FAQ – Manufacturing of Architectural Concrete

Frequently Asked Questions

Manufacturing of Architectural Concrete 

Q.  What is the standard concrete countertop thickness?

The minimum thickness recommended for a standard concrete countertop is 40mm.  World of Decorative Concrete prefers a higher specification of 50mm, based on the desire to offer superior practical workability with material.

Naturally, any thickness higher than 50mm is possible and can easily be achieved by means of a down stand and/or solid cast.

Q.  Can one cut food, etc. on a concrete countertop?

It is very important that this is not advisable.  Cutting on a concrete countertop won’t damage the concrete itself, but could damage the penetrating sealant to the extent that it no longer protects against water or other stains.

Cutting boards should always be used when chopping or preparing foods.  Clients often order a separate concrete cutting board for this purpose.

Q.  Can one place hot utensils on a concrete countertop?

Placing hot pans or pots on concrete countertops should be avoided.  Concrete is very heat resistant, but the main concern (as with cutting on concrete countertops) is the distinct possibility of damaging and/or discolouring of the penetrating sealer.

It is a good, and visually appealing, option to insert trivets of stainless-steel, brass or copper into the concrete.  Heat protection pads for hot kitchen utensils are also readily available.

Q.  Do Concrete countertops develop cracks?

This can happen.  Concrete countertops, sometimes develop hairline cracks.  These cracks tend to be non-structural and result from normal shrinkage of concrete.

World of Decorative Concrete reinforces the concrete countertops with steel as well as fibre reinforcing technology.  Normal steel reinforcement strengthens the product even after cracking has occurred.  Fibre reinforcement is used to reduce the chances for both structural and hairline cracks.  It is possible to repair hairline cracks, but such attempts are often far more visible and disturbing than the cracks themselves.  Most cracks are caused by what is called tensile failures.  Hairline cracks are most often caused by long term drying and/or shrinkage of concrete.

Other causes that will increase the likelihood of cracking include out-of-level supports of cabinets and careless handling of the countertop slabs during transportation or during installation.  World of Decorative Concrete advises clients where to install joints to minimize the possibility of cracks.

Please note that small hairline cracks are more apparent on smooth polished concrete finishes in comparison to more conventional rough finishes.

Q.  Will my concrete countertop be the same homogeneous colour, or will there be colour variations?

Imperfections are part of the beauty and natural appearance of this product and its usage over time.  This does not affect its structural integrity.

Most clients prefer the well-worn appearance of this natural occurrence in contrast to the often cold and unvarying smoothness some products on the market have.

Q.  How should I clean my concrete countertops?

Avoid abrasive soaps or cleaners.  Rather use a mild, non-abrasive, non-ammoniated soap for daily cleaning.  World of Decorative Concrete suggests using warm water with a cleaning agent such as Sunlight dishwashing liquid, Clean Green and/or any cleaner with a natural PH.

Avoid using abrasive pads.

World of Decorative Concrete will supply the client with an initial cleaning kit, to help seal the countertop in the long run.\

Q.  Will concrete countertops stain?

Concrete countertops are protected by a penetrating sealant that offers resistance against water and stain marks.  This penetrating sealant is required as unsealed concrete in its natural state is porous and will stain.

World of Decorative Concrete seals countertops with a deep penetrating sealant, followed by an extra coating of anti-stain protection sealer.

Concrete is a porous substance, the surface must be regularly resealed as part of a normal, daily cleaning routine.  For this purpose, the client is supplied with a cleaning kit once the installation is completed.  Clients are able to purchase additional cleaning kit, direct from World of Decorative Concrete.

Concrete does not react well with any acid.  It is important to avoid spilling lemon juice, balsamic vinegar or any product with an acidic PH.

Also avoid leaving red wine, white wine or oil spills untended for too long.  This applies for any staining fruit or vegetables as well.  Clean the countertop as soon as any of above-mentioned spills occur.

Q.  Is this ordinary concrete and will one be able to re-produce the same concrete countertop again?

The concrete mix is a special blend of polymers, high grade cement, cement-based colours, different aggregates and sands, fibres and reinforcing for strength.

The moulds are custom built, so there is no chance of an identical counter, merely a similar counter.

Each mix is different, the source of the sand or stone, the exact percentage of colour we use, the precise length of time it stays in the mould and the mould itself ensure that you will have a unique countertop.

Yes, some may appear to be similar but you’ll never find a 100% replica.

Q.  Can anyone manufacture concrete countertops?

To achieve the standard and quality of polished concrete to the standard displayed on World of Decorative Concrete’s webpages, full knowledge of the process, of concrete and the proper execution of the process, along with the best quality machines and grinding tools, are requirements.

There may be a number of companies and people in the grinding and polishing industry.  However, it’s always a fair recommendation to inspect actual work done and to obtain references from companies/individuals who made use of these companies.  World of Decorative Concrete’s products can be viewed across most of southern Africa.

Q.  What does it take to produce a quality concrete Countertop?

World of Decorative Concrete uses high tech machinery, specialized diamond tooling and employs unique techniques in which we are thoroughly experienced.  This superior application, special process and knowledge of concrete has been fine-tuned to produce magnificent concrete countertops, unequalled in the industry.

Please note: Quality Ground and Polished concrete countertops is not simply achieved by exposing the aggregate in the concrete mix and afterwards applying a sealer. This finished product will never achieve the brilliance nor be as long-lasting as true Ground and Polished Concrete.

Q.  Will the end product always deliver the same result?

It is very important that the client pays close attention to the following.

Choice of concrete:

The client should consult with World of Decorative Concrete before commencement of a project.  This will enable World of Decorative Concrete to specify the materials, colour and processes in order to meet the client’s expectations.

The design of the Concrete Item:

The design aspect is extremely important.  Please consult with World of Decorative Concrete’s experts to avoid an unsatisfactory end result.

To guarantee a good acceptable end result, the concrete mix, the colour, the design, placing and finishing of the concrete must be strictly controlled and high-level supervision must be maintained throughout the process.

Q.  Why must one consider using Concrete Countertops vs others?

When considering that concrete countertops are highly customizable, the versatility and design of concrete is a good choice.  Concrete countertops create a simple clean look that is not formal. Whether you want a more traditional style or a more modern or contemporary style, with polished concrete the range has almost no limits!

You don’t have to settle for the popular stone grey look.  Concrete countertops can be manufactured in virtually any colour.  A white concrete countertop provides a crisp, clean look that is appreciated by many homeowners.  In case you prefer a more traditional look, brown concrete is a good option, creating a similar look to natural stone and bringing warmth to your home.

Concrete offers limitless colour possibilities.  If you want to add drama to your home through colour and design, concrete can help you achieve this.

If you aim to use “green” eco-friendly material which is durable and lasts a lifetime, consider using concrete for your countertops.

Benefits of Concrete Countertops:

  • Concrete counters can be designed to fit your space.
  • It is available in a wide range of colours to match you palette.
  • It provides a textured, soft, natural look to counters.
  • Properly sealed and maintained, concrete tops will wear well for years and can be used indoors and outdoors.

Problems that might occur with Concrete Countertops:

  • The porous material will stain if not sealed properly.
  • They develop minor hairline cracks which are non-structural because of the natural shrinkage of the material.
  • It is hard to control concrete’s natural variation in colour and texture.

Concrete is a natural material which is porous and needs to be sealed to prevent staining.  Ask your contractor if the sealant they use will discolour the surface.  Concrete countertops offer minimal maintenance.  Regular cleaning with non-abrasive cleaners is recommended.

Yours in ‘Concrete with Soul’

Go to our Contact Us page for more information and to make contact with our concrete specialists.

viewers have visited the site