Does your kitchen countertop need to be repaired or replaced? Or do you just want to give your kitchen a fresh new look?
If either of these is true for you, concrete countertops can help. Concrete counters don’t just look nice; they’re durable, too.
And that’s not even the best part. The best part is that you don’t even have to hire a contractor to install them. You can make them yourself!
Now, obviously, this is easier said than done. Working with concrete is no novice task.
It’s messy and problematic. It can set wrong and/or crack. And while mistakes are easy to make with concrete, they’re difficult to fix.
But not to worry—that’s why we’re here. We’ll teach you the proper way to make a concrete countertop and how to avoid/correct mistakes.
Your DIY concrete countertop project starts now. Learn how to do it with this guide.
What you’ll need for a precast
First, let’s get the required tools and materials assembled.
You need the following tools.
- Protective gloves
- A table saw
- Coarse sandpaper
- A screwdriver
- A drill
- A concrete mixer or paddle attachment for your drill
- A framing square
- Bolt cutters or cutting snips
- A hand trowel
- A vacuum
Don’t start until you have all these tools ready.
Now, collect these materials.
- 1″-thick melamine-coated particleboard
- 2″ screws
- Galvanized wire mesh
- Plastic sheeting
- Concrete countertop mix
- Silicon caulk
You may need these optional, additional materials. You’ll need color pigment of some kind if you wish to color your countertop. To cut specific shapes out of your mold for sinks or cooktops, you’ll need a jigsaw.
You’re ready to start, almost. Read all these steps before you begin and follow them exactly. Don’t skip any steps.
Step 1: Practice
If you’ve never worked with concrete before, do a smaller “sample” project before creating your countertop. This gives you a feel for the concrete—how it pours, how it spreads, how it dries, etc.
Step 2: Measure
To get the measurements for your mold, measure the base cabinets and add 3/4″ for overhang.
Step 3: Make Your Mold
Cut and build the mold from the particleboard. Ensure the melamine-coated sides are facing inward. Check angles with the framing square.
You will be making your counter upside down on the melamine board to minimize the polishing work after it cures.
Assemble your mold with the screws. Pre-drill pilot holes for your screws in the walls of your mold every 6 inches. This keeps the mold from splitting when the concrete dries.
Measure exactly and mark all necessary cutouts for cooktops or sinks. Cut these out with the jigsaw.
Finally, apply caulk to all joints and smooth it out with a wet fingertip. This prevents concrete leaks and rounds the edges. Vacuum any sawdust/debris out of the mold so it won’t dry into your countertop.
Using bolt cutters or wire snips, shape the wire mesh to fit just inside the edges of the mold. Set the mesh aside.
Arrange some 2 x 4s on the sawhorses to make a “table” to set your mold on. It should be a larger area than your mold. Place your mold here for pouring.
Step 4: Mix the Concrete
Using the concrete mixer or drill (with paddle attachment), concrete countertop mix, and optional pigment mix the concrete. Just follow the labeled instructions on your concrete mix/color. Either get a bag mix of 5000 PSI or make your own mix.
You want a creamy mix for the first part on the melamine, then followed by a dryer mix.
Step 5: Pour the Concrete
Fill the mold half full and tamp evenly with the hand trowel. Make sure you press the mix fully into the corners when tamping.
Lightly compress the wire mesh into the surface of your wet concrete. Level the surface by scraping a 2 x 4 across the length of it. Do this several times in both directions.
Tap (gently, carefully) with a rubber mallet to remove air bubbles. Relevel the concrete.
Finally, cover the concrete with plastic sheeting and let dry.
Step 6: Finish and Seal the Countertop
Smooth out imperfections with sandpaper, starting at 100-grit, ending in 220-grit. Fill cracks, bubbles, or divots with unsanded tile grout and sand smooth with 220-grit paper.
Wipe the surface with a damp cloth and let dry. Wait 28 days for the concrete to cure completely. Apply a sealer, according to the product’s labeled instructions.
Step 7: Install Your Countertop
First, sand, clean and dry the counter base in preparation.
Disassemble and remove the mold from the countertop. Apply a thick line of caulk along the base cabinet’s edges and any walls the countertop touches.
Flip the countertop and press it slowly into the caulk. Smooth out any caulk wherever the countertop meets the walls.
DIY Concrete Countertops
Remember, things could go very wrong here. And when they do, they’re very difficult to fix. So follow these instructions exactly when making DIY concrete countertops.
Did you enjoy this tutorial? Let us know in the comments below.
For more tips, read How Much Concrete Do I Need for My Project?