Despite the simple, rugged nature of the material, concrete counters have become very popular in high-end kitchens and baths. Some homeowners choose this material because it can be produced in any color or texture they want. Others just like the way the product looks: Because they're crafted by hand, no two concrete counters are ever exactly the same.

Concrete counters can be cast in place or fabricated in a shop. Shop methods place a premium on carpentry skill, while casting counters in place requires better concrete-finishing skills. I own a concrete company that specializes in decorative finishes. Since we have many good finishers, we usually pour counters in place.

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