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The Benefits of Concrete

Becoming a popular choice of material by architects, interior designers and homeowners, cast concrete elements have become the unique and modern alternative material for interiors everywhere.

Cast concrete’s versatility, distinctive look, and natural qualities make it an extremely practical material while retaining a custom, artistic, and personal appeal.

Creative possibilities are endless with cast concrete. Benchmark Benchtops can fabricate the hue, shape, texture and size to your specification giving you a one-of-a-kind product for your home or commercial space. Each piece is completely unique and possesses a warm, tactile feel not found in other materials.

Frequently Asked Questions

Answers

Q. Are Benchmark Benchtops products made from ordinary concrete?

A. Technically, concrete is defined as a blend of cement, gravel, sand, and water. Our mix design is based on the same principles, but restricts the use of large aggregates, such as gravel, to those things that ornamentally enhance the finished work. We also add other materials such as water reducer for added strength of our products. The result is a fine, even textured finish of natural stone with enhanced strength and durability.

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Q. So what is it about your concrete mix that makes it well suited for benchtop surfaces?

A. Our mix design was formulated specifically for use in benchtops to create a smooth, refined finish with low luster and natural appearance. Ingredients include only select fine dry sand, highest quality cement, a minimal amount of water, and a polymer additive to enhance strength and performance, virtually eliminating micro-cracks, enhancing temperature change, chemical, and UV resistance. The cost of materials is higher for our products, but the beauty, long life, and performance of your piece makes the investment more than worthwhile.

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Q. Are your pieces mass produced?

A. No they are not, each job is individually molded, casted and hand finished so no two pieces will ever be alike. All our products are custom, Benchmark works are usually the centrepiece of a total room design to capture and reflect the vision for the entire space. It is not simply a concrete slab, but an extended canvas that can work as a unifying element through custom colours, edge design, and surface effects makes each piece unique and exclusive. You can have the satisfaction knowing that your piece will be unique and there will never be another one like it!

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Q. What is it about concrete that has made it so appealing as a surface in homes and commercial settings in recent years?

A. Cement-based surfaces date back to the Romans. Today, cement is the single most commonly used building material in the world because of its performance and versatility. There are thousands of ways to formulate and form cement. Technology continues to provide ways to enhance strength and appearance of the material making it ideal for more applications than ever before. Concrete surfaces also have “character”. Even if every measure of every ingredient is identical, each piece “reveals” itself during the finishing process. Things like ambient temperature and humidity in the studio at the time of pour and cure can affect the colour and final texture of a piece. Over time your surface will continue to come to life aging beautifully as a part of your environment.

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Q. Are there some restrictions in where and how Benchmark pieces can be used?

A. There are virtually no restrictions as to where Benchmark pieces can be used, over the years we have completed many Benchtops, Vanities and Fireplaces but have also been contracted to design and fabricate wall panels, firepits, dining tables, shelving , stair treads and coffee tables.

Our surfaces are great for outdoor kitchens as well!

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Q. What are the care and maintenance requirements of a Benchmark Benchtop Surface?

A. Like most natural stone products, acid presents the biggest risk of discoloration and staining. We recommend that acidic spills be quickly cleaned up to avoid etching the surface. Cutting on the surface is a no-no. The biggest risk is damage to your knives. But it will also break the sealed finish and leave your counter vulnerable to staining. While you may place hot pots on the surface, keep in mind that there is the possibility of damaging or discoloring the protective coating. For that reason, it is a good idea to use a hot pad or trivet.

Over time, your counter will take on a patina that is one of the sought after characteristics of the material.

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