Concrete Countertops Style & Design Guide

Concrete countertops are much more stylish and versatile than you might imagine. It's not a sidewalk in your kitchen! With a large variety of possible colors, concrete can looks sleek, elegant and modern or be customized to form any shape, size or surface finish allowing for imaginative kitchen designs with personalized style. 

white concrete countertops on kitchen island in modern open kitchen designsource: Brooks Custom

Every fabricator mixes the water, sand and stone with their own recipe using molds that can be uniquely shaped making your kitchen countertops completely original.

Concrete Countertop Colors & Design

Concrete Stain Colors are added to the mix or staining can be performed after installation to create a broad range of colors compatible with most any design. Go for a vibrant color or a look that resembles black granite or a white quartz. 

Chemical stains, coloring pigments, various aggregates, and epoxy coatings can simulate the look, texture, and feel of quarried stone such as marble, granite, and limestone.

However, since the colors are created as part of the installation, exact matches are not possible. In other words, your finished color may be a bit different than any sample you may have.

Also, the color will lighten in the first few weeks to months after installation as moisture evaporates and the concrete cures. A slight yellowing may occur over time as well.

This is especially true of cement countertops installed for outdoor kitchens. The color will fade and turn yellow with exposure to the elements.

Custom shapes and curves that can be formed with concrete countertops is a unique feature leading many to choose this surface over other countertop materials.

Embedded objects like shells, coins, glass, tiles or anything you like can also be embedded in the surface for a completely customized Terrazzo that adds personality.

Of course, you may want to think twice before embedding items that may create a too trendy or personal look that won’t be appealing when you sell your home.

leafs embedded in concrete countertopssource: Brooks Custom

Integrated sinks and drain boards elevate the functionality of the work space while also creating a cohesive look that makes the custom countertops the focal point of your kitchen design. 

concrete countertops with custom red color and integrated sink and drainboardsource: Brooks Custom

Pros & Cons of Concrete Countertops

Don't expect to find the perfect countertop without any problems. None exist. All have good and bad points. Here's what you'll want to consider with cement countertops... 

The Advantages: 

  • Can be formed into curves and non-traditional shapes
  • Can include integral sinks and drain boards
  • Can create a personalized design with colors and embedded objects
  • Resists heat (but the sealer can be damaged)
  • DIY installation is totally doable 

The Disadvantages: 

  • Must be sealed on installation (or sometimes prior to installation) to protect from staining.
  • Must be waxed every 3 months to protect the sealant.
  • Countertop color may fade and/or yellow... a problem mainly with epoxy.
  • Concrete is not as hard as granite and may scratch easier.
  • Etching from acids leaves dull chalky spots and rings
  • Quick temperature changes may cause curling or warping to newly installed slabs, but this is a rare issue.

NOTE: These last two can easily be avoided by using cutting boards and trivets as you should with any countertop material.

curved concrete countertops on kitchen island with white cabinetssource: Brooks Custom

Concrete Countertop Care

Our How To Clean Concrete Countertops Guide details everything you need to know about cleaning concrete countertops, but here are the basics...

Sealing Concrete Countertops

Sealing concrete is required to protect against food stains. The type of concrete sealer needed is determined by the level of finish. Only an "impregnating" sealer can be applied to a highly polished concrete countertop. 

A Granite & Marble Sealer is the perfect type of impregnating sealer to use. 

A topical concrete sealer is used on a rough-honed finish. Topical sealers can add shine and gloss. The choice may vary so discuss it with your fabricator. 

Depending on the type and quality of the sealer used, it may need reapplication every few years.

Wax (this Pure Beeswax is the best) is then applied to protect the sealer.  

Waxing must be repeated on a regular basis.

This is quite a bit more maintenance than is required with most other types of countertops and should be a key factor when deciding whether or not to go with a cement countertop. 

Cleaning Concrete Countertops

After applying a concrete sealer and waxing the surface to protect the sealer, concrete countertop cleaning is no different than cleaning granite.

Use a pH neutral cleaner like a quality Granite Cleaning Spray for a thorough streak-free cleaning.

  • Don’t use abrasive cleaners.
  • Don't use dish soap.

Dish soap is commonly recommended because it won't "harm" the surface, but it will build up a scummy film over time no matter how much you rinse. It's just like soap scum in the shower. Soap will make the surface look dull and dingy. 

Use trivets under hot pans as high heat can damage the sealer. 

Use cutting boards for food prep. Concrete can scratch so it pays to be mindful of grit or debris on the surface and when using kitchen tools. 

Also, avoid direct contact with acidic foods and drinks and harsh cleaners as dull spots and discoloration from etching can occur. 

Removing Stains in Concrete Countertops

Removing stains from concrete countertops is possible in most cases but how depends on the type of stain.

Stains in cement countertops can occur from foods and drinks, oils and grease. Also, cement countertops are susceptible to etching like marble.

Etching is corrosion or a chemical burn of the surface from acidic substances and harsh cleaners. Etching creates dull, white or chalky marks, spots, or rings. Some call etch marks water stains but they are not caused by water. 

Hard water stains can develop from a high concentration of calcium minerals in the water that creates a chalky or yellowish film around sinks and faucets. This is more of a film than a stain, but difficult to remove. 

See our guide (linked above in this section) for complete details and step-by-step stain removal instructions for all types of stains. 

Concrete Countertops Cost

Despite what you might think, concrete countertops are quite expensive rivaling some granites and marbles. Not because concrete is valuable, but because the installation is difficult and requires a high level of skill and experience to do well.

  • Expect to pay $70 - $140 psf installed

In some cases, you may pay for fabrication as one charge and then up to $50/hour for the actual installation.

Fill out the form below to get custom quotes from experienced concrete countertop fabricators. 



DIY installation is possible with concrete. If you're a decent handyman or just game for learning how to build your own concrete countertops you can save a ton and get premium countertops at a discount price. 

granite countertop is still the best all-around kitchen countertop surface, but if your bath or kitchen design ideas incorporate free-form curves or you want to embed unique or personalized objects, then concrete countertops are the way to go.


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