Polished concrete is the interior trend of the moment and more and more homeowners are seeing concrete not as the dowdy, boring, gray material we see covering many commercial and industrial eyesores but a chic addition and contemporary for the home. Polished concrete is certainly a material made for the kitchen with its excellent durability and easy-to-clean surface, and it’s not just our kitchen floors that are receiving the concrete treatment…
Many homeowners are using concrete to create a modern look on their kitchen countertops, and you can transform your existing countertops for as little as $25! See how…
Find your concrete mix
There are a number of concrete products on the market that make it even more difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff. For easy application and durability we recommend using pre-packaged mixes of concrete composite products or alternatively a mix of concrete and PVC, which is a product that easily bonds to flat surfaces like your original worktop.
Mix the concrete according to the manufacturer’s instructions found on the packaging but before applying to the countertop, you should use coarse sandpaper to smooth the surface of the countertop, this will ensure extra cohesion between the worktop and the mixture of concrete. While adding texture to your countertop, many concrete products require 10 – 15 minutes of pre-setting before application.
The application of concrete
Once the concrete has set for the recommended period it is now time to apply the thickened mixture to your countertop. Use a trowel or drywall knife for extra precision and steadily spread the concrete mixture over the smoothed surface. Aim to provide the same amount of coverage for every part of your countertop by keeping trowel marks to a minimum but remember it doesn’t have to be perfect, imperfections in the dried concrete will be softened, polished and prepared before being sealed at a later stage. As you apply the concrete keep the edge as neat as possible and score the seam lines between the counter top and the wall for a clean finish.
When applying concrete, the key is to apply a thin layer at a time, this can be time consuming but will lead to a higher quality finish. Once each layer has dried, sand the surface before applying the next one, this ensures extra durability.
Polish to perfection
For many people, concrete countertops look a bit better with the added character created naturally and by trowel marks and air bubbles. However, once the final layers have been applied and dried, it is up to you how long the rough concrete finish is maintained. Use coarse sandpaper on a sanding block or electric sander to polish the concrete until you have your desired finish.
Seal for added durability
After you have polished your concrete surface to the desired look and texture, the last step is to waterproof the surface with a few coats of sealant. To keep that raw concrete look on show use a natural looking, clear sealer, available from most DIY stores. We recommend a water-based sealant, which tends to be lighter than oil-based sealants. Heavier sealers tend to make polished concrete surfaces more ‘wet looking’ and darker in appearance. Apply a thin layer of sealant two or three times (or according to the manufacturer’s instructions), making sure that each one is completely dried before the next coat.
Concrete countertops provide a beautiful, industrial finish to any kitchen space and are an affordable way to dress up tired worktops – with stylish results favored by interior design magazines and blogs alike. Get the hottest interior look for a fraction of the cost with your guide to DIY concrete countertops.