FAQ - Concrete bench tops
A concrete bench top can be a wonderful addition to your kitchen or outdoor living area providing you with a hardwearing, durable surface combined with a sleek industrial look. When choosing a bench top there are lots of things to consider so we have summarised some of the most frequently asked questions to help make your decision.
What size can I have my bench?
One of the many benefits of a concrete bench is that it can customized to almost any shape and size. We regularly fabricate benches up to 6 meters long with no joints! Because of their weight especially large benches are normally delivered on a Hiab truck and then lifted into place by hand. When pricing the bench you need to let us know what the access is like so we can give you an accurate price i.e. is there flat and easy access? is the kitchen on the ground floor etc?
What thickness does the bench need to be?
GFRC bench tops can be made as thin as 25mm, however for standard concrete, exposed aggregate or Terrazzo we recommend the bench tops we make have certain minimum thicknesses e.g
· < 1mtrs = 30-40mm
· >1mtrs <3mtrs = 40-65mm
· over 3mtrs = 60-100mm
Of course you can always go thicker or have built up edges if you wish!
How heavy is a concrete bench?
The mass of concrete is approx. 2.4T per cubic meter. You can work out the cubic meterage by multiplying the length x width x thickness. Whilst concrete is relatively heavy compared with some other materials it rarely presents any problems as long as it is supported on well made cabinetry and your floor is structurally sound. If you are not sure please contact us for advice on the minimum requirements
Will the concrete crack?
If your bench top has been fabricated properly then you there should be no risk of any structural cracking. All concrete by its nature is susceptible to fine hairline cracks but these tend to be superficial and are not structurally defective – in fact they are part of the character and charm of this material.
Are the benches reinforced?
Yes, we use either glass fibre reinforcing or steel in all of our benches but there are other options such as GRFC (Glass Reinforced Fibre Concrete) which can mean a thinner, lighter and stronger bench.
What sort of sealer do you use?
We only use specialised food safe sealers specifically designed for concrete benches. Our most popular sealer for is the Reactive Polyurethane Sealer (RPS) which is a hybrid sealer combining the benefits of both reactive sealer technology and water borne urethane sealers. Urethane is one of the most abrasion resistant chemistries available and the reactive component helps toughen the surface even more. RPS has been subjected to independant stain testing and we have found through our own experience and practical testing that it provides excellent stain and acid resistance. While stain and acid resistance are important properties for bathroom and kitchen usage, food safety is also important, and RPS sealer is 100% food safe. When properly applied and cured, RPS has great scratch resistance and excellent adhesion. The chemistry makes for a surprisingly tough surface i.e. you can cut it with a knife but it will stand up to everyday wear and tear. RPS is available in matte, satin and semi gloss sheens. Please contact us for further information on the most appropriate sealer for your application
Will the concrete stain or scratch?
If the right sealer has been applied correctly then a concrete bench should be no more stain-prone than a granite bench top. We recommend that always use a cutting board and avoid cutting directly onto a bench top as this may compromise the integrity of the sealer (and will probably also ruin your knives!)
Will there be joints in my bench and what will they look like?
We can advise on where best to place the joins in your bench top, typically at the corner or at a waterfall end junction. We recommend using a butt joint, as other types of joins can be susceptible to chipping and other problems
How long does it take to make a concrete bench top?
Depending on how full our production schedule is and the complexity / size a concrete bench top can take anywhere up to 6 weeks to manufacture. Allowing the concrete enough time to cure properly is a very important part of the process
What kind of sink can I have? Can it be integrated?
There are two main types of sinks (under-mount or top mount) but you can use just about any type of sink and you can even have them built in. In fact you’re not restricted to sinks and taps we can even cast drainers, lighting recesses, edge details, graphics, lettering, metals; just about anything you can think of!
Where can I use a concrete surface?
Just about anywhere, indoors or outside, residential or commercial both horizontal and vertical surfaces are all possible.
What sort of colour and finish can I have?
Concrete is almost infinitely customizable and we are expert at matching colours, textures and finishes. For a bench top we recommend either;
Off the mould = an off form finish which is then ‘leathered’ by hand to give you the classic concrete look
Polished = Perfect for an exposed aggregate look
How are concrete benches made?
There are two basic methods for making a concrete bench – either pre-cast or cast in-situ. We specialize in pre-cast benches made at our purpose built factory mainly because we are able to control the quality of the finish and there is less disruption or delays on site. Essentially, we believe pre-cast to be faster and better.
How much will it cost?
Pre-cast concrete benches can cost anywhere between $850-$1,000+ p/m2 dependent on the size, complexity and finish. You will also have to take into account delivery and installation, which will be an additional cost.
Be aware if you have been quoted $250-450 p/m2 for a bench top you are probably not going to get quality materials and workmanship.
Links / References and further information
· The concrete countertop institute www.concretecountertopinstitute.com
Disclaimer; The information above is provided as a guide only and is accurate to the best of our knowledge but does not imply a warranty