A blog around the risks of concrete and the upkeep involved. I have been writing about this for over a year, and have over 100 posts in my archives.
I started my blog with a focus on concrete countertop mix design and use, but it is increasingly focused on the maintenance aspect of concrete. The reality is that no matter how good your concrete is, it will break down eventually. I think this is the most important thing to know about concrete, but it is something that many people do not want to hear. And so they keep making it harder to maintain.
The problem with making better concrete is that it takes more effort to make it harder. Concrete must be carefully maintained to avoid having its strength reduced by mold and efflorescence problems. It requires regular sealing, and must be cleaned thoroughly every year or two. This does not sound hard, but in practice many people do not do it properly. This can lead to problems like cracks, stains, discoloration, or even weak spots in the slab where the concrete has lost strength due to deterioration of the reinforcing steel inside (if you use rebar).
When I started writing about this topic several years ago, I was surprised at how few people had heard about these issues before. And now
If you have a concrete countertop in your home, you probably love the look and feel of it. To maintain the beauty and integrity of your concrete countertop, you can take some simple measures to protect it. Concrete is more porous than granite or marble, so it needs to be sealed to prevent stains.
Fortunately, sealing is easy to do. Follow these tips to learn how:
Apply a sealer approximately every six months or as needed.
First, make sure your concrete countertop is clean and dry before applying a sealer. If you’re not sure if your concrete countertop needs sealing, put a drop of water on the surface. If it beads up, you don’t need to apply a sealer. If the water seeps into the concrete, apply a sealer.
Use an acrylic or epoxy sealer that is non-yellowing and UV resistant. We recommend using Seal-Krete High Performance Epoxy-Seal Concrete & Garage Floor Paint for both indoor and outdoor applications. It’s available in clear, solid colors and metallic finishes for easy application and durability.
Concrete countertops are a strong, durable and attractive option for any homeowner who wants the look of granite or marble but the durability of concrete. With the right professional installation, concrete countertops can last a lifetime.
While a concrete countertop will last for years with little maintenance, it is important to know what you are getting into when you decide to install this unique kitchen feature in your home. Here are some pros and cons as well as some tips on maintenance that every homeowner should know before installing concrete countertops in their home.
When you see a good-looking concrete countertop, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Maybe it’s how great it looks, or how unique it is. Maybe it’s how it fits with the other elements of your kitchen. I would venture to guess that one of the first things that come to mind isn’t maintenance. The reason for this, I think, is because we are used to being told that granite and quartz are nearly maintenance free.
But let’s not kid ourselves here – granite and quartz have their own issues with respect to maintenance. But the reality is that they aren’t as porous or reactive as concrete, so they don’t require as much maintenance in order to stay looking good. The beautiful concrete countertop that was sealed at the factory or by your installer will likely not require any ongoing maintenance in order to look great, but there are some things to be aware of:
Pitting: If you have pitting in your concrete countertop, this means you have exposed aggregate or sand on the surface. This can happen because of improper finishing techniques during the casting process, and by improper polishing techniques afterward. In either case if you find pitting on your countertop (it looks like little pits or craters) you should contact your
Concrete countertops around the world are in desperate need of maintenance. Some are not sealed properly and others do not have a penetrating sealer applied which is needed to protect the concrete from water and stain penetration.
Concrete countertops that are not sealed with a penetrating sealer will eventually need to be resealed over and over again with a topical sealer. A topical sealer does not penetrate the concrete, but sits on top of the concrete. This type of sealer makes it more difficult to clean, has a tendency to peel or delaminate over time and needs to be reapplied every few years.
A penetrating sealer on the other hand actually penetrates into the concrete and provides a permanent solution to stain resistance. Concrete that is sealed with a penetrating sealer will have superior stain resistance compared to concrete that is only sealed with a topical sealer. Penetrating sealers typically do not change the appearance of the concrete (unless it’s an enhancement type) and will make daily cleaning much easier.
A concrete countertop is an investment in style and durability. It’s also an investment that can last decades if you care for it properly. By following these simple steps, your concrete countertops will bring you years of enjoyment.
Protect the surface
The biggest enemy of a concrete countertop is scratching from daily use, so it’s important to use cutting boards and trivets to protect the surface from sharp objects and hot items. A good rule of thumb is to treat your concrete like a fine piece of wood furniture and avoid using harsh abrasives on it. If your countertop does get scratched, don’t worry—the beauty of concrete is that repairs are easy to make.
Do not rinse with water
Concrete is porous and susceptible to staining, so we recommend that you wipe up spills as soon as they occur. If left on the surface, acidic substances such as wine or tomatoes can etch the concrete, creating a dull spot where the finish has been removed. We do not recommend rinsing with water because repeated exposure will damage the protective sealer over time. Instead, clean your countertops with a damp sponge or cloth and mild detergent. Do not use bleach or any other harsh chemicals on your countertops.
One of the most common questions we get regarding concrete countertops is, “Do they stain?”
The simple answer is, “Yes, they do.”
However, it’s important to realize that concrete is a porous material. It will absorb liquids. How it absorbs those liquids depends on the type of finish applied to the concrete and how the surface was maintained.
In this post, I’ll go over some of the different types of finishes available for concrete countertops and how best to maintain them.