The Concrete Network
Find Products & Manufacturers
Find Countertop Supplies
Countertop Supplies Home
Concrete Countertop Molds
Concrete Countertop Mix
Customization Options: Pigments, special effects & decorative add-ins
Countertop Reinforcement
Casting Equipment: Tables, mixers, vibrators & curing covers
Countertop Finishing & Installation
How to Polish Concrete Countertops
Sealers for Concrete Countertops
Delivery and Installation
Related Reading
Countertop Product Reviews
Concrete Countertop Basics: Pricing, colors, edge details, and more

Just like you wouldn’t play baseball with a hockey stick, having the right equipment is crucial to casting high-quality concrete countertops. If you are doing a one-time small-scale project, you may be able to forgo some of these, but for the professional who is casting multiple counters of considerable size they are a must.

Mortar Mixer

Although you can mix the small batches of concrete required for countertops in buckets or a wheelbarrow, a portable mortar mixer is more convenient and will blend ingredients more thoroughly.

Buying tip: "Be aware that the typical mortar mixer doesn't hold the same volume of concrete as the rated barrel capacity. For example, a 9-cubic-foot mixer may only be able to hold about 6 cubic feet of concrete. Also, the stiffer the mix the less material the mixer can effectively blend," notes Girard. Consider buying (or renting) a capacity larger than you think you'll need.

Concrete Mixers for Making Countertops
Time: 04:20
Learn what features to look for in concrete mixers, or mortar mixers.

Casting Tables for Concrete Countertops
Time: 03:08
Get tips on buying or building casting tables for concrete countertops.

Casting Table

A strong, level casting table is essential to properly support the mold and the heavy wet concrete until it cures. Some fabricators save money by building their own casting tables. But if you plan to buy a table, make sure its rigid enough not to sag under the weight of the concrete and large enough to accommodate the average countertop slab. For a standard 25-inch-wide countertop, a 5x10-foot or 5x12-foot casting table works well, says Girard.

Knockouts for Sinks and Faucets

On most countertop projects, you'll need to form knockouts in the countertops for installation of sinks and faucet stems. Since these holes are literally cast in concrete, they must be precise and properly positioned.

Site
Concrete Countertop Institute
Raleigh, NC

Closeup of a faucet knockout.

Site
Concrete Countertop Institute
Raleigh, NC

Smoothing foam with a disc.

Although you can fabricate your own knockout forms for faucets from such materials as PVC pipe, rubber, or foam, you can save time by purchasing ready-made polyurethane or rubber knockouts in a depth to match the countertop thickness. You can also find precision-cut polyurethane templates for sink knockouts. They come in various shapes and sizes to match the dimensions of popular sink brands, such as Elkay, Kohler, and American Standard. Sources for these products include Granite City Tools concrete countertop division and CHENG Concrete Exchange. Girard notes, however, that premade sink-hole templates are normally not available for high-end or custom sinks. In that case, youll need to make your own.

Site
Concrete Countertop Institute
Raleigh, NC

Concrete Countertop Institute in Raleigh, NC.

Site
Concrete Countertop Institute
Raleigh, NC

Concrete Countertop Institute in Raleigh, NC.

Buying tips: If you're going to be casting a concrete countertop, why not cast a concrete sink as well for a more unified appearance? Rhodes has designed four fiberglass sink molds for precasting integral vanity, kitchen, and utility sinks. He says that each mold can be reused many times and comes with a rubber knockout for the drain hole.

Vibrators for Making Concrete Counters
Time: 05:34
Learn how to build concrete countertops using table vibrators and pencil vibrators.

Concrete Vibrators

After pouring the fresh concrete into the countertop mold, you may need to use a vibrator to help consolidate and level the concrete and remove air bubbles that could leave unattractive holes or pits in the surface. Not all countertop mixes require vibration. It all depends on the stiffness of the mix you're using and the effects you want to achieve.

Buying tips: "Makita makes a 12-volt cordless insertion-type vibrator that works well for small projects," says Rhodes. However, since this tool must be plunged into the wet concrete, it tends to disturb reinforcing materials and decorative insets. You can avoid this problem by using table-mounted external vibrators, choosing a size and power level appropriate for the size and weight of your casting table. Even the vibration from a simple jitterbug sander may be adequate, says Rhodes.

Another option to consider when choosing a compaction tool is a table vibrator. This type of vibrator attaches to the casting table with screws and vibrates the entire concrete countertop. One of the key benefits of using a table vibrator is that you avoid disturbing any inlays that are set in your countertops as well as the edge forms. With a insertion-type vibrator (or pencil vibrator) you run the risk knocking your decorative peices out of place. CHENG Concrete offers vibrators in their online stores as well as speed controllers.

Site
Concrete Countertop Institute
Raleigh, NC

Cast in place job with curing blankets taped in place. Concrete Countertop Institute in Raleigh, NC.

Curing Covers

If you plan to cast the countertop in place rather than precast the countertop in a shop, proper curing is essential because it's more difficult to control environmental conditions. Curing covers or blankets will help to keep the concrete moist so it cures slowly and evenly.

Buying tip: Look for a material that won't stain the concrete and is reusable to save costs. Girard recommends HydraCure M5 blankets from PNA Construction Technologies. The reusable nonwoven fabric is inorganic so it won't mildew or stick to the concrete surface, and it can be used in indoor environments.

Featured Products
I-Tech
Site
ConcreteNetwork.com
, Ultra Durable Countertop Sealer High gloss or satin finish
Stonelok Countertop
Site
ConcreteNetwork.com
, Stonelok Countertop Sealer 40 sq.ft. Kit - $139.95(Mention Concrete Network)
Collage
Site
ConcreteNetwork.com
, Countertop Products All the products needed for great countertops
Supplies
Site
ConcreteNetwork.com
, AR Glass Fiber 44LB, 1/2" or 3/4
Bag
Site
ConcreteNetwork.com
, Buddy Rhodes Counter Mix $46.00 (Buy Online or Local)
Ashby
Site
ConcreteNetwork.com
, CounterSeal 3 Topcoat Available in Satin or Gloss
Find Products & Manufacturers