How to Build Custom Concrete Countertops


Concrete countertops are durable and can be customized to fit any kitchen design aesthetic. Building your own concrete countertops allows you to create a completely unique look while saving on installation costs. With some planning and elbow grease, you can have stunning concrete countertops that will function beautifully in your kitchen. This article will walk you through everything you need to know about how to build custom concrete countertops.

Gather Materials and Tools

Creating concrete countertops requires specific materials and tools. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Concrete mix – Preblended countertop mix works best as it cures evenly and resists cracking.
  • Forms – Use melamine coated particle board or plastic laminate to build watertight forms.
  • Reinforcement – Fiber mesh and rebar add strength and prevent shrinkage cracks.
  • Release agent – Coat the forms so the concrete doesn’t stick. Vegetable oil works well.
  • Mixing tools – A paddle mixer for a drill makes mixing easy.
  • Trowels and floats – For smoothing and shaping the concrete.
  • Decorative aggregates – For customizing the look of the concrete.
  • Sealer – Penetrating and topical sealers protect the concrete.

Build the Forms

The forms contain the concrete while it cures, so they must be watertight. Use caulk to seal the joints and line them with plastic sheeting. Build the forms 1/4″ larger on each side than the finished countertop dimensions to allow room for concrete to expand. Install bulkheads at the ends and divide forms into sections for poured-in sinks or cooktops if desired. Brace the forms securely so they don’t bow under the weight of the concrete.

Add Reinforcement

Reinforcement strengthens concrete and prevents cracking. For a basic reinforcement layer, secure welded wire mesh just below the surface of the concrete. You can also use fiber mesh layered 1/3 of the way up from the bottom. Additionally, install rebar along the edges and through cutouts for sinks and cooktops.

Mix and Pour the Concrete

Mix the concrete according to package directions. Only mix as much as you can pour and finish within 45 minutes. Pour the concrete into the forms in layers, tapping with a mallet to settle it and remove air pockets. Insert anchors for mounting the countertop while the concrete is still wet if needed.

Finish and Cure the Concrete

Once poured, use a float to smooth the concrete. Create trowel lines or other textures as desired. Cover the concrete with plastic for slow, even curing. Unmold after a minimum of 24 hours. Allow the concrete to cure fully for 4 weeks before using the countertops.

Seal and Install

Sealing makes the concrete stain and scratch resistant. First apply a penetrating sealer, then top with a food-safe sealer. Finally, carefully transport the countertops and anchor them securely to the cabinet bases.

FAQs about Building Concrete Countertops

How thick should concrete countertops be?

1.5 inches is the standard thickness, which provides adequate strength. Go up to 2 inches if planning for very heavy use or an overhang.

What color options work with concrete counters?

Concrete can be dyed or stained nearly any hue. Gray is most common, but vivid colors like navy blue and bright red are options too.

Can concrete counters be refinished?

Yes, concrete is very durable and can be sanded down and refinished. Resealing every few years will maintain their appearance.

Is sealing concrete counters necessary?

Sealing is highly recommended to prevent stains, etching, and moisture damage in kitchen use. Unsealed concrete will absorb liquids and wear down more quickly.

Can concrete counters have an undermount sink?

Undermount sinks can be installed by cutting a hole in the concrete with a diamond blade saw. Reinforce around sink cutouts to bear the weight.

Are concrete counters expensive?

Concrete counters are often much cheaper than natural stone, with installed costs averaging $80-$100 per square foot. The custom look comes at an affordable price.


Creating your own concrete counters is a manageable DIY project that lets you customize your kitchen. With the right materials and techniques, you can achieve stunning concrete countertops that will last for decades. Be sure to plan all cutouts and reinforcements before pouring the concrete. And take care to slowly cure the concrete before use for best durability. With patience and care, you can gain beautiful, functional concrete countertops that add value and design flair to your home.