Concrete basins, bathroom vanity tops and Kitchen bench tops are now available for your renovation or new build. Designer Bathrooms Plus specify and sell a lot of concrete products in the Byron Bay and Byron Hinterland area. It is a material that gives an organic, earthy and rustic feel but has also been used in modern contemporary homes as well so if you are considering this product don’t think it is just flat and grey as it is now available in many formats, textures, designs and colors.
Concrete basins and slabs are durable and resistant to water damage, stains, and cracks. The best ones to purchase are Australian made that use either GFRC or UHPC concrete which are known as glass fibre reinforced concrete (GFRC) and ultra high performance concrete (UHPC). These are usually made from sand (42%), cement (42%), water (10%) and 6% additives and reinforcements.
A good manufacturer uses no steel is used in any of our concrete and usually reinforce using natural basalt fibres or glass fibres. A nano-sealed surface prevents water absorption and protects the basin from corrosion and deterioration.
Resealing is generally not required if the care and use guidelines are followed.
The best concrete basins, vanity tops and slabs we have found are from Nood Co and Concrete Studio.
But is it the right product for your home?
In our opinion, if you are going for an organic, earthy and rustic style then you will like concrete. If you have expectations that it will look nice and shiny in years to come, just like when it was installed, then maybe it is not a product for you. Concrete products in your bathroom or kitchen will patina over time and possibly stain, but so will timber, stone and marble if you are not careful.
Some brands deliberately create products that are consistent in color and shape with little or no inconsistencies and others have products that are inconsistent in color and shape so it is important to deal with an expert in store and understand what you are about to purchase.
Here are our top tips when it comes to understating more about concrete in your bathroom or kitchen.
Concrete can shrink 1–3mm whilst it cures, so an exact mm dimension cannot be provided. If installing a vanity onto client cabinets, we recommend the client include a minimum 5-10mm overhang allowance on all open sides i.e. front and 1 or 2 sides, in their final order length. This is so that in case it does shrink, it won’t be noticeable once it’s on the cabinet.
Concrete is a natural product and therefore the pattern and texture of product will vary from piece to piece, including what you may see in a showroom. Items can come out very uniform or have more pattern. DO NOT buy online and expect to purchase what the picture looks like. Thicker edges, i.e. 120mm+ typically have quite a bit of pattern on them.
Products are hand-tinted so batch variations do occur between items. This means, for example, that a Mid Grey basin in store may be slightly lighter or darker when received. An exact shade or colour cannot be guaranteed. Batch variation may also be noticeable between 2 x vessel basins ordered so it is important to order your selections at the same time so they can be made in the same batch. Colour options and now insane and Nood Co have 21 options and some brands will customize a colour if you have a specific requirement but this is usually linked to a project with larger volume.
4. HANDMADE FEATURES
Concrete products are hand-made so there are elements which are inherent to and part of their beauty.
For example, concrete can have air pockets or areas that require filling after they are made. Although filled, these will add character to the piece.
5. IS THIS THE PRODUCT FOR YOU?
If your expectations are for perfect edges, no pattern, an exact shade or colour etc., perhaps, unfortunately, concrete may not be the right product for you.
6. WILL CONCRETE CHIP?
If you purchase a reputable Australian brand made from UHPC (Ultra High Performance concrete) then you will get a product to the quality of a ceramic basin. They are very strong. In the highly unlikely event that your basin is chipped, rest assured it is pigmented (meaning the colour you see on the outside, will be colour you see on the inside). Aussie Made brands offer repair kits and have simple how-to videos for any little accidents but at the end of the day if you are using something heavy enough that drops on your basin or vanity top to chip it, then what was it doing in your bathroom in the first place? Toothbrushes and hairdryers wont chip but a bottle of aftershave will…..stand back from the vanity when handling the bottle is our advice.
7. WHERE CAN I USE CONCRETE
The Australian market has matured greatly since concrete bathroom products hit the market and there are solutions for Kitchens, Laundry, Dining Rooms, Commercial Spaces and of course Bathrooms. Products include concrete basins, wash planes, vanity tops, benchtops and dining room tables.