Today there is a greater interest in authenticity than ever before. From food to design we want to know as much about what we are spending our hard earned money on as possible. Given that the kitchen is one of the most important spaces in the contemporary home consumers are prepared to push the boat out when it comes to design and materials there. Recently one of the most innovative and high performing choices is concrete, a versatile, hygienic and surprisingly efficient material. With the right care it can last a lifetime, here below we look at the various ways that concrete can be introduced into the kitchen.
The versatility of concrete
Concrete is a composite material composed of fine and coarse aggregates bonded using a liquid cement paste that hardens when dried. It is a highly plastic material; it is poured so adopts the shape of the mould it is cast within. During the mid twentieth century the ‘New Brutalism’ style which was derived from the French language term bréton brut (meaning raw concrete) became ubiquitous around the world. Buildings often characterised by its modularity, functionality, simple geometric forms and concrete board mark finish. These are the very qualities that make cement a very appropriate material for the kitchen.
Cement is a very adaptable material
The kitchen worktop normally must incorporate a void for the sink, surface drainage channels for drying dishes, a cut-out for the kitchen hob and splash back. Moulding a specially created worktop from cement can provide a seamless surface that includes all these elements in a continuous material. The worktop can either be supported off the walls or be a stand alone as a concrete kitchen island. Bear in mind however that concrete is a heavy material, large spans will requireme metal reinforcement. And depending on the thickness of the worktop the structural implications should be calculated before embarking on any installation.
Not just the worktop
It is not just the kitchen worktop however that can be finished in cement; flooring and wall finishes can also be included in order to achieve an overall aesthetic. The advantages of a continuous flooring material in the kitchen are especially noteworthy in an open plan arrangement. Polished concrete can be easily maintained and provides a clean and visually pleasing finish.
Finishes and textures
The cement finish is conditioned by the aggregate or added material, for example small stones or a colour pigment. Depending on the coarseness of the stones the final finish requires polishing which can provide an organic and attractive visual texture. Another increasingly which consists of micro-coating of high performance cement combined with polymers, ultra fine aggregates, additives and other colour pigments. The finish achieved is very smooth to the touch and has the advantage of not requiring a sub-base, meaning it can be applied over existing finishes such as ceramic tiles.