Z Forms Make Creating
Outdoor Havens a Snap

Outdoor patio space with a firepit in the forefront and the pool in the back.
Building outdoor living areas that include everything from pools to firepits couldn’t be any easier when using materials from Concrete Countertop Solutions. From the forms and inserts to the mixes and sealers, all parts are specifically designed to work together as a system. Photo courtesy of Montanero Construction

With the new social distancing protocol in full swing and people choosing to stay home rather than going out, backyard living areas are all the rage in New Orleans and beyond. And now, edge forms are taking backyard living above and beyond.

“Outdoor living is really hot,” says Dan Lynch, owner of Dan Lynch Concrete Floors and Ashley Concrete Products, a supply store he opened about three years ago in Louisiana. “Everyone wants an outside kitchen.”

Besides the drove of DIYers who have invaded his store these last three months as a means to combat the coronavirus doldrums, contractors who previously kept busy doing floors are adding countertops for outdoor kitchens to their resumes.

“And we are killing it with the Z Counterforms,” Lynch says of the system made and marketed by Concrete Countertop Solutions of Scott Township in Northeastern Pennsylvania. “It’s the best system we sell.”

Easy peasy

They make Z Counterform edge forms with extruded PVC designed to create cast-in-place concrete countertops. Simply place ½-inch cement backer board on top of the cabinetry, fasten the form to the back wall and edges, cutting as necessary to form corners, and place the concrete. After the concrete has cured, pull the forms down to snap them off.

A lot of floor installers struggle with carpentry, Lynch says, “But if you can cut a 45-dgree angle, you can make these countertops. The ease of use is incredible because of the way the forms are made.”

Outdoor kitchens are among the amenities homeowners are clamoring for since stay-at-home time has increased during the pandemic. Photo courtesy of Dan Lynch Concrete Floors

Concrete Countertop Solutions currently offers 10 countertop edge forms style in varying widths and profiles including the best-selling Square Edge; a Quarter, Half and Full Bullnose; and even a Fancy and Double Fancy Radius.

Wood rules

To add texture to the edge profiles, CCS offers six liner inserts that fit inside the Z Counterforms. These inserts create the look of things like textured stone or split rock face without the hassle of chiseling. The line’s newest addition replicates woodgrain, which handily complements the company’s Woodgrain texture mat.

“Stamped woodgrain countertops are the most popular finish for outdoor kitchens in our area,” Lynch says, because they’ve never been offered here before. “The countertop is exposed to the elements and homeowners don’t have to worry about splinters or wood warping.”

Outdoor concrete countertop made to look like wood.
In New Orleans, stamped woodgrain countertops are the most popular finish for outdoor kitchens.
Photo courtesy of Dan Lynch Concrete Floors

For the wooden replicas, Lynch says he likes to use the Z Counter-Pack conversion kit. This is an admixture that converts a standard bag of concrete mix into a high-performance countertop mix. “Once you float it out, you can stamp it, then stain it and seal. And — viola — you’ve got a beautiful woodgrain countertop. The more people see it, the more they want it.”

Table and bench made of concrete made to look like wood.
The Z Counterform system from Concrete Countertop Solutions are good for making outdoor furniture, such as this picnic table seen here featuring the company’s Woodgrain texture stamp and form liner.
Photo courtesy of Dan Lynch Concrete Floors
Home safe home

In McAdoo, Pennsylvania, Christian Montanero, owner of Montanero Construction, says customers in his corner of the world are investing in outdoor living spaces with inground pools and extended patios where friends and family can hang out, entertain and enjoy each other’s company.

“Homeowners are no longer doing renovations to their home for the sole purpose of resale value,” Montanero says. “Instead, they’re hiring us to design and build outdoor living spaces where they can vacation.”

Business is so good, he adds, that his company has solid bookings the whole summer and he’s already starting to book for next year.

He credits a lot of his success to Concrete Countertop Solutions’ products, in particular Z Poolforms, which he’s been using for the past five years or so. “The projects come together so easily. I use the whole system because it saves me so much time and money. The setup is very simple, fast and efficient.” The same goes for takedown and cleanup, he adds. “Stripping forms is really easy.”

Chiseled stone around a pool deck is a popular edge from
Chiseled Stone is a very popular edge finish for concrete pool coping. This is because it goes so well with the surrounding pool deck patterns that replicate the look of stone.
Photo courtesy of Montanero Construction
Z Poolforms

Z Poolforms, made from a hard PVC plastic, create a cantilevered concrete coping. Instead of tie wires, the reusable pool forms lock into the liner track of vinyl liner pools or into a special receiver track on gunite or fiberglass pools.

Similar to Z Counterforms, you can pair Z Poolforms with reusable rubber inserts available in nine different profiles and textures. These include Chiseled Stone, Woodgrain, a variety of bullnose and CCS’s newest offering, a seashell-studded pattern called Seascape.

“Chiseled Stone is our biggest seller because it goes so well with the Ashlar and Italian slate” pattern that a lot of people have on their patios, Montanero says.

Outdoor kitchen with concrete countertop and a bbq.
Z Counterform’s Square Edge edge forms create a clean, modern look. Photo courtesy of Montanero Construction

He’s also installing a fair share of countertops, benches and firepits to accessorize outdoor kitchens and using Z Counterforms edge forms for the jobs. In most of those projects, smooth edges are more popular. “The Square Edge makes for a real clean, modern look,” he says.

He prefers to use Z Liqui-Crete, a special blend made with ultra-fine acrylic fibers, and mix it with CCS’s White Countertop Mix. He says sometimes the counters remain white with a troweled finish, while other times he stamps the countertops and uses acid stains to give them more of a natural look. “Either way, you get a very hard surface that’s crack resistant.”

In addition to top-performing, reliable products, Montanero adds, Concrete Countertop Solutions’ customer service and product delivery couldn’t be better. “They are very knowledgeable and answer right away if you have questions,” he says. They are also quick to fulfill orders.

In conclusion

Montanero says the company not only makes good products but it also makes it easy for him to train his crew how to install them. Training is free at their facility. He says he’s also learned a few tips from other pool installers over the years. “The food is good, you gain knowledge and it’s just a good all-around environment.”

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