The Zero Wood Black and White Outdoor Concrete Table
Full disclosure: This build was sponsored by Concrete Countertop Solutions. All opinions contained in this post and the associated video are my own.
Have you seen the price of wood lately?! That’s a stupid question. Of course, you have. Due to the soaring cost of lumber, I decided to build this outdoor with the goal of using no wood at all.
If you'd prefer, there's a video version of this build as well, you can find it here!
The first step was building a form box out of melamine. Thankfully melamine sheets are still relatively affordable so that's what I used
After cutting the sheet up into some smaller pieces, I assembled them into an open face box that was 32 by 48 inches and one and a half inches deep.
In order to create the effect that this table had a large split running down the middle of it, I used these rubbery form liners from Concrete countertop solutions. I glued two back to back and then ran them at a ~45-degree angle down the middle of the form.
The secure them in position I used a fast-setting CA-Glue.
Mixing the concrete turned out to be a little trickier than I expect but I learned a few things that might help you.
For my first mix, I started with 1 quart of water in the bucket and then slowly added the dry mix along with more water to it. This was a complete waste of time. By the end, I was starting with 2 and a half quarts of water in the bucket and keeping a half quart on standby in case I wanted to loosen the mix.
I'd also suggest using a small mixer. The giant paddle I was using created a ton of drag in the concrete.
The nice thing about the concrete I was using is that it flows really easily, it is a purpose-made casting concrete after all.
I poured out two bags worth of concrete into my form and then started screeding the concrete. Screeds come in many different shapes and forms, but for this build, I just used an off-cut of the melamine from earlier. By gently sliding the board back and forth along the walls of the form I was able to level out the concrete.
The procedure for the black side of the table was basically the same except I had the added step of mixing a pigment into the concrete. These powdered pigments are used for getting different shades of grey and black in the concrete.
After the mixing was done, it was back to the same game plan as before. I dumped out some concrete and before I knew it I was screeding the second half of my table, and setting up to do the last, and most important step of the casting….
Vibrating The Forms.
Concrete has the nasty habit of trapping air bubbles in it while it’s still wet. Once the concrete dries those air bubbles can become weak points that compromise the strength of your slab.
So, in order to help release those air bubbles, I went around and tapped the form with a hammer.
Next up I started cutting all the metal I would need to build the base of the table.
As I worked my way down the list I placed each freshly cut piece on the underside of the table in its approximate location. This doubled as a quick sanity check on all my measurements and prevented me from accidentally cutting more than I needed.
Once my upside-down table looked complete, I slid out the welding table and fired up my MIG welder
I carefully worked my way through the construction of the legs. Tacking and then fully welding them together.
When it came time to coat the legs with paint I really wanted to do things well because this table is going to live outside all year round. I live in Canada and we get some pretty dramatic swings in temperature that can really push finishes to their limit.
I started by priming the steel with a white metal primer.
Once the primer dried it was time to spray on some outdoor paint. Which I’m hoping will hold up long term. I bought 2 cans and sprayed on more coats than I care to count.
72 hours after the initial casting I returned to the shop and started stripping the forms.
Once I flipped the concrete slabs over and revealed their nice smooth finish surfaces it was love at first sight.
96 hours after the initial casting I set up to roll on a finish to the concrete. The finish I used is a 2 part polyurethane called Aquathane M35 and it’s specifically formulated for outdoor applications
After the finish dried, I bought it home and set it up outside.
Alright, that’s it for this build everyone. Thank you for reading!