Frequently Asked Questions
Browse frequently asked questions below, or stop by to discuss your project — we are always here to help.
- you want something unique and personalized
- you want something that looks natural and has character
- you appreciate high-quality, handcrafted items
- you think granite is too shiny, too formal, too common
- you think synthetic solid-surface materials look and feel like plastic
- you need a color or visual texture that’s not available with other countertop materials
If so, concrete countertops may be right for you.
- Custom: Concrete’s biggest advantage is that it is completely custom. Your countertop will be unique to you and highly personalized.
- Versatile: Concrete is extremely versatile. It can enhance any style, from French country to contemporary, from arts and crafts to industrial, from traditional to modern. The possibilities are endless.
- Practical: Zenstoneworks’s proprietary sealer provides a surface that is extremely stain resistant and low maintenance. Common food items will not stain it. The sealer does not degrade, and therefore does not need to be reapplied every year like many other sealers. The sealer also exhibits great heat resistance. You can put hot pots on the countertop without trivets.
- Lead Time: Zenstoneworks can template, process, and install your concrete with a two-week turnaround.
- Variation: Concrete is an artisanal process made up of heterogeneous ingredients. Subtle variations in color, shade, texture, and overall appearance add character and depth. Concrete is handmade and hand-finished, exhibiting natural beauty rather than plastic perfection.
- Staining: Concrete countertops actually behave similarly to granite in this regard. Granite countertops are also porous and have to be sealed and maintained. Most people don’t realize this, because granite is usually too dark and patterned to show stains. Food, acids, and oil will not stain your countertop if wiped up. If left on for a longer period of time, they will cause only a light spot, the appearance of which can be minimized with a touch-up kit.
- Scratching: While the sealer is very durable, it is possible to scratch it. In kitchens, you should use cutting boards on concrete countertops.
Custom concrete is competitive with granite, ranging from $70 to over $100 per square foot, and is more affordable than products such as Caesarstone, Silestone, soapstone, and similar solid-surface products. We are happy to work with you and your designer to give you an estimate on your project, and we can help you with options to fit your budget.
- Zenstoneworks makes concrete countertops for kitchens, bathrooms, fireplace mantels, tables, desks, and anywhere else countertops are required.
- Concrete countertops can be straight, curved, notched, multi-level, etc. Unlike granite, which would drastically increase in cost for curved shapes, creating curved concrete shapes simply involves some extra complexity and labor in forming.
- Concrete can also be used in vertical applications such as backsplashes, shower surrounds, and fireplace surrounds. For vertical applications, concrete is generally one inch thick.
- Maximum slab length for standard-depth countertops is about 10 feet. This extended length is longer than most solid-surface products, reducing the number of seams. Seams are located around sinks and cooktops, or wherever required for structural reasons. Zenstoneworks will work with you to design seam placement that is both structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing. Seams are typically 1/16″ wide, similar to tile grout lines. However, it is important to realize that concrete countertops are handmade and hand-processed; they are not machine cut, so tolerances for seams are more generous than with granite. Seam appearance is minimized by using color-matched acrylic caulk.
- Integral and vessel sinks are possible. See the section on sinks for more information.
- Concrete countertops can be used both indoors and outdoors.
- Zenstoneworks also casts sills, thresholds, corner shelves, and other pieces for custom shower designs.
Any color! Zenstoneworks has a wide spectrum of proprietary custom colors. We also color match to any Benjamin Moore color swatch. Any color can be produced in a solid, speckled, or variegated pattern, and further customized with embedded stone, glass, or other objects.
Zenstoneworks can make integral concrete sinks of almost any shape (see our portfolio). Bathroom vanities are an excellent application of integral concrete sinks. We do not recommend integral concrete kitchen sinks for engineering reasons. Kitchen sinks are deep and have angles that would put large stresses on the concrete and have high potential for cracking. Also, the size of kitchen sinks generally dictates a very thick concrete bottom that would be a problem with standard plumbing and cabinetry.
Concrete vessel sinks are also possible, and concrete’s versatility means the sink can be any color and shape.
While the sealer is durable, it can scratch if cut with a knife or subjected to heavy, sharp objects dragged across the surface. Cutting on the concrete may compromise the integrity of the sealer and allow stains to permeate the concrete matrix. Cutting on the concrete will also ruin knives, requiring a professional resharpening to reshape the damaged edge. Remember: Concrete is made with stone, the same thing used to sharpen knives (and will therefore dull them just as easily). If you do scratch a countertop, the sealer can be easily repaired.
While concrete can tolerate high heat, the sealer is not designed for extended periods of heat exposure. Repeated exposure to heat can cause the sealer to show micro-cracks. We recommend the use of trivets and pot holders. We can also embed trivets into the concrete next to your cooktop.
Typically, no special considerations are necessary for standard kitchen or bathroom vanity countertops. Cantilevered slabs, bar tops on knee walls, and similar situations sometimes require brackets or other structural supports for the countertops.