This concrete table top replaces an easily-scratched top of an otherwise lovely and useful dining room table. Designer Andrea Crawford of Couture House Interiors decided to create this concrete table top because she needed a table top that was durable… and the fact that it’s a bit chic makes it all the better.
Follow along as she shows us, step-by-step how she created the concrete table top– covered the existing table top in concrete, to be precise. You’ll see it’s surprisingly easy to do, and the results are impressive.
Concrete Table Top
Several years ago, I came across a good deal on a beautiful dining table. I loved the clean lines and the interesting shape of the table base, but the high gloss lacquer finish scratches easily and has not held up well to our daily use! Not only do we eat at the table every day, there are many times when I spread out blueprints and samples to work here. The top had gotten scratched pretty badly, but I loved the shape of the table so much I didn’t want to get rid of it.
I’ve been toying with a few ideas of how to make the top more durable for daily use.
Option 1: A stone table top
My initial thought was to replace the top with marble or quartz. Although I love the idea, I found two problems with this option. Stone is costly and it’s heavy! I’m honestly not sure that the table base could have handled the weight of a stone top.
Option 2: A concrete table top
I’ve seen several great blog posts about DIY concrete countertops. I figured if it’s durable enough for a kitchen counter, it would certainly be a great solution for a durable table top!
I liked this solution for several reasons. It’s extremely cost effective, and relatively easy to do from everything I had read.
From a design perspective, I loved that it added a new texture to my space and gave the eye relief from all the dark wood in my dining room. The natural grey color just happens to work well with my home. But you can dye the concrete any color to coordinate with your decor– another plus!
The idea of doing something about the table top had been on my mind for a while when The Home Depot contacted me about doing a DIY Challenge! There was only one stipulation for this challenge… the project had to use concrete in some form or fashion! Well, there was my sign folks! It was time to take the plunge and try my hand at playing with concrete!
- Henry 549 Feather Finish Patch and Skim Coat (I used about a box & a half on my table)
- 1 gallon bucket (for mixing)
- Large hand float (I used a 15½ x 3 in. float)
- Margin trowel (I used a 5 x 2 in. trowel)
- Course, medium, & fine grit sandpaper
- Plastic sheeting
- Painter’s tape
- Cleaning gloves
- Ghostshield Concrete Counter Top Sealer (online only)
- Shop towels (or rags)
- Shop vacuum
- Heavy-duty hand mixer (optional)
NOTE: After much discussion, we decided it would be easier to cover the rug and table base with plastic drop cloths and work on it in place rather than moving it outside. Side note… how cute is that painters hat?! haha!
Sand table top with course grit sandpaper. We sanded along the length of the table first. Then went back again across the width of the table to make sure we had a nice rough surface for the feather finish to adhere to.
I will be honest, the hardest part of this process for me was sanding my table top! Even though the table was pretty scratched up, it was a little scary to take the plunge. So I made my hubby do it!
I could envision the concrete top in the space, and I was so excited about it. But I knew I was committed once we scratched up my entire table top and I wasn’t 100 percent sure what I was doing with this concrete. Could it really be as easy as it sounded?! I was just praying that the end product would turn out as good as I imagined!
Wipe the table down thoroughly with a damp cloth, making sure you remove all the dust from sanding.
Follow the directions on the box to make the concrete mixture (1 part powder to 1 part water). My advice here is to mix it in small amounts– it dries very quickly! I mixed it one cup at a time and it worked out very well.
The key to getting a smooth finish is making sure that it is mixed well. I used a hand mixer to make certain I had a smooth consistency to trowel on. If you have any lumps in your mixture they will create streaks in your finish as your trowel it on.
Begin to trowel the mixture onto your top with the large float, don’t worry about getting it perfect on the first coat! This process is a lot like spray painting… multiple thin coats will give you the best finish!
After getting a fairly even coat on the top, apply the mixture onto the sides of your table.
We put it on with the large float and then smoothed it out with the smaller margin trowel. While the sides were still nice and wet, I went over the top and bottom edges and the corners with my fingers to get them smooth and slightly rounded. The good ’ol “finger tool” seemed to work better for me than the margin trowel! In retrospect I would highly recommend wearing gloves if you do this… big mess!!!
After your first layer is completely dry (it took about 20-30 minutes max), lightly sand with medium grit sand paper.
Remove the dust. I was surprised at how much dust was on the surface after sanding the first layer.
We found it easiest to remove the bulk of it with the vacuum cleaner and then wipe it down with a slightly damp cloth.
SIDE NOTE: After sanding the first layer I sealed off the doorways with plastic to contain the dust to the dining room. I still think that was a lot easier than having to move the table outside and then back in again after it was finished.
This is what you can expect for each layer…
Expect some bare spots after sanding and cleaning.
Repeat Steps 3-7
You will have a more even coat on layer 2 and shouldn’t see much of the table top showing through the concrete after sanding.
Repeat steps 3-7 again
Sanding lightly with fine fine grit sandpaper this time to finish!
Sealing the Concrete
Because concrete is a porous material it needs to be sealed to prevent staining and water marks. I found a food safe concrete counter top sealer at The Home Depot (online only). I wanted something with a low sheen because I liked the chalky texture of the natural concrete finish.
If you are doing this inside make sure you have plenty of plastic on the floor… it gets messy! I put towels down under the edge of the table to soak up the extra liquid running over the side.
Clean thoroughly with a damp cloth removing all dust before sealing.
Wet the table completely, keeping clean water moving across the surface continuously for two minutes, letting it soak in.
While the top is still wet, apply diluted sealer solution (follow mixing instructions on bottle).
Keep the solution moving across the surface continuously for five minutes. Make sure to wipe the solution on the edges occasionally to avoid drip marks.
Wipe off the excess sealer with a sponge leaving a thin layer on the surface to soak in.
Sealer Coats 2 and 3
Repeat this process following the directions included with the sealer product for three coats. The sealer will darken the concrete a little bit after it’s dry, but won’t change the color too much.
SIDE NOTE: The directions for the Ghostshield Sealer recommends using their wax product for added protection and maintenance. I really feel that the sealer itself provides plenty of protection for a table top surface since it will have minimal exposure to liquids compared to a kitchen countertop. But I plan to apply the wax at a later date to be on the safe side!
The Finished Concrete Tabletop
Good news y’all: This concrete DIY is definitely as easy as it looks!
I love the way it turned out, and so far it is holding up great. I would do it again in a heartbeat!!!
Read more on the Couture House Blog about these fabulous mix & match monogrammed dishes from my friends at Disique, and see the “how to” details for these easy DIY agate napkin rings… they are like jewelry for your table!
Photos by Ashah Smith Photography
This concrete table top project is part of our Cement DIY Challenge series here on The Home Depot Blog. We challenged some of our favorite DIY and decor bloggers to come up with a DIY projects using cement.
Andrea Crawford is an interior designer who writes about style and design on her blog Couture House Interiors. She lives in Macon, Georgia.