What to Know About Concrete Countertops, from Installation to Upkeep

Are concrete countertops right for your kitchen? Learn about this popular material, including installation considerations, maintenance tips, and average price.

Popularized over the past decade thanks in part to a surge in industrial style, concrete countertops have become a favorite kitchen feature. Concrete's weathered patina looks great with a variety of decorating styles, and its durability makes it a top choice for families whose kitchen is the heart of the home. However, there are a few important features to consider before installing concrete countertops.

Made similarly to concrete walkways and drives, concrete countertops are installed by casting concrete into the actual size of your counter space. Color and chips of stone, metal, and glass can be added to the mix for decorative effect. When thoroughly dry, the concrete is buffed and sealed. Below, learn more about some of the top considerations for concrete countertops, as well as the average cost.

kitchen with concrete countertops
Jeff Herr

Tips for Installing Concrete Countertops

Concrete can be cast on-site or in an installer's workshop. Some installers prefer the controlled environment of a workshop, while others like the on-site availability. Experienced DIYers can also build and install concrete countertops. Be sure to try out colors before casting the entire slab and be mindful of environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity that can cause concrete not to cure. You'll also need a group of friends to help you install the countertops once the slabs are completed.

Durability of Concrete Countertops

There's a reason the world is paved in concrete: Its durability is unbeatable. The same goes for concrete countertops. This surface is both heat- and scratch-resistant, and if sealed properly, will withstand spills.

Sealing is crucial for concrete countertops. This creates a protective barrier for concrete's otherwise porous characteristics. It also adds yet another decorative layer. You can opt for a matte finish that gives the concrete a honed look, or you can finish it with a gloss that rivals the finish of high-gloss granite. Plus, glossy concrete countertops are easy to clean. Most homeowners choose a smooth finish, but one unique trait of concrete is that textured surfaces are available, as well.

Maintenance and Upkeep of Concrete Kitchen Counters

A major benefit to concrete countertops is their easy upkeep. Basic soap and water are all you need to clean everyday spills and stains. Gently scrub concrete countertops with a soft sponge and soapy water to remove residue. Rinse with a clean, damp sponge or towel. Avoid abrasive cleaners and bleach on concrete, which could damage the sealer.

Regular resealing is crucial to keeping your concrete countertops looking and performing their best. Once a month, apply a food-safe penetrating concrete sealer. Remember: less is more. Apply in several thin coats rather than one heavy coat. You can also opt to finish sealed concrete countertops with wax, which further seals the material to ward off moisture.

Price of Concrete Countertops

According to data from HomeAdvisor, the cost of concrete countertops per square foot ranges from $55 to $135. Installation rates vary between $30 and $90 per hour. This brings the average cost of concrete countertops to about $7,500. Concrete itself is not the cause for the expense; it's the fabrication and installation that make the cost of concrete countertops increase. Because of the weight of concrete slabs, installation is also time-intensive.

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