Concrete countertop repair

Try as we may, sometimes things simply don’t turn out the way we want them to. We were just wrapping up the installation of this concrete countertop for some homeowners in Irving, TX when they showed up to see the final result. As excited as they were about the look and feel of the job we could tell there was some hesitation on their part. Our clients were happy with everything except the color of the countertop. The hue was similar to what they wanted, but just off enough from the mark that they weren’t sure if it would work with their color scheme. Once installed we had to agree that though the color was in the ballpark, we were definitely deep in left field. Tear it out and start again? No, Thank goodness! This concrete countertop repair could be done by resurfacing it.

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So, what went wrong the first time around? Initially we suspected we had messed up with the color. We had used integral color to tint the countertop. This means that instead of coloring the countertop at the end by applying a stain to the finished and cured concrete, we instead mixed in a pigment during the pour. As we have standard formulas for doing so, this almost always works perfectly. Not this time.

Just a quick FYI, there is no color standard for gray cement. That means that the color of the gray cement we use in our samples may be lighter or darker than that used in pouring the countertops. It may also have a different tint to it, say a little bluer or greener. The cement manufacturers don’t care, to them gray is gray, lighter, darker, it’s all the same. This variability is normal and that’s why we explain to our clients that it’s not a paint color you can order and get exactly what you want. It will be different from the sample. Usually, though, it’s close enough as to not be a problem. To double-check we laid our original color sample on the countertop and immediately knew the real reason we were going to do this concrete countertop repair.

There is that saying that “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” but it does kind of depend where you are doing the beholding. When we originally met with the clients, their bathroom was being remodeled, there were temporary fluorescent lights hanging from the walls. They selected the color and we went on our merry way to build the countertop. When we returned they had replaced the fluorescent lights with warmer, incandescents. Under that warmer, yellower light the countertop color looked completely different. That was confirmed when we laid the sample down and it was an almost perfect match to that of the countertop. We all agreed that it wasn’t a mistake, it was the lighting. Of course, they weren’t going to go back to those cold fluorescents so we offered to do the concrete countertop repair at cost.

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Fortunately, using a resurfacing overlay allows us to wipe the slate clean without having to do a tearout. We selected another color closer to what they wanted from our sample library, this time viewing it under the warmer light. We then applied two layers of an overlay (a thin layer of concrete) tinted with that color over the entire concrete countertop repair area.

Once our homeowners gave us the thumbs up, we finished the job by sanding and sealing the concrete countertop with a solvent based acrylic sealer to protect it from moisture infiltration and staining while retaining a semigloss finish. We think they made the right call in asking for a change, the new color did work better with the existing backsplash, floor and bathtub tiles. We were just glad to have the option of using an overlay for this concrete countertop repair. Instead of waiting a couple of weeks they had their bathroom back in less than four days.

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