Generally speaking I'm so changeable when it comes to furniture. I have commitment issues on the subject. Chairs, rugs and tables regularly cycle in and out. However I've had the same coffee table and couch for almost five years now. That's pretty impressive by my standards. The coffee table is something I found from Overstock.com. It's no longer available (probably hasn't been for sometime). The first few years I had it, it put up with abuse pretty well but in the last few years the laminate on top of the MDF started to stain, bubble and chip. No Bueno.
So I started to casually shop for a new one, looked online at my usual stops and nothing really stood out. The thing is, I really love the shape and lines of my table. It has plenty of room for whatever tchotchkes I want to pile on it and still have room for feet or dinner in front of the TV.
I thought about painting it, meh. I thought about cutting and staining a piece of plywood. eh. Then I thought about concrete hmmmm. The lovely Rosemary and Robin from Ink + Smog Editions had just done concrete countertops in their studio kitchen and they looked fantastic. I trolled Pinterest for other people's results and it seemed like something I could do. So I did. Here's what happened:
Here's the before of the table. It looks fine in the picture but really it's not. There were stains, bubbles and chips and it was remarkably hard to clean. It was a magnet for dust.
Almost every DIY tutorial I read said to get Ardex brand feather-weight concrete. My Home Depot didn't have that brand and when an associate finally came down the lonely concrete aisle and I asked about it he said "nope don't have that" and disappeared. So...thanks? I was left to my own devices and with no cell service in the store I couldn't consult the internet. Nightmare times.
So here's what I got: A quick setting concrete, high gloss sealer, miscellaneous sandpaper grits, different trowel like tools and some cups and stirrers. Did I get the right concrete? Who knows. It worked for me but if I was doing countertops I'd probably try harder to find a brand other people had used with success. My total for supplies was $60.
Oh wow, wet concrete. amazing!
Just to give you a basic walkthrough; I sanded the table top, got it rough so the concrete had something to grab on to. Then mixed it in a 2:1 mix/water ratio. Sometimes more water, sometimes less water for different thicknesses when I was doing the sides. When the first layer dried I sanded. I learned quickly that a super light sanding was going to be my friend for the sides. They liked to just fall off. Foolishly I thought the 10lb bucket of concrete mix I bought would be enough for this project and a few others. Concrete stools! Concrete pendant lights! Concrete bowls! Ha Ha, No. I used ALL of it.
When people do these amazing kitchen countertops with concrete they sand and sand and sand to get a super smooth surface. Because that's what you want for a countertop. I did not do this. I really liked the look of the textured concrete and I'm super not into being in 90º heat and squatting and sanding for hours. So I sanded until it was relatively even, hosed it off, added concrete and repeated until all the sides stayed and the top were covered. Then I wet cured it, which for me was misting a few times a day and covering it in loose saran wrap for a day and a half (be careful if you do this the saran wrap will discolor parts of the concrete). Then four coats of high gloss sealer.
I really love how it turned out. It's textured but doesn't make things wobble when you set something on it. It's got different shades happening and I've even got a favorite trowel mark.
So, hopefully it's durable and hopefully much easier to clean than before. Most likely it will hurt much more when I bump my shins on it.