"Stick With Brown" - Staining Concrete Countertops
We were asked by a local home remodeling company to see what we could do with this oddly shaped grill area after the client had grown tired of dealing with their Lueder stone countertops. While it is a beautiful look for countertops most homeowners don’t realize that it requires sealing to protect it from staining.
This is especially true when it’s used for grills since there is so much grease, smoke, sauces, and oils that get dripped, spilled, or otherwise coat the stone. The high heat from the grill helps to bake these into the porous stone and makes it very difficult to clean without damaging the surface.
By the time we had gotten there, they had already torn out the stone and were anxious for something different. They liked the idea of concrete countertops but didn’t want just a standard gray color, they wanted them to have more “movement”, so we brought up staining.
Staining concrete countertops creates variegation throughout the surface. The clients wanted something that would work with the stone base so we decided to go with an Espresso Brown water stain.
We made some color samples, got them approved, made an especially detailed template (pattern) of the area, and headed back to our shop.
This grill project was a little more complicated than most as the seam had to run at an angle since there were two support columns right in the middle of the countertop that held up their arbor.
We had to create a shape that was curved all along the outside to follow the existing stone base and at the same time have an angled seam so that the pieces could slide just in between the columns. We’re not exaggerating when we say that the templating alone took almost five hours.
Once we transferred the pattern from the template to our casting table, we installed all the mold edging, mixed up a batch of our glass fiber reinforced concrete and filled the mold up.
Once it had cured sufficiently we polished and then started the staining process for our concrete countertop. It normally requires two to three coats to get the required color and that’s followed by the most important step – sealing with a water based polyurethane.
For grill areas we always recommend using a polyurethane sealer which, if you don’t cut through it, will prevent any grease, oil, or other liquids from damaging the countertop itself, making it easy to clean and maintain. We never apply less than three coats to get great protection.
Admittedly we were a little nervous on installation day. There was very little wiggle room, and these had to slide right in between two columns at an angle – one from behind the grill and the other from in front – and still have all the correct overhangs plus line up with the grill opening in the stone base.
It took a little elbow grease, but you can see the result, it came out great! It really does pay to take the time to measure everything out as carefully as you can from the start. The homeowner loved it, and we think it looks pretty good too.