Concrete kitchen worktops may not be new but they remain largely unknown in UK kitchens. Despite this, they are the best way to make your kitchen space individual, whilst giving you a cool, sophisticated look. Thus, other worktop choices, for instance, won’t be able to give you 5m long seamless spans with thick integrated edges. We can also make worktops with integrated seamless vertical panels that reach the floor. Cascading seamlessly down your kitchen units, known the states as a waterfall, you won’t find this with other worktop materials.
Pros and Cons of a concrete kitchen worktop
There are no other materials that give possibilities for such a customisable appearance (colour, seamlessness, thicknesses, waterfalls, inlays, etc.). Concrete worktops will give you an unmistakable cool and solid feel. Concrete is a manmade material, but its constituent parts are naturally occurring rocks. Thus, hues and nuances will not be perfectly homogenous, like granites.
We can provide different appearances in our concrete surfaces. Granites and marbles have natural veins that you can select in a stone warehouse. We are able to recreate some of that natural randomness. Different mineral components of the cement come through to the surface’s appearance. With pigments, we can offer you almost any colour or tone you are after. Polishing exposes aggregates of different sizes and colours and shapes to appear on your worktop’s surface. You can have a solid brilliant-white block or a more industrial naturally random grey concrete or any colour and tone between.
Shaping a worktop to your kitchen space is a significant upside of GFRC (Glass Fibre Reinforced Concrete) sprayed concrete. We can create vertical waterfall edges seamlessly connecting your kitchen floor with your worktop in a single slab. We can create backsplashes and overhanging apron edges as a seamless part of the worktop. Worktops can have integrated drainage grooves. You can choose your own pigments or veined concrete patterns. Quirks like stainless steel inlays or even fibre optic cables can be set into the work surface. Kitchen drawers and doors can be clad to match the worktop in thin concrete, light enough to hang on a door hinge, solid enough to provide the industrial look you might be after.
Another appeal of our worktops is the ease with which you can choose the thickness of your concrete kitchen worktop. Think of trying to find a 10cm thick granite worktop. We have installed bartops and kitchen worktops with 100mm and 80mm integrated apron edges. Whilst the main slab is only 25mm thick, to save weight, the edges are solid and integrated – giving a massive and bold feel to your very own design.
We use specialist high-performance cements. This means we can create concrete with far fewer naturally occurring microscopic capillaries than normal concrete and stone. Further, when cast and demoulded we apply a concrete densifier, typically lithium silicate. This will latch on to non-hydrated calcium molecules and create calcium silicate hydroxides. Further concrete-ifying the remaining unhydrated molecules from the cement. Fewer surface capillaries mean fewer stain traps.
The next stage is the application of a specialist synthetic sealant. The result here is that each layer of sealant is less diluted in water than the one preceding – allowing single sealant molecules to float down to the bottom of any surface capillaries. Subsequent passes of the sealant will then fill these microscopic capillaries with multiple bonded sealant molecules to ensure a perfectly sealed worktop surface.
This sealing approach provides your worktop with years of hardwearing and carefree usage. As with natural stone, it is not a great idea to leave stains for more than a couple of hours on your concrete. Vinegar and beetroot can penetrate the sealant if left for more than twenty-four hours. We typically recommend a reseal on outside worktops every three years. With inside worktops, in a normally used family kitchen, every six years. At any point, we can carry out topical repairs and resealing easily. We can provide you with details of how to carry this out yourself if you are of a hands-on disposition. For a more insider-view, try here.
- A customer will make initial contact, asking if Seamless-Stone can make a certain type of worktop or piece of furniture, and if so what sort of price for a certain size, and how long to manufacture and install.
- If you are interested in our initial offer, we will discuss options. Thicknesses, shapes, edges, drainage, cut-outs, backsplashes, drop-down waterfalls, upstands, etc. There will be a discussion about colours and tones too, and perhaps indicative samples will be sought. Depending on the size and number of samples, these will be delivered for free. We will firm up pricing at this stage.
- 10% of the agreed price is requested at this stage. The price will include tile-size colour match samples, a reference slab (see point 4 below), on-site measuring, computer modelling, fabrication and installation. We will break these items down, and will happily work with others, should you wish to use your own installers and draughtsmen. The quickest a worktop can be produced from the payment of the first deposit is two weeks.
- We will cast a two-foot square reference slab of the worktop in our workshop. A large sample will show nuances that appear in cement (especially grey cement) not visible in sample tiles. Nuances which appear within batches, even when using identical processes, recipes, humidity and temperature in the controlled workshop environment.
- Seamless-Stone will come to visit the property, once the kitchen units are in place, and make precise measurements from which a 3-d computer model, using readily available software (“Sketchup”) will be used. If a customer wants to see the worktop shape in 3D before fabrication and make modifications, now is the time to get involved.
- Fabrication is next, and this is described elsewhere on this site.
- The installation will occur after we have sealed the concrete in our workshop
Once we have agreed upon the specification you are after, Seamless-Stone will make a mould or moulds for your project. This is the most time-consuming part of the process. Precision and complexity require time and thoroughness. Next, we check these moulds against the existing plans and positioning inside your kitchen before the pour. The pour is actually more of a sprayed face-coat and a poured backing-coat. The two stages must take place rapidly within a few minutes of each other. Curing happens over one week in humidity and heat controlled areas of our workshop. Then, the sealing takes a further three days to cure before the worktop is ready to install in your home.
Our products compare very favourably in price with stone and man-made alternatives. A 30mm thick grey concrete kitchen worktop at a standard 600mm deep will be as little as £200 per meter length. A lip, or an apron edge, will increase that price. We deliver and install throughout the UK. Typically we ask for 10% once the design is confirmed, 80% on installation, and 10% a week later.
Seamless-Stone stands behind the quality of its work. Our products come with a lifetime guarantee. We will come and reseal your worktop after five years, and cracks or blemishes that occur will be repaired or replaced by us for free if they weren’t caused by unsuitable use. If there is any damage, that could be attributed to misuse, we will most likely be able to fix the worktop without any great drama. GFRC is a product that will outlast us.