by Jane Denton
Here at Sustainable Kitchens we love the look of concrete as a worktop material, nothing makes an island stand out more than an 80mm concrete worktop. We have been offering concrete to our clients for a while now and so I just wanted to take some time to tell you about the pros and cons, the ins and outs and the ups and downs of this new kitchen material.
Concrete is incredibly flexible due to the way it is made; a shapeless mix is cast in a mould, producing a product that can be any shape and is totally unique; the texture, flecking, pitting and dappling will change with every worktop. After all if you are going to have a bespoke kitchen why not have a bespoke worktop?
Concrete also comes in a variety of colours, I’m not talking bright pinks and greens but from bright whites through to the darkest blacks, there are a variety of tones available.
It comes in a variety of thicknesses from 30mm to over 100mm, making it great for creating different areas in a kitchen. A concrete worktop looks great on surrounding cabinetry, but really comes into it’s own on an island. A thicker slab over an island really does make it all about the island, and add a real wow factor.
Likewise, it looks great alongside other worktop materials, particularly solid wood.
In terms of maintenance, there is some effort needed on the owners’ part. It’s performance as a worktop is compared most closely to natural stone or wood in terms of maintenance required. Many clients biggest concerns are the porous nature of concrete, and this is the materials biggest weakness. Seals are applied to try and reduce the risk of liquids penetrating the surface, however it is advised that all spills are mopped up asap. A wax is applied to take the wear and tear of everyday life, and reapplication of this wax is advised as required depending on use. Regular wax polishing will help to avoid stains, it is the first defence against daily life for the concrete and so as this protection becomes worn down, naturally the concrete will become less resistant to stains.
Particularly troublesome to concrete worktops are acidic liquids, such as vinegar and lemon juice, and heat from pans or hot utensils. Both of these can damage the sealant and as stated before, if you damage the sealant you damage the concretes ability to protect itself.
Warm soapy water is all that is required to clean a concrete worktop, scrubbing with any abrasive sponges is not advised, as again it can damage the sealant.
When many of our clients see our concrete worktop in our showroom and ask what material it is, to find out it is concrete catches them by surprise. It is very versatile in it’s look and although is typically a hard, industrial material, it can be transformed to looking very soft and warm in many kitchens, through colour and light. One thing there is no doubting is it will be an eye-catching conversation starter in any home.
One thing to note is that although we assist our clients with sourcing the materials for worktops, we do not supply or sell worktops on their own. Suppliers of concrete worktops we are currently aware of include: Lowinfo, Lazenby and microcement supplier Koubi.