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Concrete Countertop MixHow to choose and use prepackaged mixes for concrete countertops
Many concrete countertop pros have experimented with their mixes over the years, fine-tuning them to perfection so they can achieve consistent, reproducible results time and again. Some of them have even patented their field-proven mixes and sell them in packaged form to fellow concrete countertop makers. (Be sure to thank these guys for making your life easier!) You can often buy these bagged mixes directly from the contractor or through a local materials supplier or home-improvement retailer. Some major manufacturers of bagged concrete and mortar mixes now also offer formulas developed specifically for countertops.
If you haven't yet fine-tuned your own mix to your satisfaction or you are new to concrete countertop making, you can avoid all the trial and error by using one of these prepackaged blends. As the demand for concrete countertops grows, more and more of these mixes are entering the marketplace, giving you a broader array of options to choose from to meet your specific project requirements.
Buying tips: Ask about the yield of the mix per package so you buy the right amount for your project. And be sure to get a copy of the technical datasheet to get information on mixing procedures, setting and curing times, compressive strength, and other pertinent details. A good mix for concrete countertops should have a low water-cement ratio to prevent shrinkage cracks, provide sufficient compressive strength, be easy to work with, and result in an aesthetically pleasing surface, says Girard.
When choosing a mix, also think about any special effects you want to achieve. For example, Rhodes uses a mix that is thick enough to press into molds, so he can achieve his signature veined look. The mix is also white, so it takes colors easily, with white aggregates that polish to a high shine.