How to Install Concrete Countertops in a Manufactured Home

Water can make concrete stronger but too much of it will make it weaker.

Keeping concrete wet helps it become stronger because the tiny limestone crystals in it swell up and “interlock, binding the aggregate together and forming a rock-hard mass.” states the Nov ’18 issue of my Family Handyman. You can’t overwater concrete though, too much water will weaken the crystals and they’ll break apart from one another.

Luckily. installing a concrete countertop in a manufactured home doesn’t require a water hose until cleanup time.

Installing concrete countertops is a fairly intensive DIY home improvement project. It’s one of those projects that read and look easy but are tedious and slow which leaves a lot of room for mistakes.

Are Concrete Countertops too heavy for Manufactured Homes?

Installing concrete countertops in a manufactured home is kinda controversial. It’s not hard to find someone warning homeowners to skip the popular kitchen update because concrete weighs too much.

It’s a fair argument but it’s 2021.

New products and technology make a lot of things possible now that weren’t possible just a few years ago.

Concrete countertops that are 1.5″ thick and made of standard concrete weighs 18.76 pounds per square foot. Granite counters weigh in at 18 pounds per square foot so there isn’t much difference. I know for a fact that Clayton Homes offers granite countertops now but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find out if Clayton reinforces the home’s structure when granite is ordered.

Either way, there are ways to remedy the weight problem.

First, you can always add an additional pier or two below the counter or directly under it if possible.

Manufactured homes that have a concrete slab or ribbon foundation can install a new pier to reinforce the countertop a lot easier than a home with independent footers. Pouring a new footer under a home would be too difficult.

Better yet, you can use a special lightweight concrete made especially for countertops.

There have been a lot of technological improvements in the paint, tile, and mortar industries during the last decade or so. Paint is10X better nowadays!

Dyes and stains made for concrete offers a ton of different options and have become a lot more affordable.

Concrete can be stained to look just like wood and tile. You can use concrete to get the same colors and textures at a fraction of the price. A concrete staining company in San Jose states that staining new or old concrete is cheaper than tile, brick, and wood. It’s also fire retardant, long-lasting, and nearly indestructible which makes concrete countertops the clear winner.

Supply List for Concrete Countertops

To install concrete countertops in a manufactured home you will need quite a few things. I’m not going to list every tool needed. This project isn’t really for newbie DIYers and I assume that you have a well-stocked toolbox and know how to use every item in it.

Standard Toolbox

Basic tools like a hammer, pliers, screwdrivers, wrenches, saws, screws, nails, tape measure, crowbar, a level, and sandpaper should be close during any DIY project.

Other Tools

To install a concrete countertop in a manufactured home you will also need supplies and containers to mix your concrete.

In addition, you will need the following;

Concrete countertop edging forms 1

Concrete Mix, Additives, and Sealer

There are a couple of popular brands of countertop concrete.
Z Counterform Countertop Mix is a “high strength castable concrete mix’ that costs $29 per bag. Each bag covers 3 square feet.
There are a ton of sealers on the market. Ashley used Minwax Polycrylic in a clear matte finish.
Feather finish cement coat

Substrate: Plywood and Cement Board

Cement board is the most popular backer board. It is waterproof and more stable than plywood. Read more about plywood and cement board here.

Reinforcement (Wire, Mesh, Tape, etc) and Knockouts

You may not need reinforcement for your countertop if it’s not too large. However, it’s usually always a good idea to add chicken wire or special mesh to give the concrete additional strength and stability.

I can’t give a personal opinion since I’ve never used it myself but the Z Counterform – Concrete Countertop system seems like a decent product line. I’m just going by the many articles I’ve read about it. It’s a bit pricey but I’ve learned that you usually get what you pay for when it comes to home improvement products (except new technologies, it’s usually a good idea to wait a year or two for companies to work all the kinks out of fresh inventions and technologies).
Concrete countertop edging forms 1

Edging Forms or Lumber to Create Your Own Edge Forms

You can use 1″x4″ boards into the substrate to create a smooth mold for the concrete edge. However, there are fancy edging molds on the market that you may want to use (they are too expensive in my opinion but if you have the money it probably wouldn’t be a terrible idea).

Trowels, Screed, Magnesium Float

You’ll need all the basic mortar tools such as trowels, screed, and a magnesium float. Learn about the different finishes you can give your concrete countertops here.
Screen shot 2021 02 12 at 2. 24. 33 am

Install Your Own Concrete Countertops

Ashley Beseda and her husband used what is called a ‘pour in place’ method of installing concrete countertops in their 2005 Clayton double wide. That means they formed and poured the concrete right on top of the kitchen cabinets instead of building a separate mold (usually from melamine) so the concrete can be poured and cured somewhere else and then just carried into the kitchen to install.

Either way is fine.

If watching a video is more your style this video goes over the exact same steps as Ashley and her husband used to install their concrete countertops.

Step 1 Measure your Old Countertop

Before tearing out your old countertop you should measure every inch and if possible use the old countertoop to create a life size stencil. This will make the next few steps easier.

Step 2 Remove the Old Countertop If Needed

After measuring the old countertop it’s time to remove it. Caution is needed here so that the cabinet framing and wall aren’t damaged. Patience and a crowbar come in handy here.

After the old countertop was removed, they started bracing the cabinetry with 1x4s to hold the weight of the new countertop better and create a level bed for the concrete.

Do You Have to Remove the Old Countertop When Installing New Concrete Countertops?

If the old counter has a straight edge and is level and sturdy you may be able to use it as your substrate or foundation, under the cement board and concrete. You will have to remove the backsplash whether you use the old countertop or not.

Cabinets before adding countertop
After the old countertop was removed a new frame was built over the cabinet with 1x4s.

Step 3 Install Plywood

A new piece of plywood was laid over the cabinet to give the concrete stability and form.

Osb board
Rip 1/2” OSB to fit and lay on top of the 1x4s and nail down with 1” Brad nails.
Nailed down osb board

Step 4 Lay the Cement Board

Next, they cut 1/2” cement board to fit over the top of the OSB, nailing it down with 1” Brad nails.

Cement board before cutting

Cutting cement board

Countertop before adding finish
The sside view after the frame, plywood, and cement board is installed.

Step 4 Attach the Edge Strips or Molds Around the New Plywood and Cement Board

Next, they ripped 1″x4″s to form strips that get screwed onto the edges of the cement board. This creates a straight and smooth edge around the concrete.

Note: You can buy a complete edge kit to help form a more decorative edging. They run between $100-200, Thankfully, the perfectly square edge is fairly popular. The edge kits below ar called Z Counterform Concrete Countertop

Step 5 Lay the Feather Finish Underlayment Down and Then the Concrete

Once the form was built, they mixed the feather finish according to the directions on the box and spread the mixture onto the cement board in thin coats. The Feather Finish underlayment will help the

Once the first coat dried (it dried fairly quickly about 15-20 minutes) Ashley lightly sanded and then repeated the process two more times. So three coats total.

Feather finish cement coat

Step 6 Seal the Concrete


After that was done, Ashley applied three coats of Minwax Polycrylic in clear matte finish, sanding lightly between coats. You will want to seal several times so that the cement no longer absorbs water.

Adding feather finish to countertop

You can see more of Ashley’s 2015 Clayton double wide manufactured home here and follow her on Instagram here.

Concrete counters in 2015 clayton double wide

PreCast Concrete Countertops

You don’t have to do all the work to enjoy the beautiful warm look of concrete. You can buy pre-cast concrete countertops.
A big thanks to Ashley for letting me share her awesome manufactured home DIY projects.

And, thank you for reading Mobile Home Living®!

3 emails per month with exclusive content for mobile homeowners. Free eMag for new subscribers!

Get Our Free Newsletter

Sticker x

Free Gift

You might also like
Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

1 Comment
  1. Liz says

    Wow….lots of wonderful info nation. I would really like to see some thing about homeowner insurance on mobil home. Its so important yet no one wants to insure. Also if there anything on mold I could really use some advice on that. Inside of walls…😒