Happy summer! We have been spending a lot more time outside lately, and for us that includes cooking outdoors. Usually pizza in our pizza oven. Which leads me to my latest project, a DIY Concrete Tabletop for our outdoor buffet table. This project is one I have been thinking about for a while now, but I finally sorted out the logistics. The short story is we have a wood buffet table on our patio that we use often for food prep, serving and of course making pizzas. But the tabletop itself is very hard to clean, especially after countless evenings tossing flour around. My goal was to create a tabletop that could be wiped down easily, and of course on a budget. You want to see how I did it?
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This table was built for us years ago by a good friend and we have loved it from day one. But once we got our pizza oven, cleaning it became a challenge. Since I have been dying to take on a concrete project, I decided to skim coat a tabletop in concrete rather than trying to make a slab of concrete. And you will never guess what I used as the top…..a hollow core door! We have half a dozen in our basement since we replaced all our doors in the hallway so I figured, what do I have to lose? This is what the table looked like when we started.
DIY Concrete Tabletop Supplies
Hollow Core Door
Gorilla Construction Adhesive
Mini Hack Saw
Find a hollow core door to use as the tabletop. We have several on hand that we removed from our upstairs hallway. These are fairly inexpensive to purchase, but I would check the free section of FB Marketplace, Craigslist, or Offer Up first. This is what the door looked like when I started.
Cut the door down to size. Since I planned to use this as a tabletop for an existing table, I had to trim 11 inches off the length of my door. I used our table saw for this but you could probably also use a circular saw. Luckily, I didn’t have to trim off any of the width since a 30 inch door fit my table well. Depending on the size of your project, you may not need to cut it down.
Reinforce the cut end of your door. As the name suggests, hollow core doors are hollow on the inside and only the outer edges of the door have wood supporting the outside covering. This is what the inside of my hollow core door looked like. Not much to it!
Because I planned to skim coat the door in concrete, I needed the end of the door to be sealed off. So I used the 11 inch scrap I cut off in step 2 and cut the solid piece of supporting wood out of it. I am not going to lie, this was a little bit dicey of a cut, so I am not sure I would attempt this without a table saw. You could also reinforce this part with another piece that you cut down to size. I was just trying to use what I had as it was otherwise the same size.
Cut a few inches of cardboard out of the hollow core door that will be used as the tabletop. This was fairly easy to do with a mini hack saw. Just run it along the inside edge to cut it and pull pieces of cardboard out to make room for the wood reinforcement.
Add the wood reinforcement to the hollow end of the door. The piece I cut from my scrap part of the door fit perfectly. If you want to see more details on this step, check out my DIY Concrete Tabletop Instagram story highlight.
To make sure it stayed in place, I used the nail gun to put a few nails in the top and sides.
Fill in any holes. Since I used an old door, I had to fill in the areas that were bored out for the hinges. I did not bother filling in the hole where the door knob was because I planned to use that hole for the gas line to the pizza oven. If you do not need a hole like I did, I would suggest filling it or trying to find a slab door that has not been drilled for a handle. I used wood filler to fill the hinge holes. I basically just slapped it on there, and lightly sanded it once it was dry.
Apply the concrete finish. I used feather finish which is generally used to level out floors. Full disclosure, I have never worked with this before, so I was just crossing my fingers it would work, but I had read it is a much smoother consistency than other concrete mixes.
It comes in a powder and has to be mixed with water. For mixing, it’s best to have a mixing paddle to attach to a drill. We already had one from mixing tile mortar in the past.
I used a metal putty knife and the flat edge of a trowel to spread it out. It dries very fast so you have to work quick. I spread it all over the door and over the edges. My mix might have been a bit too thick because I found it hard to spread completely flat. So as it started to dry, I used my hands (with nitrile gloves) to smooth it out and make almost a striation pattern that resembled wood grain. I only had about 20 minutes to do this, so I went with it. Just don’t forget about the edges! Barry did those while I focused on the concrete tabletop.
You can see a video of the application in my DIY Concrete Tabletop Instagram story highlight.
Sand the concrete tabletop. As I mentioned above, the application was fast and definitely not perfect. Once the concrete was completely dry, it was pretty rough to the touch which was not ideal. So I decided to hit it with the orbital sander to smooth it out. I used 120 grit sand paper and it worked! It was much smoother and would be a lot easier to wipe down.
Seal the concrete tabletop. I have no idea if this step was necessary, but since it will be out in the elements and being able to wipe it down easily was a priority, I decided to seal it with Spar Urethane. We used this on our outdoor sofas, dining table, and the pool deck, and have been happy with the results. But word of caution, the water based version does dry quick so you have to work fast. Even so, I prefer it over the oil based because I can clean my brush with soap and water. I wiped the tabletop down with a wet rag first.
Then I used a brush to apply the spar urethane. I ended up doing two coats just to make sure it was well protected.
Attach the tabletop. If you are replacing a tabletop like us, you will have to remove the old top first. Our previous top was simply face screwed, so it was easy to remove.
Then we dry fit the concrete top in place. Once we had it exactly where we wanted it, I marked the front two corners of the under side of the tabletop with painters tape to make sure we set it in the same place.
Because we used a hollow core door and there is very little to screw into, we decided to glue ours down. I am a big fan of Gorilla construction adhesive and have used it for several other projects, like our stairs. I simply applied a bead of it all over the exposed supports. Then we lined the tabletop up with my tape marks and set it in place.
This project was one I have been dreaming up for a while now and I am so glad I found a way to make it work. It cost less than $20 for the feather finish since all the other materials we had on hand. Pizza night clean up just got a lot easier! If you want to see more video and all my behind the scenes, check out my DIY Concrete Tabletop Instagram story highlight!
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