DIY Concrete Countertop Reviews

Continuing on in our “How’s it holding up” reviews series (read yesterday’s painted cabinet reviews here) — today we have DIY concrete countertop reviews for you!

Concrete is a relatively budget-friendly countertop, which is fairly heat-resistant (depending on the method used in making the countertop) and stain resistant when sealed properly and regularly. Concrete countertops have become a big deal in the last few years, partly as an alternative to granite or other stone countertops, and partly because concrete is a great way to bring the popular industrial vibe into your kitchen or bathroom. Oh, and also because skim-coat concrete products have come on the scene in a big way. 🙂

So now that there are several easy concrete overlay products on the market (such as Ardex feather finish and Henry), DIYers have options: a concrete overlay or the more traditional solid slab poured concrete countertops. We have reviews and help for both: concrete overlay countertop reviews | poured concrete countertop reviews.

The natural blemishes/color variations of concrete and the necessary maintenance won’t fit everyone’s style, but if you’re ready to give it a try, read these reviews to get more info to help you know if concrete countertops are the right fit for you — and stay tuned later today for reviews of wood countertops, and more countertop reviews tomorrow, too!

Read More: 15 Top Cheap Kitchen Countertop Options

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Skim Coated/Overlay Concrete Countertop Reviews

Tasha’s Skim Coat Concrete Vanity and Sink

Tasha from Kaleidoscope Living used a skim-coat process to add Ardex feather finish concrete on her vanity top and integral sink nearly 2 years ago, and she shared the tutorial with us here (and check out her complete bathroom makeover here!). As she says, “It has held up incredibly well to regular use and cleaning!”

Tasha Designer Trapped diy concrete countertop feather finish bathroom vanity with integral sink

Tasha says YES, she would do this again: “Definitely! It’s an incredibly inexpensive way to update an outdated bathroom in a really cool and chic way on a teeny tiny budget!” and she rates the countertop as a 4 (Great. It has lasted well and longer than I had anticipated.)

Tasha’s tips:  There is one thing we would do differently. We would set the drain below the surface of the concrete. By setting the drain on top of the concrete surface, water collects around the drain and as the sealer wears down, the concrete can darken a bit around the drain, which requires regular re-sealing {we haven’t had to re-seal any other portion of the vanity yet}. We plan to remove the drain and chisel out the concrete so that we can sit the drain below the surface of the concrete, but we haven’t had a chance to do it yet, and there’s no reason to rush it.

Tasha Designer Trapped diy concrete countertop review feather finish bathroom vanity with integral sink

Cami’s Feather Finish Concrete Over Plywood Countertops

Cami from Tidbits redid her countertops about a year ago, using the Ardex feather finish concrete method over plywood countertops that she and her husband built over the existing countertops. They also added some non-sanded grout to alter the color of the concrete.

“We built a solid wood base to shape our countertops and spread on feather finish concrete underlayment, to create a faux concrete countertop for less than $100.”

Cami Tidbits review of diy concrete countertops built from scratch

Cami would MAYBE use this method again, and rates it as a 2 (Poor. It didn’t last, had problems, etc.) They experienced some cracks and chips; read more of Cami’s thoughts on her countertops here.

Cami’s tips: Consider the cost of time and money, and determine if this is a good short time investment – or if you should just save up and go for a more high quality product that will hold up for much longer.

Cami Tidbits review of problems diy concrete countertops built from scratch

 

Sarah’s “Faux-crete” Concrete Countertops

Sarah’s Big IDea built her concrete countertops from scratch — what she calls “faux-crete” — about a year ago, by creating a sturdy wood and OSB countertop to which she then applied the feather finish skim-coating of dyed Ardex concrete (for a darker color than just the traditional gray). Get the full details here, as well as her info about refinishing concrete countertops here. (Sarah also wrote a 4-month update here.) Sarah has definitely done her time on her concrete countertops! As she says:

After we re-coated with GST International’s “Final Coat” product, the counters have held up well. We always use cutting boards, and are careful with very hot dishes since it’s not heat-resistant. But it’s been a year, and I am still happy with the results. And Final Coat can be buffed and re-coated if I decide that the counters are looking too beat-up.

The biggest tip I can give you is to choose your topcoat wisely! ARDEX by itself is a fairly soft product, so it scratches and dents VERY easily. A tough top-coat is absolutely key to your counters holding up to daily kitchen wear-and-tear.

Sarah's Big Idea DIY dyed concrete countertops from scratch durability review

Even with all of the work Sarah has put into her countertops, she says YES, “I would totally recommend both ARDEX and Final Coat! For the price and the ease of application, they are both totally worth it. However, if I were to do it again, I’d spend just a little more money and challenge my DIY skills a little more with an epoxy finish instead of Final Coat. I’ve heard epoxy is pretty much bulletproof, and some are heat-resistant up to something like 450 degrees. I can’t speak from experience (yet), but it seems like if you’re coating your counters in ARDEX as a permanent
solution (as opposed to a temporary upgrade until you can afford something better), then epoxy is the way to go.”

Sarah rates her countertops as a 4 (Great. It has lasted well and longer than I had anticipated.). “As a pair, I would give ARDEX + Final Coat a rating of 4. You really can’t beat the price and ease of application, and it has lasted almost a year at this point. But I expect it will need to be buffed and recoated before we hit the 2-year mark.”

Sarah's Big Idea DIY black concrete countertops from scratch durability review

 

Jenise’s Countertop Concrete Overlay

Jenise from DIY Fun Ideas has done lots of projects with concrete over on her site (including full poured countertops, seen later in this post) so she tried a new take on the concrete countertops — not a skim coat that requires several thin coats, but an overlay that uses one thicker layer to cover up existing countertops. She also left the concrete a bit rougher and then glazed and sealed it for more of a stone look vs. the smoother more polished look. Read the full details here.

“I’ve had the concrete overlay for about five months now and with daily use and cleaning, the countertop is as good as the day I finished them. And I expect overlay to hold up for a long time to come.”

Jenise DIY Fun Ideas - DIY concrete overlay vanity countertop, stained and sealed, review

YES, Jenise says, “I would definitely use this technique again and recommend it to friends who need to give their old countertops a makeover. The technique is quick, easy, inexpensive, durable, and looks pretty too!” and she rates the durability as a 5 (Amazing. I expect this to last for many years.)

Solid Poured Concrete Countertop Reviews

Tania’s Custom DIY Poured Concrete Countertops

Tania from Run to Radiance did her concrete countertops over 3 years ago ago, by creating her own custom forms to then pour custom concrete countertops (which were reinforced with rebar). See all the details here.

“I would say it has held up medium-well. As far as durability goes, it has held fantastically. We have had no cracks or weaknesses in the thick concrete. Where there was a bit of an issue was with staining. We actually had to strip our old concrete sealer off, sand it down and re-apply new sealer to prevent staining. We were lucky enough to do this with a representative of Buddy Rhodes concrete. I blogged about the process here.

Tania Run to Radiance diy solid slab concrete countertops review

Tania says, YES, she would do this again “but if I was talking to a friend I’d tell them to make sure they are ready to embrace the imperfections. There will be some staining, some discoloration, etc, but it gives so much beauty and patina to it, in my opinion.”

She rates her concrete countertops as 5 “for sure” (Amazing. I expect this to last for many years.) “I don’t think those countertops will ever be going anywhere, unless they are removed by the current owners (we moved from that home in August).”

Tania’s tips: It was one of my favorite DIYs we’ve done. We saved a ton of money and got a gorgeous finish. I would recommend someone to be prepared for a a good amount of upkeep—we had to reseal our counters every 3-6 months or so and it’s a messy process! This post here details how we did the resealing if you are curious. 🙂 “


Wendi’s Poured Concrete Vanity Top

Wendi poured her own concrete vanity countertop about a year ago. She created her own form, and even placed it on her own custom-built vanity base! Read the full tutorial here at H2O Bungalow.

“Our concrete counter has held up beautifully since we installed it last year. The finish looks great and is still shiny. We don’t use any harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners which helps maintain the original finish. I use a very diluted dish soap and water mixture in a spray bottle to wipe the surface down. Like granite, do not put lemons or other acidic liquids on the surface. Lots of face washes have salicylic or another form of acid in them, depending on what you used to finish your concrete, it may eat through the finish. I put a wet bottle on the counter and one drip made a small scar :(“

Wendy H2O Bungalow diy concrete bathroom vanity countertop review

YES, Wendi would recommend this process. “I still love my concrete vanity countertop as much as the day it was installed! I would absolutely do this again. I believe using the right products for the job has everything to do with how well the project turns out and the durability.” She rates it as a 5, “It’s held up as well as I expected.”

Wendi’s tips: Have help when you tackle this project. It’s at least a two person job. Concrete slabs are heavy, I’d plan for a few extra helping hands when you plan to move it. Last, research, read, ask questions and learn as much as you can before starting your own project. I’m happy to answer questions on the process or products we used. Feel free to drop me a note from the contact form on my blog.


Jenise’s Molded Concrete Countertops

In addition to the concrete overlay mentioned above, Jenise also poured her own molded concrete countertops in a class from a concrete countertop pro, as detailed here at DIY Fun Ideas.

“I made these countertops in a class, so I haven’t yet had the opportunity to use them regularly. However, these countertops are 2″ solid fiberglass reinforced concrete. They are far stronger and more durable than granite. You would have to run over them with a bulldozer to put a dent in them.”

Jenise DIY Fun Ideas - DIY solid concrete countertops info and review

Jenise says, “Absolutely YES,” that she would do this again and recommend it. “As a matter of fact, I will be using this technique shortly to make a bathroom vanity top with integral sink. These marbleized concrete countertops are so beautiful and so durable and so unique. They look like natural stone and you can make them in any color to match your decor.” She rates the durability as a 5 (Amazing) “These concrete countertops are made to last 20+ years.”

Jenise’s tips: If you’ve never worked with concrete before, the word alone can be intimidating. But concrete is a surprisingly easy medium to work with. If you’re nervous about committing to a large concrete project, try making something on a smaller scale first to build your confidence. You can try something like a concrete planter in which you will use a lot of the same skills including building a form. But even better, if you have the opportunity, take the class I took or find a similar one near you. Hands on is the best way to learn.

More DIY Project Reviews

Concrete countertops are in style, on-trend and within budget! See how they hold up and if these industrial style countertops are right for you in these DIY concrete countertop reviews.
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Lorene has been behind the scenes here at Remodelaholic for more than a decade! She believes that planning projects and actually completing them are two different hobbies, but that doesn't stop her from planning at least a dozen projects at any given time. She spends her free time creating memories with her husband and 5 kids, traveling as far as she can afford, and partaking of books in any form available.

We love hearing from fellow Remodelaholics, so let us know what you like about this and leave any questions below in the comments. If you've followed a tutorial or been inspired by something you've seen here, we'd love to see pictures! Submit pictures here or by messaging us over on Facebook.

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3 Comments

  1. I used the Ardex Feather Finish on one countertop last summer, and am planning to do all the others this spring. I’m disabled (with chronic pain), so it took me much longer than I’ve seen reported. Which is fine, that’s why I chose to do only the lone counter across the kitchen from all the others. I knew if I didn’t like it, its distance from the others would mitigate that… and if I didn’t have the strength and energy to continue, at least it wouldn’t be a case of one counter amidst the rest being different.
    But I do like it, and it has held up; I used epoxy, incidentally, and added a little dye and a minuscule amount of sparkles to replicate stone. It’s a slightly blueish, darker grey than the Ardex alone — and I’m very much looking forward to having the rest of the counters look the same.

    (I’m submitting pix)