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Concrete Countertops: Design, Forms, and Finishes for the New Kitchen and Bath Paperback – April 15, 2002


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Concrete Countertops: Design, Forms, and Finishes for the New Kitchen and Bath + Concrete Countertops Made Simple: A Step-By-Step Guide (Made Simple (Taunton Press)) + Concrete at Home: Innovative Forms and Finishes
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Taunton Press (April 15, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561584843
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561584840
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.7 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,505 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

At first, the idea of using concrete for kitchen countertops has the same appeal as using cardboard boxes for cabinetry or dining on the floor. Naysayers are in for a surprise as architect Cheng elevates this pedestrian building material to a new level, using it to create beautiful and functional countertops. They are a far cry from rough sidewalks, having polished surfaces that can be colored or have interesting objects cast into them. Cheng shows the entire process: design considerations, mold-making, concrete selection, installation, and maintenance, all using straightforward instructions supplemented by excellent illustrations. Showing an innovative use of a common and inexpensive material, this title should be part of comprehensive public library home improvement collections.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From the Back Cover

"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 of The Not So Big House and Creating 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 public's 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, Special Issues Editor, Fine Homebilding Magazine

"This book celebrates the beauty of design drawn from nature.. Fu-Tung Cheng demonstrates that we can bring art and creativity back home in sustainable architecture that is both timeless and elegant." -----Alice Waters, Chez Panisse restaurant


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Customer Reviews

It is well written; nice, clear photography and very helpful step-by-step instructions on how to do it right.
ChoxieBlue
Second, the author makes a reference to plastic cabinet legs being inadequate to support a concrete countertop.
Steven B. Miers
I recommend this book to anyone interested in creating with concrete things that are outside of the mainstream.
Rick V

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

276 of 280 people found the following review helpful By Steven B. Miers on September 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
I'm giving this book 5 stars, since it inspired me to create my countertops in concrete; something I wouldn't have done otherwise. Don't be confused by my comments below, I don't regret buying this book at all. I even plan to put concrete countertops in the next house I build. However, there were quite a few hurdles that had to be overcome. It has been mentioned that the author glossed over quite a few things, and I agree.
A few comments:
First, contrary to the author's comments, an electric sander is completely inadequate for vibrating the concrete. Buy or rent a professional vibrator unless you want pinholes in your work. Hand "massaging" and rapping the sides with a hammer will not completely eliminate the problem either. I tried all three methods and still ended up with a moderate amount of honeycombing. As the author mentions, this is easily patched, and it even adds character to the work if you use a slightly different color, but be aware: properly vibrating the mix is not nearly as simple as it seems to be in the book. My comments pertain to a mix that has proper slump (i.e., not too wet).
Second, the author makes a reference to plastic cabinet legs being inadequate to support a concrete countertop. That may be accurate for the flimsy off-the-shelf cabinets, but the plastic cabinet legs that are quickly becoming a standard ... are load-rated at 650 pounds EACH. This is more than enough to support a think concrete countertop (probably even better than a shimmed 2x4 base).
Next, I would have to say that I was slightly annoyed at the lack of "recipes" needed to produce some of the stunning work shown in the book's illustrations. Visiting the author's website was also annoying since there it doesn't help much (unless you want to buy one of his pricey kits.
Read more ›
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143 of 146 people found the following review helpful By Kevin J. Post on March 18, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been waiting for this book to be printed for a few months. Since the first time I saw a concrete countertop in home I was touring, I've wanted to learn more about how to make them. Unfortunately, no books on the subject existed until this one.
Fine Homebuilding had an article featuring the author that stopped short of being an all-inclusive 'How-To' on creating countertops from concrete. This book is all of that.
The book takes the reader through the process of creating a kitchen countertop step-by-step. It includes instructions for building the form, concrete composition (including a recipe), coloring, finishing, handling & installation and maintenance. The author includes numerous hints and tips gleaned from his experience that should help the first-time countertop maker avoid problems.
Other titles I've purchased from Taunton included great photos and illustrations. This book is no exception. It's packed with hundreds of full-color photographs of the process and of completed kitchens that will fuel your imagination.
My only disappointment is that the author didn't include more specific information and/or recipes that would allow a do-it-yourselfer (like me) to achieve some of the looks featured in the book. By adding various dyes and aggregates, a wide variety of looks can be created using concrete. I understand Mr. Cheng's need to protect some of his secrets but it will be difficult for me to experiment as I lack the time and resources to duplicate some of the examples shown.
Thank you to Taunton Press and Mr. Cheng for providing a great book. I can't wait to get started...
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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful By T. Hartman on April 24, 2002
Format: Paperback
I've known about concrete countertops for years and have never been able to find a book that doesn't just make a cursory reference. This is the first book ever to describe, start-to-finish, how to make concrete countertops. The photography is beautiful and sends the creative part of my mind spinning with ideas.
The only drawback, is that Fu-Tung Cheng keeps too many things secret, or he was limited by space from REALLY getting into the nitty gritty. But with some common sense and trial-and-error, you should be able to fill in the blanks.
A warning to do-it yourselfers: Because a lot of trial-and-error is required on the reader's part, whatever you do, do the seperate mold technique (which is heavily covered) and do not attempt to cast it in place (not covered much) unless you really know what you're doing.
This book gives you a great starting point from which to practice your own functional art, and is well worth the price.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By R. C. Vance on July 30, 2006
Format: Paperback
I had the idea that I would make my own very customized concrete countertops, but after reading the book I decided on granite instead.

The book has a stylish and modern look, with beautiful illustrations, though not as many photos of actual countertops as one might think. It contains a fairly detailed description of how to make a countertop using the inverted mold method with sections on making the mold, concrete mixes and additives, surface finishes and sealants. The cast-in-place method is mentioned briefly.

The process is not inexpensive and is extremely labor intensive. When you are done you have a countertop that is high maintenance and subject to scratching and staining. Concrete is intriguing because of the design flexibility it offers, but the material looks more suited to bar tops or other area that are not working surfaces. This book gave me the information to make an informed choice and ultimately saved me a lot of work.
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