concrete countertops

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by Tim_456 posted 09-27-2010 05:08 AM 3297 views 4 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Tim_456's profile


173 posts in 4108 days

09-27-2010 05:08 AM

Topic tags/keywords: concrete countertop

Evenin’ all!

I’m building a “homework” island and i’m thinking of using a solid surface for the top. It’ll mainly be used by the kids to do their homework at. It’s going to be stool height. I’d rather not go with a granite surface or a laminate. I’ve looked into building a concrete countertop and it seems easy enough.

I picked up a book and I’ve researched how to do it but i’m wondering if anyone has any experience building a concrete countertop? If so, I’m thinking of buliding a matching coffee table and side table.

Any help or thoughts would be appreciated. Even thought it’s not a WW project per-se, I’ll post my results in a few weeks and pass on my experiences.


18 replies so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 4225 days

#1 posted 09-27-2010 05:13 AM

You may want to post this over in Martin’s HomeRefurber’s site as the folks there may have more experience. Having said that I hope you get some replies here as I am interested in doing a concrete counter top in our kitchen and would be interested in any replies.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1288 posts in 4250 days

#2 posted 09-27-2010 06:06 AM

You’ll want to use a concrete vibrator to get it to settle just right. Also, concrete is very heavy. Make sure you hire some help or ask your GOOD friends to give a hand.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View rivergirl's profile


3201 posts in 3351 days

#3 posted 09-27-2010 09:30 AM

There are a TON of how to videos for making concrete videos on youtube. Buddy Rhodes is not the only style or system. You can also google making concrete dyes to discover lots of inexpensive easy to use concrete dyes that incorporate things like copper sulfate etc that are a lot cheaper than the stuff from Buddy Rhodes etc. I also want to do some concrete table tops etc. but alas winter is coming, and this concrete stuff will have to wait until spring. Good luck with your project, can’t wait to see it finished.

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

View Charles Maxwell's profile

Charles Maxwell

1099 posts in 4320 days

#4 posted 09-27-2010 03:59 PM

Go here

and you’ll find answers to all your questions. Lots of useful videos as well.

-- Max the "night janitor" at

View uffitze's profile


199 posts in 3468 days

#5 posted 09-27-2010 04:22 PM

I’ve done it. I made mistakes, and will be able to do it better the next time I have to make them, but I am happy enough with the results that I got.

Contrary to the previous post, Quickrete makes an acceptable mix for countertops. Quickrete 5000 is plenty strong enough, and much cheaper than the “countertop” mixes. They do make a specific countertop mix, but it was a special order from Home Depot, significantly more expensive than the 5000, and not significantly better than the 5000.

The biggest mistake that I made was to not have any help available on pour day, that and I made my mix too dry for me to handle all by myself. Of course, I was pouring a whole kitchen at once, I did my bathroom by myself, and that wasn’t a big deal.

View SnowyRiver's profile


51458 posts in 3993 days

#6 posted 09-27-2010 04:56 PM

I guess my question would be is it possible to get concrete glass smooth? If you are using it for a homework counter, it would be difficult to write on if it isnt, and you would have to put down a glass piece or some form of a writing surface over it.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View uffitze's profile


199 posts in 3468 days

#7 posted 09-27-2010 06:16 PM

You can get it completely smooth with just a trowel if you want a matte surface.

If you want a shiny surface with exposed aggregate, you need a wet grinder. (And probably don’t want to pour it in place.)

View MattinCincy's profile


128 posts in 3666 days

#8 posted 09-27-2010 06:41 PM

I’ve seen countertops made with melamine forms where the bottom (inside) of the form becomes the top of the countertop. A radiused edge can be achieved by laying in a nice smooth fillet of latex caulk on all inside corners of the form and allowing it to dry before pouring the cement. The smooth melamine surface creates a smooth top, but only if it is vibrated sufficiently to get rid of all the voids and air pockets. Of course this is only feasible if you have the means to MOVE a piece of concrete as large as your countertop into place after removing the forms. This technique cannot be done in place.

-- Wag more, bark less.

View bunkie's profile


412 posts in 3660 days

#9 posted 09-27-2010 06:58 PM


You can get concrete to finish up very nicely. It involves polishing it with successively finer grits of abrasive, often wet. For me, that’s the biggest obstacle to trying if for kitchen countertops. Most people who do this before the countertop is installed so that they can work outside which means that the smaller the workpiece, the better.

-- Altruism is, ultimately, self-serving

View SnowyRiver's profile


51458 posts in 3993 days

#10 posted 09-27-2010 07:31 PM

Thanks bunkie…good input. I’m not a concrete guy so never sure what can be done.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View BrianA's profile


76 posts in 3542 days

#11 posted 09-27-2010 07:42 PM

I have made a bunch of concrete counter tops for my house. Let me know if I can help you.


View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3628 days

#12 posted 09-27-2010 08:13 PM

after you have made your form then make 15-20 small round dovel thickness ½ inch
where you make a small V in one end
cut a net where the size is about 2 inch smaller than the form in both direction
the net you have to use , ise normaly used in concrete floors, the purpose of the net
is to prevent the concrete from cracking
they are in several thickness from 4 – 10 mm hole size 4 inch the 4mm will do fine to your projeckt

now back to the dovel blocks you place them under the net in the form so the net is in the mittle
of the finished concrete

after you have pured the concrete in the form you take a powerhandrill with that allso have a poor
hammer effect and place a roundhead bolt in the drill still the maschine on the hammer logo
and start vibrate the concrete by placing the bolt head against the form sides just go slowly around the form when you do it and if you have placed the form on 4 heavy sawhorses then do it several places on the bottom too
why doing this ? you want to get rit of airbobles and have the concrete floating in to every little corner

after the concrete is dry (takes a week to gain its strength before you can work with it)
but at that time you open the form and turn the concrete around
drill out half of the dovel in all dovels fill the holes with concrete so it have a little top on

when they are dryed up
you take a grinder with a cupgrindingstone on and remember it shuold be one of them to stonework
then you grind the first mm of the concrete if there shuold bee a few small airholes left (remember filtermask)
when you are finished so its smooth then pure it with some oil and rub it out

but this grinding and oil thing make a samle to try on so you know a little about how it behave
before you try to destroy the table…lol

and a good adwice get a giraf crane to help you turn the table and build a realy sturdy undercariage for it

good luck


Edit : I hope my points come thrugh and can help you

View Tony Strupulis's profile

Tony Strupulis

260 posts in 3636 days

#13 posted 09-27-2010 08:41 PM

I’ve used the Buddy Rhodes products a few times. I really like his products. be sure to fill and hone any bug holes so you have a good writing surface.

-- Tony -

View Tim_456's profile


173 posts in 4108 days

#14 posted 09-28-2010 05:10 AM

Wow..thanks for all the advice. I’ve read the Chen Design works books and watched the DVD and it looks like with some diamond grinding pads I can get it to a mirror flat surface but those are pricey. The other links you guys posted are also a great source so thanks a ton! :D

I’ll be building the form this weekend and it’ll take a few weeks to cure and polish. I’ll take pix and good notes and post them when i’m done


View Tony Strupulis's profile

Tony Strupulis

260 posts in 3636 days

#15 posted 09-28-2010 06:58 PM

Polishing needs to be finished within a few days of casting. Don’t let it get too hard!

-- Tony -

showing 1 through 15 of 18 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics