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How About This? Countertops Made Of Concrete!
You drive on concrete and you shovel "stuff" off of concrete, but you probably never figured it would show up in your kitchen.
But that's just what's happening thanks to a number of companies that are making concrete countertops for kitchens and bathrooms that look, feel and wear like stone. Some companies are even starting to use it for sinks, bathtubs, furniture and showy floors with the look of real stone, according to Jim Peterson, president of the Concrete Network, which bills itself as "the earth's largest directory of concrete construction services and concrete products."
Peterson says concrete fabricators, using special formulations and colorings, can make countertops in any number of kitchen or bathroom colors. The concrete can be as smooth and shiny as a mirror - or rough and sandpaper-like, depending on your preference. And it can be made to look like stone or solid surface synthetics like Corian or Avonite. It also competes with them in performance and price.
Because it is cast in molds, concrete can include texturing, repeated patterns, and embedded decorations, like shells, fossils, glass, and so on that you can't easily include in other types of countertops.
Chemical stains, pigments, use of various aggregates and epoxy coatings can make concrete look like marble, granite or limestone. One company boasts of making concrete in 140 different colors. Another says they'll match any color you give them for a price.
If you were doing it yourself, you'd probably pour a concrete countertop in place, but the experts say making countertops is not a trick you should try at home. Rather, it should be done in a fabricating shop where lines and edges can be formed more precisely and it can be cured and sealed under controlled conditions.
Concrete countertops are always sealed. The type of seal, method and number of coats of sealer is unique to each contractor. Many prefer some type of epoxy, since it is harder than the concrete and spills on it clean up easily.
No matter where or how it's made, like all concrete, your concrete countertop will eventually develop hairline cracks. Most are too small to matter, proponents say, and the cracks give it character. Although they note that larger cracks should be filled, keep in mind that a filler may be more obvious than the crack. Usually, all that's necessary is to make sure the crack is sealed with a good acrylic or epoxy product.
A good concrete countertop can be expensive. On a square-foot basis, the entry-level cost for a standard-width 1.5-in. thick counter runs about $50 for solid surface, $55 to $65 for concrete, and $65 or more for granite.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Jim Peterson, president, The Concrete Network, 11375 Oak Hill Lane, Yucaipa, Calif. 92399 (ph toll-free 866 380-7754; Website: www.concretenetwork.com/countertops).

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2001 - Volume #25, Issue #5