Bradley Coomes, owner of Coomes Custom Concrete Creations, offers tips on how to marble concrete for countertops and tabletops. Coomes offers a look at best practices for mixing, dusting, casting and polishing.
When most people think of concrete, they bring up images of sidewalks and driveways, roads, and buildings. Not the most glamorous of objects in our everyday lives, but they don’t really show off the diversity of concrete. I make decorative concrete countertops and furniture pieces, all unique works of art, all from concrete.
My favorite thing to do with concrete is to make it look like a slab of marble. Why not just use marble? Marble is great but it is hard to find the exact pattern, the exact colors, in the exact shape you want. Finding a slab big enough to make a seamless waterfall edge countertop, matching your coloring is insanely difficult. With concrete, you can mimic the styles of marble, but manipulate it into shapes and designs you or your customer’s desire.
There are some truly breathtaking examples out there, I continue to be amazed at pieces my contemporaries are putting out. I learned how to make concrete this way at the Concrete Design School (CDS), with this specific technique taught by Dusty Baker, and using his Dusty powder. This Dusty-crete technique is very simple to understand, but the potential is limitless. Finding the right balance and flow of the powder is an art form.
My mixture is constantly changing, no two pieces use the same exact mix design. Every piece I do has different design limitations and challenges. I use Buddy Rhodes ECC Admixture, the finest sand you can find (I use mason sand from a local quarry; it’s not the finest but the locals love having a local product like that), white portland cement, and then low doses of PVA RECS 15 fibers, acrylic fibers, silica fume, plasticizer, and pigment if needed.