years ago
Nasville isn't in Georgia.... :D
nilmahj Kaiven6 years ago
Driving directions to Nashville, GA 156 mi – about 3 hours 18 mins Columbus, GA 1. Head south on Veterans Pkwy toward 9th St 0.7 mi 2. Turn left at GA-520 E/Victory Dr Continue to follow GA-520 E 78.4 mi 3. Merge onto GA-520 E/US-82 E via the ramp to Camilla/Tifton/I-75 8.2 mi 4. Take the GA-520 E/US-82 E ramp to Sylvester/Tifton 0.4 mi 5. Turn left at Clark Ave/GA-520/US-82 5.0 mi 6. Take the ramp onto GA-520 E/Sylvester Rd/US-82 E Continue to follow GA-520 E/US-82 E 32.3 mi 7. Turn right onto the US-401 S/I-75 S ramp 0.4 mi 8. Merge onto I-75 S 12.6 mi 9. Take exit 49 for Kinard Bridge Rd toward Lenox 0.2 mi 10. Turn left at Kinard Bridge Rd 5.0 mi 11. Continue on Alpha-Lenox Hwy/Coy Hancock Rd 3.3 mi 12. Turn right at GA-125 9.1 mi 13. Turn left to stay on GA-125 0.2 mi 14. Turn right at US-129 430 ft Nashville, GA
Kaiven nilmahj6 years ago
OMG THERE IS A NASHVILLE GEORGIA?! I'm sooo sorry! I didn't know it existed! LOL!
Great job on your tops! Now keep creating! Here are some photos of my most resent backsplash project in Park City Utah
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Pompom romac6 years ago
Romac, your kitchen is beautiful! I wish I had the skill and patience to do all of that. The curve is very nice, too. (And that Buddha you carved is phenomenal: most impressive).
doubleabattery (author)  romac6 years ago
EXCELLENT JOB! Your kitchen looks fantastic and it's great to hear that my little project inspired someone else to use concrete for countertops. I really like that you poured it in place as well - I was too nervous knowing that water would be flying all over the place. That $60 worth of concrete and some elbow grease increased the value of your kitchen by several thousand dollars. Thanks for all the pics!
doubleabattery (author)  FabSlab6 years ago
Thanks for your comments, FabSlab! Regarding cooking spray - I actually used spray ADHESIVE in my mold to keep the glass aggregate from pooling up in one spot. My counters came loose from the mold with no problem, so I don't really see any benefit in using a lubricant unless maybe you have an intricate mold with lots of small details.
I use spray adhesive when I broad cast glass also. The adhesive comes off when you grind it. But if I'm not exposing agg. then I'll silicone the glass one at a time and then rub on some release to the rest of the mold. I agree that it is not always needed but its good practice anyway.
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Palmer13 months ago

I was pleasantly surprised. I visited this very Kitchen in Chattanooga, TN. The house got foreclosed on soon after this project was completed.

dburns114 months ago

This is a great resource. I'm seriously considering making my own concrete countertop for our kitchen project. We have new custom cabinets of all 3/4 inch plywood construction, so I'm not concerned about weight and strength. My primary concern is that I want to do it in 1 piece, but our run of cabinets is 14 feet long. The counter would be 1.5-1.75 inches thick, standard 2-foot width. It would have 2 major cutouts in it for the sink and cooktop. I planned to use no aggregate in my mix, just solid concrete, and use a welded steel mesh (cattle panel) for the interior reinforcement. Is this feasible/possible in your opinion? Thanks!

doubleabattery (author)  dburns114 months ago
Thanks, dburns. I really wouldn't recommend doing a very long stretch like that without stress fractures, especially since you've got 2 major cutouts in it.

Thanks for the recommendation. What would you think if I waited to do the cutouts until the countertop was in place?

clippingpath15 months ago

Very very good post. You've included
all the great information in this post. Thanks a million for that. Cheers!

<a href="http://www.theclippingpathindia.com/clipping-path-service.html">Clipping Path service</a>

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brilliant, thanks for sharing!

ixisuprflyixi made it!9 months ago

Your IBLE inspired me to make my own and I have referred back to it many times. It helped me realize that I could make something wonderful and functional that I would, in the past, only have hoped to purchase.

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briley19751 year ago
Is this house in Chattanooga? I think I saw the MLS on it. Love that neighborhood
This makes sense. The glue gun to the nose does not. LOL. Awesome thanks for posting.
I agree. Indeed Solid Countertops are strong, non-porous and has wide range of designs as well. Will definitely use it for my Kitchen Counters.
I agree. Indeed Solid Countertops are strong, non-porous and has wide range of designs as well. Will definitely use it for my Kitchen Countertops.
hpress1 year ago
Looks great. I noticed some coins embedded in the top. How did you wet grind the concrete without grinding off the images on the coins as well?
Cheng Pro-Formula mix uses Quickcrete 5000 Commercial Grade, Can I use white Portland cement? What would the cement - sand ratio be? I want to use white Portland cement for a truer color when I add color.
eagle16 years ago
Good illustration. One question about crushed glass. You said we could crush our own glass, is this a special type of glass or just my regular "Ice house bottle". If it is the regular glass, will not end up being dangerous once on the counter. Please advise on this, i will try this by the end of next week.
doubleabattery (author)  eagle16 years ago
You can use any crushed glass - remember, the glass will be exactly the same level as the top since the countertop is poured upside down. If the mix is vibrated properly, the cement will fill in any voids around the glass. Then you will be grinding and polishing it all down, so it's all smooth.
Do you have any hints on how to clean the labels off glass that's already been through the crusher at the recycling center? They'll give me all the glass that I can use, but it's still got the labels on it.
Thanks for the great instructable!
You can get label remover from a brewing supply store.

I use dish soap and "oxi clean" when I need to remove labels.

If it is before the crushing I pour "oxi clean" into the dish washer and run the bottles through.

Remember to remove the labels that have fallen off before your wife tries to use the machine again.

You might try an over night soak of hot water and "oxi clean" and dish soap for your crushed glass and then a rinse off with a hose the next day.
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