The Concrete Network

While concrete isn't the only option for kitchen countertops, it offers a number of advantages that other materials can't match, particularly when it comes to versatility. Here, we compare concrete with some of the most popular alternatives.

Granite Synthetic Solid Surface Tile Laminate Engineered Quartz Concrete
Visible seams or grout lines Large concrete countertops will have seams, but the appearance can be minimized with the use of a color-matched filler. Yes No Yes No No No, when seam filler is used
Needs sealing In its natural state, concrete is porous and may stain. Applying a surface sealer will make the concrete water and stain resistant. Yes No No No No Yes
Stain resistant No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes, when sealed
Color options Color options with concrete are nearly endless with integral color, staining, or both. This gives you the ability to coordinate or match the countertop with other colors in a room. Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Unlimited
Cast in any shape Concrete can be cast in any shape and practically any size. No No No No No Yes
Endless edge details Contractors can create custom edge forms to replicate any design using molding products such as extruded styrene or liquid rubber or plastic. (See Concrete Countertop Edge Details.) No No No No No Yes
Accepts inserts and inlays Concrete countertops can be personalized with unique embedded items such as pebbles, recycled glass and seashells. (See Concrete Countertop Inserts and Inlays.) No No No No No Yes
Appearance can improve with age Concrete is not a static material. It will evolve and acquire character over time, developing a warm patina. No No No No No Yes
Resistant to high heat Concrete is very heat resistant, but avoid placing hot pots or pans on sealed surfaces, since the heat can damage or discolor the sealer. (See Placing Hot Pans on Concrete Countertops.) Yes No Yes No Yes Yes, unless treated with a sealer or wax
Average cost per square foot $100-$200* $90-$120* $10-$90* $25-$50* $100-$200* $65-$135
(For a standard 1.5-inch-thick countertop. See Concrete Countertop Pricing to learn about factors that influence the final cost.)

*Source: HGTV Kitchen Design's Guide to Kitchen Countertops. Prices include installation