General Cost Guide for Polished Concrete Countertops
Polished concrete countertops are an appealing and economical alternative to marble or granite. They are often pre-cast from cement and aggregate mixtures with various additives for easy installation. Subtracting labor and tool costs, the prices of polished concrete varies by type of mixture and square footage of the entire countertop. Making these specific decisions will help you determine the most cost-effective installation for this project. One major advantage to polished concrete countertops is that they can be customized with any finish possible, from a stone to a metallic appearance.
Concrete Mixture Designs
The materials added to the basic cement and aggregates vary in complexity, and this can effect the cost of the finished pre-cast product. Some common additives are acrylic and silica derivatives. Concrete casters may also add mesh or rebar enforcements to make the concrete countertops strong enough to last for many years. With more elaborate concrete designs, shiny particles such as mica are included to add to the visual appeal of the surface.
The base price for polished concrete for countertops runs about $55 to $60 per square foot, depending on the level of customization, reinforcement, and even coloring pigments added. The application of epoxy finishes gives the concrete surface a high sheen, and some suppliers add to the price if the concrete you select has had this treatment. This sealant also protects against excessive heat or cracking. Having a high quality sealant applied is well worth the added expanse; it will do a great deal to add to the life of your new countertop.
The good news is that even with these variables, polished concrete has the savings of at least $10 per square foot over granite. Keep in mind that your finished concrete countertops will need to be waxed approximately every month to prevent wear and staining, especially if you plan to do plenty of food chopping on its surface. When removing hot dishes from the stove or oven, avoid placing them directly on the surface of your new polished concrete countertop.
Most pre-fabricated concrete panels for countertops come in thicknesses of 1 1/2 inches to 2 inches, and each one weighs between 18 and 20 pounds, on average. Specialty concrete thicker than 2 inches can also be slightly higher in cost due to the need for more concrete mixture to be poured. Concrete contractors can have various techniques for installation, often depending on whether they install with seams. Concrete countertops with seams can be a bit more high maintenance due to the need to always keep the seams clean and sanitized; this avoids bacterial growth from food preparation over time.
Regardless of whether you opt for a seamless or seamed installation, keep in mind that even smaller concrete countertops will need to cure for about 10 days after they are first poured. During this curing time, contractors will need to polish the surface, adding to the labor costs. This is an area where you can make a judgment call whether to save on cost by performing these steps yourself.