Countertops

We decided to make our own countertops out of concrete, using recycled glass for the aggregate. We found the book Concrete Countertops: Design, Form, and Finishes for the New Kitchen and Bath to be inspiring and helpful for getting started. Most of that book talks about making countertops out of conventional concrete, i.e. with cement and sand and gravel, but we like the look of glass aggregate. Here are a couple of examples from Vetrazzo that show the general ideal of what we're aiming for:

Since our property already has some piles of old glass containers back in the woods from prior owners who thought that dumping trash in the woods was a good idea, we decided to clean up their mess and recycle the glass into countertops for the house. Here's a photo of Liz washing the crates of mostly-broken glass jars and bottles we dug out of the woods.

Concrete Mix Recipe

Here is the final recipe that we used for our countertop mix. These quantities make approximately 1 square foot at 1.5 inches thick, with a little extra, so we multiplied this times the square footage of each countertop to get the final quantities that we mixed up:

ItemQuantity
Crushed Glass11.4 lbs (typically 7.4 lbs clear glass plus 4 lbs colored)
White silica Sand4.8 lbs
White Portland Cement3.6 lbs
Cheng Countertop Mix88 grams
Polypropylene Fibers2 grams (optional)
Water1.3 lbs (plus more as needed to make a workable mix)

The amount of water given above yielded a fairly stiff mixture, and then a little more water was added to make a workable consistency. The Cheng Pro-Formula Countertop Mix is available in various colors and we used the base mix but the "platinum" color is similar. It contains additives that improve workability and reduce shrinkage and cracking, including some chopped polypropylene fibers. We added a bit more fibers to our mixture and they're probably not necessary, but our local concrete supplier sold us a bag for just a few dollars and it was enough for all our countertops.


Building the Crusher
10/3/09: Converting an old clothes dryer into a glass crusher.

First Countertop Test
5/9/10: The first test of our countertop making process.

Second and Third Tests
5/14/10: The second and third test pieces.

Cottage Bath Countertop
5/17/10 - 6/16/10: Our first real countertop.

Middle Bath Countertop
6/18/10 - 7/14/10: Improving the technique to make our second countertop.

East Bath Countertop
7/18/10 - 8/16/10: A different mix of colors for the third and final bathroom.

Main Kitchen Countertops
7/31/10 - 10/2/10: Five countertop segments in the main kitchen.

Cottage Kitchen Countertops
10/29/10 - 12/12/10: The final two countertop segments, to complete the cottage kitchen.

 


This page was updated on Monday August 21, 2017