Recently a reader emailed me and asked if concrete kitchen countertops were truly “do it yourself” friendly? The answer to this question is both yes and no. As always, it depends on your skill level. Do some research online and see if the process is within your skill set. Understanding this will prevent you from getting elbow deep in concrete before you figure out whether or not you can accomplish this project. A few things to consider before installing concrete countertops yourself:
Your cabinets will need to re-enforced to handle the weight. Concrete kitchen countertops are much heavier than laminate or tile.
The hardest part is building the custom forms for the concrete to be set up in. Accomplishing the creation of these forms will take some work.
Using a special mix of concrete, pour the cement into the forms gently. You need to avoid creating air pockets.
Sides of the form have to be vibrated to remove excess air pockets.
After waiting the recommended curing time, you will need to remove the form and sand edges smooth.
To give the concrete some color, unless you were going for the gray look, you will need to use dyes, stains, or acids to color the concrete
Here is a video from the diy network that will give you a more in-depth look at this process.
This video shows a slightly different concrete countertop installation process. In the video they are creating the countertops off-site and then bringing them back to the kitchen to install them. This is the way that the professionals do it. If you can’t lift extremely heavy objects, I suggest making the countertop forms “on site”and on top of the cabinets they will be installed on. That way you also save yourself a step.
All in all, it takes a lot to install concrete countertops so it is important to understand the steps involved and know your own skill level before beginning this or any other project.