How to DIY a Concrete Bar Top - In a weekend!

I am popping in with one of the favorite design elements in my recent kitchen refresh. My bar top concrete countertop.

Concrete in a weekend.

Concrete in a weekend.

When we worked on our kitchen refresh for The One Room Challenge we had six weeks to finish the space. That’s a bit intense considering this is our weekend home and allows about twelve days to get everything completed. BUT I LOVE the look of concrete in all forms (especially on countertops) so my heart was set on poured concrete to compliment the butcher block. About a week into the reno, I realized that the actual wall would need some sort of reinforcement in order to hold a 2 + inch concrete countertop (my dream) and we would need brackets or something to hold the weight. Yikes!

Here are the formica countertops when we bought the house.

Before Pic

I didn't want to have brackets added to support and we were quite honestly running out of time. So I thought, okay plan B is next we will go with a skim coat. I had used a skim coat product before at our rental home and it has held up really well. You can peek at that countertop here.

This is a simple DIY project and I’d say even a newbie DIY’er can do it. It does require some sanding which is messy and requires some patience.

Here are the materials I used:

Handy Paint Pail (with disposable liners)

Paint sticks to mix the product

Paint Trowels

Henry’s Feather Finish

511 Impregnator

Sponge applicators

Acrylaq

Sandpaper (I had sanded this time)

Rags

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The first thing I did was add plywood to give me the extra depth I was looking for. We cut the plywood to the same size as the formica by tracing the outline onto the plywood from the bottom and used wood glue and some screws to attach.

adding height to formica

I mixed the product according to directions. NOTE: Small batches work best otherwise the product dries out too quickly.

Handy Paint Pail

The trick is to apply the thinnest, most even coat possible. The idea is to layer the product slowly. Let it completely dry to the touch (I waited 2 hours each coat) and then sand to a smooth finish. Wipe clean and add another layer and repeat.

Feather Finish Wet

I also wanted to eliminate the beveled edge of the formica counter top. We no longer had them with the butcher block and a beveled edge simply screams 1990’s. So we cut the plywood straight and I filled the gaps with product on the edges.

Beveled edge filled in

This is four coats prior to sanding the last coat. I think I could have gotten away with three coats but I got a little heavy handed with the sanding on coat three and needed to even it out a bit.

Final coat before final sanding

Final coat before final sanding

The next step was the 511 Impregnator. This is to seal the concrete so you won’t get water stains and food stains. I used three coats (letting them dry well in between applications) that I spread with the sponge applicators.

511 Impregnator

Once the 511 Impregnator is dry you will want to seal it with a food safe product. I choose Safecoat Arcrylacq because I used it before and it has excellent reviews. I used 4 coats that I very lightly sanded between each coat. I chose the gloss finish to for a touch of shine.

Safecoat Acrylacq

That’s all there is to it! A bit tedious but I LOVE how they turned out!!! I left the edges a bit rough because I like the industrial feel. I chalked where the concrete met the wall.

Side view of Bar Top countertop.

Side view of Bar Top countertop.

Sink View of Countertop
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Concrete Bar Top

Concrete Bar Top

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I love the concrete with the wood and green glass tile. We are so pleased with how this turned out. Plus if it’s stained or some flaw shows up you can sand and reseal and it’s good as new! Below are links directly to the product. Some of these are also available at your neighborhood home improvement stores. Amazon just made it easy for me.

How to make a concrete counter top in a weekend.

How to make a concrete counter top in a weekend.

That’s all for now!

Until next time xo,

-Libbie