Frequently asked questions

HomeFrequently asked questions


General and Common Questions

Do you use the same concrete used in sidewalks or driveways? How strong is your concrete? Do they crack? How thick are they?

We use a GFRC (Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete) mix, which has a tensile strength of over 7,000 psi (almost twice as strong as your driveway). Using this high strength fiber mix concrete allows our pieces to actually flex a little bit and makes breaking or cracking unlikely.

Our standard slabs start at 1.5” thick but we make the edge thickness profile per your design idea.  Our slabs utilize a foam center core to reduce weight, allowing us to make much larger pieces with less possibility of seams.  We can also cast pieces as thin as ¾” thick. This allows us to make large section wall panels, as well as shelled pieces with drop edges to fit over sub structures (like a floating fireplace hearth, or ADA ramp sink hung on wall brackets) to give the look of thick profile look without the added weight.

Is concrete heavy, strong and durable?
We use a GFRC (Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete mix) which is stronger and more flexible than what you would be used on a sidewalk or driveway.  When making flat slabs, our glass fiber concrete design uses a foam center core in the slabs to reduce the overall weight of each piece.  A typical slab is 40% lighter than it would be if cast solid, thus helping to make larger pieces without seams.

Do concrete countertops or sinks have seams?
Our slabs utilize a foam center core to reduce weight (40% lighter) thus allows us to make larger sections with less seams.  Longer slabs, where multiple pieces may be needed, will have seams that are typically 1/8” or smaller.  We can also help design decorative ways to either help hide or accentuate the seam with ideas like metal or tiles flush inlayed flush into the seam area, a bump up section at the area more size to draw the eye away from the seam along with other available designs.

Do you need a sub-base under the tops?
Mostly no when the concrete piece is designed as a flat slab.  Some projects require a “shell design” which utilizes drop edges on all finished sides to hide the subframe and brackets, such as a floating fireplace hearth, coffee bar high top counter or ADA free hanging ramp sinks.  The shell design achieves the heavy, thick profile concrete look without the added weight.

How much can a countertop cantilever with no supports?
We can cantilever (overhang) a max of 12” with no underside support.  Anything over the 12” mark then brackets or other support are needed.  Our years of experience can assist in designing the ideal base and supports.

How long does it take to complete a piece?
Typically turnaround time to cast, finish and ship a piece is 3 - 4 weeks once details have been finalized.

Are your sinks ADA compliant, how thick are they and how much do they typically weigh?
Yes we can free hang our concrete sinks to meet the height requirements for  wheelchairs to fit under.  Our typically ADA sinks are made with a 5” drop edge on all finished sides.  Thus meeting ADA wheel chair height requirements of 34” to top of the sink and 27” to bottom lip.

Can you paint match colors?  Can you customize colors?
We can create nearly unlimited colors or color combinations due our processing techniques using a variety of powder & liquid pigments.  We can create custom colors and samples to design specifications often matching colors to paint and tile samples.

Color choices?
We can create nearly unlimited colors or color combinations with a variety of powder & liquid color pigments.  We start with white cement as our blank canvas and colors, stains and dyes from there.

Will the concrete color fade over time?
The color will not fade but down the road the sealer may need to be freshened up to bring back the vibrance and sheen.

Are there different finish options? Can it look worn?
Yes, we can utilize different finishing tools, techniques and tricks to assist the concrete finish to a variety of moods.  Crisp & modern, industrial aged warehouse, loved on worn-in antique, rustic cabin or farm house.

Can the sealer be glossy?
Yes, our standard matte finish sealer is more of the natural stone look but we can have higher sheen sealers to give the concrete color more vibrance and shine.

Can your concrete pieces be outside? Are they all weather?
Concrete has been used outdoor in all elements since its creation in 3rd century Rome.  It wears extremely well in the elements and does not need to be covered.  The sealer may need to be freshened up years down the road to bring back the vibrance and sheen but the concrete itself will stay solid.

What is the warranty?
All of our pieces include a 1-year structural warranty on manufacturing defects with products that have been handled, fabricated, installed and maintained in the manner recommended by Living Stone Concrete, which has the sole and final right to determine whether a claim is valid.


Care and Maintenance Questions

Does custom concrete chip easily?
Typically No. The possibility of a chip can happen when a piece is struck near the edge or a corner by a hard object.  Good news is a color matched putty kit can be sent to easily fix and patch any accidents in the off-chance they occur.

Can I store my custom concrete outside? Can custom concrete solutions be used for outdoor kitchens, firepits, etc?  Are they all weather?
Concrete is a great solution for outdoor needs such as kitchens, tables and firepits due to its durability and ability to handle extreme weather and temperatures.  Concrete wears extremely well in the elements and does not need to be covered.  The sealer may need to be freshened up years down the road to bring back the vibrance and sheen but the concrete itself will stay solid.

Will water or other liquids (orange juice, wine, etc) hurt the custom concrete?
Our countertops get 5 coats of a high quality food grade sealer which does a great job of protecting the concrete surface.  With the best practice for any surface being to clean up spills as they happen.  In our extensive testing, yellow mustard left on the test piece for 3 days was the only substance that effected the sealer (a light sand and fresh coat of sealer removed the stain).  In our testing wine, tabasco and juices all left no marks.

How do I clean and care for my custom concrete?
To clean your concrete products, use damp cloths, mild detergents and other water-based cleansers with neutral pH. Our favorites are 409, Fantastik, Windex, and Simple Green. Abrasive cleansers or scrubbers, like Comet, Brillo pads, and 3M scrubbing pads, should be not be used.

Can I cut directly on my custom concrete solution?
Do not cut directly on the countertops. Knives will pierce the sealer, rendering the counters more susceptible to staining. Additionally, the concrete will severely dull the knife's cutting edge. Scratches in the sealer could occur if heavy, rough or sharp objects are dragged across the countertop surface.

Can hot pots and pans be placed directly on the custom concrete?
As with almost all types of countertop surfaces, trivets or hot pads should be used. Our sealer is rated up to 400 degrees but why not use protection anyway?  Concrete can micro-crack if exposed to extreme heat along with the sealer being not elastic enough to “absorb” these micro-cracks. In this case, the surface may appear “crazed” if wetted.

How durable is the sealer used on the custom concrete solution?
Our concrete products are sealed with an environmentally friendly, water-based chemical hardener that bonds with the concrete. The sealer on your piece should last many years depending on how heavy the use is.  Avoid sliding heavy objects across the surface and cleaning up your spills as they happen are the best maintenance tips we can give.  Applying beeswax can be great for monthly maintenance, wiped it on your counters to help keep them looking fresh.  Touch up kits and repair sealer is available in the event of an accident or major wear.

Finishes/Sealers

What type of finishes are available?
Our main sealer for most concrete countertops is a matte finish which gives the concrete a natural stone finished look.  There are other higher sheen, glossier sealers we can apply to give your project more of a shine with brighter color vibrance.  We can utilize different finishing tools, techniques and tricks to assist the concrete finish to a variety of moods.  Crisp & modern, industrial aged warehouse, loved on worn-in antique, rustic cabin or farm house.

What is the most popular finish used?
Our standard and most popular finish is a matte sealer, which has more of a natural stone look but we can use a higher sheen sealer to give them more shine. Another popular request is to create a finish that has a worn-in or industrial feel, which we are able to achieve using different finishing techniques.

What type of care or maintenance is required? Does it vary based on the type of finish or sealer?
Our concrete products are sealed with an environmentally friendly, water-based chemical hardener that bonds with the concrete. The sealer on your piece should last many years depending on how heavy the use is.  Avoid sliding heavy objects across the surface and cleaning up your spills as they happen are the best maintenance tips we can give.  Applying beeswax can be great for monthly maintenance, wiped it on your counters to help keep them looking fresh.  Touch up kits and repair sealer is available in the event of an accident or major wear.

Customization

Is there a required thickness for custom concrete?
Our standard slabs are typically 1.5” thick but we make them as thick or thin as needed. Our slabs utilize a foam center core to reduce weight thus the edge profile thickness is less of a weight restriction.  We have cast past projects as thin as ¾” thick and as thick as 24” thick.  Our free hanging ADA concrete sinks are typically ¾” shells with having a 5” drop edge on all finished sides.

What size pieces can you create?  Is there a limit to the size?
We can create virtually any size or shape concrete solution within reason.  Our slabs utilize a foam center core to reduce weight thus making larger pieces with less seams. This allows us to make large section wall panels, as well as shelled pieces to fit over sub structures (like a floating fireplace hearth) to give the look of thick concrete without the weight.

What type of edges do you offer? Can you create edges that are “raw” in look / feel?
We have the ability to design solutions to meet your needs, including edges that are straight and smooth, curved or more of a raw finish.  Our 2” thick broken rock or chiseled edge as it is called is one of our popular edge designs other than the traditional straight and square slab design.

Can you create solutions to meet my specific design requirements?
With our experienced team we have to help design solutions to meet your needs. Our process capabilities and the flexibility of concrete mix allows for virtually any creative design to be crafted. We also have the ability to customize edges and colors.

Can you paint match colors?  Can you customize colors?
We can create nearly unlimited colors or color combinations due our processing technique and use of powder & liquid pigments.  We often match colors to paint samples and/or tile samples. This can easily be done using our powder and liquid pigments. We can also create custom colors and engage the customer or designer in the process to ensure the custom colors meets their specifications.

Sinks

Can you create ADA complaint sinks?
Yes, one of the core products we have made through the years is our free hang concrete sinks which meet the height requirements for a wheelchair to fit under.  Typical weight of a 6’ long ramp sink is only 180 pounds with hanging brackets and support help provided by us if requested.

How big can the sink bowl be?
We custom make most of our sinks which gives us the ability to meet almost any design. We require a minimum of 3” of flat countertop space on each side of the sink bowl to help with proper hanging and supporting of the piece.

How is the sink hung? Do you supply brackets and support as needed?
We supply an installation guide and hanging brackets with support if requested.

How is the plumbing connected on the bowls with slot / hidden drains?
The plumbing down-tube is cast and sealed into the concrete sink bottom. The plumber simply hooks up the elbow trap to the down-tube. This is described in our installation manual which is provided.

How long does it take to make a concrete sink?
Typically custom sinks are 2.5 - 3 weeks to complete once details are finalized.

What is the average cost of a sink? What is the average cost of ADA complaint sink?
For standard countertop sizes, bowl shapes, and using one of our many colors the starting price is $2,000 + shipping (if applicable).

Will my concrete sink need to be resealed sealer?
As long as no major accident or rough scratching abuse happens to the surface the sealer should last the lifetime of your sink.

Measure, Install and Process

Can you ship my complete product?
Yes, we can ship anywhere in the United States. We pack our pieces in a foam lined crate and use top rated shipping companies. We also provide an installation guide with the shipment.

For projects outside Minnesota, what is the process for measuring and templating?
We will work with you through the measuring process and can work with you on drawings and specific measurements details we need to start any project. We will provide a measure and templating guide to help with this relatively easy but important process.

Process

What is a template?
A template is a custom mock-up created by us onsite to fit the exact measurements of your project.

How do you create a template?
If the project is local to the Minneapolis area, we’ll set up time for one of our team members to visit the job site to collect all required measurements and details.

If outside of the Minneapolis area, we can assist in the process of creating detailed plans or instruct on template construction for you to send us.

Do I need to be present for the template process?
Yes. The individual authorized to make all project decisions must be onsite or available by phone during the template process. This ensures questions are answered and delays are avoided. It also helps to avoid extra charges for changes or modifications to templates.

Can I use a template if I’m not local?
For non-local projects, contractors or homeowners can also send us templates or detailed plans to fabricate from.

What needs to be in place to create a template?

  •  All sinks, faucets and other fixtures associated with the concrete are onsite
  • Heavy farm or apron sinks must be attached in the sink base cabinet (not hung from the concrete countertop)
  • Any appliances that will affect the concrete are in place
  • Base cabinets are secured in their final position and walls are sheet rocked. Tile typically goes on better after our pieces have been installed
  • All decorative panels and drawers that affect countertop overhangs are in place

What is a build-to-spec?
A build-to-spec is a project that can be built based on plans or specifications you provide.

How do I know what information is needed for a build-to-spec?
Contact us and we will work with you to gather all the information required for the project.

When are build-to-spec project plans considered final?
Build-to-spec plans require sign off on all drawings prior to the start of fabrication.

When will you start my project?
Timelines are based on our current schedule and workload. Once we know the full scope of your project, we’ll provide a timeline of when you expect your work to be completed. Typical turnaround time is typically 3 weeks from final plan design.

What can delay my project?
We pride ourselves on meeting deadlines with quality work you can trust. However, we cannot start your custom concrete project if we do not have the required information, signed contracts and payments in place.

Costs

What is the average cost for kitchen countertop?
The cost range for a typical residential kitchen is $3800- $6800.

What is the average cost for ADA complaint sink?
The average cost for our ADA free hanging concrete sinks is $2400.

What is the average cost of a custom concrete fire feature?
A large patio fire feature from Living Stone, with top rated stainless steel burner components, is typically in the $3800- $5500 range (not including shipping).

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