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  • Trueform Concrete in Rockaway, NJ
  • Natural elemants can be incorporated into countertops. Solid Solutions Studios in Fresno, CA
  • Natural stone was inlayed in this counter. Absolute Concrete Works in Poulsbo, WA
  • Trueform Concrete in Rockaway, NJ
  • Small, colorful tiles were inlayed in the surface of this bar top to add interest. Solid Solutions Studios in Fresno, CA
  • Trueform Concrete in Rockaway, NJ
  • Absolute ConcreteWorks in Poulsbo, WA
  • Alchemy Construction Inc in Arcata, CA
  • Cheng Design Products Inc. in Berkeley, CA
  • Trueform Concrete in Rockaway, NJ

Decorative Inserts for Concrete Counters
Time: 04:50
Learn how to use decorative inserts like tile, fossils, metal, copper, stone and other materials in concrete countertops.

Adding inserts or inlays is a great way to personalize a concrete countertop in a kitchen, bathroom, or even outside. Inserts are small stones, pieces of glass or other materials that are mixed throughout the concrete to add interest to a countertop (See How to Embed Glass in Concrete Countertops). An inlay is an object, such as a large rock, or other decorative item that is embedded in the surface of the countertop. Common items to insert or inlay are pieces of broken glass, tiles, metal, and family heirlooms. However, adding objects to concrete is all about creativity, so don't limit your options, just be sure to check with your contractor first.

When considering an inlay, the long-term durability must be considered. Because countertops experience a lot of wear and tear it is important to choose an object that will be able to stand up to this wear. It is generally not a good idea to embed fragile objects, or ones that will deteriorate quickly. For the same reason, it is essential to have the countertop sealed properly with a quality sealer. This will provide extra protection for the inlayed item(s). Be sure to use a sealer that will not change to color of the object, it should be as clear as possible.

Cheng Concrete offers a variety of decorative inserts on their website. Each insert is a different semi-precious stone with a unique color that can be added to the concrete mix before pouring a countertop. These inserts are also known as decorative aggregates, because when the countertop is ground, they are revealed, just like natural aggregate. Decorative aggregates are simply more unique and eye-catching than the natural aggregate that is in all concrete.

Express Yourself with Embeds

Concrete Decor Studio and Store, Bethlehem, Pa.

Tile Enhanced Countertops

These custom concrete countertops and kitchen island were designed to incorporate leftover tiles from the backsplash.

Absolute ConcreteWorks in Poulsbo, WA

Petrified Wood Embed

For this kitchen island, Steve and Tina Silberman of Absolute ConcreteWorks incorporated many natural decorative embeds, including exposed sand, rock, and petrified wood.

Absolute ConcreteWorks in Poulsbo, WA

Shell Embeds

Almost any item can be embedded into your countertop. Choose personal mementos, coins, glass, or as this picture illustrates, sea shells.

Trueform Concrete in Rockaway, NJ

Iron Embeds

Embeds allow you to add creativity to your countertop. In this example, iron scrolls were inlayed into the wet concrete.

Cheng Design in Berkeley, CA

Jadeite Embeds

Australian jadeite gemstones cast into the edges of this kitchen countertop were placed so light from the morning sun enhances their luminosity. The polished concrete countertop is also scattered with pieces of turquoise. See more of this project: Decorative Concrete Rooms with Mountain Views.

DC Custom Concrete in San Diego, CA

Blue Agate Embed

A blue agate stone adds interest to the corner of this island. It was glued into the mold and the concrete was poured around it. Learn more about this project: Custom Concrete Kitchen Embeds Elements of a Coral Reef.

Absolute ConcreteWorks in Poulsbo, WA

Riverbed Themed Embeds

Prior to casting this countertop, stones were placed in the formwork to create a riverbed theme. Polishing helped reveal the beauty of the stones. To complete the look, stains were applied by hand using brushes, sponges and rollers. See more of this kitchen: Concrete Countertops Flow Like a River Through Custom Kitchen.

Coulee Concrete Designs in Lake Oswego, OR

Foliage Inlays

This concrete countertop for a reception desk features foliage inlays along its edges. Learn more about the project here: River-Themed Concrete Countertops Forge Elegance and Art with Functionality.