Do it yourself lightweight concrete countertop materials

Written by john landers | 13/05/2017
Do it yourself lightweight concrete countertop materials
Lightweight countertops can be installed in the kitchen or bathroom. (Modern elegant kitchen image by MAXFX from Fotolia.com)

Many do-it-yourself homeowners create a variety of attractive surfaces in their bathrooms and kitchens using lightweight concrete countertop materials. These products are decorative and durable. Concrete countertops can be made in a wide variety of shapes and the colours are virtually unlimited. A concrete countertop can resemble a natural stone or solid-surface countertop.

Molds

A mould is a type of form that holds the concrete material in place when it is poured, providing the shape for the countertop. Forms must be smooth and strong enough to hold the concrete until it cures. If you use anything other than a stiff mixture, the mould must be waterproof. You can make your own countertop moulds from material such as Plexiglas, Formica, Lexan, polystyrene, particle board and urethane rubber. The type of mould to use depends on the shape of the countertop. For example, if you desire a countertop with curved edges, it is best to use a material that is malleable and flexible. Sweeping long curves require Plexiglas or Lecan. Use polystyrene for irregular shapes.

Mix

Purchase a concrete mix or make your own mix. If you would like a standard concrete colour you can use premixed concrete (some vendors sell light-colour premixed bags of concrete). You can also concoct a lighter mix from pea gravel, masonry sand and white Portland cement. Before mixing a full batch of material, create small quantities of materials to ensure that you are satisfied with the colour. Blend accelerating admixtures with the mixture to quicken the setting time, which allows for faster finishing of the countertop.

Diamond lathe, carbon and glass fibre are also needed to provide reinforcement for the concrete countertop. Pigments are available in liquid and powder forms, which are water-soluble and in numerous colours. Enhance the beauty of the countertop by adding aggregates, such as stone, glass, mother of pearl and other materials to the concrete mixture.

Sealers

After the concrete countertop cures, it is not only porous, but is also subjected to staining and damage from chemicals. It's essential to properly seal the countertop. Some of the qualities you want to consider when choosing a sealer are a product that is non-porous, scratch-resistant, non-toxic, and heat-resistant, easily maintained and that provides long-term protection of the surface.

Tools

Depending on the material you choose, you may need a circular saw or jigsaw to cut the form components. A bolt or wire cutter is required for wire mesh reinforcement materials. Rent a concrete mixer from the local tool rental centre. A grinder and polisher will be required to finish the countertop before installation.

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