Move over, Fred Flintstone, cement countertops are now catching on in the twenty-first century! Anyone can choose laminate, tiles or granite, but it takes someone with imagination, creativity and understanding to install cement countertops. With the trend toward natural building materials such as rock and stone, it makes perfect sense to use concrete in home decor applications.
It’s still a relatively new concept in kitchen design but those who have adopted it in their homes say they’re thrilled with its uniqueness. These could be the people who think sparkly-flecked granite is so 2010, daaarling. But don’t think that cement countertops are a sign of rebellion in the bling crowd. Cement is an artistic material; its aficionados enjoy the character they see in it.
The concrete used in cement countertops is typically one inch thick and is fabricated in large, seamless panels. It features a pigmented, stain and crack resistant finish and looks as much at home as your stainless steel appliances and chrome handles.
But enough about its good looks; how about its practical virtues? Well, despite its tough appearance, it’s strangely unforgiving when it comes to putting your hot pots and pans down on it. It’s also not recommended for situating directly adjacent to a hot stove. This is because cement countertops are sealed and waxed to protect them from moisture and staining. Extremely hot items can discolor the wax so it’s recommended to use trivets. Cutting foods should be done on a cutting board to prevent damaging the wax layer.
As far as long-term durability, cement countertops will give many years of service. They are commonly reinforced with fiberglass to provide strength without excessive extra weight. Hairline cracks resulting from shrinkage are possible but these won’t pose any threat to the integrity of the structure.
Care of cement countertops is not much different to marble and granite, though the wax coating should be maintained by a re-application every three months or so. Spills should be removed promptly and the surfaces can be cleaned using mild soap and water. The use of abrasive, ammoniated or bleach-based cleaning agents is not recommended as the sealer will break down and provide less protection against stains.
If you haven’t seen cement countertops yet, and if you’re considering something innovative for your kitchen, you really should take a look. You’ll be very surprised at the beauty and uniqueness.