Countertop Series, Part 2 – Concrete

Welcome to part 2 of my favorite countertops series! (Here’s a quick link to part one if you missed it and are interested.)

Today’s pick is gray concrete. I love it. I love it. I love it. I know it costs quite a bit if you hire someone to install it, but I just love it! (I should’ve mentioned it in yesterday’s post, but this series is about countertops I love, not about how much they cost- ’cause that’s no fun to talk about- ha!)


House Beautiful

The concrete countertops above were cast in place and finished with an acrylic sealer and a special wax. The folks at House Beautiful magazine said “to maintain the patina, they’re rewaxed about every two months.”

I see them pop in up Pottery Barn’s catalogs all the time, too:



And here’s another pretty photo I found floating around the web:


(Source: Country Living)

And a few more from a blog called Fröken Knopp:



(Fröken Knopp)

I also stumbled across several DIY concrete counters while I was searching for pics online. Here are a couple of great tutorials:

– Jessie at Imperfectly Polished

– Georgia at More Like Home

And last but not least, Kara Paslay and her hubby used a product called ARDEX to simulate the look of concrete on top of a bar full of existing wood-look laminate surfaces:



(Kara Paslay Designs)

Pretty neat, huh?

Do you have concrete countertops in your home? Please leave a link to your webpage or blog in the comment section below if you do- I want to see them!

I’ll be back tomorrow with another one of my favorite kinds of countertops. Any guesses what it is?

For pics between posts, join us over on Twitter, Facebook and/or Instagram!

Instagram Pic_Lettered_Cottage

Countertop Series, Part 3 - Eco By Cosentino
Countertop Series, Part 1 - Laminate

Have posts from The Lettered Cottage sent right to your INBOX!


  1. Rae Culver says

    I LOVE concrete countertops! My husband and I did them ourselves in our new kitchen. The shape is PERFECT……the finish not so much. The color is exactly what I wanted (rust) but I’m pretty sure we didn’t use the right stain. I might could do blog on how NOT to stain your concrete countertops! Eventually, we will have to grind them down and try again!

    • says

      I have really ugly eighties laminate countertops… I’m pretty sure now I’ve said that. You’re already over at my blog to check them, no? still here? Your loss!!!
      I hope to redo the kitchen next year, so I’m really enjoying this series. And I can dream on every expensive ocuntertop I want since I haven’t tried to make it into my budget… yet!

  2. Sandy says

    I have been thinking about Concrete…just mentioned it this week!! Thanks for sharing! LOVE the look!!

  3. Jessica says

    We have concrete on our island and granite on the surround. We love it! I’m not a blogger so I can’t post a picture but it is my favorite kitchen we have done in 3 house builds.

  4. says

    We made our own concrete countertops 2 years ago! We also built/contracted out the house ourselves. I have 5 blog posts documenting the process. We poured them in our now living room since the floors were not in yet. The “reveal” was shot before we moved in and before we painted the cabinets. You can see the kitchen NOW in the “House Tour”.

    They are fine for this house, but I would not do them again. Polishing them was soooo much work. I know we didn’t get the right concrete sealer, but they are still a pain because water soaks through and makes the sealer bubble up, sometimes leaving permanent marks.

  5. Liz VanKirk says

    Yeah I’m guessing wood ones. Like the butcher block one you got from Ikea. I think it brings the warmth your looking for & within a reasonable budget.

  6. Elisabeth says

    I don’t, but we wanted them in our previous home and I have a funny story to go with it! We knew a local contractor who finished over existing countertops in concrete and it looked great! So, we contacted him and he came out to measure and later emailed us the quote. We about did flips when we saw how very affordable his quote was!!! We had a tiny budget and really didn’t think we could afford it but when we received his quote it was even lower than our tiny budget – we couldn’t believe our eyes! We even responded to his email asking if we were reading it right and he confirmed it. Well, he and his crew showed up on the scheduled day and got all their gear set up. My husband asked him one last time to confirm the quote and when he saw it, his eyes about bugged out of his head! He had mistakenly only quoted us for the material costs and not for his (and his crews) labor costs!!!! So, when he gave us the revised quote, it was way more than we could spend so he and his crew had to pack up and head out! We were so sad to not get our concrete countertops but it’s a story we laugh about now!

  7. says

    Concrete Countertops are B E A U T I F U L when done correctly. My husband & I were R.E. developers with a focus on Concrete Countertops & Basins as well as other architectural elements such as; fireplace surrounds, benches, etc. He is also a concrete consultant for the City of Boston/Boston Public Garden. After training with Fu Tung Cheng in California to become a certified concrete countertop manufacturer…. we learned the hard way (10yrs. in) that customer expectations can be waaaay off. In the Northeast, they can crack/hair line crack, people will always put something down w/ acidic attributes & still be surprised/upset when it stains (acid will permeate any sealer/wax). If you drop a dish or glass… expect it break on contact. It’s a lovely material… but it will never look the same as the day it was installed. Our speciality was a porcelain like finish – which was not forgiving to staines & scratches. But if you love for the material to age, & patina naturally and don’t mind all the upkeep, then it’s a great! However, due to it’s cost because of the labor involved, it’s not for everyone. We still manufacture products with concrete as it’s a eco-friendly material we LOVE, but with small scale kitchenwares… it’s much more predictable & durable.

  8. Vivian says

    I love concrete, also, and yes, I think the next post will be soapstone! :) Love it and installed it about two years ago in my kitchen. LOVE the stuff but wish mine had been more gray than dark! Best to see it IN your kitchen before it is installed and cut! Still… love it! When it is oiled it looks almost black (deep slate gray) and I love that look.

  9. Doris D. says

    All are beautiful but I don’t know about waxing every two months. We installed Corian countertops with the double sink built in and I absolutely love it.

  10. Angie says

    My husband loves experimenting with concrete and has made concrete counters for one or our bathrooms, the bar in our basement and our laundry room. He blogged for a little and documented the laundry room here: Currently we are remodeling our living room and he is making a concrete hearth for the fireplace. And as just realized as I’m typing this we are in the process of covering the popcorn ceiling in that room as well with plank wood – inspired by you! So thanks!!

  11. Carrie - Curate by Carrie Corson says

    love Love LOVE concrete countertops! Loving this series too by the way:). I mentioned yesterday that we are just putting the finishing touches on our kitchen renovation on our new home. We opted for a mix of texture & material and installed a DIY Concrete countertop on our island. It’s my favorite feature in the kitchen too! We were very lucky that a friend is a concrete finisher & helped out for a hearty meal & cold beverages. It ended up being a great cost savings compared to many other options. There is a great DIY tutorial episode you can download from This Old House, that we used bits & pieces from then improvised the our own process. Look for our kitchen renovation pics on my new site that will be launching soon. I can’t wait to hear your fav countertop…. My guess is Carrera Marble or a Soapstone.

  12. says

    Here’s a link on concrete countertops from in case you haven’t seen it. :)–Concrete–the-Nearly-Indestructible-Option

    We haven’t ordered ours yet, but we’re thinking of going with cambria torquay… It’s not as expensive as some other options, is heat-resistant and stain resistant (with very minimal maintenance) – especially for someone who’ll be using food colorings on the counter! It’s a mixture of quartz and resin, so maybe the marbling doesn’t look quite as natural as other options, but I still find it quite pretty.

    Looking forward to seeing what your next post will be! Not sure what another one of your faves is, but random guess – quartz?

  13. says

    When we built our house we went with formica. Granite is sooo “final” not to mention very expensive. And as my husband says, formica is so affordable, when we get tired of it we can change it out for another color pretty cheaply. We looked at both tile and granite when hubs built our island and ended up with wood finished with a Salad Bowl Finish, which I absolutely LOVE and would do again in a heartbeat. That’s my guess for your next post, Layla. Wood!

    • Wendy B. says

      I’d like to do wood on my island to. Can you please explain what/how a salad bowl finish is, and if it holds up well? Thanks so much!

      • says

        Hi Wendy! Salad Bowl Finish is used on salad bowls as the name suggests and wooden utensils. This is a bit unconventional, but we built the counter with birch wood flooring over plywood! Hubs put a piece all around the edge so it looks thick like butcher block. We started with oil-based poly which turned orange. ORANGE! Sanded that off and tried the General Finishes Salad Bowl Finish from Rockler Woodworking. It dries clear and just a little bit shiny, but not really glossy. It has held up great! We haven’t touched it for 5 years! It does have a few scratches which I intend to touch up this summer. I would like to do the whole kitchen with wood countertops! Good Luck!

        • Wendy B. says

          Thank you so much! I love the look of wood counters! I’m glad to hear you still love them after five years! Def doing them now!!!

  14. says

    I love concrete countertops, too. I made my own about five years ago when I gutted my kitchen. Mine are a beautiful charcoal grey with stones imbedded. Very “rustic” shall we say as I hadn’t done of that before. I built forms out in the garage and poured there. The sanding was done on the back patio because it uses lots of water.

    I bought colorant, stones, and instructions from Cheng Concrete. They do magnificent work of all sorts.

    I’ll post a photo somewhere this afternoon or tomorrow and come back to post a link to it so you can see.

  15. says

    So glad you love concrete countertops. We do too which is why we’ve started Polished Concrete Countertops in Olympia WA. We’ve found that our prices are very competitive with big box granite and you get a MUCH more personalized product when you work with us. We can customize your concrete almost any way you envision.
    Thank you for highlighting this product that can be so versatile, environmentally friendly and beautiful when it’s fabricated correctly!
    Love your blog too :)

  16. says

    I commented earlier about how we made our own concrete countertops, but wasn’t trilled with the functionality. I wanted to add the main reason we did it was because it only cost $300, vs. $1200 for laminate and over $3000 for any other solid surface.

  17. says

    Had concrete been more readily available and reasonably priced, it would have been higher up on our consideration list when we remodeled ten years ago.

    We installed Corian on our coffee bar (a splurge), and a stone look laminate on the rest of the counter tops. During the design process I had fallen in love with a manufactured stone that was well out of our price range. It became my mission to find a laminate that offered the same look for a fraction of the cost. It still tickles me that people (including pros) have to really look closely at it to tell that it is indeed laminate. lol A good portion of the credit goes to our installer who made the seams nearly invisible.

    I love the natural concrete look, and have been considering going that route when it comes time to redo. The underlay would need to be strengthened, but that’s doable. I’ve been curious about Ardex ever since I first heard about it. It’s a neat concept, and based the photos I’ve seen it looks great.

    Looking forward to more counter top talk. :-)

  18. says

    Love this post! I absolutely have to have concrete counters when I eventually buy a house of my own. I enjoyed seeing that the House Beautiful countertop was cast in place, since concrete is so heavy to work with.

  19. Lisa W. says

    This is a lovely post…I too LOVE LOVE LOVE these counter tops. I have to say some of those laminates are pretty darn awesome too, they have come a looooong way baby:) Ok…your other favorite?? I’m thinking soap stone??? YUM …love those too!

  20. says

    It’s funny, I just mentioned my concrete counter in the comments of your laminate post. I forgot to mention what we did to customize the concrete. Our contractor took the measurements in our house and then made the top in his shop. It took about 3 weeks. We knew we wanted to have space for the kids to eat at the kitchen island, so we had him create 9 inches of overhang, and then he rounded the edges on that side so the angles weren’t so sharp. Then, we used scrap from our wood counters to make a cutting board. That sits sunken into the concrete to be flush with the surface. We can take it out to clean, but I love that it’s all one level. He used a dark grey pigment so the colour is all throughout, and then troweled it smooth so it wouldn’t scratch china or glassware. I loved it from the first moment I saw it and still gaze admiringly at it every day! LOL

  21. Patra says

    I have a question about the ARDEX product. Did they demo and create the new concrete counter tops with this ARDEX product, or did they somehow apply this product over the existing wood counter top??? I’ve gone over to her site, but she doesn’t explain. Hopefully you will know!

    • Layla says

      Hi Patra!
      I just checked out Kara’s post, and she talked about what they did about 4 paragraphs down from the top. Hope that helps! :-)

  22. Monica says

    There is so much more to concrete countertops than just gray. You should google it and see some of the other options. When concrete countertops first became popular, they were all mostly gray….. but now they can be made to look almost exactly like a solid surface countertop and come in a wide selection of colors, at a fraction of the price :)

    • Layla says

      Hi Monica! Gray is just my personal fav- but that’s true, there are lots of options out there! 😀

  23. Debbie says

    I am a kitchen designer and my experience with concrete as a countertop has been horrible. While it looks great initially, it is impossible to maintain. Concrete is what is considered a “living” material meaning that it continues to cure through out its lifetime. This will cause cracking and chipping. It will stain very, very easily. If you want to know what your countertops will look like in a matter of months, take a look at your sidewalk or driveway. Even waxed and sealed, it will wind up looking like that and you will be very unhappy you spent about the same amount of money as natural stone.

    An alternative to concrete is a product called Marbelite, which is a cultured stone. You’ve seen this as a faux marble in bathrooms with the integrated sink. They have developed a product that looks very much like concrete and comes in a variety of colors. I’m not sure if Marbelite is available nationwide, but they do have a website you can check out.

    That’s my two cents on that.


  24. Carri says

    In our previous house my husband put in concrete counters for my birthday. We had a super tiny budget so he found a product called skim stone that he applied over our existing Formica. It was gorgeous! We loved them and you couldn’t tell it was not concrete all the way through.