Learn what's great and not-so-great about this trendy countertop material
Trendy, chic, and versatile, concrete countertops continue to be incredibly popular. They can be customized in all kinds of different ways, making it easy to find just the right fit for your unique aesthetic. But concrete countertops do come with some drawbacks you'll want to consider before committing to them long-term.
Learn about the pros and cons of this trendy countertop material so you can figure out if it's the right fit for your look and lifestyle.
Pros of Concrete Countertops
There are many reasons to fall in love with concrete countertops.
1. Very Long-Lasting
Concrete is incredibly hard, so with proper maintenance, you can enjoy your concrete countertop for many, many years. It's also fairly scratch-resistant, so don’t worry too much about dishes, silverware, and other common kitchen items leaving superficial scratches as you go about your day. Plus, if you do see a scratch, chances are it's the seal that's scratched rather than the concrete itself, so you can usually fix it simply by applying more sealant.
2. Lots of Color and Style Options
When you think “concrete,” you probably think of a slate gray—but not so fast. One of the biggest advantages of concrete countertops is how many different styles and colors they come in.
You can add a stain or pigment, depending on what look you're after. Staining typically gives your concrete countertop a look that mimics natural stone, like granite or quartzite. Meanwhile, pigment can turn concrete into virtually any color under the sun, making concrete countertops a great choice for anyone with very particular color preferences.
A skilled countertop contractor near you can also add artistic elements including tile, glass, and shells, right into your concrete countertop, transforming it into a functional work of art.
3. Easy to Customize
In addition to coming in different colors and styles, concrete can be poured to fit any shape. So, if you have a super unique countertop layout or small nooks and crevices you want to fill, concrete is a great choice. It's also easy for contractors to cast custom features onto your concrete countertops, like drainboards and soap dishes, making your life that much more streamlined.
A lot of kitchen countertop materials, such as wood, don't stand up well to high heat, so homeowners often need to put down a trivet before placing a hot pot or pan on the countertop. But concrete is highly heat-resistant, so you can transfer a hot pan from the stove directly to the surface without fear of damaging your beautiful new counters.
Cons of Concrete Countertops
No material is completely perfect, so there are some drawbacks to consider before installing concrete countertops as well.
1. Pretty Pricey
Not generally considered a budget-friendly option, concrete countertops cost more than many other types of countertop materials, such as laminate or acrylic. They're similar in price to other high-end countertop materials, like marble and quartzite. Depending on the style and customizations you choose, you can expect to pay between $50 and $100 per square foot for concrete countertops.
2. Higher-Maintenance Than Many Other Materials
While it's true that concrete is very long-lasting, it does require somewhat regular care to maintain its strength and durability. Because concrete is porous, it's highly susceptible to staining unless it's sealed with a water-based wax sealant about once each year. If the sealant deteriorates, it's very easy for a quick spaghetti spill to turn into a forever stain, so you'll want to clean up ASAP.
3. Cracks Can Occur
Sometimes, concrete countertops develop hairline cracks due to its natural shrinkage over time. However, many contractors reinforce concrete by adding fiber, rebar, and/or wire mesh, which can significantly reduce the risk of cracks. Thankfully, hairline cracks aren't typically very noticeable and repairing them is often pretty straightforward. So if you spot one, you don’t have to replace your entire countertop.
4. May Require Cabinet and Floor Reinforcements
Although they're typically only 1.5 to 2 inches thick, concrete countertops can be massively heavy, often weighing 19 to 25 pounds per square foot. This extra weight can take its toll on your cabinets—and even the kitchen floor—so your pro may need to install reinforcements during installation.