Layla from The Lettered Cottage did a post this week on counter tops that generated several questions both from people who like the look and wanted to know more as well as from one person who has them and doesn’t like them. Since I have lived with them for 8 years now she suggested that I might be able to address some of these issues.
When we built our current home concrete counters were fairly new to our area but I fell in love with the look and determined to use them in both our kitchen and master bath. Then I got really wild and asked our fabricator if he had ever used concrete for interior steps. He responded “there’s always a first time.” LOL. So I became his guinea pig and I have loved them. When they were first installed and newly waxed everyone thought that they were marble. I don’t really know how to explain this but they feel very soft and warm to the touch. I know–this is totally different from how your driveway feels. But the sanding/buffing process totally changes it.
Here is a close up of the stairs today and, yes, they have hairline cracks in them. There is no way to avoid that with concrete; so if you are OCD it might send you… 🙂 ( They are not warped. I did something funky with the camera.)
As for the countertops,
we okay, The Writer, re-waxes them at least twice a year. We used to use a different type of wax but have now settled on Briwax Granite and Marble Polishing Wax.
He also just purchased a small brush that fits on his drill to buff with. It will save your elbows. The wax needs to be sort of runny to fill in any pot marks or cracks and the Briwax is plenty runny.
Concrete is porous and hates acid. That is why finishers use acid washes to stain it. It will really soak right in and change the color. Therefore, you have to be careful with lemons, or any type of acidic substance because it will change the color and leave a stain. The first day I had mine I sat a bottle of alcohol or something down and it make a perfect ring. I panicked and called my guy. He said to pour baking soda on it (to neutralize the acid) and flush it with water. It came right out.
Most people don’t realize how acidic the water is that comes from our taps. Therefore if you leave standing water around the faucets it will discolor. Easy solution- wipe the water up.
I am a patina person. I love what happens to copper, limestone and concrete as it ages gracefully with everyday wear and tear. To me, it is charming. This is a close up of my main prep area. It is here that I chop things and sit pots directly from the stove onto the surface. This is what the aging process looks like.
If you are the type that needs for it to look perfect and spotless and not change over time you will probably be happier with quartz. Concrete is more like marble but doesn’t require anywhere near that degree of care.
Cost runs about the same as granite. I believe mine was @ $75 /foot. I am not a big granite fan. The veins, flecks and color variations bother me. Would I use it again? Probably. I have now discovered several white granites and a couple of quartzes that I really love that would be less work for the Hubs; so I guess the answer is “it depends.” It depends on the look of the next house (if there is one) and feel I want to convey. Do I still love them? YES.
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