Tradewinds Custom Designs is committed to the enduring values of honesty, integrity, accountability, and respect for ourselves and for our Houston clients. Our vision embraces unsurpassed artistry, elegance, and luxury to be the industry leader through innovation and creative design.
We specialize in concrete countertops, concrete fireplace surrounds, custom cabinets, and general carpentry.
Wondering what kind of countertop should I choose or having trouble choosing the right color granite countertops? We can help. Contact us now!
Are you looking for concrete countertops for your Houston home? Are you looking for modern alternatives to traditional wood or granite countertops? Ask about our concrete countertops.
Considering Concrete Countertops?
Use the information below to help you decide if Concrete Countertops are right for you.
Where can I use concrete in my home?
Tradewinds Custom Designs custom creates concrete kitchen countertops, backsplashes, bathroom vanity tops, concrete sinks, showers, fireplaces, tables, desks, chairs and more.
Indoor and outdoor options – outdoor kitchens and patios, fireplaces, etc.
Built-in sinks and vessel sinks.
Concrete countertops can be any shape or size. They can also be curved, multi-level, notched, without adding significantly to the cost, unlike granite and quartz. Curved concrete shapes simply adds complexity in planning and labor in forming, whereas granite and quartz costs increase dramatically for curves.
Vertical applications: Concrete can also be used for fireplaces, mantels, backsplashes, and shower surrounds.
Concrete floors. While Tradewinds Custom Designs does not specialize in etching or renewing concrete floors, we can refer you to companies that do.
Who would want concrete countertops?
The growing trend of concrete countertops in homes in addition to restaurants and other commercial establishments speaks volumes for what consumers are looking for these days. While granite used to rule the countertop landscape, many savvy homeowners are looking for something more unique and yet more natural than glossy rock. Concrete countertops are also uniquely personal, as each countertop is made specifically for that client. If you think concrete countertops are right for you, determine if:
- You want something that looks natural and has character of its own
You want something personalized to fit your space and your style
You want a specific color or texture that’s limited by picking stone
You are looking for high-quality but don’t like the shininess of granite
You want something you won’t find in your neighbor’s home
If so, concrete countertops may be right for you.
What are the pros and cons of concrete countertops versus other countertops?
Custom: concrete countertops are poured specifically for you, your home, and for the particular place they will be installed. Your countertop will be highly personalized based on the choices you pick and unique to you.
Versatile: Concrete’s biggest allure is that it fits perfectly into any style of home, from modern to hill country, industrial to contemporary. Concrete can conform to the style and beauty of your home, not the other way around.
Durable: Tradewinds Custom Designs uses a sealer that is extremely stain-resistant and low-maintenance. Unlike other countertops, the sealer doesn’t degrade and therefor does not need to be reapplied every year like granite sealers. Our sealer also has a very high heat resistance to avoid marking or staining from hot pans.
Variation: Since concrete countertops are hand made and hand finished, they inherently have imperfections and variations in color and texture. We believe this is a strength that adds character and beauty to the final product. Hairline cracks may appear months or even years after installation, and are usually a result of movement of the cabinets below or house itself. This is part of the natural movement and should not be deemed a defect.
Lead Time: Since each countertop is custom made for each client, it sometimes can take longer to build and install that other solutions that are mass cut and waiting in a materials yard. More information on lead time is below.
Stains: similar to granite, concrete countertops are porous and need to be sealed to avoid staining. Granite countertops hide stains better because there are usually dark colored and highly patterned. Wiping up spills immediately will minimize staining, and a touch up kit can minimize the appearance of most stains if they do occur.
Scratching: Just like other countertop solutions, the sealer can be scratched. Using cutting boards and not cutting directly on the countertop will avoid scratching of the sealer topcoat.
How much do concrete countertops cost?
Even though you are getting a complete custom product, the cost of concrete countertops is competitive in price to high-end granite, usually ranging from $80-$100 a square foot, depending on your custom choices. We are happy to work with you to find estimates that fit your budget and your design/style for your home.
What color can I get a concrete countertop in?
The answer is ANY color. You can also choose solid, speckled, or variegated patterns, and specify embedded stone, glass or other objects into the final top. The options available make concrete the most versatile countertop choice.
How do I get a custom color?
Tradewinds Custom Designs has many colors to choose from, but we also specialize in custom color development as well. You submit a paint chip or fabric with the desired color and we will produce 2 or more 6” x 6” samples for you to approve before we pour. The process can take up to 3 weeks, so keep that in mind when determining time frame.
How much color variation will there be?
Concrete is a natural, handmade material. It is also a heterogenous mix of materials, which add to the variation throughout the pour. Factors that affect the final pour include humidity, sand lot, and cement lot. All of our color formulas record type of cement, type of sand, and exact measurements of pigments to 1/10th of a gram, as well as using software to calculate mix design and quantities. While our colors will be very close to desired color, the aforementioned factors still produce slight color variations from pour to pour.
Another contributing factor to variation is sample size. Choosing a color from a 6” x 6” sample will show the color, but that color was never uniform across a large surface. The same sample situation occurs with other natural countertops like granite, where a small sample is not indicative of the whole granite slab, and will have much variation throughout. If uniformity is an important factor, concrete countertops may not be the right solution for you, and you should choose a solid surface instead.
What edges can I get on my countertop?
Sine concrete edging is formed, not cut and glued, edge choices are dependent on the availability of trim forms. Currently, Tradewinds Custom Designs can do pencil, beveled, concave, bullnose and reverse cove edging, and other custom edges may be available. Edging may be placed on top or bottom of the countertop.
What kind of sinks can I use with concrete countertops?
Tradewinds Custom Designs’ countertops can accommodate all types of sinks including drop-in, undermount and apron front.
The minimum lip of concrete around all sides of sinks is 3”. Concrete can also accommodate drop-in cooktops. The minimum lip of concrete in the front of a cooktop is 3”. We recommend 3” for the back also, but 2” will suffice.
Tradewinds Custom Designs can make integral concrete sinks of almost any shape. Bathroom vanity tops are an excellent application of integral concrete sinks.
Kitchen sinks are much larger with steep angles that stress and a high potential for cracking. Therefore, kitchen sinks are not a good candidate for integral concrete and are not recommended. Kitchen sinks also need a thicker concrete bottom that would prove problematic with standard plumbing and cabinet space available.
We can also create concrete vessel sinks in any color and shape.
How do you make backsplashes?
Backsplashes are cast separately and mounted after the countertops are installed. They are at least 1” and 3” high but can be as tall as needed. Outlet openings are also cast in advance.
Will concrete countertops stain?
Concrete is very porous and will stain if not properly sealed. All concrete countertops should be sealed to prevent staining. However, all sealers are not created equally. Commonly used sealers include wax and penetrating acrylic sealer, but neither of these offer heat resistance or significant stain resistance, and both require reapplication often.
Tradewinds Custom Designs sealer is different. Our high-performance sealer is super durable and provides excellent stain resistance to common household products such as red wine, lemon juice, and olive oil. We will provide complete car instructions with your Owner’s Guide, but touch up of most marks is easily done.
Will concrete countertops scratch?
While our sealer is durable, it is important not to cut directly on the surface or drag heavy sharp objects across it. Most likely this will scratch the sealer layer, which can then allow stains to penetrate down to the concrete. Cutting on the countertop will also quickly dull you knives, which will then need to be sharpened. If you do scratch the countertop, you can quickly and easily repair it using your Touch-Up Kit.
Can I put hot pots directly on the countertop?
As with most countertops, it is always best to use a hot pad or trivet to absorb the hot surface. Concrete can microcrack when exposed to high heat, which can make the surface appear “crazed”. If this does occur, the Touch-up Kit can be used to minimize the appearance of these microcracks, similar to scratch repair.
How are concrete countertops made?
All of the concrete slabs are precast in our shop and fully finished and sealed before delivering to location.
There are generally two basic process options to concrete countertops: cast-in-place or precast. Cast-in place is similar to how you would pour concrete for your foundation. The install preps the area, builds a form in place and pours your countertop directly on top of your countertops. While this method skips the delivery hassles of large concrete pieces and allows for a completely seamless finish, there are many drawbacks to this method. Cast-in-place countertops tie up the site for days or even weeks and is a very messy process overall. It also offers fewer options and less control overall for the finished product. The final finish must be hand troweled and either acid stained or pigment colored. The quality of the final finish is stunted by the environment it is poured in and the lack of quality control the situation renders.
Precast concrete is poured in a much different environment. Most of the environmental conditions can be controlled by precasting off site and delivering for install. Precast concrete’s quality is usually superior to concrete cast-in-place because tighter quality control can be exercised. Curing can be closely monitored and adjusted as needed. The look of the concrete can also be monitored and a smoother finish can be achieved by pouring into a form and flipping the final product. Glass, stone or other objects can be embedded which cannot be done in place since this step requires extensive wet grinding that usually should not be done in a customer’s home.
There are 2 methods of precasting: wet cast and glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC).
Wet cast uses a more traditional concrete mix of sand, aggregate and cement poured into forms. Our formula uses specialized mixtures to achieve the ultra-high surface quality needed for interior kitchens and bathrooms. We use local ingredients whenever possible.
Because of our education with The Concrete Countertop Institute, we are able to properly reinforce wet cast concrete to prevent cracking. Proper steel reinforcement is essential to combat the large stresses placed on a long, thin slab of concrete such as a countertop.
GFRC is concrete that is structurally reinforced with a large loading of alkali-resistant glass fibers instead of with steel. It is built up in 2 stages: a thin “mist coat” that is sprayed into the forms and provides the surface appearance, followed by a very fibrous “backer coat”. GFRC is extremely strong, flexible and light compared to wet cast concrete.
Tradewinds Custom Designs will work with you to determine which type of concrete is best for your project, depending on the look and shape you want to achieve.
What is the lead time?
Although countertops are one of the last items to be installed, concrete countertops should be selected as early as possible. Here is an outline of the process:
Tradewinds Custom Designs often performs custom color matching and submits samples for your approval. Allow about 3 weeks for this process. See the section on custom colors for more information.
Once cabinets are fully installed, templating can be done which takes less than one day.
The typical time required to fabricate most concrete countertops, depending on their size and complexity, is 3-4 weeks. Note that the fabrication process may not start immediately after templating depending on how full our production schedule is. A good guideline is to contact Tradewinds Custom Designs at the beginning of the project, or at the latest one month before cabinetry is scheduled to be installed, both to allow time for custom color samples and to secure a spot on Tradewinds Custom Designs’ production schedule.
In the case of a residential project such as a complete kitchen remodel, homeowners are usually willing to wait longer for their custom-made, handcrafted concrete countertops. However, temporary countertops can be a way to minimize inconvenience. Temporary plywood countertops are one possible solution. Or, the contractor can preserve parts of the old countertops to provide some work surfaces.
Because Tradewinds Custom Designs countertops are precast and prefinished, installation generally takes less than one day.
How are templates made?
Concrete countertops are templated just like quartz and granite. Templating is done after any existing countertops are removed, or after new cabinets are fully installed. This is the time that we actually “map” out your countertops and take exact physical measurements. Your contractor needs to arrange for existing countertops removal. Almost all concrete countertops require physical templates from the fully installed cabinetry.
In some cases, such as small or freestanding pieces, we can fabricate from CADD drawings instead of physical templates. We will advise on templating requirements for your project, and we provide your contractor with a templating checklist to help him prepare. All fixtures that penetrate the concrete, such as sinks and faucets, must be available at templating time.
How are the countertops installed?
Concrete countertops are handled and installed just like quartz and granite. Seams are caulked with a color-matched acrylic caulk. Your contractor needs to arrange for plumbing and electrical hookup no earlier than 24 hours after the countertops installation.
Are there any special structural considerations?
No. Standard precast concrete weighs about the same as quartz or granite of the same thickness, and glass fiber reinforced concrete weighs half as much. Typically, no special considerations are necessary for standard kitchen or bathroom vanity tops. Cantilevered slabs, bartops on kneewalls and similar situations sometimes require brackets or other structural supports. Tradewinds Custom Designs will advise on support requirements.
Are there any seams?
Whenever possible, concrete countertops are designed without seams. Sometimes, they are located around sinks or cooktops or where required for structural reasons. Sometimes, seams may be needed to get a slab in the house, around corners, or upstairs. Regardless, Tradewinds Custom Designs will work with you to choose the best seam placement for your countertops.
Seams are typically 1/16” wide, similar to tile grout lines. However, it is important to realize that concrete countertops are handmade and hand processed; they are not machine cut, so tolerances for seams are more generous than with quartz or granite. Seam appearance is minimized by using color-matched acrylic caulk.
Do you offer a warranty?
Absolutely. Tradewinds Custom Designs offers a structural warranty for one year after installation. Concrete will of course last a lot longer than a year, but if any problems were to occur, they would occur in the first year. We subject the concrete to much larger stresses while handling it than clients ever could once it is installed. In addition, Tradewinds Custom Designs provides each client with an Owner’s Guide and a direct phone number for support.
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