Eco-friendly concrete countertops – are they for you?

Most will agree that concrete, and its many varient colors, make it a beautiful and stunning alternative to the ever so popular and less sustainable granite.  The science behind concrete countertops is advancing every year, new ceramic ingredients are making it stronger, lighter and potentially less expensive for  homeowners.

Inevitably during the countertop decision buying process you will ask yourself, what about the maintenance and upkeep behind concrete?  How often do I have to seal it?  Doesn’t it stain?   Yes, and yes…but the answer is yes for many other surfaces as well.

concrete counter 2

What concrete offers over a granite alternative is patina.  Patina is the fading, darkening or other signs of aging which is natural and unavoidable to some surfaces.  To draw an analogy from the kitchen (and one of our employees), patina for a concrete countertop is like the seasoning of an iron skillet.  The aging and use of a concrete countertop gives the surface character, beauty, while at same time capturing memories.   Capturing memories you ask?

Owners of concrete counters are quick to share the patina of their tops. As one owner put it, “…here are the glass marks from that memorable get together two years ago where everyone celebrated with tequila shots and limes.” And Stephen Rosenblatt remembers, “…the faint signs of a bottle of red wine that spilled while we were dancing in the kitchen on our third anniversary.  Not far from there are faded marks of the lemons left when the kids were going to the corner to sell lemonade.”   We especially liked what Ryan Waxman had to say, “When I move, my countertop is coming with me!” As he referred to the fading marks encapsulated in his counter that resemble distant memories, rather than “stains”.

concrete sink eco-friendly

Like other surfaces, you can clean concrete.  You can seal concrete to limit staining.  You can wax the concrete to protect the sealant.  Good concrete formulas (especially precast) from a manufacturer who has been in business a while, will often carry some form of guarantee against cracking.  Make sure you ask.  Clearly you should follow your manufacturer’s recommendations in all cases when it comes to care.

We just wanted to call your attention for a moment to the fact that there is much much more to a concrete countertop than running through your checklist of durability, cost, color, etc.  A concrete countertop, if cared for, will not only become a place to prepare, but will also be a conversation piece, and a place to remember.  Concrete will age with beauty as your family grows.  This can’t be said about many other surfaces that in turn look older and older year after year.

Stay tuned to GetWithGreen.com as we explore more on this topic in the coming weeks…

Leave a Comment