To end up with a satisfied owner, concrete countertops need to be nearly perfect. Perhaps that's why countertop training courses are enjoying such success, since mistakes are simply unacceptable. Here are five countertop training courses for you to consider.

Buddy Rhodes Concrete Products shares the knowledge and experience gained from crafting concrete countertops for 20 years through its products, hands-on training, and ongoing technical support. They provide training in the use of their unique mixes and finishing methods, including pressed, troweled, and ground. Training is presented as a one-day introductory or two-day comprehensive workshop. 877-706-5303,

The Concrete Countertop Institute, led by Jeff Girard and Lane Mangum, conducts many classes and has established an online community for concrete countertops through its Concrete Connections Web site ( Many classes are scheduled, leaning towards precast countertops, but also covering cast-in-place. They recently staged the Concrete Countertop Industry Conference, which brought together more than 200 countertop aficionados to learn from Buddy Rhodes, Bob Harris, Tom Ralston, Jeff Girard, and others. The 2007 event is being planned (see for details). 707-751-7711,

Cheng Concrete Exchange offers workshops and programs in Berkeley, Calif., for participants to gain hands-on experience in the techniques and design principles underlying Fu-Tung Cheng's award-winning projects featuring Cheng products. The essentials workshop (1 day, $535) is an introduction to the design approach, tools, and techniques; the advanced program allows participants to work directly with Cheng in designing and crafting complex projects. 510-849-3272,

Decosup courses teach participants how to use Decosup products for cast-in-place or precast countertops, mold making, pouring, finishing, sealing, countertop forms, and lightweight mix for countertops. 612-669-9253,

enCOUNTER is an offshoot of Doug Bannister's The Stamp Store where they teach the enCOUNTER process, which includes a countertop mix and custom forms. A video-DVD course is available or hands-on courses in Oklahoma City and other locations. The course covers the countertop process from start to finish and includes instruction in both precast and cast-in-place methods, plus advanced coloring and finishing techniques. 866-906-2006,