How to Build a Patio Bar with a Concrete Counter Top | Episode 15 Part 1

How to Build a Patio Bar with a Concrete Counter Top | Episode 15 Part 1

Learn how to build an outdoor patio bar with an acid stained concrete top. In part 1 Pete will show you how to build a concrete bar top mold, pour concrete, create a trowel finish, and seal a concrete bar top. For the complete and free bar plans go to

For more info, project photos, and downloadable plans check out:
Download Plans:

*Note that these are affiliate links, meaning that when you buy something that is recommended below, it helps support the Channel. Thanks in advance!

*Tools Needed
Power Drill –
Orbital Sander –
Circular Saw –
Table Saw (optional) –
12″ Miter Saw (optional) –
Jig Saw –
Bolt Cutter –
Concrete Trowel –

Measure and then cut the Melamine wood to size using a circular saw. Use a jig saw if needed to cut hard to reach areas. Cut the sidewalls for the concrete bar mold using a table saw or circular saw. I cut mine to 3 3/4 inches wide. This gave me a nice bold looking concrete top that was a total of 3 inches thick. The extra 3/4 of an inch is to compensate for the base of the mold.

Layout the sidewalls of the mold to make sure everything fits correctly. Attach the sidewalls to the base using 1 1/2 inch drywall screws. Pre-drill prior to inserting the screw.

Use a knife to cut 1 1/2 inch thick foam for the knockout in your mold. It will be slightly smaller than the mold. There is a 1 inch channel around the entire perimeter between the foam and the sidewalls. This will allow concrete to form around the foam and to create a lip. Your concrete counter will look like it is 3 inches thick throughout. However, it will only be 1 1/2 inches thick where the foam is placed. Thus, you’ll reduce the weight of the countertop dramatically and will not have to purchase as much concrete.

The foam I used had a metallic backing. Please note that any foam will work. I bought smaller project sized pieces and then used packing tape to piece them together. I also sealed all the edges of the foam with clear packing tape so the foam would release from the concrete easily.

Cut re-enforcement for the concrete down to size. It typically comes in 4×8 sheets at Home Depot. Seal the joints in your mold with 100% silicon caulk. Use silicon to adhere the foam to the base of the mold as well. Let the silicon dry before adding the concrete.

Mix up your concrete 1 bag at a time. I’d recommend using Quikrete Counter Top mix. If you can’t find countertop mix, Quikrete 5000 will work. The countertop mix consists of finer aggregate and is much easier to create a perfect hard trowel finish with. Mix the concrete with a hoe or a shovel. Add water until it is about a cookie dough type consistency.

Add the concrete to the mold. Use a shovel, bucket, or your hands to pack it into the counter top mold. Use your hands and fingers to pack the concrete into all areas of the mold. Make sure to wear rubber gloves whenever handling concrete. Fill the mold half full with concrete. Then place the re-enforcement in the concrete. Make sure it is as flat as possible. Then continue adding concrete until the mold is full.

Screed the concrete using a 2×4. Simply move the 2×4 in a saw-like motion back and forth. This will level out the concrete. Fill in low spots as needed and screed from one side to another until the concrete in the mold is as level as possible. Use a trowel to smooth the concrete for the first time. If you have a float, you can use it to help bring more “cream” to the surface which helps make the hard troweling process a bit easier.

This is one of the most important steps. I like to compare it to watching the grill so you get a perfect medium rare steak for dinner. Except with this, it takes a lot longer and you don’t get to eat a steak. Anyhow, let the concrete firm up for a few hours and check it every half hour because curing time will depend on temperature, humidity, the amount of water used, and the concrete mix. Use a finger to test the firmness. If it leaves a small dimple and you don’t get any water or concrete on your finger it is ready to remove the sidewalls and trowel.

Slowly remove the sidewalls. If the concrete sags make sure to put the sidewalls back on and to wait longer. Once the sidewalls are off you can smooth out the edges and fill any bugholes with extra concrete…
Looking for more DIY videos? Be sure to check out our channel and subscribe for updates! We post a weekly tutorial every Thursday.

Looking for woodworking, concrete working, and other DIY projects plans to follow? You can download plans for free at


Pete Sveen
1627 W Main Street Suite 182
Bozeman, Montana 59715



Daniel Brown says:

Badass, man. Great work.

Christopher Carrigan says:

Excellent, excellent, excellent! I am really looking forward to doing this in a few days, once the weather gets a tad warmer. I plan on following all steps, but have one question. If I'm looking to simulate the rough edge look, would you have any suggestions or how to's? Thanks again!

Brian Howard says:

I love your video's, Pete! I've watched about 6 or 7 over the last week. I appreciate the quality of the videos as well as creating plans that are simple enough for a relative beginner. I'm just getting into woodworking, so I'm excited to get started on a project. Probably going to start with the Farm Table. Just need to get myself a Kreg Jig.

losttribe3001 says:

You forgot to put out the Roughstock whiskey! (Best part of Bozeman after the outdoors of course.).

John Koch says:

How could anyone give this video a thumbs down??!! it was great…..I was gonna use granite on my outdoor kitchen/bar, but the cost was killing me…..I'm def going this route

KM Martin says:

@diypete, isn't a steel trowel supposed to be used only after the bleed water evaporates? I've read that doing it before that time will trap the moisture and cause it to delaminate. I'll be doing a hand-troweled finish on my kitchen counters and am trying to understand when to properly use a steel trowel.

Derek Rossi says:

Hey Pete, I want my bar top 10' x 2 1/2' long. Can't find melamine that long. Can I use plywood instead.

Tanya Muir says:

I'm thinking so that this is done right I'll have to redo the countertop but hey at least I'll be able to color

Tanya Muir says:

hi Peter thanks for responding. currently it's 32 inch and I'll need to extend to 48. I'm having a hard time thus far on a countertop that's not too expensive, nice and won't crack in the winter.

Tanya Muir says:

hi I have 2 questions. I live in PA and having an outdoor kitchen build DYI
1. I had the concrete poured a few days ago can I still acid color after the fact?
Due to harsh winters though i will cover in the winter. Concrete will be my safe bet
2. My counter lip is about 5 inch can I extend it 6 inches? I'm scared ppl will have to lean over to eat? I'm scared there may not be enough leg room. also can I pour additional concrete to the existing concrete or have to start over
thank you

Paul Reagan says:

No water just using the clear resin and angel hair fibers to make the waterfall and river bed Can i paint the river bed with epoxy paint?

Paul Reagan says:

I am going to make a concrete bar with epoxy coating for a customer. It will have a stream running through it and eventually a waterfall over the side of the bar any hints ? thanks

Russ ghostriderp1 says:

Hey Pete, one question. This concrete you using looks like it has almost no stone/pebbles in it.Confirm that it is in fact concrete or cement?I would think it would have to be concrete but just can't see enough aggregate in the mix on the video clip.Thanks mate, good job

Kate C says:

what's this cost?

Kyle Kroening says:

Hey Pete! This inspired me to do this for my bar in our basement that is 'almost' finished. Finally got around to doing this for my indoor bar top. 10 ft long. Still used the foam insert/apron look combo. Can't wait to 'carry' this inside down to the bar frame. I'm guessing 500lbs! I am having trouble finding quikrete stain in local big box retailers.

La Lioncita says:

Great video. I liked that you explained the instruction well. I might just try this.

Josh Bowe says:

I'm going to do exactly what you have explained here once I get mt man cave together. Thank you so much for this Pete. Your channel is awesome and I'm subscribing immediately.

Alexander G says:

Great!!! Quick question, is it good for winter weather?

Jeff Marvell says:

This would come in handy

3Vimages says:

Love it … great instructions too!

Write a comment