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Concrete Countertops

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Concrete Countertops
by Fu-Tung Cheng
Paperback
This book re-invents the countertop with a single material: concrete. Although this method of building kitchen and bathroom countertops is currently very popular, not one book on the subject exists - until now.

Enter Fu-Tung Cheng, master of design and construction. Here at last is a complete, start-to-finish book on creating concrete countertops. Cheng takes you step-by-step through the process of making a concrete countertop -- from building the mold and mixing and pouring concrete to curing, grinding, polishing, and installing the countertop.

Youll be inspired by the 350 color photographs that bring this exciting medium to life. And youll discover that the possibilities for creative expression with concrete are endless. Countertops made of custom-formed, colored and finished concrete can look like marble, granite, glass or sculpture - the look is limited only be the imagination.

Throughout the book, Cheng offers valuable troubleshooting advice and useful tips on maintaining a concrete countertop.

'Concrete Countertops will give architects and builders the know-how and confidence to draw and/or build what discerning homeowners are requesting in work surfaces these days. This is the tool they've been looking for to help bring their clients' concrete dreams into concrete reality!'

-- Sarah Susanka, author, The Not So Big House

Over the past decade, the most requested article from our back issues has been about making concrete countertops. And more than anybody, Fu-Tung Cheng has been the innovator calling the publics attention to concrete as a material worthy of the finest interior detailing. This is the kind of book that will make you see a common material in a whole new way, and maybe even make you want to roll up your sleeves and play with it.

-- Chuck Miller, editor, Fine Homebuilding



Concrete Resources

Visit www.concreteexchange.com to find supplies, contractors, advanced techniques, and design options.
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Details

This book re-invents the countertop with a single material: concrete. Although this method of building kitchen and bathroom countertops is currently very popular, not one book on the subject exists - until now.

Enter Fu-Tung Cheng, master of design and construction. Here at last is a complete, start-to-finish book on creating concrete countertops. Cheng takes you step-by-step through the process of making a concrete countertop -- from building the mold and mixing and pouring concrete to curing, grinding, polishing, and installing the countertop.

Youll be inspired by the 350 color photographs that bring this exciting medium to life. And youll discover that the possibilities for creative expression with concrete are endless. Countertops made of custom-formed, colored and finished concrete can look like marble, granite, glass or sculpture - the look is limited only be the imagination.

Throughout the book, Cheng offers valuable troubleshooting advice and useful tips on maintaining a concrete countertop.

'Concrete Countertops will give architects and builders the know-how and confidence to draw and/or build what discerning homeowners are requesting in work surfaces these days. This is the tool they've been looking for to help bring their clients' concrete dreams into concrete reality!'

-- Sarah Susanka, author, The Not So Big House

Over the past decade, the most requested article from our back issues has been about making concrete countertops. And more than anybody, Fu-Tung Cheng has been the innovator calling the publics attention to concrete as a material worthy of the finest interior detailing. This is the kind of book that will make you see a common material in a whole new way, and maybe even make you want to roll up your sleeves and play with it.

-- Chuck Miller, editor, Fine Homebuilding



Concrete Resources

Visit www.concreteexchange.com to find supplies, contractors, advanced techniques, and design options.
Additional Information

Additional Information

SKU FHB72070599
Table Of Contents Introduction

1 DESIGN AND PLANNING
Why concrete?
Before you begin
Break out of the mold
Complements and supplements

2 BUILDING THE MOLD
Tools and materials
Laying out the mold
Assembling the mold

3 MIX DESIGN
The basics
A basic mix
Calculating and proportioning ingredients

4 MIXING AND POURING
Tools and materials
The work environment
Mixing the concrete
Placing the concrete

5 CURING, FINISHING, AND TROUBLESHOOTING
Curing
Releasing the concrete
Grinding and polishing
Placing inlays
Sealing the concrete
Troubleshooting

6 INSTALLING THE COUNTERTOP
Preparing the cabinets
Installating the countertop
Installing the backsplash

Appendix 1. Building a Curved Form

Appendix 2. Forming a Drop-Down Front Edge

Appendix 3. Pouring a Countertop in Place

Appendix 4. Maintaining a Concrete Countertop

Resources

Credits

Index
Intro

My palms sweat. A fresh-finished, curing concrete sidewalk beckons me. I sense the damp, smooth surface tempting me to leave my handprint or to scratch the initials of my first love. How many times before have I abandoned myself to the temptation and gotten away with it? I stand, poised, ready with stick in hand to scratch in her name . . . only to be thwarted by a grown-up shouting: 'Hey, kid! Get away from that concrete!' I run.

Years later, here I am again, tempted. There isn't a soul around. I pick up the perfect stick . . . but now no one stops me. No longer the delinquent, I can carve, scratch, stamp, mold, and grind all the concrete I can get my hands on -- and play to my heart's content. Rather than being shooed away, now I'm invited to stay.

Concrete is a wondrous material. From a primal and formless slurry, it can transform itself into solid form taking on any shape. The possibilities for creative expression are endless. You can grind, polish, stamp, and stain it. You can embed objects in it. It has substance and mass, permanence and warmth. It feels earthy. It assumes forms that irrevocably touch our daily lives: bridges, highways, floors, walls, and now even countertops.

It first occurred to me to make a countertop out of concrete in 1985, when a friend and I were hired to design and renovate a professor's house in the Berkeley hills. He gave us a modest budget and announced, 'This is all I can afford to spend, do whatever you want.' Armed with this rare creative license, and plenty of youthful exuberance, everything was targeted to be as innovative as possible. Nothing, we decided, would be 'out of the box,' including the kitchen sink. In fact, the sink is of special interest here since it was the first step in a process that has led to this book.

We decided to make our own sink and countertop with granite and ceramic tiles. The tiles would create a palpable sense of massiveness, we reasoned, and their complex surface texture would give the piece a comfortable, human scale. Basically, we were working toward an aesthetic that has informed much of our work since.

Rather than build a conventional grouted plywood base for the tile sink and countertop, however, my friend and I decided to cast a concrete base. We had already done plenty of kitchen remodels by that time, and we'd seen our share of dry-rotted wood underlayments. Concrete never rots.

So we simply built a mold of two wooden boxes, one nested inside the other. We filled the gap between them with concrete out of a bag. It was a simple process that yielded quite surprising results. When we stripped the mold, we were amazed. The raw concrete was beautiful. It looked like sculpture: There was all that massiveness we liked, and the surface -- gray, pitted, crazed, and textured by the mold -- had all the complexity we'd envisioned . . . without the tile.

We agreed that it was a shame to hide the concrete, and we resolved that on our next job we'd explore concrete's potential as a medium for creative expression.

And so we did, in my own kitchen. It was a single piece containing 11 cu. ft. of concrete. It weighed nearly 1,500 lb. It took 10 of us, using two engine hoists, to turn it over once it had cured. We barely managed it, but the piece came out intact and beautiful, and to this day is still being put to good use.

It was beginner's luck, we quickly discovered.

As we designed and built more of these 'working sculptures' for our clients, problems came up: efflorescence, cracks, honeycombing, more efflorescence, stains, and then more efflorescence -- but each setback led to new insights and new inspirations. With each experience, we learned to simplify the process and control the variables that affect the finished product. And the more we worked with the material, the more encouraged we became.

Concrete has become my material of choice for design expression, simply because its utility and durability are matched by its sculptural sensuality. My approach to concrete is thus design driven, and this book is as much about design and art as it is about the practical aspects of working with concrete.

In Concrete Countertops, we discuss the tools, materials, and methods we've developed that contribute to consistently satisfactory results. And most important, we offer a gallery of design ideas culled from projects by Cheng Design and others.

It's my hope that this book will inspire more homeowners, artists, designers, architects, and concrete professionals to get their hands dirty and play. I invite you to take the techniques presented here as a springboard to explore the creative possibilities of this age-old material. I want everyone to see that concrete not only has an ancient history as a durable, lasting material but that it has proved its efficacy as a medium of aesthetic expression as well. And that today, with improvements in our understanding of its basic properties, science and industry have provided us with materials and methods that enable us to expand the potential of this amazing material.

So come on, surrender to the impulse to carve those initials.

ISBN 978-1-56158-484-0
Video
Author Fu-Tung Cheng
Publication Year 2001
Dimensions 9-1/4 x 10-7/8
Pages 208
Photo color photos
Drawings and drawings
Other Formats No
Cover Paperback
Format Paperback
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