Concrete Worktops put to the Test
by Sarah Preece
Considering Concrete Worktops
Here at Sustainable Kitchens we have numerous enquiries regarding concrete worktops, and why not- they’re sleek and industrial, they’re smooth and eco-friendly: what’s not to like! Well, unfortunately with years of experience under our belts, we understand alongside the pro’s there are definitely some imperfections to be aware of.
To get a fuller understanding of what concrete is like to live with in our homes, we embarked on some of our own testing. Getting all experimental, we placed our concrete sample slaps in our kitchen, got out the top staining culprits we found in the cupboard and began our work.
What we tested:
- Tomato Ketchup
- Lemon Juice
- Curry paste
What we found
In this round the concrete is protected with a beeswax based sealer, this is a natural product, it both penetrates the concrete and acts as a top coat. Wax produces an attractive, low- to high-sheen finish that brings out the best in the concrete’s colour and visual texture. It however did not manage to fend off our lemon juice, after just a few hours the acid had corroded the top surface, leaving behind a telling and obvious stain.
This time we used a polyurethane sealer, being nearly twice as thick as acrylic sealers, this product is very durable, the top surface providing extra protection against abrasion. Tasked with our three kitchen products however, it failed to maintain its finish. The lemon juice again produced the worst assault.
We’ve quickly learnt that concrete is an unforgiving surface, it’s naturally porous and although it’s tough as a whole sheet, it’s ever changing in terms of appearance. To keep it looking new and pristine is a continuous challenge, if not impossible.
Despite our differences with concrete, we now look forward and are very excited about new products that are aiming for the concrete finish without the durability issues.
Arizona Tiles – Metropolis Quartz
These tiles are 93% quartz, bounded with resin, polymers, and pigments. A man made product that emulates the finish of concrete without the drawbacks, quartz is ultra-durable and resistant to scratches and chipping. Its dense composition also makes the Arizona Tile highly resistant to staining.
With a focus on sustainability: ECO by Cosentino Tiles – Grey Moss
This tile is composed of 75% recycled materials. The remaining 25% is made up from a blend of quartz, natural stone, pigments and exclusive partially vegetable resin. We think 75% recycled materials is very impressive, so what exactly are these?
- mirrors salvaged from houses, building and factories;
- glass from windshields, windows and bottles;
- granulated glass from consumer recycling practices;
- porcelain from china, tiles, sinks, toilets and ECO by Cosentino elements.
Cosentino claim the surface performs highly against staining, scratching and scorching, as well as being non-porous, therefore not requiring any sort of sealer. A promising claim, and one we are excited to investigate!!