Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I get concrete countertops?
Probably the biggest thing that sets concrete countertops apart from all the other options available is the high level of customization that is possible, it is simply unmatched among solid surface countertops. You can literally have any color you want or any shape or embed you can think of. Not only that, but despite being concrete, or maybe because of it, there is something intrinsic about concrete countertops, they just feel right. Contrary as it seems, concrete counters seem very natural to most people. Maybe it is because we see concrete every day of our lives, from the moment we step out our door until we venture back home, concrete is all around us; it is an integral part of our lives. Or maybe it's because they are not (typically) super-shiny like some other 'natural' solid-surface countertops. They are at home in multi-million dollar homes or a cabin in the woods.
The first time you see your concrete countertops, you will find yourself looking at all the different features and textures secreted away within the surfaces. Many people don't even know they are concrete and are fascinated when you tell them. And unlike other types of counters, concrete countertops are timeless and won't be out of style in 10 or 15 years. They not only add beauty to your home or business, but can also help increase its value.
Why chose colorado concrete countertops?
Colorado Concrete Countertops has been in business since 2009, and ALL WE DO is decorative concrete products. You can be assured we have developed an expertise having done hundreds of projects for both home and business owners. We have been in business longer than any other Denver area decorative concrete contractor and have multiple repeat clients and there's a reason for that, WE ARE THE BEST!
WHY shouldn't i use my contractor?
Well, first of all, it's a free country so you can! But be warned, we've seen some pretty varied results. Unless a contractor can show you some products they have made you should be wary. There is a lot to know about making them properly so they look like what you want and will hold up to the test of time. It's best to trust an expert in the field and that's where Colorado Concrete Countertops comes in. We have years of experience making fireplace hearths and mantles, countless countertops, sinks, and have even helped with public fine art projects.
How much do they cost?
Depending on what style and options you want, pricing is similar to other solid surface countertops. For what they are, handmade one-of-a-kind art really, they are surprisingly affordable, so don't let that deter you until you we get you a price. Concrete countertops require a lot of labor which is where the price point comes from, not materials, although we do use several specialized products in our counters to make them what they are.
Some people expect concrete counters should be cheap because they are concrete, but when you think about it, they really are a bargain because all of our products are handmade to your exact specifications and each piece requires multiple steps and days. By contrast, most other solid surface counters are made from pre-finished slabs that only require cutting to size, and then finishing the edges, so they require way less labor and the slabs they purchase are actually very inexpensive at their cost. Makes you wonder why they often charge so much!
Colorado Concrete Countertops will provide you with a cost proposal for each project so you know exactly what it will cost before you commit to a job. Because we are so busy and get inquiries on a daily basis, we do most estimates by email so send us your project details and desired look (pictures help), dimensions, type of sink, edge thickness, etc. and we may follow up with a few more questions until we have all the info needed in order to get you a price, not an estimate. Please understand we are a small shop and are very busy so it may take some time to get back to you. Feel free to pester us, we actually want customers that really want our products and please don't take it personally if we don't get back to you right away. Email and phone calls are the best way to reach out to us for an answer to your inquiries.
How are they made?
First, we come to your site and make templates so we know we will have the best fitment possible. Next, using the templates we made we construct the molds; each piece requires two individual molds, a positive and a negative (to displace unnecessary concrete). Next, our mixes are made and the counters are cast. Once dry we process the counters by grinding the bottom of each piece and then either wet-sand or wet-polish the tops with diamond-infused pads (if an exposed aggregate finish is called for). Finally, we seal them in our shop so when we come to install, they are ready to go! This typically means very little downtime in your home as most installations can be done in one day. The whole process typically takes about 10 days once we get started on your project.
What kind of concrete do you use?
All of our products are GFRC (Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete). This has been the industry standard for many years now and it provides several benefits over wet-cast concrete. First, because they are so strong (9-12,000 psi compared to 2-4,000 psi for wet-cast) they are only required to be 3/4" thick for the majority of surfaces, including the drop-down edges.* If this seems unlikely to you, every single product on our pages was constructed this way, except for one, even the stair treads shown on our Commercial photographs page. This helps to greatly reduce unnecessary weight so they are actually lighter than granite counters (even at 3" thick) and are easily supported by standard cabinets or brackets. Incredibly, our counters even have the ability to flex a little bit without developing cracks due to the special fibers and additives in our mix. It's still concrete though, you wouldn't want to drop one on your foot!
Finally, GFRC is denser than standard concrete so they are more inherently stain and crack-resistant. Occasionally hair-line cracks occur but they do not spall like cracks in a sidewalk. As an example, we doubled the warranty on one commercial job that we installed for a local brewery because there was a hairline crack all the way across the counter. We came back a year later to check on it and the manager and I actually had trouble locating it even though we both remembered where it was in the counter, it had not expanded one iota. Granted it was a black countertop but the crack was located right where they pass all the drinks back and forth to their servers. Basically, cracks are a non-issue.
*Note: If counters are to be installed on cabinets, the edges are full thickness completely around the perimeter so if you feel underneath there will be concrete all the way to the cabinet, no one will ever know they have a cavity inside unless you tell them. If the counter is free floating and supported on brackets, the drop-edge will be approximately 3/4" thick if you feel underneath. If the bottom of the counter is visible, as an option, we can make them appear full-thickness at an additional cost. The benefit of not doing that is the brackets can be hidden underneath the counters, out of sight. Fireplace mantles always appear full-thickness since they can be seen from below, (there is a cavity hidden inside for support brackets).
I hear concrete counters stain easily.
Historically sealing concrete was a sore point but with the new sealers available that's a thing of the past! Colorado Concrete Countertops uses only the highest quality sealers available offering a virtually stain-proof sealer available in matte or satin. Depending on usage it should last at least 5 years or more. The owner of Colorado Concrete Countertops' personal kitchen counters have been in place for over two years now (I know, it took a LONG time to get to my own home) and have no stains and only a few slight cut marks where someone didn't use a cutting board (which is recommended). They still look and perform great! Our sealer is impervious to red wines, lemon juice, permanent markers and most chemicals, to name just a few. While scratch-resistant, do not use abrasive cleaners or scotch-type pads on the counters to keep them in the best shape possible. We have had ONE call-back since we started using our new type of sealer and that was due to an improper process.
Are they hard to take care of?
While most of the time all you need is a wet sponge or towel to wipe them down, when heavier cleaning is required we recommend the use of any quality non-abrasive cleaner. The use of a trivet is recommended, although our sealer is heat resistant to about 450 degrees Fahrenheit. The sealer is highly scratch resistant, but we still recommend the use of a cutting board as you don't want to penetrate the sealer. There is always the opportunity to make these two conditions a design feature rather than a detraction. You can have integrated trivets placed next to the stove or sink and a removable cutting board molded in at the sink.
The fine print (OR what you will see in our proposals)
Concrete characteristics and specifications - PLEASE READ AND INITIAL BELOW
Concrete counters and other concrete products are essentially functional art for the home or business and Colorado Concrete Countertops creates each piece by hand for your specific project. The characteristics of handmade products are that no two are ever exactly alike and they will never be ‘perfect’. Imperfections such as, but not limited to color splotches, surface dimples, casting table scratches or hairline cracks, etcetera, that do not affect the performance are considered to be part of the character of each piece and as such, will not be replaced. The edges can show a lot of character and will likely have some worm and pinholes unless stated otherwise in this proposal. Color samples may not match the final product exactly. Some slight bowing or curling may be present in products. Our concrete is hand-made and will have natural character and imperfections, if you desire or are expecting perfection, this may not be the product for you! If you are not sure, we strongly recommend setting up an appointment to come to the showroom and see our products in person.
Our sealer is a top quality product and has great stain protection and very good scratch resistance. Do not cut on the surface, you must use a cutting board as cutting can penetrate the sealer. Do not slide objects with sharp or rough edges or surfaces along the counters. Please clean up spills, do not leave dirty overnight. Essentially the better you take care of the counters, the longer they will look like new. The sealer can always be reapplied as needed.
Concrete mix design will be GFRC (glass fiber reinforced concrete), GFRC is a ‘Green’ product, it is approximately four times the strength of wet cast concrete, is more naturally water and stain resistant and is the industry standard in decorative concrete work. The main body of the product is typically ¾” thick and the edges are whatever height is specified. Although it rarely happens with our counters, concrete can chip, so please be careful around the edges (our eased edges typically help prevent that). Concrete can crack when subjected to high heat so the use of a trivet is recommended for cookware.
Do you offer a guarantee?
Colorado Concrete Countertops offers a one-year guarantee against structural cracks and sealer delamination.
If you have any other questions or just want to chat about concrete countertops, please call or email us through our Contact Us page. We love to talk concrete!