Q1: What's the difference between Pro-Formula Concrete Countertop Mix and NeoMix Original Products?
CHENG Pro-Formula Concrete Countertop Mix is our latest innovation and engineered with an easy-to-use formulation of admixture, water reducer, pigments and other key ingredients combined in pre-measured portions for an ideal concrete countertop mix consistency. Available in 1 or 3 cubic foot yields, CHENG Pro-Formula Concrete Countertop Mix should be blended with 120-pounds of 5000 pounds per square inch (PSI) sacked concrete for every 1 cubic foot yield of concrete mixture.
- Is manufactured with high-quality iron oxide pigments developed to provide vibrant, stable, long-lasting color and improve the look and texture of concrete countertops.
- Can be used for outdoor projects without concern for color degradation.
- Yields a stronger, more durable and smoother countertop surface. Special modifiers in the admixture dramatically improve the surface durability of concrete.
- Is easier to work with and more forgiving with respect to water requirements.
- Is offered in 16 designer colors.
NeoMix Original Products is a system comprised of three separate components in our original concrete countertop mix system: Admixture, Water Reducer (liquid form) and Pigment. Each component is separately packaged and requires you to individually add them to a mixer. When combined with six 60-pound bags of 5000 PSI sacked concrete, the mixture yields a three cubic foot concrete countertop mix.
Most customers purchase CHENG Pro-Formula for its simplicity and consistent results. However, some professionals prefer NeoMix Original Products for the ability to control the individual quantities of admixture, water reducer and pigment.
Q2: In addition to the materials calculated with the Pro-Formula Project Calculator, what other concrete countertop supplies will I need?
We recommend the following products as they produce a finer finish and are more structurally sound than ordinary sacked concrete mixes.
CHENG Pro-Formula is designed to be used with either Sakrete 5000-Plus or an equivalent. You can find these bagged, or sacked, concrete products at building supply and home improvement stores nationwide. Each 1 cubic foot yield of concrete countertop mix will require 120 lbs. of 5000 PSI sacked concrete in addition to the CHENG Pro-Formula Concrete Countertop Mix. Each 3 cubic foot yield will require 360 lbs of 5000 PSI sacked concrete mix.
Below you'll find a list of other necessary materials and equipment for your concrete countertop project. These can be found either in our Online Store or in most hardware stores or tool rental shops:
- Melamine (for mold-making)
- Rebar/wire mesh reinforcement (for mold-making)
- Large capacity cement mixer (consult rental shop for appropriate size)
- Professional concrete vibrator
- Variable speed polisher
Q3: I've been told I should use air-entrained sacked concrete mixes for my outdoor concrete projects. Is this TRUE?
NO. Air-entrained concrete should never be used for concrete countertops. The microscopic air in these types of concrete will make your countertops porous and very difficult to polish, seal and maintain. In extreme cases, air-entrainment can cause concrete countertop mixes to "foam," creating a soft, spongy concrete that crumbles upon de-molding.
If you live in a climate where your outdoor concrete countertop is subject to freeze/thaw conditions, we suggest covering them when not in use during winter months.
Q4: I have your Concrete Countertops book and your product, and noticed inconsistencies with instructions—should I follow the book or the product?
Although the book is an excellent point of reference, many of the CHENG Concrete Countertop Products have been improved or re-engineered since the publication of our concrete countertop books. As a result, some of the techniques and instructions have been updated since publication.
That said, when confronted with differing instructions, always follow the instructions printed on the product, particularly with sealers. The books are your best guide for understanding the overall process of pouring a concrete countertop, but CHENG Products and their individual instructions are your best tools for achieving a usable countertop mix as they incorporate our best and latest innovations, so be sure to follow their instructions first and foremost.
Q5: Can I use Pro-Formula Concrete Countertop Mix for a pour-in-place countertop?
Yes. For more information about pouring a countertop in place, refer to Appendix B, "Pouring a Countertop in Place", in Concrete Countertops. For more information about Pro-Formula Concrete Countertop Mix for this technique, please refer to the FAQs section on Pour-in-Place Countertops.
Q6: Can I make the CHENG Pro-Formula or NeoMix colors lighter or darker?
For those of you wanting to achieve colors that are not offered in the CHENG Pro-Formula collection, we have introduced CHENG Pro-Formula Base. This pigment-free blend is specifically formulated for the artisan who wishes to create their own custom colors. By combining CHENG Pro-Formula Base with CHENG Base Pigments, your potential color choices are endless.
We do not recommend adding pigments or colorants to the already pigmented CHENG Pro-Formula colors, since many of these custom blends are formulated to maximum pigment loads. That said, feel free to experiment by mixing and matching Pro-Formula Concrete Countertop Mixes. Example: If the Sand Pro-Formula is too dark for your project and you'd like something a shade lighter, mix two cubic feet of Sand with one cubic foot of Platinum to create your own custom color. Color choices are limitless with the Pro-Formula system.
Q7: I just opened my CHENG Pro-Formula—why doesn't it look like the color I ordered?
A bag of CHENG Pro-Formula contains many different ingredients, including blended pigments. Once you have mixed Pro-Formula with water and bagged concrete, it will appear much darker than the "final" color. Only after the concrete piece is cured, sealed and waxed will it resemble the color you ordered.
Q8: How do your powdered pigments differ from liquid pigments?
Powdered pigments and liquid pigments serve the same function, but each has its own properties. The choice between the two boils down to the look and feel you are trying to achieve. At CHENG Concrete, we prefer powdered, blended pigments because of the rich color saturation, subtle variation and mottled appearance they produce—which we believe is more natural-looking and similar to natural stone. Liquid pigment produces coloring in concrete countertops that, in our opinion, appears overly uniform, monochromatic and artificial-looking.
Q9: If I don't use your pigments, can I mix my own pigments?
Yes, of course you're able to use your own pigments or create a custom blend with CHENG Base Pigments. Remember, the amount of pigment should never exceed 10% of the total cement content of the mix. If you're using a sacked or pre-mixed concrete mix, there will be no way of knowing the precise volume of cement that the package contains, and measuring pigment becomes a little more difficult.
But, if you're willing to experiment to achieve the exact color you desire, go for it! Trial and error can be a lot of fun. Just be prepared to put some time and energy (and some dollars) into doing so. Also, keep in mind that the color of your wet mix will be much darker and more saturated than your fully cured piece.