Countertops and surfaces for kitchens, vanities, retail, and medical have seen a rise in aesthetics. While the look is the obvious first step, it is also important to keep in mind the cost, longevity, and performance of the chosen surface material. Today the most popular choices in materials consist of stone, metal, wood, and concrete. The rapid advancement of concrete as a popular surface material has to do with its ability to become whatever design, look, color, or texture the consumer desires.
Concrete counters and surfaces can be transformed to look like wood, metal, or stone with the ability to customize their color palette. This coveted natural ability has made it a preferred material by designers and architects abroad. In addition, looks such as stained concrete, pressed or packed techniques, custom veining, themed colors for matching logos and designs add to the demand sweeping the USA.
Today’s designers aren’t afraid of mixing it up when it comes to the layout, look, and feel. They don’t hesitate to mix and match multiple surface types. Yet, only concrete can mix and match while using the same material. This section will enlighten you to all of the possibilities that concrete can provide whether it is a countertop, island, table, furniture, wall panel, or other architectural element.
There are two general methods of casting with concrete as a surface material .The first is pour-in-place, this method creates the surface in the exact location on site. Benefits of this method is in many cases you can create a seamless system. The negative is that the area is a functioning workshop. This means dirt, debris, and laborers will be spending time. In many cases, the textures and looks are not as expansive due to it’s inherit nature of making. Also the cabinetry and floor substrate have to bare the weight load from the material being casted at a minimum thickness of 2 inches.
The second option is precast or fabricating offsite. Obviously the area for final installation is not occupied as in pour-in-place. Fabricating offsite allows for a lighter weight pieces and the highest level of custom shapes, colors, textures, and finishes as it is handcrafted. Many offsite fabrication facilities are able to use superior concrete formulations and technologies, which have been tested and specifically designed for the precast market. The use of fibers, specific aggregate sizes, and additives mean that if you can dream it, it cannot just be made, but stand the test of time.