Frequently Asked Questions
Have a question about Kreative Elementz products or services? Here’s is a list of all of the frequently asked questions our current clients and potential customers have asked us. If you don’t see the answer to your question here, please contact us or so that we may answer all of your questions regarding our Brisbane or Gold Coast service.
Why consider concrete as a material for interior applications, for instance kitchen or bathroom benchtops?
Concrete is an extraordinary material that is practical, expressive and aesthetic all at once. Due to its evolving nature, concrete over the decades will slowly patina and continue to express its beauty in subtle ways. It has moved beyond the cracked footpath and dirty driveway and is now seen by designers as the ‘new black’ because it is possible to be used in interior and exterior contexts. Also, because of its fluidity, concrete is able to be transformed into virtually any shape that becomes a solid mass. Therefore, the design possibilities for creative expression are endless. All you have to do is check out the Kreative Elementz projects to see what can be achieved with concrete.
What type of concrete do you use for benchtops?
Kreative Elementz offers both traditional Wet Cast and Glass Fibre Reinforced Concrete (known as GFRC or GRC). We use and recommend GFRC for most benchtop applications due to its superior strength, durability and ability to make it lighter in weight and fabricate more complex designs. Both options offer a wide range of customisable finishes and colours. GFRC is less susceptible to cracking and can be used to cantilever and span long distances without the need for support structures.
What are the advantages of concrete benchtops over marble or granite? How dies concrete compare to granite in terms of both cost (per square metre) and surface texture?
The biggest advantage of concrete over natural stones like marble or granite is that it is completely customisable; you can sculpt, mould and texturize it to your desire. It can be finished in a high-gloss sheen or non-reflective satin, and it can also be ground and polished to expose stones, glass and sand. You can even embed meaningful objects within it. If you have a concrete kitchen or bathroom benchtop made for you, the cost will be based on the complexity of the form, the mould-making process and the desired finish, rather than the size.
How resistant are concrete benchtops to staining?
When it comes to benchtops this is the million-dollar question. Concrete if untreated is a porous material, much like marble and limestone. This means that it is susceptible to staining. Concrete sealers have come a long way over the years, and the focus is on making sealers specific to kitchen benchtops. Kreative Elementz uses and recommends different sealers depending upon the context in which it is used and the desired look. Our high-end sealers are extremely resistant to staining, heat, outdoor weather conditions and abrasions.
Sealers can be divided into two general categories: densifyers or penetrating sealers and topical sealers (though there are hybrids of the two available). Penetrating sealers or densifyers, as the name suggests, penetrates into the concrete closing the pores and strengthening it. They offer some stain resistance, but greater scratch and abrasion resistance. These sealers are preferred by people who want to retain the natural beauty and feel of concrete and aren’t afraid of some staining or etching over the years. They welcome the patina of concrete, much the same way a chopping board changes over time.
Topical sealers are a protective layer that sits over the concrete. Topical sealers, such as acrylics, epoxies and polyurethanes offer varying degrees of stain protection depending on price, but if not cared for and applied properly are susceptible to scratching and chipping.
Would polished concrete benchtops be good for outside use – as in an outdoor barbeque benchtop? How will a coloured concrete benchtop holdup in sunshine?
Concrete is perhaps the most common building material for exterior use on the planet, however polished and coloured concrete require special consideration when placing outdoors. The right sealer must be used, which must be U.V. resistant and able to withstand changes in temperature and direct sunlight. Kreative Elementz uses sealers that are suitable for external applications, though more frequent maintenance may be required.
Colours are being constantly enhanced in order to resist fading in the sun. Food quality colours along with a high-quality sealer will help to minimise any fading over the years.
Can I use concrete benchtops as a cutting surface?
As with marble or granite, we do not recommend cutting directly on a concrete surface, as it could result in scratches and gouges in the finish of your countertop as well as damage the blades of your knives.
Can I put a hot pot directly onto a polished concrete kitchen bench?
Concrete is heat-resistant, but is still subject to thermal shock if a red-hot object is place directly upon it. Like granite, the exposed area may flake or chip away if too much heat is applied. We use sealers that are heat-resistant, but highly recommend using trivets for hot cookware.
Can polished concrete benchtops chip, flake or crack?
Like marble or granite, concrete corners and edges can chip if struck by a hard object. Creating a rounded concrete edge is much less likely to chip or flake than a shape edge. Concrete benchtops can become susceptible to cracking around thin sections near voids and cut-outs like sinks and cooktops. Due to the reinforcing used these cracks, if they do occur, are not structural.
How thick can I make my benchtop?
Because concrete is such a versatile product it can be made as thing as 20mm to any thickness you want. Weight does not become a major issue as GFRC allows the weight to be kept at a minimum.
Does my cabinetry need any extra support?
The short answer is, generally no. One square metre of Wet Cast concrete at 40mm thickness weighs approximately 95kgs and GFRC can weigh as little as 45kg. This weight is usually spread over various points so it does not become an issue. Structural issues are discussed with the kitchen makers and designers to ensure the best results.
Can I get an integral concrete basin and/or drainboard in my benchtop?
Absolutely! Kreative Elementz is developing a range of sink sizes and can also custom design sinks, hand basins and drain boards to they provide a seamless look that matches your benchtop. Though you do need to consider the context and application of your basin or sink. If it is in your kitchen it is more likely to be exposed to ongoing heavy use and will require more regular maintenance. Yet, polished concrete hand basins make a beautiful addition to any bathroom.
How to I properly maintain and care for my concrete benchtop?
Properly sealed polished concrete benchtops are designed to offer high performance with low maintenance. Only a little common sense is needed in caring for your Kreative Elementz benchtop:
- Wipe as you go, using a soft damp cloth to wipe down your benchtops.
- If you encounter stubborn stains, use a mild non-abrasive cleanser.
- Avoid exposure to products with high PH levels such as oven cleaner. Rinse immediately to neutralise the effect, and then follow usual cleaning procedure.
- Avoid exposure to paint strippers, bleach and nail polish remover. Rinse immediately to neutralise the effect, and then follow usual cleaning procedure.
- Avoid exposure to high impact, especially on the edges.
- Avoid excessive weight being placed on your benchtop, such as people standing on your benchtop.
If, over the years, your concrete benchtop develops scratches, stains or signs of general wear, the surface can be rejuvenated by sanding it back and reapplying a new sealer. Contact Kreative Elementz regarding its ongoing maintenance program.
How can I get more information?
If you have further questions please don’t hesitate to contact Kreative Elementz by phone, email or our easy online enquiry form.