Update: I tried refinishing the counters around the 13-month mark. Read about that experience here.
It’s been almost four months since we coated our kitchen counters in Ardex. I had kind of forgotten that I promised you guys an update on their durability. But then, a couple of weeks ago, I was reading YHL and they were hinting around at the possibility of using this method on their counters, and I remembered what I said….
Well, anyway, it’s a little over-due, but here’s what I think about our counters so far.
I still love them.
Who wouldn’t, right? I mean, look at that!
But no, they are not super durable.
They scratch. A lot. I had heard a lot of complaints about concrete counters, but it always seemed to be mostly about how easily they stain and/or absorb water. I didn’t hear many complaints about scratching.
Or, more likely, I heard them but refused to hear any evidence contrary to my belief that our concrete countertops would be awesome.
Which they are.
Especially when you remember what those concrete counters replaced.
But man, do they scratch easily. I mean, I thought we could minimize this buy using cutting boards, but the truth is that everything you set on the counter will scratch it. Toss your keys on it when you walk in the door? Yep. Slide a plate across the counter? Mm-hmm. Press really hard when you’re writing a grocery list on a single sheet of paper? Yeah, that too. It all leaves scratches.
We also thought that waxing the counters regularly would fill in those scratches, giving us a clean slate every two months or so. So here’s what it they looked at after a good waxing:
We were wrong. Actually, it’s a little worse than that, because the white-ish wax filled in some of the really deep scratches on our black counters, and now, if anything, the scratches are more visible.
Kinda makes me wonder if wax comes in black. Or if real concrete-countertop wax is much different from the Formula-1 car wax that we used.
But despite all of these imperfections, I do not regret our decision to go with skim-coated concrete. Because, if you’ll remember, these counters cost us approximately $150 — for all the materials. If you’ve already got the counters, the Ardex and sealer and wax will probably run you less than $30. And it’ll look like this when you’re done:
I mean, sure, my first choice would have been black marble. And when I win the lottery, I may take a moment (between acquiring yachts and totaling sports cars and using hundred-dollar bills for toilet paper) to spend my pocket change on black marble countertops.
But in our current situation, where I had to take time away from digging through the couch cushions for my bus money in order to write this post,* I love our concrete counters.
*Just kidding. It was Chris’s bus money.
Believe it or not, the scratches do not bother me. At the risk of repeating a cliché, scratches add to the industrial character of the concrete. One of the things I love most about our counters is the visual texture created by the trowel marks and multiple coats of Ardex. The scratches add to that texture.
And on the plus side, those warnings about staining and grease marks and water marks seem to be unfounded…so far. We used both a sealer and a wax, and that seems to be keeping unwanted spots away. Water just beads on the surface of the counter. I’ve even wiped up coffee drips that were about 24 hours old, and they didn’t leave a mark.
So there you have it: my 4-month update on the durability of an Ardex counter top. Would I choose this method again? Absolutely.
And you know what? I just realized that if it gets really bad, I could always strip the wax and put on a new coat of Ardex. It would be a one-day project, because the Ardex is so easy (and I have half a bag left over).
Try that doing that with scratched marble.