Going for the Glow

Photoluminescent concrete countertops give kitchen a celestial glow after dark
Project submitted by Robert Salinas, Stamped Artistry, Pasadena, Texas
By Anne Balogh, ConcreteNetwork.com columnist

The challenge

Looking to update the kitchen in their waterfront home in Taylor Lake Village, Texas, homeowners William and Pam Hanf wanted new countertops that would not only be modern and unique, but also suggest a bit of the celestial, since the home was designed and built by a former NASA astronaut. Robert Salinas of Stamped Artistry, Pasadena, Texas, introduced them to the perfect solution: concrete countertops with aggregate that would glow in the dark like clusters of tiny stars.

“After giving them different options, showing them samples of our work, and giving them a tour of our home, which has countertops made with different colors and techniques in each room, the homeowners fell in love with our kitchen countertops, which have a terrazzo finish topped off with photoluminescent aggregate. They both said: ‘That is what we want, only we want more of the glow stuff!’ More importantly, they wanted to go with concrete because of its green qualities,” says Salinas.

Secrets to success

The project involved replacing the kitchen’s existing ceramic tile and wood countertops and kitchen island with concrete. To make the countertops, Salinas used the Xtreme Terrazzo mix and modifier from SureCrete Design Products, a high-strength bagged mix reinforced with glass fibers. “This mix is an excellent choice for fabricating concrete countertops. All you do is mix it with the modifier and aggregate. It already has ingredients such as fibers, so there’s no need to add wire or any other reinforcement to hold the concrete together, and it can be cast as thin as ¾ inch,” says Salinas.

Templates for the countertops were measured onsite and then brought back to Stamped Artistry’s shop, where molds were made using bendable foam forming rails. Salinas enhanced the countertops with decorative recycled-glass aggregates in a multicolored combination of blue, aqua, green, turquoise, amber, white, and clear. To give the countertops a personal touch, Salinas also added some pieces of crushed bottle glass provided by the homeowners. “They asked if they could use some of their empty wine and beer bottles to give the countertops a more personal flavor. They brought the empties to our office and I had them personally break them,” says Salinas.

At the request of the homeowners, Salinas added the photoluminescent aggregate only to the kitchen island countertop, being careful not to overdo the effect. “To keep from using too much luminescent aggregate, we hand place it inside the mold, then carefully pour the concrete so as not to push the aggregate around and have it bunch up. After the countertops are cast, we pull them from the mold the next morning and start grinding to expose the aggregate,” says Salinas.

The starry glow emitted by the aggregate was just what the client wanted. “After the counters were installed, Mr. Hanf called me and said: ‘Our counters glow so bright that when I come down stairs in middle of night for a drink, our kitchen glows in the dark. No need to turn on a light,’” says Salinas.

Materials used

Countertop mix: Xtreme Terrazzo, from SureCrete Design Products
Foam rails: SureCrete
Photoluminescent aggregate: AGT glow-in-the-dark aggregate, from Heritage Glass


Robert Salinas
Stamped Artistry, Pasadena, Texas

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