Concrete countertops allow contractors the ability to be creative with the inclusion of special aggregates such as glass. But a new product available is Ambient Glow Technology. Similar to the look and size of stone, AGT is a glow-in-the-dark concrete aggregate. Nick Coello, operations manager of Concrete Interiors, Waukesha, Wis., recently created a bathroom vanity, integral sink, and backsplash using concrete and AGT.
The precast, 6-foot by 26-inch countertop used 2 cubic feet of concrete and took Coello two and a half weeks to complete. The countertop was done in one seamless piece while the backsplash was done separately.
Coello used a melamine mold with a polyurethane sink mold to form the countertop. He also used wooden dowels for the faucet knockouts, which he sprayed with form release before placing in the mold.
The countertop included both 8-millimeter AGT as well as turquoise and amber glass, Coello says. He used a 3M spray adhesive to glue the AGT and the decorative glass to the surface of the mold and added steel reinforcement before pouring the concrete.
Coello used Cheng Pro Formula Mix in Platinum to get the color for the countertop. The color was dry mixed with the concrete before adding it to a 12-cubic-foot Imer electric mixer where it was mixed with water. As he poured the concrete into the mold, he used a vibrating table to vibrate the concrete. "We go over the edges at the end with a pencil vibrator, but the table vibrator gets the whole top evenly," Coello says. "Plus, it's out of the way under the table."
Coello used a hand trowel to finish the bottom of the countertop and sink. A plastic tent and warm mist humidifier helped control humidity while the countertop cured for three days.
Next, Coello used a 5-inch wet polisher and diamond pads to expose the aggregate and AGT. He started with a 50-grit and went up to 3,000-grit for polishing. The sink was done using hand polishing pads, Coello says. He used Cheng Pro Formula Sealer to seal the finished countertops, burnishing pads to smooth any air bubbles from the sealer and then finished with a wax and final polish.
This was the first time Coello had used the AGT for a countertop, and he was pleased with the result. "It ground very nice and shined up no problem. We treated it just like any other decorative aggregate." The AGT, which has a pale white color when not glowing and in this case a blue color when glowing works almost as a night light, Coello says. It takes only 10 minutes to charge and can glow for up to 10 hours, he adds. For this countertop, AGT acts as both a decorative and practical feature for the homeowners.
To read about more decorative concrete countertops see our article "Concrete Countertops" from the April/May issue of Concrete Contractor.
Project At a Glance:
Project: Bathroom vanity, integral sink and backsplash
Size: 6-foot by 26-inch countertop; 2 cubic feet of concrete
Key products and equipment:
Ambient Glow Technology aggregate; glass aggregate; Cheng Pro Formula Mix in Platinum; 3M spray adhesive; Imer electric mixer; vibrating table; 5-inch wet polisher; 50- to 3,000-grit diamond pads; Cheng Pro Formula Sealer.