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
  • DIY installation is totally doable 

The Drawbacks: 

  • 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

How to Clean Concrete Countertops

A concrete sealer is needed to protect against stains and then a wax is needed to protect the sealer. Sealing and waxing will need to 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. 

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

Hot water and a sponge will work just fine for most messes and daily clean-up. Use a pH neutral cleaner like a granite cleaning spray for more thorough cleaning. Don’t use abrasive cleaners.

Use trivets under hot pans and 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 as dull spots and discoloration from etching can occur. 

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.

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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