Black Concrete Countertops

I am pretty sure when we do the bigger kitchen reno in a year or two that we’ll want to do soapstone for the main countertops. I love its look and how hard-wearing the stone is. Our little kitchen as it’s currently laid out is a little dark though, so I thought I would try dark counters now to make sure that I’m comfortable with the look before we really commit.

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I thought Ardex made Feather Finish in black, but they actually only make it in gray and white. So I poked around a little online and then called the Ardex people to make sure I could use this powdered concrete tint.

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We built countertops out of scrap plywood to the exact dimensions of the old granite.
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We made the edges thicker by adding a little brick moulding beneath the plywood.

 

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I also added a waterfall edge on the peninsula and I LOVE how it turned out. The first coat of concrete though, I didn’t quite use enough black powder.
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It turns out about a 1/4 cup to every two cups of concrete is just the right amount.
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I used the same exact approach that I used in my laundry room, but this time I used a more expensive food-safe sealer. This stuff is pretty hard core. So far it’s been worth every penny! I only needed about half of the bottle for several applications, so I think it’s actually a pretty good value.
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At sort of the last minute I had a change of heart about the shelving. I had wanted to use a taller series of three or four shelves, but I couldn’t get this image from Remodelista out of my mind. I think the single, lower sleek shelf is just perfect here.
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So we built a little backsplash and I used a pine board to make a shelf that I also layered in concrete.
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It’s not quite finished yet, but I was excited to share progress photos. I’m so happy with how everything is coming together! I especially love the black concrete – it’s so pretty with the white cabinets. :) The cabinet hardware will finally be here tomorrow (five weeks late!) and we’re finishing up the new window and door trim and then I’ll take some more photos to share.

  1. Ronda

    You've certainly got my attention…can't wait to see the finished project!

  2. Judy

    no wonder you were inspired by the remodelista pic – it's gorjuss.

  3. Bobbi

    Love! I recently did my first project with Ardex, a concrete floor in my sunroom – it was so satisfying and is so, so pretty! I would love to try tinting Ardex also…!

  4. Kelly

    I await with bated breath Jenny! Don't keep us in suspense too long!! ;)

  5. Kyla

    I have loved many of your projects. But this is one of my favorites! And I love the idea do the low shelf – I have that very image from Remodelista saved. I get far too much dust in my house to store on open shelves. But one low shelf for everyday essentials seems perfect!

  6. C.B.

    I've been looking all over for a black concrete tint tutorial – thank you!!

  7. It's looking GREAT, Jenny! So exciting to see it coming together. But what a tease. ;-) Can't wait to see the final product!

  8. This is awesome! I wish I had thought to think about tinting our Ardex counters in the kitchen. I'm not 100% in love with the final color as the sealer really darkened it. Did you think this sealer changed the color at all? Although I guess it was hard to tell with black.

  9. maggie

    Very timely as I'm considering concrete counters for our condo and was holding off because I wanted black!

  10. I can't wait to see the final pictures. I love how you've come up with some really creative budget friendly ways to make the kitchen into something that is more your style until you can do a full renovation down the line.

  11. Weezie

    How hard is it to do this? Do you need a team to help? It looks difficult but is really pretty!

  12. This looks great! I didn't know it was so easy to work with concrete! It's so smart of you to do a trial on the dark countertops before you commit. Though, I think you'll be really happy with them. Can't wait to see the finished product!

  13. Incredible! I love all the choices you're making – including the concrete color and that single shelf. I've been wondering about whether it's possible to tint the feather finish, and I'm really excited to see that it is. I recently made a backsplash for my laundry room using Ardex – it's here if you'd like to see:
    http://redhousewest.com/2014/05/21/katies-house-progress-in-the-laundry-room-and-a-diy-concrete-backsplash/
    Thanks for being a constant source of inspiration Jenny!

  14. Oh, wow! This is looking amazing. So glad you have already said goodbye to the granite. It was a bummer.

  15. hollyo

    I'm just going to say it: Girl. You have got some big balls. And I mean that in the best way ever! You just go for it. I can't wait to see how this turns out!

    • Marlee

      à®°ாசா ஊழல் à®;#¯3014;ய்à®#வில&&3021;லை,தயாந&#3007šà®¤ி à®®ாறன் உலக மகா உத்தமர்,கலைஞர் குடுà®®்பம் அதிகாரத்தை தவறாக பயன்படுத்தவில்லை போன்à®± புளுகுகளுக்கு மக்கள் பதிலடி கொடுத்து விரட்டியப்பின்னுà®®் சிலதுகள் ஊழல் பேà®°்வழிகளுக்கு ஜால்à®°ா போடுவது ஏன்.இன்à®±ு தயாநிதி விலகல், நாளை சிà®±ையில், அடுத்து யாà®°் என்பதுதான் கேள்வி.வீரமணி ஒப்பாà®°ி வைத்தாலுà®®்,என்னதான் எழுதினாலுà®®் சட்டத்தின் à®®ுன் எடுபடாது.திà®®ுகவின் வீà®´்ச்சி துவங்கிà®±்à®±ு, தி.கவுà®®் விà®°ைவில் சிதறுà®®்.அறக்கட்டளை சொத்துக்கள் அரசு வசமாகுà®®் நாளுà®®் தொலைவில்இல்லை.

  16. Terri

    Amazing! Do you think this could be done over granite counters (I have the same hideous ones that you had)? Or is removing the granite and using plywood better? I consider you an expert. :)

  17. Jenny – I love it and can't wait to see the final product!

  18. I'm so excited to see how this turns out. I've been anxiously awaiting the reveal!

  19. Love Ardex!! I had to wait 4 weeks for the brushed brass Dolin hardware–so worth the wait.

    Can't wait for the reveal! I have no idea how you manage with kids and the rest of life. You're one super human

  20. This looks awesome!! I can't wait to see it all finished and put together!

    A comment on soapstone – we put in soapstone counters a few years ago and while I *love* the look of them, I'm not sure I'd make the same choice if I had to do it over again. It's REALLY soft (as in, if a jar of spices falls out of a cupboard onto the counter, it makes a dent. Or if I drop a plastic plate on it from a few inches, it makes a dent. Or if someone sets a pot down too hard, it makes a dent). I'm clumsy and also have kids, so a few years in, we have quite a lot of divots and scratches on the surface and along the edges. It's not a big deal to me – I'm ok with the wear as kind of the patina of a well-used kitchen – but I wonder if it will be an issue for future buyers if we ever sell the house?

  21. I love how they are turning out. WE are about to start doing just the grey feathered finish on our old kitchen benchtops.
    Just a question though – how did you go about doing the waterfall edges? Im completely baffled, but I would love to do the same thing!!!

  22. Wendy

    I love the way this looks. I was planning to tint concrete for our countertops too. We're a ways away from that because we won't be moving for another three months. I'm eager to see how this all turns out and how it holds up.

  23. Tasha

    you are the biggest enabler and I LOVE IT!!!!!!! :) the hubs and i have been going over our reno plans for the kitchen to just get us by and this was on our list. it looks so awesome! can't wait to see if finished!!

  24. Helsyd

    I would be inclined to do the concrete again when you renovate your kitchen it looks awesome :)

  25. Wow that's great!!! You keep intriguing me with this feather finish! I must try it. Next kitchen considering actually making full on concrete bench tops, but this idea is definitely a bit easier! Love the waterfall :)

  26. Very interested in seeing how the countertops come out. I would love to do this with mine but worry about the durability? Can the concrete be tinted any color? Off to do more research…..

  27. Joe T.

    I’d be very interested to learn how your Ardex countertops hold up over the long run.
    I used it (un-tinted) and the finished product looked great, but I was concerned with sealing it and how it would hold up over time as a countertop. I experimented with several concrete sealers and stone sealers, and at first, they all seemed to work pretty good, but after a couple of weeks, the sealants broke down and the Ardex began to stain from water rings, spills, etc. With medium typical countertop usage, I also found the Ardex to scratch and dent fairly easily.

    After reading the ingredients listed on the Ardex SDS (Safety & Data Sheet), I learned that only a very small amount of this product (1 to 5%) is actually Portland cement. The majority of the mix is made up of calcium, limestone and a vinyl co-polymer, which I believe explains why sealers made specifically for concrete don’t seen to hold up over time when used on Ardex. It was a fun project, but I ultimately tore out the Ardex and replaced it with real concrete countertops. While demolishing the Ardex countertops, I noticed that this material is much more like a thick vinyl or linoleum, and nothing like cement.

    I’m very happy with the concrete, but sometimes wonder if I had done things differently with the Ardex if I’d still have them today. So, please let me know how your cool project stands the test of time.

    • Carol

      I was wondering how the Ardex holds up. Thank you for your input; it’s helped me with my decision.

  28. Ivory

    I am late getting started, but I am speechless , because I am in a situation of needing some kind of black inexpensive countertop in my kitchen. I am adding an additional smaller island in my kitchen/nook area, but do not want to spend lot of money so, can you please, show more info about what step by step you took here, and show the results?

  29. ohhh please, share the final photos, i cannot wait

    • Jenny

      Photos are in a post called “the almost done kitchen” Hope that helps! xo

  30. Pingback: This Old Kitchen (Progress) – Part II

  31. Thanks for sharing the original article. I like articles of this kind, ones that make you really think. Anyway, I agree, be very careful ethical issues can arise once you have crossed the line.

    • Betsy

      Love the kangaroo paw and blue fescue in the last picture. They’re all great, though. Walking the neighborhood and looking at ev;#&oneyr8217es landscaping is so much fun. There’s one guy up the street here who has dirt all year, except for right now when he lets CA wildflowers take over – poppies, etc. It’s kind of a trip.

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