Do It Yourself – Through the Thick and Thin of Building a Concrete Counter Top

concrete countertopsConcrete counter tops, acknowledged initially by designers and designers for their aesthetic capacity and job flexibility, are quick ending up being the answer to house owners’ demands for a reasonably low-cost counter top alternative that does not need a high-level of know-how to install. In addition, they provide homeowners an amazing chance to actually try their hands at being innovative. Detailed books, videos and hands-on training are now readily available for property owners to with confidence take part in such diy (DIY) tasks as building concrete counter tops.

Couple Chris and Ali were delighted to handle a Do It Yourself job after buying their San Francisco flat. A logistical realty developer/construction supervisor and an educational specialist, Chris and Ali are also architecture and house design enthusiasts. With a fondness for getting their hands unclean, structure and installing their own concrete counter top appeared a natural choice for them.

Chris happens to be no stranger to concrete: “My interest returns a number of years when I was developing restaurants and retail areas. I set up concrete counter tops and dealt with concrete artisans doing important color and stained concrete floors.”

In April of 2003, Chris and Ali acquired a two-flat structure in space-challenged San Francisco. Just recently, they sold the lower flat as a tenant-in-common device and now occupy the upper flat, which provides roughly 950 sq. ft. of living area. Prior to they considered building their own cooking area concrete counter top, they hired a specialist for a substantial remodel of the house. The outcome is an open, loft-like home where the cooking area and living zones flow together.

” We both delight in the process of developing and creating our own home to fit how we live. This applies to the space we occupy as well as the details within it,” states Ali. “We both like the idea of dealing with our hands, using materials that are natural, easily accessible […] and flexible.” Chris added, “Concrete counters are lovely, cool, earthy, strong, and you simply wish to touch them. The counters were a best method for us to create something gorgeous out of our own concepts and hard work, and the uniqueness of the end product is a representation of our special concepts.”

pic2Their cooking area, 10 feet wide by 15 feet long (150 sq. ft.), didn’t provide much space for Chris and Ali to work– but that didn’t stop the big plans they had for their slim kitchen. They wished to have a logical cooking zone with a work triangle, lots of counter area and still have enough space to accommodate a dining area.

Like most metropolitan San Francisco properties, area is almost always an issue. To fix this, a straight run of upper and lower cabinets and a concrete counter top with a dishwashing machine, sink, oven and stove were positioned along one wall of the kitchen area. An integrated banquette and table are located opposite the concrete countertop workspace. A surrounding wall hosts a refrigerator and high cabinets.

Chris and Ali concur that the most fascinating addition to the cooking area is the concrete countertop. The couple’s instructional guide and source for design motivation was acclaimed designer Fu-Tung Cheng’s Concrete Countertops: Design, Types, and Completes for the New Kitchen area and Bath (Taunton, 2002), a national bestseller in the improvement and design genre.

The finished counter top is a visually spectacular work surface with abundant, complicated colors: reddish-brown with flecks of semi-precious Leopardskin (yellow and black) aggregates. “This specific color mix combined perfectly with the color style we had for the cabinetry, tile backsplash, floor and wall surfaces,” says Ali.

pic3Understated design details of the 12-foot long, 3-inch thick concrete counter top include rounded edges at the countertop front and the sink openings in addition to an ornamental metal strip under the front edge of the counter top to hide the plywood sub-top.

Chris and Ali took unique note that despite the tight working space of their basement, their collaborative work ran smoothly from pour to finish. “Like the rest of our renovating project, developing the concrete countertop brought us closer together,” says Chris. “We work extremely well together. It begins with that we communicate extremely well and our design ideas match each other.”

With the conclusion of the task and the imaginative work done, Chris and Ali confess that their greatest challenge was developing the concrete forms. “Especially for the sink cut-out, which has radius corners and 2 various size basins,” states Chris.

pic4Regardless of a number of minor learning curves, Chris keeps that there is a frustrating sense of accomplishment upon completing their concrete counter top. “The very best part is seeing and feeling the completed product and knowing we did it!” It’s been said that if a couple can survive a home remodel– particularly a DIY project– together, they can survive anything.

From the looks of a job well done on their very first concrete counter top, these happy do-it-yourselfers are in it for the long run. Chris says of future projects, “We prepare to develop a concrete fireplace surround and maybe a hearth to go with it!”