Concrete worktops - or something similar?

(14 Posts)
westwardho Mon 18-Mar-13 12:13:34

New kitchen will be white painted wood (v similar to [[http://www.harveyjones.com/our-kitchens/linear-kitchens the Harvey Jones Linear kitchen) with dark wood floors. Love the look of chunky polished concrete worktops, but worried about how practical they are (have read that they can chip / stain badly, and DH and I are not the most careful of cooks).

Anyone out there who has concrete worktops and can recommend for or against?

Or can we achieve a similar look with a more hardwearing material? Not sure about corian (and have heard that it can scratch / stain). Like the practicality of granite (able to put down hot pans, fairly indestructible) but not so keen on the look. Quartz a possibility, but the ones I've seen can look a bit fake (and not sure if you can get chunky / thick quartz worktops). Have ruled out marble (although I like the look). And have heard of something called lavastone, which looks interesting, but seems to be quite a new material for worktops.

Any obvious choices that I'm missing?

monniemae Mon 18-Mar-13 16:59:30

We got chunky mid-grey concrete worktops late last summer and loved them.

However. I was COMPLETELY unprepared for quite how easily they mark. By this I mean, if you put a coffee cup down, or leave anything wet, or woe betide you leave any kind of grease even for a split second, it will mark.

I was gutted for a while and felt we'd made a real mistake.

But then I went to a house with almost identical worktops that were 10 years old, and they looked gorgeous - so I decided that we should just chill out about marking the worktops and let them just "be" and any marks will soon get disguised by other marks if that makes sense...

Ours hasn't chipped at all by the way, and it really is just the "moisture" that's been a problem. Having said that, around the sink where we wash up etc it looks fine, so I think as long as you "use" the worktop and aren't a show home kind of person, the worktop will be right for you - it will change and develop a patina and so on..

The manufacturer did stress to me that it's not the kind of material that's right for people who will freak about marks (I guess white corian kind of thing) and explained about the patina etc, I think at first I didn't heed his words and panicked about the first marks but now I can see what he means.

My advice would be - if you wouldn't like wood because it changes, you won't like concrete. If however you'd like stainless steel and not care about scratching it because over time the scratches all blend and look even nicer, you would like / cope with concrete..

Hope this helps!

skandi1 Mon 18-Mar-13 18:22:18

If you like the look and presumably can splash out on the concrete worktop (more expensive than marble) then I suggest Silestone in either Grey Expo or Cemento. It's obviously a concrete sort of a colour and looks very much like it but its a stone resin composite which you wouldn't need to seal and it wouldn't stain. Not cheap though.

You can seal concrete really well if you use a permanent sealer such as Dry Treat. I have used it on my white marble worktops and no stains so far. Also used it on all the pale limestone in my bathrooms and despite many spills of facial and body oil, no stains or marks at all.

If you really love the look of concrete then go for it and get it seal really well. With the Dry Treat product you wouldn't need to re seal again for about 15 years.

However concrete can crack and craze. No matter how well it's been cast, you can have those problems.

Good luck deciding.

www.silestoneusa.com/colors/

Brugmansia Mon 18-Mar-13 19:40:10

No advice, but I'm currently thinking about concrete worktops too so have similar questions. I'm also considering slate if anyone knows how that compares.

Movingtimes Mon 18-Mar-13 19:51:25

I have slate worktops and absolutely love them. We are selling our house at the moment and the two things I will definitely want to replicate in our new house are the slate worktops and the boiling water tap. The slate doesn't mark or stain, you can put hot pans directly down on it and it is easily wipe clean. You can have a look if you like there are a couple of pix of the kitchen on here. It is quite dark though - black rather than grey.

SwedishEdith Mon 18-Mar-13 20:02:56

Oh, your house is lovely! What's Barnstaple like? <rashly considers just moving there>

Movingtimes Mon 18-Mar-13 20:22:07

It is lovely. And there is this one house that is perfect for anyone wanting to live here...

Actually it is a really nice town to live in, but employment-wise things are a bit tough at the moment. North Devon is quite isolated and there are not a lot of jobs within easy commuting distance. Wages are low and house prices reflect that.

westwardho Mon 18-Mar-13 20:31:16

monniemae - thanks, really useful to hear about your experience. Will have a think about how laid back we are likely to be about marks and stains!

skandi1 - will take a look at the silestone colours you suggest. And thanks also for the tip about Dry Treat.

movingtimes - will have a think about slate, although I think I want a slightly lighter grey.

skandi1 Tue 19-Mar-13 01:19:29

West. The Silestone obviously won't look entirely like concrete but you can replicate the colour. Plus they do the colour in their matte finish which would look good.

I think it all depends on whether you are planning a kitchen with very sleek glossy contemporary units or you were after a more rough luxe feel or modern classic.

If u are planning contemporary sleek go with Silestone.

If you are after modern classic or rough luxe def go with concrete and seal well.

westwardho Tue 19-Mar-13 07:44:42

Skandi - I think I'm after a rough luxe/ modern classic look. I particularly like the look of chunky / thick worktops. Not sure if you can replicate this with silestone?

skandi1 Tue 19-Mar-13 09:32:42

Silestone only comes in thicknesses to 30mm so you would have to have a mitered edge. That isn't great with composites because the joins are really obvious. Don't think it's what you are after.

I think you have answered your own question. Concrete is clearly the look you are after.

Have you thought about stainless steel? I know they don't look similar but you can create the rough luxe look really well with stainless steel and you can have thicknesses up to 80mm. Clearly the steel is bent around some sort of marine ply but it gives that look. In my last kitchen I had stainless steel worktops and they were 50mm. Looked great. And very forgiving and you have to work hard to damage them. Miles cheaper than concrete or Silestone.

Bottom line is really what will suit your house. I love rough luxe look and modern classic. I did my kitchen in August last year and there is no way rough luxe would have been a good look here (Victorian gothic building with pitch pine panelling vaulted ceiling etc) but modern classic is perfect. It's not too modern. More classic with a modern twist.

Modern classics with stainless steel worktops:
www.stainlessdirectuk.com/?i=91698&gclid=CMynzsG6iLYCFfDJtAodnD4AaQ

Rough luxe with concrete:
m.pinterest.com/pin/181762534932085085/

skandi1 Tue 19-Mar-13 10:07:30

Also look at this:
www.houzz.com/photos/kitchen/rough-luxe

Lots of stainless steel worktops there.

westwardho Tue 19-Mar-13 11:39:02

Skandi - that's really helpful. Sounds like you know what you're talking about!

I had actually thought about mixing and matching stainless steel and concrete (worktop along one bank of units in stainless steel, with worktop on island in concrete). But DH says he doesn't like stainless steel. Hmm, might need to work on him...

skandi1 Tue 19-Mar-13 13:44:07

West. Show him the price of concrete and then stainless steel. He will suddenly become a convert. wink

Another alternative is a river washed or leathered granite with a chipped edge finish. Very rough luxe and very durable. Cheaper than concrete.

You need to hunt around to find a specialist stone mason who can supply this.

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