Redoing a kitchen or bathroom with concrete countertops is a home improvement project you can do yourself. While it takes some time — be prepared to spread the work out over several weekends because of the time required for curing — you will save yourself the high cost of purchased granite or marble countertops.

This tutorial will provide all the information you need for planning, creating your own forms and molds, making joints, and distributing the poured concrete. I figured all of this out because 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 I found that was much more customizable than the other solid surfaces was concrete. Concrete’s 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? Not so. 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 for my kitchen and they came out at around $4,000. My custom concrete countertops ended up coming in at below $800, including the rental of the 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.

1. 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 during which you will need to do your grinding and polishing.

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

3. 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 are ways to remedy many outcomes that you don’t like.

I also 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 without Fu-Tung Cheng’s help.

Step 1: You'll Need (Good) Help

As you'll see in this Instructable, I've got the assistance of Mr. P; an evil genius (albeit "special") who lends his raw power and expertise to the project. There are many steps that can be accomplished solo, but concrete is heavy and you should expect to need anywhere from 2 to 4 people to help move around your countertops on more than one occasion. You'll need at least 3 people involved in your pour. And it's best to cure the countertops inside a garage; however, grinding and polishing them is very wet and messy so you'll want to do that outside. Then you'll need to install them in place so prepare to have people available to help at different times.

Note from Mr. P: "If a substance does not have a MSDS, testing should be carried out before prolonged exposure. Not all methods of testing are OSHA approved. With all due sincerity; wear a mask, gloves and safety glasses when mixing concrete or using adhesives and solvents."

Thanks for the help. I also bought the book. Together, the project wasn't that tough at all...
<p>How did you get that look? Did you just polish and seal it?</p>
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. <br> <br>C <br>
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. <br> 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. <a href="http://sputterlyutter.blogspot.com/2011/09/collective-instructables-wisdom.html">Here's a link to my notes</a>.
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!
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: <a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Build-a-Polished-Concrete-Desk/">https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Build-a-Polished-Concrete-Desk/</a><br/>Thanks for the detailed instructions, they helped me greatly in my project!<br/><br/>
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Great work!
Great Job! It's awesome to see people that have gotten help from my instructable and thanks for sharing.
hi thanks so much for posting this instructable!<br/>I used this instructable as the main inspiration for doing my own concrete countertops as part of a larger (super-cheap-ass) kitchen reno.<br/><br/>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. <a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.new.facebook.com/album.php?aid=23879&l=1d07e&id=624811215">kitchen reno gallery</a><br/>
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
Hi Is that Columbus GA?? We are in Cols Ga and doing some concrete cabinets. M
Yes, we are talking about Chatanooga and Atlanta, so I think I mean Columbus Georgia.
And I'm in Nashville! :D
Nasville isn't in Georgia.... :D
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
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
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).
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!
<p>Kitchen really amazing. Interesting if it can integrate well into various kitchens, saw a similar cuisine in Kitchenpt.com, interesting Outeda, really impressive about the honor.</p>
<p>wow, just wow!</p>
<p>challenge accepted!</p>
<p>i cant get quickrete 5000 or cheng pro formula what can i use in a basic concrete mix of 1 part water 2 part cement 3 part sand</p><p>are super plasticizers absolutely necessary or glass fibres? </p>
<p> I did an out door bar table top with concrete &quot;INPLACE pouring &quot; due to its size ( 2ft x 10ft) , top is uneven, by the time I finished pouring it was late and concrete was not enough to trowel to level so did a quick and dirty job of finishing it off ,( used a mix of GFRC and quickrete 5000 Mix about less than 2 inch thick,</p><p>after a week i tried leveling the top with another layer of sand cement ready mix ( no gravel ) and wasted 4 hrs topping and leveling the table but next day I checked it was popping off :( , just did not stick to the tabletop so frustrated I just scraped off the top . I think My selection of the cement ready mix was wrong . </p><p>Any one can give some pointers on which Portland cement with plasticizer , additive etc would work wonders to level this would be just great </p><p>This is my first countertop using concrete, don't want to give up. not so easy... </p><p>And yes of all the places I though this was a great forum to get some ideas on projects for a low budget DIY person with plenty of enthusiasm </p>
<p>I am planning to fix mine too.. great ideas, I benefited to it yey :D</p>
<p>I have poured 64 sq feet on counter top. I have some ruff spots in the counter top and I am at a loss. I sealed it but the ruff spots look really blouchey. I really like the gray look . If i polish the counter top will that get rid of the ruff spots and smooth it out? I sanded the edges with 220 but its still rough also. Please help me!!</p>
<p>I was pleasantly surprised. I visited this very Kitchen in Chattanooga, TN. The house got foreclosed on soon after this project was completed.</p>
<p>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!</p>
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.
<p>Thanks for the recommendation. What would you think if I waited to do the cutouts until the countertop was in place?</p>
<p>Very very good post. You've included <br>all the great information in this post. Thanks a million for that. Cheers! </p><p>&lt;a href=&quot;http://www.theclippingpathindia.com/clipping-path-service.html&quot;&gt;Clipping Path service&lt;/a&gt;</p>
<p>brilliant, thanks for sharing!</p>
<p>Your IBLE inspired me to make my own and I have referred back to it many times. It helped me realize that I could <strong>make</strong> something wonderful and functional that I would, in the past, only have hoped to purchase.</p>
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 <a href="http://www.myinstalledcountertops.com" rel="nofollow">Kitchen Counters</a>.
I agree. Indeed Solid Countertops are strong, non-porous and has wide range of designs as well. Will definitely use it for my <a href="http://www.myinstalledcountertops.com" rel="nofollow">Kitchen Countertops</a>.
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.
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.
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. <br>Thanks for the great instructable!
You can get label remover from a brewing supply store. <br> <br>I use dish soap and &quot;oxi clean&quot; when I need to remove labels. <br> <br>If it is before the crushing I pour &quot;oxi clean&quot; into the dish washer and run the bottles through. <br> <br>Remember to remove the labels that have fallen off before your wife tries to use the machine again. <br> <br>You might try an over night soak of hot water and &quot;oxi clean&quot; and dish soap for your crushed glass and then a rinse off with a hose the next day.
soak the crushed glass in diesel, this will destroy the glue of the label. then in a bucket wash with detergent and rinse in a sieve. if there is still paper and glue then simply get a sheet of fine steel mesh or metal sieve and hold it over a flame to burn it away. then wash again.
Don't know if this will help but I use Goo Gone, it will remove labels, glue, chewing gum etc. You can buy it almost anywhere. <br><br><br>http://www.googone.com/<br><br>
This is probably to late to help you, but for anyone who's worried about super sharp broken glass, cleaning it, etc. just get a bag of sand, mix it with the glass, and run the mix in your cement mixer for a few hours. this should knock off / round over the sharp edges and clean off any labels/residue on the glass. obviously, the longer you let it run, the more rounded it will get.

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