Glass and concrete are two materials that certainly pair well with each other. They especially look appealing when they are one in the same. A concrete countertop with broken glass particles looks amazing, is 100 percent safe and makes good use of recycled materials. Use this basic guide and create your own glass filled concrete countertop.
Creating the Form
If you want your concrete countertop to look smooth and consistent, then you need to take the time to make your form as smooth and consistent as possible. For this process, you’ll need a piece of laminated MDF board or a piece of plywood and a piece of laminate material to cover the plywood. The laminate surface is required to prevent the concrete materials from sticking to the form once it’s dry. It also creates a smooth finish on the final product.
Build the form to your countertop’s specifications and make sure you use high strength concrete poured at least 2-inches thick. Seal each seam in the form using a latex caulk. Smooth the edges of the caulk to create a solid bond that prevents any wet concrete from escaping the form.
Mixing the Concrete
Mix the concrete to the consistency of pliable dough. You’ll want to pack the form full of concrete rather than pour it in. If the mix is too runny, it will end up leaking through the form and have a hard time curing. Add in the crushed glass with the dry concrete and mix using a paddle mixing bit and a large drill. You don’t want to cut yourself on sharp glass by mixing it with your hand. Always wear heavy duty work gloves when handling any unfinished concrete and glass mixture.
Finishing the Concrete
Pack the concrete and glass mixture into the form (with your gloves on) as quickly as possible. Stiff concrete dries very fast and larger countertops may need to be worked in sections rather one piece at a time. Smooth the top of the concrete out with a finishing trowel and allow it to dry.
Once it has cured for at least 48 hours, you can acid etch the surface to bring out the glass. You’ll need a plastic bucket, muriatic acid and a small cotton mop or rag. Mix one part muriatic acid with four parts water and dip in a cloth rag or mop. Swirl the mixture onto the concrete surface, drag it in a straight line or blotch it on to create random effects. Concentrate on removing the film from any glass pieces to expose their color, but be careful you don’t get cut – the glass is still very sharp at this point. Allow it to dry overnight.
Last but not least, you’ll need to coat the surface of the concrete with several layers of clear coat gloss enamel to prevent the glass from being sharp. These layers of enamel take some time and the rougher the concrete finish is, the more layers of clear enamel you’ll need to make it smooth.