Microcement Worktops for a Bespoke Kitchen

8,867

105

19

About: I'm a designer/maker based in Bristol, UK. Instagram: www.instagram.com/liambarclay_design

I've recently finished making a bespoke kitchen for my first flat. As part of the design for it I wanted to do a wrap around worktop which I initially planned to cast in concrete but then changed and opted for something called Microcement. When initially researching this I found a lot of professional companies who would come and install it for you but couldn't find much in the way of DIY advice/kits. I did eventually, and managed to do the worktops so thought I'd share my experience...

Step 1: What/Why Microcement

I had originally planned on trying to cast the worktops in concrete but due to concerns with:

  • Complexity of the mold
  • Weight
  • Cost
  • Its porous so can absorb liquids and stain.

I decided to research alternatives and came across something called Microcement.

Microcement (I also found it to be referred to as Micro-topping, Micro-screed) is a composite coating based on a mix of cement, resins, additives and colouring pigments that you apply over a substrate. It seemed to be very versatile and able to be used in a variety of applications, see some of the examples I found in the pics.

Pro's

  • Its has very good adhesion and can be applied to floors, walls and ceilings. Interior and exterior.

  • You can get continuous surfaces without joints, ideal for my wrap around worktop.
  • You can get it in a wide variety of colours and textures. I went for white and the satin finish option (matt and gloss were also available)
  • Covers all surfaces: tile, stoneware, concrete, plasterboard, wood etc.
  • Great resistance to use, shock, scratches and chemicals.
  • Impermeable so no staining.
  • You can apply it with the substrate installed so no complex mold making etc.
  • It ends up being ~4mm thick on top of the substrate so is light weight

  • Easy maintenance and cleaning
  • Good cost, I got a 10m2 kit for ~£300 which was enough of my two worktops and some flooring... I thought was good value!

Con's

  • It obviously doesn't have the same mass/dense feeling to it that a concrete worktop would have.

Step 2: The Kit and Tools Required

I struggled to find suppliers who offered DIY kits rather than just a professional install service. I did eventually from a company in Spain that offered shipping to the UK.

https://www.latiendadelmicrocemento.com/

***I'm not affiliated with them in any way.. just thought it was a good kit :)

They offer kits in a variety of sizes, 5m2 to 150m2! I had two worktops and a couple bits of flooring I wanted to do, which I worked out to be just under 10m2 so got that kit.

The kits are also specified as floor or wall.. which I think mainly changes whether the top coat material is fine or a bit rougher to be more hardwearing. I went for the floor option.

The kit included pretty much everything you need:

  • Microcement Fino - this is the top coat material,
  • Microcement Base - this is the base material
  • Resin component B - you mix this with the microcement
  • Pigments - if you go for anything other than the neutral the pigment gets mixed in to colour the microcement
  • Adhesion promoter
  • Fiberglass mesh
  • Primer sealer
  • Polyurethane varnish
  • Paint roller
  • Mixer
  • Small steel trowel
  • Sandpaper
  • And installation

Other than the tools the kit provides you'll need:

  • Drill to mix with
  • Plenty of buckets
  • Scales to weigh out the ratios
  • Newspaper/sheets to cover things you dont want covered
  • A breathing mask with filters suitable for dust and high VOC's!

Step 3: Substrate Prep

The Microcement is compatible with being applied on top of a variety of surfaces such as tiles, concrete, plasterboard, wood, old worktop etc.. It seems to just need to be something structurally sound/stable. In my case I opted for 2 layers of 18mm thick MDF as its strong, dimensionally stable and cheap.

I got the DIY store to cut the full sheet of MDF to the correct width for the worktop so I could get it home on the roof of my car. Remember, if you've got a specific final worktop width in mind, 600mm in my case, to make the substrate ~4mm less to account for the Microcement thickness. I then cut the sheets to the correct lengths required and cutout any holes necessary for the gas hob, taps etc. The sink I chose to use is an undermount version and so I could have a drainer integrated into the worktop I routed some channels into the top layer of the MDF using a round nose router bit.

The two layers of MDF were then glued/screwed together, and then attached to the cabinets using screws and L-brackets where required. I also cut additional thinner lengths of MDF to run along the bottom of the cabinet.

I now masked and covered all the areas of the cabinets I didn't want to get the microcement on.

The first step of the microcementing process is to apply a layer of fiberglass mesh onto the substrate. The kit provides a 1m wide roll in a length to suit the size of kit you bought. You need to cut this to the size required to fit the areas you're going to apply the microcement too, then roll over it with the resin provided and leave to dry.

Step 4: Applying the Microcement

Prep:

The instructions provided with the kit give the required mix ratio of the microcement to the resin. Once mixed, the microcement/resin mix has a limited work time so you're going to want to work in smaller batches to avoid it setting before you've used it all. The areas I wanted to cover in microcement split easily into 4.. 2 worktops and 2 separate bits of flooring. I worked out and noted down what weight of microcement and resin I'd need for each of those areas.

Mixing:

You always want to be mixing in a clean bucket or you could risk altering the colour etc. Pour the required amount of resin into the bucket. Top tip, the colouring pigment gets added to the big container of resin so make sure you always shake the resin container well before pouring it out to ensure consistent colour, i think the pigment can settle at the bottom. With the resin in the bucket, you slowly start pouring in the microcement.. much in the way you would mix plaster. A power drill and mixer paddle is then used to mix it up, again to a consistency like you would with plaster.

Applying:

The microcement is applied in 4 stages, 2 base coats and 2 top coats. Each coat took me a couple hours to apply to the 4 areas, it then needs >3hrs to dry before you can sand that down and the next layer can be applied. This means it'll take a few days to get it done.

Each coat is applied like you would plaster.. I've only plastered once before this so watch some youtube videos to see what the techniques like. But essential dump it out on the substrate and smooth it out with the trowel. You want to try get an even thickness over the substrate thats about 1mm for each coat, so you end up with a total thickness of ~4/5mm.

Step 5: Sealing

The final step of the process is to seal the microcement. First you'll want to make sure the surfaces/room are dust free as anything there or that lands in the sealer whilst its wet will show in the final surface

You then roll on two coats of the sealer primer, followed by two coats of the polyurethane sealer.. with ~3hr drying time in-between. Again this took a couple days in total to do with the drying times.

This stuff stank! Very high VOC's! Get a good mask with good chemical filters! Open all windows in the area! Plan a trip to the pub once your done so you can get out the house!

Step 6: Finished

The finished worktops! Overall I'm pleased with the results I got with the material/product. It allowed my to create the modern look I wanted, for a good cost and relatively easy process.

I think it could be used in a number of other ways.. on more complex substrate shapes.. definitely something I'm keeping in mind for future projects.

Hope you enjoyed and maybe discovered a new material for projects!

If you're interested, I have a full video of the kitchen build here:

Share

    Recommendations

    • Frozen Treats Challenge

      Frozen Treats Challenge
    • Beauty Tips Contest

      Beauty Tips Contest
    • Pets Challenge

      Pets Challenge

    19 Discussions

    0
    None
    wilmotjude

    8 weeks ago

    I was absolutely fascinated watching this video and must congratulate you on your range of skills well done.

    2 replies
    0
    None
    club_wiggies

    4 weeks ago on Step 6

    This video was fascinating. Wow! So much skill and talent. Thank you for sharing!

    1 reply
    0
    None
    worthworks

    8 weeks ago

    I would love to know how the cost of doing a kitchen floor with this stuff compares to faux wood flooring. And even larger areas for that matter! I have a semi-detached brick house in Canada and the entire main floor is done in this hideous tile flooring that is VERY outdated and the cost of reflooring is very prohibitive for me but the kitchen MUST be done because I'm moving cupboards around and have exposed areas where there weren't any tiles. This looks highly promising because I really do NOT like faux wood flooring and don't believe it's worth the money for as long as it lasts and the fuss involved. Your kitchen is divine! LOVE your cupboard faces! I'm an artist and really appreciate your vision!

    1 reply
    0
    None
    barclay5426worthworks

    Reply 7 weeks ago

    You should hopefully be able to find suppliers in Canada that could give you a cost per m2.

    Thanks a lot :)

    0
    None
    Wild-Bill

    8 weeks ago

    The Microcement is "Meh" compared to the end result. You are a Master Cabinet Maker, if you don't have that designation, then you deserve it. Your design of that fitted kitchen in that space is totally amazing. The way you work with hand tool is mesmerising. Your effective use of power tools was refreshing. The end result in fit and finish is stunning. I am going to have add a router plane or a plow plane to my kit.

    1 reply
    0
    None
    barclay5426Wild-Bill

    Reply 7 weeks ago

    Thanks a lot, very kind words! Do it, a router plane is surprisingly useful.

    0
    None
    JohnM584

    8 weeks ago

    As a carpenter and cabinet maker myself I must commend you on a job well done! And as was posted earlier if you don’t call yourself a cabinet maker you damn well should. I really love your saw. Never seen one like it before.

    1 reply
    0
    None
    barclay5426JohnM584

    Reply 7 weeks ago

    Thanks! Not calling myself one at the moment but I'm working on it.. Ye the tracksaw was a great addition to my toolset for this project!

    0
    None
    wyldecent

    7 weeks ago

    Your kitchen is pure craftsmanship -- the care put into every piece of it is so obvious. Please give yourself the credit you deserve. And when are you coming to the states to do mine?

    1 reply
    0
    None
    yrralguthrie

    8 weeks ago

    From Stone International.

    Since it does not require any type of large or heavy equipment it is especially suitable to be placed in any type of construction, including homes already occupied or located in upper floors. The Mikrodecor is water-repellent on the visible surface, which makes it suitable for insertions such as kitchens, bathrooms, shower enclosures, or even bath tub covers.
    It is not, however, a waterproofing element, so it is necessary that the base on which it is applied is perfectly dry and be sure that moisture does not appear in the future. In any case, though it can not be considered as a waterproofing product, it still has an excellent effect against water and moisture.

    My thoughts: It is installed 2-3 mm thick. Only the top is "water repellent". Nothing said about it being waterproof. So water will soak through if not noticed and cleaned up. It is touted as being for kitchens, bathrooms, etc. but I would be hesitant to use it for those purposes. It will not be as permanent as tile. Tile is waterproof. Also according to the site the esthetics are highly dependent on the experience of the installer. Tile is not expensive, can be bought for less than $1 US. And the tile work can be done by a competent DIYer. Neither a kitchen nor a bathroom has a lot of floor area. 100 square feet is a lot of space in either.

    0
    None
    deankosmac

    8 weeks ago

    The details on the handles looks superb! Love the style of your kitchen - even the couch is something special!
    Cold you share how this micro-cement is stable - is it scratch and heat resilient?
    Can't wait to see more of your project like this!

    1 reply
    0
    None
    barclay5426deankosmac

    Reply 8 weeks ago

    Thanks! I'll prob do a separate post on how the door fronts were done..

    The kitchens only been back in use for a few weeks but so far so good with the worktops. I'll do an update in future with how the microcements holding up