FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND REASONS CONCRETE MAYBE A GOOD FIT FOR YOU
Q. What are some of the unique properties of concrete that would make it a valuable addition to a kitchen or bath project?
A. Concrete is one of the most versatile surface materials available due to its ability to take shape, colors and finishes of endless options. Because the material starts as malleable or flow able product it can take the shape of any surface that has been constructed to form the shape of the material. In our industry this is refereed to as the formwork or mold. This is just the first of the laundry list that gives concrete its versatility in shape. This allows us to create very 3 dimensional shapes that are seamless such as integral sinks, waterfall edges, details for incorporating wood, trivets, and drain boards just to name a few. The shape of the concrete is only limited to ones ability to create the forms, or molds.
We then get into color and finish options. Because we are starting from a hand-blended material we can use different types of concrete mixes that will deliver a wide range of surface finishes and textures. From rustic pitted and distressed finishes to smooth modern and sleek. Different decorative aggregates, glass, steel shavings, or inlays/ embedment’s can also be incorporated into the surface finish to further customize it.
Colors are another customizable trait of concrete. Using pigments and or stains that can be either an integral part of the mix or applied to the surface to tailor to color schemes within the space it will live. This is a hand made a tailored product that takes countless years to master. Along with experience comes extreme versatility.
Q .How are you seeing concrete being incorporated into today’s kitchens and baths?
A. Most of the time concrete is being used in bath settings for its flexibility in creating customizable integral sinks. The size and shape can be tailored to fit the space and clients needs. Because of some concrete mix design breakthroughs we are able to create lighter more structurally sound concrete that can float across large expanses giving bathrooms a much more open and airy design especially in tighter spaces. These are design features that are un matched. In Kitchens large seamless island sections can be created pushing upwards of 20 feet or more. Customizable drain boards, pot trivets, finishes, color, and edge thickness make this a material of choice. Concrete can have a very soft organic look unlike many of the high polished cold looking solid surface materials on the market.
Q. Can you describe a project or projects you were part of (kitchen or bath related) where concrete played a key role?
A. I project in particular that concrete played the main roll and had many it versatile capabilities put to the test was a kitchen island that I created that served many different purposes. This piece had a large undercut on the overhang that created a seat able island on all sides doubling as a large community table during large gatherings. It also had a removable section of walnut butcher block that created an excellent prep station for cutting up produce. It also has a large integral prep sink at 1 end of the Island . The shape was created to serve two purposes. Compliment some of the angles on the exterior of the architecture and create the overhang on all sides for seating and to eliminate the need for a toe kick. This allowed us to create a very clean steel cabinet box core that would sit on the underside of the island. I made use of some insets and removable stainless steel grates that would act as drying racks and protect the sink from hard wear. I was also able to integrate some electrical outlets on the underside of the overhang that are not visible until you gaze under the overhang. There is also an integrated knife holder that passes through the overhang with an interchangeable box for hiding sponges. This 1800 pound piece of concrete exercised its versatility in this space
Q. What are the biggest advantages of working with concrete? What are the biggest challenges?
A. The biggest advantages of working with concrete is allowing yourself the creative freedom to play with designs that are a bit outside the box in any other industry material. Most everyone in our industry is drawn to this medium because if its creative capabilities.
A. The biggest challenges of this material are learning how to control all of the scenarios that come into play when creating a material from scratch. Refining concrete is a much different then pouring thick exterior slabs. Temperature, additives, molding techniques all affects the outcome. There are so many variables you are constantly trying to control. It takes thousands and thousands of hours, years , even decades to learn its nuances. Even then things can be problematic. It’s a industry of passion, anxiety, excitement, and creativity. We are artists and this is why we choose this path.
Q. Stylistically speaking, what types of kitchen and/or bath projects are a good fit for concrete?
A. The best suited projects for concrete are the ones that require specialty finishes and 3 dimensional shapes. When you want to break outside the box of normality and really customize something.
Q. Are there materials concrete works particularly well with, design wise?
A. Concrete works really well with steel and wood. They are natural looking materials that really nurse and play off each other well. Inlayed wood , steel bases with concrete tops, the design capabilities when using all three really open up so many doors. Its absolutely limitless.
Q. WHAT ARE SOME FEATURES AND BENEFITS OF CONCRETE COUNTERTOPS?
A. Our concrete countertops are extremely stain resistant and easy to use, with no worries about food stains. Concrete is so durable, even the ancient Roman aqueducts are still standing. It can be customized to fit your style and can really tie together your design with color matching and custom inlays and design. Because it is hand crafted and personalized to your unique liking, you will feel an intimate emotional connection with your new countertops.
Q. HOW MUCH DO YOUR COUNTERTOPS COST?
A. Our concrete countertops are a custom hand crafted material and are therefore priced accordingly. The cost depends on square footage, type of sink, backsplashes, edging and so on. Concrete is not a low cost alternative to other countertops. The made from scratch by hand process is very labor intensive. Because they are made completely from scratch custom and personalized for you, they can be considered a luxury item and are really the highest-end possible countertop. Please contact us for a complimentary estimate for your project.
Q. I'VE HEARD YOUR COUNTERTOPS STAIN AND REQUIRE A LOT OF MAINTENANCE?
A. All of our concrete products are sealed with what we feel to be the best available products on the market. Concrete countertops actually behave similar to granite in regard to staining and maintenance. Granite is porous and has to be sealed and maintained. Most people don’t realize this because granite is usually too dark and patterned to show stains. Sealing countertops is like waxing your car. If you follow a few simple maintenance steps and through common sense kitchen cleanup, your countertops will stay in tip top shape for a lifetime.
Q. WILL MY COUNTERTOPS CRACK OR CHIP
A.Your countertop is not likely to chip unless you take a hammer to it. It is possible to get little chips on edges or corners if you drop something heavy right on the edge of the countertop. Chips in concrete can be repaired. Properly made concrete countertops will not develop structural cracks. In fact, my countertops are warranted against it. Concrete is an interesting material. The stresses inside the concrete actually result in tiny microcracks. I use special fibers in my concrete mix to form a matrix that almost always prevents the microcracks from reaching the surface. It’s possible that a hairline crack still develops, though. This is purely cosmetic – just part of the natural, hand made character of concrete countertops.
Q. IS CONCRETE A GREEN PRODUCT?
A. Absolutely, we strive to create beautiful, functional art that creates as little environmental impact as possible.
Q. HOW DOES CONCRETE COMPARE TO GRANITE?
A.Concrete is very similar to granite in terms of physical properties. It’s a hard, durable countertop surface, and it weighs about the same as granite. It is templated and installed just like granite. It’s very practical in the kitchen. The main difference is the look. Concrete has a more natural, matte look, and it is completely customizable. It really fills a void in countertop selections for those that may be looking for a softer more natural looking product.
Q. CAN I CUT ON CONCRETE?
A.Like most countertop surfaces we recommend that a cutting board be used on the countertop to avoid dulling your knives and scratching the surface of concrete or sealers applied. And while our concrete surfaces can sustain heat with temperatures up to 375 degrees, we also recommend the use of a trivet for hot pans as heat barriers protect the finished surface of the sealed concrete.
Q. WILL THERE BE SEAMS?
A. Your concrete may or may not require seams. This will depend on size, budget, or accessibility. We are able to cast seamless spans up to 20’ in length. Seamless sections of lengths greater than 10’ will significantly increase the cost. We try to maintain standard length up to 10 feet to avoid special molding materials and handling issues. In kitchen scenarios there is typically a seam placed at the center of the finished sink cutouts to minimize stress during transporting as well as limiting the length of the seams. L shape returns may also play a roll in seam placement. This will be based on overall length of each return section on the L. Again there are very few limits on lengths and these maybe determined by budgetary costs or accessibility issues for larger pieces. Please review our kitchen portfolio for typical seam placement.