The Refinery creates its products using GFRC, or glass reinforced concrete, instead of traditional concrete. GFRC differs from traditional concrete due to its replacement of large aggregate and steel rebar with a network of tiny glass strands in a slurry of cement and sand. The combination of cement, sand and glass fibers form a matrix which gives the concrete great flexural, compressive and tensile strengths allowing the overall product to be much thinner and lighter than traditional concrete. Traditional concrete requires the use of aggregates and steel rebar reinforcement as a means for added strength. It also needs to be thicker and thus heavier.
In the process of GFRC, we begin with spraying a thin layer of concrete, known as a face or beauty coat, covering the entire mold. This layer is what becomes the top of the countertop or sink. A stiffer mix or backer coat, containing a large amount of alkaline resistant glass fibers is then hand placed into the form to create sinks or build up vertical edges. The final mix is very liquid and known as the self-consolidating mix. It too contains a large amount of glass fibers along with a super plasticizer that makes the mix flow very easily and allows it to self-level filling the horizontal sections of the mold.
The concrete is allowed to harden and cure. It then is removed from the molds where the finishing process begins. The finishing begins with sanding and polishing the concrete to expose sand and aggregate. A slurry coat of cement and sand fines is applied to fill in voids and pinholes in the surface. It is once again sanded, cleaned and then ready for the sealer. Once the sealer is applied, it must cure for several days, and then the concrete sink or counter is ready for installation.
If you are considering concrete for your project, please contact us in your early planning stages, if possible. Due to the handcrafted nature of our products, there is usually a query of projects already in house, and we very rarely can begin a project at the exact moment you may be ready. We may be several weeks out with our current workload. So, please consider us early on so we can be sure to accommodate your concrete needs. Thanks!