Concrete benchtops, especially as interior surfaces, were almost unheard of until 15 to 20 years ago. The introduction of new tools, techniques and sealants has made concrete benchtops possible. Concrete benchtops now are a viable option for exterior use as well as in kitchens, laundries and bathrooms.
Designers now realize that concrete is not too masculine or raw for these applications. Concrete is not limited to Brutalism. Concrete countertops can be as warm as any other material if they are combined with the right aesthetic choices.
Concrete countertops are great for industrial kitchens. Concrete countertops can also be rustic due to the patina they develop over time.
The pros and cons of concrete benches
Concrete benchtops offer many advantages. They are durable and tough, but they can also be used in many different ways. They can be customized to almost any size or shape by simply being poured in situ.
Concrete is composed of the same cement, quikrete and sand mixture as footpaths. It is therefore heavy. Engineered supports may be required to support the extra weight of a building with a stump floor. Depending on the thickness of the building, support may be necessary to protect adjoining cabinets.
Concrete countertops can also crack. These cracks are often superficial and simple to fix. They can chip and scratch more than other surfaces and they can allow for bacterial growth because of their porous nature. All these problems can be minimized with proper care and quality sealants.
Types and colours of concrete benchtops
Concrete kitchen bench tops in Brisbane offer more versatility than granite and marble. You can customize them to meet the needs of the homeowner or designer. You can make them look like the two options above or highlight the concrete’s natural characteristics.
Some people add aggregate materials to concrete countertops to create a texture or to imitate quartz or granite. The options are endless when it comes to aggregate materials. These materials can include scrap metal, seashells, and even phosphorescent glow-in-the dark materials.
This flexibility extends to the thickness and use of polished concrete benchtops. It also allows for splashbacks and drain boards. There are also many color options. You can achieve anything from near-black concrete to white concrete by using dyes or other colouring agents.
How to maintain concrete benches
Sealers are necessary to protect polished concrete bench tops from heat damage, chips, scratches and stains. They should be applied not only at installation, but also every one to three year. There are many types of sealers, including penetrating and topical.
Topical sealers can be applied only to concrete’s outer surface. They protect it by covering any material that could cause damage. They are effective in stain resistance, but less so when it comes scratch resistance.
There are two types of penetrating sealers: repellents and densifiers. Penetrating sealers, as their name implies, penetrate the concrete surface to close the concrete pours and strengthen the material. Their strength is not found in topical sealers.
You can also use both types on the same concrete countertop. Despite their improved quality, sealers still aren’t 100 percent effective. There are always possibilities for chips, heat damage, scratches, and stains.
It is important to take care of your concrete kitchen bench to minimize them. It should be cleaned immediately after any spillages occur. Never place hot plates or oven dishes directly on it. Only use knives on cutting boards and never directly on the concrete bench top.
Polished concrete benchtops should be installed with care. Coloured surfaces and polished concrete can be damaged by sunlight and extreme temperatures. UV-resistant sealers are recommended.
What does a concrete benchtop cost
Concrete benchtops are more expensive than other options. It is important to consider the costs of customisation, labour and installation when comparing them to other alternatives. Concrete’s cost is low by itself, but the additional costs of customisation, labour and installation significantly increase overall costs.
While polished concrete benchestops in a standard layout can be affordable and left in their natural colours, they can be very expensive if you want personalised countertops.
Concrete countertops tend to be more expensive than laminate options, but they are only slightly more expensive that engineered stone benchtops. Concrete countertops are usually more affordable than natural stone materials like granite and marble. For a complete kitchen, concrete countertops can be installed by professionals for around $1,000 to $1,800.
DIY concrete benchtop Australia
Do you think a DIY concrete benchtop is possible? Polished concrete benchtops are a complicated job that requires heavy materials and precise mixing, finishing, curing, and curing. Concrete countertops should not be installed by anyone except the most experienced and enthusiastic. For the average person in Sydney or Melbourne, this is not recommended.
The procedure for those who are willing to do this hard job is:
How do you make concrete benchtops? Polish concrete benchtops
1. Mold it
2. Any cut-outs?
3. You can add sides to the mold
4. Make a support frame, and prepare the wire.
5. Mix concrete and pour it
6. Take out the mold
7. Use an orbital sander to finish the slab
8. Install the concrete benchtop
Concrete benchtop types
1) Polished concrete benchtops
A sleek, polished concrete benchtop in a stunning minimalist kitchen.
2 Aggregate concrete benchtops with an textured appearance
This is achieved by adding dark aggregates to give the appearance of natural stone. The options are limitless when it comes to aggregate material choices.
3) Concrete look benchtops
‘Think Benchtops 3600 x 600 x 20mm Vena Storm Solid Surface Modular Benchtop’
These modular concrete look benchtops are non-porous, easy to clean and offer the same appeal as polished concrete but without the cost. They are easily installed at home by DIYers and come in a variety of sizes.
4) GFRC concrete benchtops
‘Apollo Place Concrete Island’
Glass Fibre Reinforced Concrete is similar to chopped fibreglass. It is made from fine sand mixed with cement, water and other admixtures. This material has similar chip resistance to granite and exhibits high compressive, flexible, and tensile strengths.
5) Aggregate Concrete Benchtops
Concrete is not all brutalism. Aggregate materials include clear mirror glass, coloured glass pieces, and glow-in-the dark stones for backgrounds of any color.
6) Extra thick GFRC concrete benchestops
Glass Fibre Reinforced Concrete, (GFRC), allows you to customize the thickness of your benchtop. This example is 75mm thick with a satin matte finish. This example shows how aggregate materials can be kept to a minimum, resulting in a light and playful product.