Q: What are the pros and cons of having a cement countertop? – Jesse, Atlanta, Georgia

A: Tom Silva replies: The main pro is that it's practically indestructible. But it's heavy, so you've got to make sure that the area you're putting the countertop onto will carry the extra weight. One con is that cement will be very hard on your kitchen utensils. It will really dull your knives if you cut directly on it, so I'd make sure to use wooden or plastic cutting boards. The other thing about cement, which you're probably aware of, is the way it looks. Maybe you like it, maybe you don't. However, if you take the time to finish cement, you can make it shine. The way you shine cement is to trowel it, let is set, trowel it again, then let it set, trowel it again, repeating the process until you have a completely smooth surface. Every time you trowel wet cement, you're working up the finer and finer stones that are in it, causing them to fill in all the little voids. So the more you trowel it, the "creamier" the material becomes and the shinier your countertop will be.
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