Concrete counters are an excellent way to give your kitchen a modern flair. They work well with many styles, unlike dark granite which may look dated over time.
Constructing your own concrete countertops may take more effort than expected, but the end results are worth all the effort!
How to Make The Forms
The initial step in crafting DIY concrete countertops is creating forms. These are basically containers for holding the material to be concreted, and they can be constructed out of various materials.
Begin by cutting strips of Melamine MDF board that are 2 3/4 inches wide and several inches longer than the side of your countertop. These will become the sidewalls of your form, so ensure they’re strong.
Next, construct a support frame around the outer perimeter of your concrete mold with several 2-x4s that measure 3-1/2″ long and are centered so there is an overhang on each side. Attach these side pieces to the long sides from underneath with 2″ screws.
Once the concrete has set, it’s time to fill any low spots or holes with fresh concrete. This can be accomplished by screeding with a flat board or moving the board back and forth until your surface is even.
Mixing The Concrete
Mixing concrete is the step that prepares it for application. Not only can the mix vary in composition and curing conditions, but it is also dependent on when components are introduced and how long it is mixed (duration and power).
Mixers come in two varieties: batch mixers, where only a small amount of concrete is mixed at once; or continuous mixers, where concrete is continuously fed into the mixer from a chute and volumes of ready-to-use concrete are available regularly. Both types are powered by an electric motor or other source of energy.
Once the concrete has been poured into countertop molds, it’s time to ensure it’s completely smooth. This may take some time and you may need to spend some extra effort in each area in order to expel air bubbles.
Pouring The Concrete
Pouring concrete can be a messy and time-consuming task. To protect your floors, cabinets, and walls during this step, it is best to cover them with plastic.
Before pouring, first, prepare the concrete by mixing it with water according to the specified proportions. Be sure to follow all instructions on the package for precise mixing instructions.
Once the mix has been thoroughly mixed, pour it into a form and fill it halfway. Add reinforcement, leaving about 1.5 inches from the edges of the forms.
Once the concrete has been filled, screed the surface with a two-by-four or metal straight edge to remove any excess mix from its edges. Repeat this process several times until your surface is level.
Now it’s time to eliminate any air bubbles present in the concrete. For this task, lightly tapping the sides of the form with a rubber mallet will do wonders.
Finishing The Countertops
Concrete countertops offer DIYers a stylish option for creating an eye-catching aesthetic. They come in an array of colors and finishes, as well as decorative additions like glass fragments or fiber optic lights.
One of the most captivating advantages of concrete countertops is their ability to resemble natural stone in color and texture. This can be accomplished with acid-etching for a weathered, aged appearance or by adding “veins” for marble-like detailing.
Hand-troweling the counters creates a variety of textural effects and textures. A textured finish is especially beneficial in areas that will get a lot of use, like around sink edges.
Concrete is porous and prone to staining, so it’s recommended that you seal your countertops with a water-based wax sealer at least once annually in order to help prevent permanent blemishes from appearing. This is especially crucial if you plan on using them in the kitchen where spills are more likely to occur.