HGTV Show Featuring Concrete Countertops

Three CCI alumni were recently featured on the television show “Love It or List It”, filmed in Raleigh, NC.

four men standing in front of custom concrete sign with logo of The Concrete Countertop Institute

About the Team

All of the professionals who worked on this special project are graduates of CCI’s Ultimate Concrete Countertop Training (shown from left to right):

Onyx Castings concrete logo

Greg Robbins of Onyx Castings in Okanagan, BC

Click here to read more about Greg.

living room with gray sofas and tan concrete fireplace hearth and mantle
ArtHouse Custom Concrete logo

Carl Zunker of Arthouse Custom Concrete in Miamisburg, OH


multi level angular black concrete countertops with rock edge on kitchen island

About Love It or List It

Love It or List It airs on the Canadian channels W Network and OWN Canada and the U.S. channel HGTV. In the U.S., Love It or List It is produced by Big Coat Productions, with whom CCI and alumni coordinated.

According to the Big Coat Productions website, “Love It or List It is a primetime reality series about homeowners faced with the toughest decisions of their life. Will they Stay or will they Go? How far will they go to get their ultimate dream home? Each episode is filled with the stress of major renovations, the temptation of beautiful new real estate, and the fierce rivalry between our designer and our real estate agent; both of them willing to go to any length for the homeowner’s allegiance. In the end, the homeowners must decide do we Love It enough to stay or is it time to move and List It?”

About the Episode

The episode that CCI alumni participated in is described as follows on the HGTV website: “Dave and Sonya have spent 8 years battling a never-ending to do list in their Mid Century home. Graphic designer Dave loves the feel of the house but Sonya is fed up with the issues that constantly appear. Will David find them a functioning home without the to do list or will Hilary make them fall in love all over again by reinventing many of the home’s hotly debated spaces?”

The episode first aired on HGTV in the U.S. at 9:00pm Eastern on June 29. 2015.

Here’s a post from the Love It or List It Facebook page where they’re touching the concrete countertops!

Love It or List It Facebook post about concrete countertops

About the Project

The team created a concrete countertop and backsplash for the kitchen. The 80 square foot project was a typical kitchen remodel, except that the deadlines were determined by the filming schedule and were quite compressed. The schedule was:

  • Template on Wednesday
  • Form on Thursday
  • Cast on Friday
  • Strip and process on Saturday
  • Seal on Sunday
  • Installation was the following Friday due to scheduling of the other trades

The host of the show wanted a natural gray for the countertop, plus a full height backsplash behind the sink and an end panel on the peninsula. When we templated, the cabinets were a natural wood color, but we knew they were to be painted a dark gray and the walls white. The host provided a gray paint sample.

We discussed various ideas for the backsplash, and decided to make the countertops in a smooth, uniform medium gray and the backsplash in a lighter gray with more of a rough cast look.

Here are some photos of the overall process:


men loading wooden concrete countertop template into truck


two men in concrete countertop shop with forms


three men measuring concrete countertop mix ingredients

using hopper gun to spray GFRC concrete countertop mist coat


four men standing in concrete countertop shop with concrete countertop molds


concrete countertop slabs in shop

Finished slabs ready for sealing

Rapid Production using CSA Cement

We were able to cast 80 square feet of concrete on Friday and strip and process on Saturday by using CSA cement from Rapid Set, pictured here.

three men weighting Rapid Set Cement-All for use in concrete countertop mix

We used ice as a set retarder, because the weather was quite warm. Click here for more information about using ice as a set retarder with CSA cement. There are several other articles about CSA cement here.

Creating the Backsplash

To give the backsplash more of a rough cast concrete look, we did not spray a mist coat as with the rest of the slabs. Instead, we hand packed a face coat, leaving fissures in the surface, which we later filled in with a lighter colored grout, to further lighten the color and provide more contrast with the countertop.

two men placing light gray concrete in molds

Casting the backsplash

two men in yellow rubber aprons holding gray concrete backsplash in shop

Stripping the form

closeup of texture of gray concrete countertop

The texture of the backsplash as cast

dark gray and light gray concrete countertop slabs

The finished color of the grouted backsplash

Collaboration with Creative Concrete Professionals

The project went really well, and we enjoyed having these alumni back in town. Nathan even had an installation of 2 concrete bartops at a local Raleigh restaurant, Taverna Agora. And we enjoyed having dinner at my house and relaxing by the concrete fire pit with a few beers. It was a privilege to work with these three creative concrete professionals. Thank you Nathan, Rob and Carl!

five men installing large curved blue concrete bartop

Checking out Nathan’s installation at the local restaurant Taverna Agora

four men having dinner at kitchen table

Dinner at my house

four men standing by round white concrete fire pit

Enjoying a beer by the concrete fire pit in my back yard


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