3 Problems with Traditional Concrete Countertops

Slab style countertops, or countertops made of a solid, thick material, have grown in popularity over the last two decades. As people realize the style and design advantages of using these options, they’ve branched out in what kinds of materials they can make them from. Anything from carved sheets of stone to poured sheets of glass have become more common in use.

For homeowners who want a solid, single color material with a matte or muted finish, options become slightly more limited, however. This has led many people to consider concrete as a viable alternative to other slab countertops, but concrete, while a versatile and innovative material, isn’t always ideal for countertops. It has several inherent issues that can make it problematic in both residential and commercial kitchens.

Traditional Concrete Countertop Problems

So, while it may give an industrial or minimalistic style to a room, these few benefits are often outweighed by the issues.

1. Porous Surface

If you’ve ever seen a concrete driveway or sidewalk after just a few years of use, then you already know that concrete is a porous material and that it can stain. Concrete can absorb liquids that may spill on it, including oils, which can be difficult to remove. Sealing the concrete may help impede staining and give you time to clean it up, but it cannot prevent all stains. In addition, while sealing can help, it must be done regularly.

Sealers do break down over time, particularly when in contact with detergents. Because sealers don’t change the look of the concrete, you may not realize the sealer is no longer doing its job until a stain occurs.

2. Brittle

Concrete has enormous compressive strength. This is why it’s often used as a foundation for homes and buildings. But it has terrible tensile strength, meaning that if it’s hit or bumped in some way, it can easily crack.  This holds true whether the concrete is in your driveway or used as your countertop.

In addition, if you want an overhang for an island or peninsula, this can also increase the chances of cracks or breaks in the material. Likewise, stretching an area of unsupported concrete over a desk section may stress the countertop over time. All of this can lead to damage that cannot be easily repaired, necessitating a complete replacement of your countertop.

3.Templating and Creation

Like many slab countertops, concrete is designed to be custom fit to your specifications. This has its benefits and its drawbacks when it comes to concrete. Having a custom countertop lets you get a better fit, and allows you to change up things like edging, curves, and corners. It also allows you to accommodate differently shaped or sized sinks.

However, while a traditional slab countertop is made from a template taken from your existing counter and cut in a factor, concrete is made differently. In many cases, it’s actually poured right in place in your kitchen by building a frame on your cabinets. Because concrete needs time to cure - in some cases weeks depending on climate - this can render your kitchen completely unusable during this time frame.

While some people choose to use a smaller section of concrete, one that can be poured and formed offsite, a full countertop requires more precision. This can really drag out your countertop installation. Attempting to speed use could mean more cracks or stains, as the material may not be fully cured.

A Better Alternative

Many people choose concrete for its look and style. Concrete has a matte finish and an industrial style that work well in many kitchen designs. These include modern, rustic-modern, and transitional kitchens.

A better alternative to concrete, however, is quartz. Quartz countertops, such as Uptown Grey and Metropolitan have the same style, finish, and appearance of concrete. They can be polished or honed, and let you choose between a flat grey countertop or one with a little movement and depth.

But quartz countertops are formed differently than concrete. Quartz countertops do not stain or crack like concrete. They do not require sealing or special care, and they can form overhangs, desks, curves, waterfall counter edges and more.

Best of all, they can be cut and formed to fit your kitchen much less invasively. Your countertop will be ready in just a few weeks, and once it’s in place you can start using it immediately. Using quartz countertops that look like concrete gives you all the style, with none of the inherent problems of this material.

Make a Better Choice

Concrete may be trendy, and it may give you a specific style, but it isn’t always the best option for kitchens. Instead, consider durable, low maintenance quartz countertops. Get the same look and style, along with more versatility, better durability, and stain resistance. Consider quartz countertops that look like concrete for your kitchen, and leave the concrete to your basement.

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