One of the most important elements in a kitchen renovation project is choosing countertops that complement your cabinets, appliances, and wall colors. There are several choices to consider: Granite, soapstone, marble, slate, butcher-block, and concrete being a few. If you decide on concrete countertops, expect a product that is thick, pigmented and smooth. Concrete countertops have a low sheen and can be cut to match the layout of your kitchen. Here are some tips on how and where to purchase your new concrete countertops.
- Choose your countertop contractor and company. Each contractor has his own method of construction. Some prefer to pre-cast in the shop, while others build on site. Those who pre-cast argue that the product is better quality because the conditions are controlled in the shop. Those that fill on-site can custom-design the countertops more easily. You can find a database of concrete countertop suppliers and installers online (see link below).
- Get samples. Before you make a decision ask for several samples of countertop for you to match with the rest of your kitchen's décor.
- Pick the look you like. You can get different effects based on the ingredients your contractor adds. Think about customizing. Ask him to use powder pigment mixed in with the concrete to create a solid color if it suits you. You can make your countertop speckled with many colors, or add ceramic grout to the concrete to make a terrazzo look, or embed other materials like stained glass in the cement.
- Compare prices. Always call at least three contractors for pricing. Don't automatically go with the lowest bid-go with the person you feel comfortable with and who has given you a reasonable bid. Countertops are a very important part of your kitchen, so don't be cheap! Bids for concrete countertops can range from $55-$80 per square foot, depending on the style, cut, and region you live in. Installation can be an additional charge as well.
- Thickness. Ask your contractor what thickness the countertops will be. You can get almost any thickness you want. Remember you can have two separate thicknesses for the countertop and the backsplash if you'd like.
- Edge. There are many options to choose from for the look of your countertop edges. There is the traditional flush cut, where the concrete edge is straight and square. You can choose from a plethora of styles beyond this edge, however. Rounded edges are popular, as are bullnose or beveled edges (slight angle at the front of countertop to create depth and detail). Each company or carpenter may have a varying name for the types of edges they custom, so make sure you see a picture or sample of the countertop before you choose.
- Payment. Many companies will ask for a deposit and the remaining balance will be due upon installation. Inquire about payment upfront so you know what to expect.
Countertops are a very important part of your kitchen, so take your time and shop around for price, style, and composition. All your research and time will pay off when your guests ask your advice about how to purchase their own beautiful concrete countertops!