Concrete Countertops: Pre-cast vs. On-site

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Jan 01, 2011
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Concrete countertops let the homeowner control much of the creation process, from the design, style and color to the thickness and even where the countertop is formed. Concrete countertops are either formed (poured) at your home or in the shop of the concrete contractor. There are many considerations to make when deciding where your countertop should be formed. Your concrete contractor will explain to you the advantages and disadvantages to each pouring site option as it pertains to your project. Considerations include the type of countertop, size, scope, complexity, and distance from the shop to your home. Here are some points to help guide you as to which process is best for you.

Cast On-Site (in your home)

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On-site pouring of countertops is also known as cast-in-place. In other words, it's as if the concrete contractor brings the shop to you. The clear disadvantage to this is the mess. Concrete is messy and there will be a lot of preparation, including hanging plastic tarps and making space for equipment and tools. Here are some other considerations:

  • Size: If you have a smaller concrete countertop project then it may be easier to have the countertop made in a shop and then transported to your home. For largerprojects, the transporting of the tops may end up costing you a lot of money and could risk breakage or damage to the tops.
  • Seamless: If you prefer a seamless look, then casting on-site is best, as long countertops can be poured on-site without a seam.
  • Perfect Fit: Some concrete contractors actually prefer pouring and forming on-site, as it allows them to make necessary changes and adjustments.
  • Participation: You can be part of the process when it is poured at your home.

Cast in Shop

When countertops are cast in-shop, also called pre-cast, they are made in the concrete contractor's shop. The mixing, pouring and constructing of the slabs is completed in the shop and then shipped to your home. Depending on the size of the countertop and the distance to your home, you may need to pay additional charges for shipping and delivery.

In general, most concrete builders and contractors feel more comfortable working in their own shops under their own conditions to make concrete countertops. Pouring concrete involves the right combination of temperature and humidity in the building, and working in the shop enables contractors to have exact control over these conditions to ensure a good quality countertop for you. Once the countertop is made, though, the color and thickness cannot be changed. As mentioned above, your contractor will discuss with you all of the pros and cons as they relate to your specific project.

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