Concrete Island in White

A titanium pigment and white silica sand produce a stunning kitchen island
Project submitted by David Eerdmans and Drew Bleeker, Hard Topix Precast Concrete, Jenison, Mich.
By Anne Balogh, columnist

The challenge

Precasting a huge 60-square-foot concrete kitchen island would be a formidable challenge for any contractor. But when you factor in the customer’s requirements for absolutely no seams and a pristine white finish, then you can begin to appreciate the task undertaken by David Eerdmans and Drew Bleeker of Hard Topix Precast Concrete. “I believe the main reason we were awarded the job was because of concrete’s natural appearance, its design flexibility and the fact that we could make this huge island in one piece with no seams,” says Bleeker, whose company specializes in custom handmade concrete countertops, sinks, fireplace surrounds and furniture.

How it was done

Because of the size of the island, Hard Topix used a glass-fiber-reinforced concrete mix to keep the weight at a manageable 750 pounds. “It’s the largest piece that we’ve done to date. Fortunately, we had a casting table large enough to cast it in one piece in our shop,” says Bleeker.

To achieve the brilliant white coloration of the concrete, Hard Topix used a titanium white pigment and white silica sand instead of natural sand to obtain greater purity. Once the island was removed from the mold, it was lightly ground with 200-grit diamond pads to slightly expose the silica sand. The piece was then sealed with a UV-cured topical sealer.

Even though the GFRC mix reduced the weight of the island, it was still a challenge to unmold and transport to the jobsite in one piece. “Once the island had cured, we had about 10 guys help us flip the piece out of the mold, since the weight of the mold itself was quite heavy. We then loaded the island onto a large transport cart. Once at the jobsite, we rolled the cart next to the island base cabinets and tipped the piece on top of them,” says Bleeker.

In addition to the island, Hard Topix also precast the perimeter concrete countertops for the kitchen, using the same color and finish. As a special touch, they made two small matching concrete hot pads for the customer to set hot pans on.

Materials used

Concrete pigment: Titanium White, from Blue Concrete
Sealer: UV X-42, from Trinic

Concrete contractor

Hard Topix Precast Concrete, Jenison, Mich.

Other projects by Hard Topix

Historic Distillery Puts Its Name in Concrete
Seamless Kitchen Island Is Fabricated in One piece
Custom Precast Pieces Used as Integral Design Elements

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