DIY Concrete Countertop Reviews

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

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.

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!

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Skim Coated/Overlay Concrete Countertop Reviews

Tasha | Designer Trapped in a Lawyer’s Body

Tasha 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 It’s an incredibly inexpensive way to update an outdated bathroom in a really cool and chic way on a teeny tiny budget!”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 | Tidbits

Cami 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 | Sarah’s Big Idea

Sarah 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 | DIY Fun Ideas

Jenise 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.)

See reviews for solid poured concrete countertops on the next page –> 

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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)

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