These are the questions we are most often asked, but please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have. We look forward to hearing from you!
Q. What are our options for shape, color, finish, inlays, functions etc?
A. Simply endless. We can design virtually anything that your imagination can conjure. We recommend all our clients check out our gallery as well as Google “concrete benchtops” and explore the endless options and get an idea of what they might want in a piece. Then we start the creative process. We offer a wide range of colour options and have samples available at our workshop. We offer 4 finishes for our polished concrete-
Inlays – brass/copper/stainless steel rails for hotplates, integral drain boards and seams, fossils, rocks, cutting boards, family heirlooms, tiles, works of art, inscriptions/quotes, lights, coins, handprints/footprints, etc.
Function – integral sinks, integral drain boards, integral cutting boards, waterways, fountains, etc.
Q. How much does it cost?
A. Concrete is not the least expensive option out there, but you will find it is priced competitively with most benchtop options. The process of taking simple ingredients - sand, gravel and cement - and making them into something that is both beautiful and functional is incredibly labor intensive. Because every project is unique and hand-crafted, please call us for pricing.
Q. Is concrete heavy?
A. It can be but we use Glass Fibre Reinforced Concrete (GFRC) which is stronger and lighter weight than tranditional concrete. GFRC can be as much as 50% lighter than traditional wet-cast concrete which requires other reinforcing. Due to it's strength, GFRC can also be cast in thinner sections
Q. Will we have to reinforce our cabinets?
A. In most cases, no. If you’re cabinets are reasonably well built with screws and dowels and have vertical support that extends to the floor, we’re likely good to go. However, we do recommend to all our clients that they have a cabinetmaker or carpenter have a look to make the final call. If there is any question as to the structural integrity of your cabinets, reinforcing them is generally a simple and inexpensive process.
Q. Isn’t concrete prone to cracking?
A. Yes and no. It is important to differentiate between structural and hairline cracks. We absolutely guarantee our work against structural cracks, where the slab actually separates into two. However, concrete shrinks during the curing process and occasionally, hairline fractures occur where there is less mass – usually around faucet knockouts or at the front lip of the slab over under-mounted sinks.
Our mix design has radically evolved over the past few years so we very rarely have issues with hairline fractures now but cannot guarantee 100% that they will not occur over time. We guarantee excellence but not perfection. The philosophy behind working with concrete is to relax into the idea that concrete is handmade and imperfect – this is what we love about it.
Q. I’ve heard that concrete stains easily. Is this true?
A. Not anymore. We use a sealer that penetrates and bonds at a molecular level with the concrete. The result is a penetrating and topical finish that is more or less stain proof, highly scratch resistant and environmentally friendly (VOC compliant). It has also been granted “Food Safe” status by the Food and Drug Administration. We are able to provide a high-gloss or matte finish.
A cloth and soapy water is recommended for cleaning as abrasive pads and cleaners tend to dull and degrade the surface of the finish. Superman’s powers were effected by kryptonite; so too is our sealer affected by straight white vinegar and direct heat. Sauces, dressings and mixes that contain vinegar are fine but undiluted white vinegar and a burning hot pot on the surface of a piece weakens our sealer’s super-powers.
Q. What is your turnaround time for a piece?
A. Depending on the size of the job and how much work we have on, we typically say 3-4 weeks. More complicated designs may take slightly longer.
Q. How far will you travel?
A. Concrete Nation is based in the Gold Coast, Australia, but we travel north to the Sunshine Coast & Brisbane, and south to Northern New South Wales. We can also ship our products nationwide. We realise there are very few people offering concrete bench tops in Australia so we are willing to travel to provide you with this great product. Call us to see if we can come to you!