We do a lot of cast in place concrete counter tops. Most of our clients like the seamless look and the personality that a hand trowelled surface has after we've finished. We also do a lot of outside projects just like this one in Murphy, TX. This one was an outside grill area that also had a bar top on it. After reviewing some of the available colors, the homeowner decided that Kahlua was the best fit for the area, and we think it looks pretty sharp. I think you can see how granite counter tops might have too much of a "formal" look for this area.
Cast in place concrete counter tops are built right on site. We build the mold on top of the cabinets, or, as in this case, on the stone base. This was a split level counter top, with the bar set up higher. Once the mold was built, we placed a wire mesh reinforcement down, mixed in the Kahlua pigment into our cement mix, and poured it out. As the concrete was curing, we passed over it repeatedly with a steel hand trowel, smoothing it out. We then finished it off with a concrete sealer and a wax coat.
This trowelling process creates a surface that has variations in color and texture. It's a manual process that leaves it with a custom look, and consequently, it has an artisan finish to it. What this means, in so many words, is that they aren't perfect! Yes, they will have slight irregularities; some parts will be smoother than others, colors will never be an exact match to the sample, some parts may be a little higher or lower than others, or there may even be small pinholes scattered randomly here and there, etc. That's the nature of concrete counter tops. We try very hard to make sure our clients are aware of this. The counter tops are not products that are machined and polished on a factory line like a slab of granite is. But this is exactly what the appeal of concrete is—it's a hand crafted, custom made counter top that has a lot of personality. The small imperfections (and they are small) are what sets them apart from other manufactured solid surface materials.
In our next project, also outdoor, you can see some of the color options that are available.