How to Make a Concrete Countertop With a Faux Rock Finish
If you follow me on social media or here on the on the blog…
Then by now you probably know the boyfriend and I have completed two, count ’em TWO successful concrete countertop projects!
But did you realize that both of the projects we did are in the rental unit above the garage?! I have to admit, I’m a little jealous that they’re in our rental property and not in our house!
One of the first things that attracted me to concrete countertops is how custom you can make them! But then I found out that you can make the edges look like rock and I was sold!! The minute I came across rock edge form liners I fell in love with the look and was determined to try it for myself — ahem, for our tenant.
So whether you’re interested in doing a concrete countertop with a faux rock finish or just a standard concrete countertop, this post will definitely help. I list out the basic steps of how to make a concrete countertop as well as get the rock edge look! I also list out some mistakes we made so you can avoid them in your own project!
How to Make a Rock Edge Concrete Countertop
What’d I use?
The sponsor of this post (in which we accidentally create a disastrous mess in the kitchen,) Concrete Countertop Solutions, was so gracious to supply us with some of their rubber rock edge to add the cool effect to the bathroom and kitchen counters.
They also supplied us with forms for the actual concrete itself but you absolutely do not need the specific countertop edge forms I used in order to use a rock form liner! I’ve even seen the rock edge liner cleverly used for precast concrete counters done with DIY melamine forms. The rubber rock forms are flexible, super easy to cut and work with and just slip in behind the forms.
I’ve even found a few rock edge liners on Amazon that have seashells built in to the look, like this one... because who doesn’t love buying shit from Amazon?
Prepping the Counter or Vanity
We started by first building our vanity (because I’m obsessed with RTA cabinets).
Then we cut cement board to size. Seriously guys, it’s not fun to cut that stuff, wear a dust mask. Then we siliconed the cement board down on top of the vanity (we debated on doing this but we figured that’s what they do with granite, so why not!)
Then we measured, cut and mitered our countertop forms, installed them and caulked and taped the areas where any concrete could leak out.
The Minor Mistake we Made
To be honest, I don’t think many people will notice the small mistake I made on the bathroom vanity top. If we’re getting technical here, both of those copper “knockouts” should be moved to the left. When I measured for the holes for the vessel sink and faucet I forgot to account for the thickness of the rock edge liner (almost 3/4″!)
However, now that the sink is done, unless you take a tape measure to it, you can’t tell.
Measuring and Cutting the Rock Edge Form Liner
Next, we measured for the rock liner. Make sure you measure from where the edge form will actually end.
Account For the Thickness of the Form
At first we made the mistake of measuring to the wall and cutting the piece, which luckily means it was too big so we needed to trim it. What’s wrong with that? This method didn’t account for the thickness of the form where the concrete won’t be touching the wall!
Notch Rock Form to Fit Under Lip
Lastly, we needed to notched out for the lip on the form. If you don’t do this the rock form won’t be all the way to the back of the form and you’ll have a weird line of smooth concrete and then the rock formation will begin.
Mixing and Pouring the Concrete Countertops
Next, we were ready to mix and pour the concrete! I used an all in one bag, ready to mix, white concrete from Concrete Countertop Solutions.
Hopefully you’ve already checked out this post on why you need to use concrete or an additive that’s specifically formulated for concrete counters but if not:
Here’s a recap on why you need to use properly formulated concrete for concrete countertops.
- The PSI is stronger
- Less likely to crack
- It’s reinforced with acrylic fibers
- Formulated for a flowable, easy to work with consistency
When mixing, always read the directions on the specific concrete you choose.
We poured a quart of water into the bottom of a bucket and as the boyfriend mixed with a paddle mixer I slowly poured in the concrete and more water until we had flowable batter-like consistency.
After mixing comes the pouring of the concrete counters! When pouring the concrete, we had to pay extra attention not to get it between the rock liner and the form (I just lightly held it in place while the boyfriend poured the crete.)
I also worked the concrete into the corners and around the faux knockouts for added protection.
Screeding, Magnesium Float, Steel Trowel
After we poured, we used the screed and drug it across the surface in a sawing motion (where we were’t blocked from doing so because of the wall.)
You’re really supposed to go on a 45 degree angle one way and then on a 45 degree angle the other way and then straight across, but with a wall on two sides it was kinda hard.
At this point our “screed job” didn’t look perfect, but I wasn’t worried there was still the magnesium float and steel trowel to use on the concrete.
After screeding we waited about 30 minutes (or until the conrete just left a finger print when touched very lightly) before using the magnesium float to bring all the “cream” to the top. This took out a lot of the imperfections, but don’t worry if the top isn’t perfect yet, there’s still the steel trowel!
Steel Finishing Trowel
Then we waited about 2 hours until there was barely a finger print with the light press of a finger before we started with the steel finishing trowel. You can pull across the top of the concrete pretty hard with steel finishing trowel and it gives it almost a shiny look!
Breaking Off the Forms
The concrete has to cure for 24 hours before you can break off the edge forms. Let me tell you, this part scares me! You really do have to push hard for the form to snap – but all the while it feels like you’re going to break your countertop!
Then I just gently peeled off the rock edge liner and it left me with a beautiful rock finish!
At this point it’s up to you to decide how you want to finish your counters! I decided to leave the kitchen counter white and stain the bathroom counter a grey color, check out how to stain the concrete in this post.
Here’s what the final concrete counters looked like…