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Hand-Troweled Concrete Countertops

Trowel Finish Concrete Countertops and Stool

Our friends at Boyd Construction Company needed a new plan review table in their office. They wanted an industrial vibe and needed something really durable to work on. The owner and I met to go over the plan, he decided on concrete countertops made to look like the floor, which was original to the building.

Setting up Forms for Cast in Place Concrete Countertops

Cast in place concrete countertop forms and toolsSo we set a date. We came in with our forms, which was pre-ripped strips of melamine, and carefully set it up so we didn’t get concrete on the nice walnut base cabinetry. We had to be careful not to drill into the finished face of the cabinetry, so we made blocking to avoid that.¬†

Mixing and Casting

After our forms were in place, we mixed our concrete. We have a large mixer that makes this much easier, as the mix we use for this project was pretty stiff. We brought our concrete into the office in buckets and hand packed it into the forms. 

As we were placing the concrete we smoothed it out with our floats and got it pretty flat. Once the forms were filled, we waited. This is the point where patience pays. You want the concrete to get pretty firm before you start using the steel trowel. If you get on it too soon, you’ll create little air pockets just below the surface.

Troweling Concrete Countertops

You can see we used masking tape and plastic to protect the cabinetry in the photo above. You don’t want to have to pay to refinish cabinets once you’ve put 600 lbs. of concrete on top of them.


At this point, you’ve troweled the surface and covered it with moving blankets and plastic to cure for a day or two. Now you can use a 180 grit sand paper on a random orbit sander to knock down any rough spots and you’re ready to seal and enjoy a beer. Good work!

A cold beer on hand troweled concrete countertop