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Concrete Mix

Concrete mix is made from cement, sand and other aggregates.


For kitchen countertops, only the lightest aggregates are used since these count
ers need to be very smooth.
The precise mixture ratios differ from manufacturer to manufacturer.
Often builders will use one layer of concrete for the base portion of the counte
rtop and another layer for the top,
visible section.
Water
Water is a necessary ingredient for any concrete project.
In this case, however, the less water used,
the better. Professionals only use as much water as necessary to activate and sh
ape the concrete.
Some even add water reducers that help thicken the mixture to give it more stren
gth when it dries.

Pigment
Pigments are an important ingredient for concrete countertops. Without a
ny color, the counters would be a cement gray. However, layers of paint or acid
over concrete only soak down so far, and can be removed by accidental chips. Pig
ments mix in with the concrete mixture itself, changing its color permanently so
that scratches and dents are less noticeable.
Strengthening Fibers
Strengthening fibers, like basalt elements or synthetic fibers, help mak
e the concrete strong, which helps when using the countertop but comes in especi
ally useful when installing the counter. Normal concrete slabs can crack and bre
ak more easily than those with strengthening fibers.
Sealants
Sealants are epoxies or other substances that users coat their counterto
ps with for protection. With a good sealant, a concrete countertop can resist st
ains more easily and keep sealant for longer periods.

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Sealants
One of the most popular sealants used to coat the surface of a concrete coun
tertop is epoxy. The epoxy applied to a concrete countertop will usually be hard
er and more durable than the countertop itself. Other sealants that can be used
are wax, acrylics, urethanes and densifiers like sodium silicates
Requirements
A good sealant should be non-porous, stain-resistant, scratch-proof, heat-re
sistant, non-toxic and easy to clean.
Benefits
A properly sealed concrete countertop can last for a lifetime. Adding a good
sealant is essential to the proper functioning of the countertop.
Considerations
Sealants can greatly increase the overall costs associated with concrete cou
ntertops. Since installing a concrete countertop can be costly, it is recommende
d that a high-quality sealant be employed to finish the project.
Installation
Because of the complexities involved in creating a concrete countertop, it i
s recommended that fabrication and installation be performed only by qualified p
rofessionals. Sealant is usually applied by the contractor hired for the project
.
Facts
Concrete is one of the heaviest materials used to fabricate countertops. Con
crete countertops that are 1.5-inches thick can weigh around 18.75 pounds per sq
uare foot. Countertops made out of concrete can be fabricated on-site or back at
the contractor's workshop.

Read more: What Is a Good Sealer for Concrete Countertops? | eHow.com http://www
.ehow.com/facts_5779584_good-sealer-concrete-countertops_.html#ixzz1q1qq8rMs

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Proper care and cleaning of your concrete countertops will help extend their lon
g life span and keep them looking as beautiful as the day you had them installed
. Every spill should be cleaned up as soon as possible because even though the c
ountertops are sealed, there could be a chance that the spill could seep through
and cause damage (such as a stain), especially if the counter was sealed years
ago. If you make wiping up spills into a habit, you shouldn't run into any probl
ems.
Concrete Countertop Cleaning Tips
Make Sure Your Countertop is Sealed Properly. Before doing any cleaning of y
our countertops, make sure that your countertop has been properly sealed. Proper
concrete countertop maintenance includes resealing every few years. Make sure t
o keep an eye on your countertop; if you notice any small stains from any liquid
, then it is time to reseal.
Sponges or Cloths? Sponges or cloths are the best tool for cleaning your con
crete countertops. You can also choose to use paper towels, but using sponges or
cloths is more environmentally friendly. Tip: Instead of throwing away old t-sh
irts or undershirts, cut them up into small rags and use them for wiping up the
countertops. Bar cloths and cheap washcloths make great counter wiping cloths. L
ook for some at your local dollar store. To wash these cloths, just include them
in a load of soiled towels and wash with hot water. Remember not to use abrasiv
e cleaners on the counters.
Use a Concrete Countertop Cleaner. There are several good-quality products o
n the market which are specifically formulated for cleaning stone and concrete t
ops. MarbaMist Spray is especially formulated for concrete countertops. View and
purchase some countertop wipes from Stone Care International.
Never Use Ammonia or Bleach. Ammonia and bleach can ruin the countertops.
Use a Neutral pH Cleanser. Any other cleanser that you choose should always
be neutral in pH level. Read the ingredients or directions on the package to che
ck if it is pH neutral. It's best to choose a cleaning product that you know is
specifically designed for concrete countertops, as mentioned above.
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Layers
For a concrete countertop to be strong and have an attractive finish, it
must be built in two layers. These layers are made with different mixtures of c
oncrete. The base layer provides structural strength to the countertop. The uppe
r layer is formulated to provide a smooth, hard finish. These layers are mixed a
nd poured separately.
Base
The mix for the base layer of the countertop consists of concrete mix, a
small amount of polypropylene fibers to reduce cracking and Portland cement for
increased strength. Enough water is added to bring the mixture to a doughy cons
istency. It is then spread inside the mold. Metal diamond mesh and re-bar are us
ed to increase the strength of the concrete and reduce the chance that any futur
e cracks will expand beyond hairline fractures.
Top Coat
Fine aggregate concrete, sand and Portland cement are used for the topco
at. This mixture should be doughy, able to hold its shape, as well. Polypropylen
e fibers are not used for the finished surface of the countertop as the ends of
the fibers will stick up above the finished surface leaving a fuzzy finish that
cannot be removed. Pigments and decorative aggregates like marble chips may be a
dded in this mixture. This should be applied while the base layer is still wet.
Finishing Coat
Coat the exposed edges of the top of the counter with a water-thinned mi
xture of the topcoat. The thinned mixture will fill in small air bubbles and gap
s in the edges of the concrete. Once the concrete sets to the point where a fing
er pressed into the surface leaves a noticeable print, it can be finished with a
trowel.
Concrete Properties
The exact formulation of concrete varies between bags. The texture, stre
ngth and curing time of concrete varies with the formulation of the concrete as
well as the heat and humidity at the job site. Making small test pieces is the o
nly accurate way of judging a particular mixture.