Concrete Countertops: Home Projects
Project: New countertops
Cynthia First and Thomas Buckborough of Reading, Massachusetts, chose concrete for their countertops, an unusual material to use in a 250-year-old Colonial. Thomas, a certified kitchen designer, believes concrete reflects the character of their old house. “It has a look of age and wear that complements our exposed original beams,” he says. Compared with granite, marble, or soapstone, concrete can be dyed any color, is a warmer-feeling yet more durable material, and, above all, is moldable. Thomas admits another motivation for choosing concrete was “being able to show my clients how versatile it is.”
Dan Gobillot of Stone Soup Concrete in Florence, Massachusetts, captured the couple’s design using a template on-site in Reading. Back in the company’s shop, his partner, Mike Karmody, made a form. They mixed Portland cement powder with various sizes of stone aggregate (for durability) and poured the concrete into the form on a vibrating table to remove air bubbles, which can reduce stability. The counters took about 48 hours to harden, then cured for three weeks. After that, a nontoxic sealer for scratch and stain resistance was applied.
Estimates run around $110 per square foot, installed, a price comparable to granite.
What Do You Like Most?
The soft-green surface (“lichen,” Thomas calls it) was achieved by an acid-etching technique developed by Stone Soup. It is this patina that Cynthia and Thomas love. They enjoy entertaining and gourmet cooking, and they feel their counters reflect their flair for color.
What Would You Do Differently?
One (very) minor thing, reports Thomas: The sink splash is a bit low for him, so he can get damp when doing the dishes with gusto.