Cast in place concrete counter tops
We do a lot of cast in place concrete counter tops. This is a hand troweled process that creates a seamless look with a lot of personality. We also do a lot of outside projects like this one in Murphy, TX. This one was an exterior grill area that also had a bar top on it. After reviewing some of the available colors, the homeowner decided that Kahlua was the best fit for the area, and we think it looks pretty sharp. I think you can see how granite counter tops might have too much of a “formal” look for this area.
Cast in place concrete counter tops are built right on site. We build the mold on top of the cabinets, or, as in this case, on the stone base. This was a split level counter top, with the bar set up higher. Once the mold was built, we placed a wire mesh reinforcement down, mixed in the Kahlua pigment into our cement mix, a process that is called integral coloring, and poured it out. As the concrete was drying, we passed over it repeatedly with a steel hand trowel, smoothing it out. We let it sit and cure for about five days for it to properly harden and push out all of the moisture in the mix then we protected it using a solvent based acrylic sealer which tends to deepen the color and create a glossy finish.
The troweling process creates a surface that has a lot of variations in color and texture. It’s a manual process that leaves it with a custom look, and consequently, it has an artisan finish to it. What this means is that they aren’t perfect! Yes, they will have slight irregularities; some parts will be smoother than others, colors will never be an exact match to the sample, some parts may be ever so slightly higher or lower than others, or there may even be small pinholes scattered randomly here and there, etc. That’s the nature of cast in place concrete counter tops. We try hard to make sure our clients are aware of this. The counter tops are not machined and polished on a factory line like a slab of granite is. But this is exactly the appeal of concrete — it’s a hand crafted, custom made counter top that has a lot of personality. The small imperfections (and they are small) are what sets them apart from other manufactured solid surface materials.