DIY Concrete Countertops

One of my FAVORITE things in the kitchen are our concrete countertops. When I was planning the kitchen I wanted a countertop that was substantial – we priced out a few options and I quickly realized how far thick granite (or thick anything!) was from the budget. After looking for other options, I was surprised to see so many pretty kitchens had used concrete as their countertops, here’s my favorite, they did them in white and I love how this bar version looks over the wood. It quickly became the only possible solution in my mind, so we partnered with Counterform Concrete Solutions and used their Z Liqui-Crete System to create ours. We ended up with a 4 inch thick beauty that centers our entire kitchen design.

I’m not going to lie, this was A PROJECT! Possibly the biggest project we took on in the home renovation process. It took a substantial amount of time and effort, but when I think of the quotes we had to get something similar done – I’m happy we were able to go at it ourselves (and by ourselves, I of course mean Matt, because this was basically all him).

DIY Concrete Countertops

DIY Concrete Countertops

The thick concrete slab has a rustic and natural look to it, which I love in our space. Against the white cabinets, brass elements and marbled backsplash I knew I wanted something to offset those features and the concrete is such a fun solution.

DIY Concrete Countertops

DIY Concrete Countertops

We ordered the Liqui-Crete system which comes with everything you need for the countertops (minus the tools, concrete board, and the actual concrete). The fact that countertops like these can be created for under a grand is astonishing to me and so much cheaper than any other option we were considering. Since I knew I wanted a thick slab of concrete without any frilly details we went with the commercial bar form which I’d choose again in a second. The 4 inch thick slab look is something everyone notices and loves in our kitchen

DIY Concrete Countertops

The preparation work for the countertops was by far the biggest job. Before doing every step Matt watched this video about 80 times just to make sure we were doing everything correctly. We also ended up having a contractor we know come over to help us with a few of the sticking points. Most of the project we could have done ourselves, but having someone on hand in case you need a little extra expertise can be helpful. For instance, our farm sink isn’t an exact square so he helped us build a form that had curved corners so we’d end up with an exact fit and our faucet was smaller then the knock out the company sells so we used a PVC pipe to create that hole instead.

The preparation phase took us a couple days of working and figuring out all the details. Here are the basic prep steps we took:

  1. We started by building up our cabinet top. This was necessary for us because the bar top countertop forms have an overhang on them and we have frameless cabinets. So we inserted wood above each of the cabinets, then we placed the concrete backer board on top of the wood and secured everything with screws.
  2. Next I covered everything in our kitchen in plastic – we didn’t have much in place at this time besides the cabinet bases and floors, but just to be safe, everything got covered! We also covered the deck where the guys would be mixing the concrete and the space they’d walk to and from.
  3. Next we set the frames in place. The frames are really pretty amazing! They screw right into the backer board. We followed the video instructions to a T and used the clips and two layers of the mesh for our molds. All corners got taped to ensure everything stayed tight.
  4. To create the floating bar we used an extra cabinet to rest underneath the off hang which held everything nicely as the concrete was wet – once it dried we just scooted this out – you could use anything for holding it up, we just happened to have an extra cabinet on hand. The concrete overhang is a fun spot for sitting and snacking with the kids.

DIY Concrete Countertops

Next we mixed and poured the concrete. Everything I read online said you should have 4 grown men for this job, which we did – and definitely needed every one of them! We had one guy pouring the ingredients, one mixing, one carrying the buckets in and helping to pour them into the frame and one guy on trowel duty as the concrete was poured. Pouring the concrete went quick (they had the entire thing done in about an hour), although it was a very intense hour. Then we just had to sit back and wait.

DIY Concrete Countertops

Once the concrete dried, in about 24 hours we snapped off the forms! This part was so scary, but also the easiest. The sides of the forms literally just snap right off! The edges of our countertops look amazing, they have the marbled look of stone and are 4 inches thick. I adore them.

DIY Concrete Countertops

After everything was cleaned up we let the concrete cure, sanded it about 5 different times, and then sealed it with this. So far these countertops seem pretty indestructible. The sealant keeps stains away and they are super easy to clean. Plus with the rustic look of natural stone, the countertops don’t need to be cleaned to perfection to look their best – which is exactly what I need!

The countertops add so much to our kitchen space and I love the fact that we were able to accomplish this project and pour them ourselves. The rest of the kitchen reveal is coming soon!

(Photography © A Subtle Revelry by Erin Holland).