DIY Concrete Table Top

How to Make a Concrete Table by

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A concrete table top could be just the answer if you’ve got a table top damaged beyond repair.

Hi, my name is Sarah and sometimes my someday-projects sit out in the weather as a catch all for nearly a decade before they get completed.

I wanted to get that off my chest and share here, just in case you ever begin to think you are the only one who ever puts projects off.

I shared a teaser about refinishing this table a few months ago when I did the post with my 6 Quick Porch Refresh Ideas.

I got it for free almost 10 years ago and at the time had plans to remake it and sell it.

But that got pushed off for other more important projects, and this table found a temporary home on our back kitchen porch for years as a landing spot for lots of miscellaneous things (aka: junk).

It was only partially protected from the weather, so the already sad table just got more beaten and damaged.

Once I decluttered and refreshed that porch, I knew it was time to give this table a chance at being a DIY success story or finally make the call to throw it out if my ideas didn’t work.

Polished Concrete Table Top by

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Deciding to do a Concrete Table Top

My first thought was to simply remove the peeling veneer and see if I could fix up the existing table top.

A good portion of the veneer did actually come off easily with a paint scraper, but then I got to a point where the pieces that were still attached were really attached well.

I knew I would either need to resort to a strong chemical stripper of some kind, OR I could simply remake the table top and add it to the cute legs that were still in decent shape.

Because making a faux concrete table top has been in the back of my mind for a while – that’s what I chose to do!

Concrete Table for Beginners by

Cleaning & Fixing up the Legs

My husband and I removed the entire table top and I got to work cleaning up the legs.

It took lots of brushing and vaccuming and wiping with a terry cloth towel (the texture did a great job grabbing old dust and dirt) but they cleaned up quite nicely!

There were a few small fixes we did to the legs:

  • We removed the pieces that were on the insides of the legs because they were broken and didn’t look all that great. My husband was able to saw these off easily.
  • Then we glued and clamped one piece of the broken leg back in place.
DIY Concrete Table Top by

Creating the Concrete Table Top Structure:

Because a true concrete table top would be really heavy, and much more work to assemble, we did a faux version with a wood base and a concrete treatment over the top.

For the wood base we used:

  • 4′ x 8′ piece of 3/4″ birch plywood.
  • 1″ x 2″ trim pieces

We cut the plywood down to 35″ x 6o” using a make-shift table saw.

To set that up, we used our table legs as the saw-horse, and a metal level and clamps to create a saw guide. Then we were able to use our skill saw directly against the guide for nice straight cuts.

For the trim pieces we used our miter saw, but did straight cuts that would simply butt up against each other, instead of mitering the edges.

Once all the pieces were the correct size we glued and nailed on the trim pieces to the edges of the plywood.

Then we secured the legs in place to the base of the table.

Trendy Concrete Dining Table by

Adding the Concrete Table Top Treatment:

Next came the concrete treatment!

The product I used for this was called Ardex Feather Finish  and this was my first time using it!

It’s a cement based product, but with a different texture that can almost be painted on.

I found that mixing it with a stir stick in a gallon bucket worked the best.

To make the concrete mixture, I used about 1 cup of the powder and 1/2 cup of water to start. Then I added a little bit more water as needed until it was the consistency of cake batter.

I learned that it does not keep well between coats, so it’s best to make a small batch that you’ll use up all at once.

I applied it using a plastering trowel that had a sponge on the bottom of it. I was really happy with the thin layer I was able to apply, and how smooth the coats each came out.

Lightweight Concrete Table Top by

Once I finished a coat, I would rinse off my trowel and bucket and stir stick so that I could have it all ready again for the next coats without the product drying and setting on my tools.

The coats took about 2 hours to dry.

Once each coat was dry I lightly sanded the table top down with 180 grit sand paper between coats. I would have used 220 grit, but happened to have 180 handy, and it did a good job.

I did a total of 3 coats, so plan accordingly to have dry time with each coat!

I was in a bit of a hurry, so after my 3rd coat, instead of waiting the full 24 hours of dry/cure time, we brought the table inside and helped it along by putting it a room with a heater. It got about 15 hours of total dry time.

DIY Cement Table Top by

Applying the Sealer:

The last step was to seal it. I used this product called Tile Lab Gloss Sealer . It’s made for these “masonry” type applications like grout and concrete, and I like that it’s high gloss.

Again, I did 3 coats, with 2 hours dry time between each one.

I applied with a small sponge brush, but looking back I wish I would have used a larger thicker brush.

Because I was using such a small brush I tackled the top of the table in sections, and those ended up still being slightly visible even after the table dried, which I don’t love!

If I had used a larger brush it would have been easier to do full strokes the width of the table and would have looked a little nicer.

Easy DIY Outdoor Concrete Table by
Faux Concrete Table Top by

Overall, I’m really really pleased with how this table came out, and especially excited that I now know how easy this process is (almost fool proof), and how stunning the results come out!

I’ll certainly be using this technique again in the future once I decide what I want to turn into faux concrete next!

Is there anything you’d love to see turned into faux concrete? Share in the comments below!

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  1. Cathy Amick
    September 19, 2020 / 8:25 AM

    I love it. Just wondering how the legs will hold up in the weather.
    Is there anything to help preserve the legs?

  2. Amanda
    September 20, 2020 / 9:00 AM

    Do you think this would work as a way to give our kitchen counters a facelift? Do you think it would be durable?

    Congrats on another successful project!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      September 21, 2020 / 10:12 PM

      I have heard of this being used for kitchen counters!

  3. Cheryl
    September 20, 2020 / 9:12 AM

    I love this idea! Did I understand correctly that you poured each batch into the wood “frame” top so that the wooden edge shows and can be painted or stained to match? Did you remove the original top or just build the new base on top of it? I have a small table in mind and think this idea is fabulous.
    I have followed many blogs but yours is my favorite!!
    Keep up the great ideas!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      September 21, 2020 / 10:12 PM

      Hi Cheryl, the concrete finish I used was not poured like concrete would be – it’s almost like a paint that is painted over the wood to give the appearance of concrete without all of the bulk and weight! The trim boards are attached to the plywood so that the lip is at the bottom of the table, and I just used the same faux concrete technique to paint down the sides, again to give the appearance of a concrete slab. But if you peaked below you’d see the underside of the “hollow” wooden shell.

  4. Amy
    September 27, 2020 / 1:43 PM

    OMG! This couldn’t have come at a better time. I moved into a new house in December and I just didn’t know what to do with the fireplace. They whitewashed the brick and it is turning yellow. I want to paint the room gray and I think it would clash awful. I have been sanding / wire brushing it off and it is coming along great. But the big issue is the hearth. They painted that blue over the white that turned yellow. And when I moved in I painted it white but it just looked awful. So this weekend I started to sand it down to find a beautiful cement hearth. But the paint is not coming off easy and the edges are all jagged and I can’t get in there. So this may be my perfect solution. I am nervous to DIY this but I think I am going to try. BTW that table is gorgeous. I wish I had those legs!!

    • Cari r Dzioba
      October 18, 2020 / 9:10 AM

      Another alternative would be to soda blast the paint off!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      December 2, 2020 / 8:10 PM

      I apologize for the delay, but I hope this worked on your fireplace! I’d love to hear an update.

  5. Alan
    October 17, 2020 / 5:58 AM

    Would this work for an outdoor pingpong table ? Warping is my biggest concern and so I wonder what type of wood work best for that

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      December 6, 2020 / 8:08 PM

      I think it would work OK on a ping-pong table. The mixture is pretty thick and dries quickly.

  6. Lori
    December 17, 2020 / 4:58 AM

    I love this idea and want to give it a try. My question is how is it holding up? We looked for this product or a similar product at our home improvement store and the salesman tells us that we need at least 1″ of product otherwise it will blister or crack. Is your table outdoors all year through all weather conditions?

    • Sammi
      May 8, 2021 / 3:55 PM

      Did you ever get an answer and if so, could you share what you found out or how you handled it? I’m at the same point now that you were when you wrote this, and looking for the best way to proceed. Thanks!

      • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
        May 12, 2021 / 1:50 PM

        I’m sorry that this comment was somehow missed! This table is holding up well, though we did end up using it inside the house as my husband’s desk rather than outdoors.

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