If you associate concrete only with driveways and footpaths, you might be surprised at how popular it is becoming as a material in kitchen renovations, as polished concrete flooring, concrete tiled splashbacks and kitchen countertops. An advantage of a concrete benchtop is the massive range of customisation options that allow you to design the countertop for your kitchen. But after seeing, at times, concrete being poured to construct pathways and so on, you might wonder how it can be transformed into a kitchen countertop.
Creating The Mould
Typically, concrete benchtops are crafted using a formwork mould constructed in the required shape, including cutouts for sinks and taps. While in the workshop, the concrete mix is poured into the mould and prepared. (An alternate method is to pour and prepare the concrete on-site at its final destination rather than precasting in a mould off-site.)
Customising And Designing The Countertop
The concrete mix includes any integral pigment hues that you have selected to colour the countertop. Also, any chosen aggregates, such as crushed quartz, shells, coloured glass or other materials, are included in the mix before pouring into the mould. An alternate way to add aggregates is to seed the aggregates after the concrete is poured, placing them by hand within the unset concrete. If you have selected any special edge details for your benchtop, such as rope, bullnose or scoop, the edge forms or moulds are arranged within the main countertop mould to shape the concrete with the decorative borders. After the concrete is poured, the mould is vibrated, so the concrete flows to all parts and releases any air bubbles.
Curing, Polishing And Sealing
Once the concrete is poured and vibrated, it needs to be cured which means to be just left alone to set for anywhere from 7 to 28 days before the honing and polishing process begins. The countertop is ground and polished with diamond grinding pads to buff and smooth the surface, and to expose aggregates within. Rougher pads file down the surface at first, and then progressively finer grinding pads rub and polish it to a mirror-like finish if that is what you are after. You determine the degree of shine for your finished countertop and the point at which to stop the finishing. The final step after polishing is sealing, which is only undertaken following another period of time once the concrete thoroughly dries.
Concrete is becoming increasingly popular as a material in kitchen renovations; its great advantage is the massive range of customisation options it provides. Constructing a concrete countertop involves multiple stages and planning about the colour, shape, edges and aggregates. You also determine the degree of polish for the final benchtop.