Frequently Asked Questions
There are so many products out there now that I don’t even know what some of them are, but let’s talk about the big three: Marble, Quartz and Granite.
Marble: Looks aside, marble is a terrible countertop material. It’s extremely porous and soft, stains easily, there aren’t any good sealers for it, it chips easily and you can break it. All this and it’s probably the most expensive option out there. We offer concrete that looks like marble, solves all these problems and is less expensive.
Granite: If you like the way it looks, it’s a pretty good countertop material. Biggest reason I hear for people going away from granite is “it’s too busy”. Granite is porous and you are supposed to reseal it yearly. No one does and most people’s granite has stains. It’s just that there’s so much variation and so many colors that you really can’t see the stains. Granite is fragile. We’ve replaced a lot of granite just because it broke and the customer was looking for something stronger.
Quartz: Quartz is an engineered product and it looks like it. When it first came out it was not very good looking, but it’s gotten better. It’s pretty much stain proof, you can cut on it, set hot pans on it, and it’s super strong, meaning it doesn’t chip or break, but it’s expensive.
Concrete: Concrete is porous, but we have pretty good sealers. Some care must be taken to protect the sealer, but if you take care of it the sealer will last several years. Our concrete is strong. We have our formula dialed in to produce 16,000 PSI concrete. Your house foundation is 3000 PSI concrete. I’m not going to say you can’t break it, but you’d have to work at it. We’re going to be less expensive than Marble and Quartz and comparable to mid-grade granite.
This depends on the client. If you’re diligent with following the cleaning and care directions, our sealer should last 3 to 5 years under typical home usage.
Yes, but it’s actual square footage. With materials that are cut from slabs, you are charged for the number of square feet they must buy to produce your countertops. From my experience, on an average sized kitchen, this results in about 30% of the square footage you pay for being scrap. Some countertop manufacturers have started telling clients they only charge for the installed square footage. Keep in mind that the only way they can do this is to raise the price of the material to account for scrap.
It depends on our workload and the size of your project. It takes about 2 ½ to 3 weeks to move a piece through the entire process. We can usually complete a kitchen in 3 weeks, but if we’re doing your entire home it might take a week or two more. We’ve done commercial jobs that took us two months to produce. Obviously, the clients with kitchens behind that commercial job were not too thrilled, but we’re very upfront about our workload and timing. You’ll know if we’re running a backlog and the timing of your project before you decide to proceed with us — that’s just how we do business.
Yes, but not like you think. Concrete got a bad reputation when it first got started. It was a combination of low strength concrete and being poured in place. In other words, forming them up and pouring them on your cabinets. Unfortunately, there are still guys doing this. Pouring in place is a bad idea because you don’t give the concrete the ability to move without cracking. If you pour a U-shaped kitchen in place and the house settles even a fraction of an inch, this put a huge amount of stress on the countertops and they will crack. Add to the fact that most people pouring in place are using lower strength concrete because it’s easier to finish without wet grinding and all the messy things we do in our shop, and you get cracks from the wind blowing if the location is outdoors. Now back the question, all concrete cracks. The difference is our concrete is so dense and has shrinkage reducers added that it keeps most of our cracks at the microscopic level. There is the possibility for small stress cracks to form in weak areas of the slabs, such as in thin areas in the front and back of a sink cutout. These stress cracks are not structural and will not hurt the structural integrity of your countertop. Most of the time they develop from the countertop flexing while being put in place. I can think of two times in the last seven years that we’ve had a piece structurally crack and both times we remade the pieces for the client.
A few hours. When we replace existing countertops with concrete countertops, we leave the old countertops in place until we come to install the new ones. When we come out to template for the new countertops, only existing backsplash has to be removed and we template on top of the existing countertops. You’ll go a few weeks without a backsplash, but you’ll still have countertops.
Experience, Expertise, and Reputation
The president of Concrete in Disguise, Stephen Allphin has been making concrete countertops for over 10 years.
Concrete countertops is all we do. We’re not a company that pours driveways and decided that we could make countertops. Countertops and other precast products like sinks, fireplace surrounds, etc. is all we do, all day, every day.
We have a reputation in the area for doing quality work and standing behind our work. If you have a problem after install, be it a week or two years, we’re going to be there usually within a day to figure out what’s happening. We have contractors and builders who use us repeatedly on their jobs, because they know we deliver on time and exceed the client’s expectations.
We have a great crew that really cares about their work and treats every job as if it was going in their home.
Dish soap and water and ammonia based cleaners like 409 are the best cleaning solutions to use on your countertops. See our Care and Maintenance page for more information.
Real wood countertops may give a great aesthetic look but fall short in many practical ways. There generally are not a lot of sealers for wood that are food safe and hold up to the daily use of kitchen countertops. This would leave your countertops vulnerable to stains and scratches. You can also run into the issue of wood absorbing liquids that can cause swelling and bacterial growth.
We look to capture the beauty and feel of real wood with our concrete, while minimizing the issues listed above. Our dense concrete mix design allows us to pick up every small detail of the wood. These details are then accentuated with a variety of beautiful stains we have available.
We want to offer a product that provides that same aesthetic beauty of wood while having the durability and longevity of concrete.