Landscaping

How to pour a concrete tabletop

Break the mould with how you use concrete to make fab outdoor furniture.

Pour on this very handy material! Yes, you can use concrete to style yourself a unique outdoor table and stools, as well as pots. Make the moulds from buckets and plywood, then mix and fill. The tricky part will be containing your excitement while you wait for them to set. But don’t worry, it will be worth it

This table is 750mm dia. You can make yours smaller, if you like.

Gather your supplies

1800 x 1200 x 17mm sheet formply

60mm x 3m fluted aluminium strip

7mm reinforcing mesh (a bit bigger than dia of tabletop)

Hi-strength concrete (3 x 20kg bags used here)

You’ll also need

Pencil; jigsaw; angle grinder; drill and drill bit; 30mm button head screws; wet area silicone sealant and caulking gun; WD‑40; bolt cutters; wheelbarrow; square mouth shovel; metal concrete trowel; rubber mallet; screwdriver; tile or concrete sealant; paintbrush

For you to note

When using power tools, wear all safety gear required and refer to your product instructions.

Here’s how

STEP 1 Use builder’s compass to mark out tabletop on formply.

HOW TO MAKE YOUR BUILDER’S COMPASS

To mark out a perfectly circular tabletop, cut a length of offcut (from the formply, if you like) about 50mm longer than the radius of tabletop (here, 425mm long). Loosely attach offcut, 50mm from one end, to centre of formply with a single screw. Hold a pencil against the unattached end then rotate offcut to mark out circle.

STEP 2 Carefully cut out circle with jigsaw. Hold saw firmly and push slowly, keeping to the line.

STEP 3 Wrap aluminium strip around circle. Mark a little beyond where strip joins other end. Cut strip with angle grinder. Predrill along lower edge of strip at 200mm interval.

STEP 4 Clean dust off circle and screw strip to edge, 10mm from bottom of formply. Make sure screw hole (from builder’s compass) is on the underside.

STEP 5 Trim overlapping end of strip so it joins other end exactly. Screw into place.

STEP 6 Apply sealant to join between strip and circle.

STEP 7 With a wetted finger, squeeze sealant into join for a concave finish. (This will be upper edge of tabletop.)

STEP 8 Spray WD-40 over all internal surfaces of mould.

STEP 9 Lay mesh over top of mould and mark each bar about 20mm inside strip. Use bolt cutters to cut each bar at mark to create a circular piece that fits inside mould without touching aluminium. Set aside.

STEP 10 Using shovel, mix concrete in wheelbarrow following product instructions. Be sure to use directed amount of water as too much will weaken the concrete.

STEP 11 Half-fill mould with concrete, smoothing with trowel as you go.

STEP 12 Gently tap all around outside of strip with mallet to get rid of air bubbles.

STEP 13 Settle mesh circle into concrete. Fill mould with remaining concrete.

STEP 14 Smooth surface with trowel.

STEP 15 Leave for 1 week to set. To remove mould, unscrew a few screws in strip at join.

STEP 16 To prevent staining, paint tabletop with tile or concrete sealant.

Add your legs / make your stools

For a low table, use 9L buckets to make 3 solid concrete legs. For a taller table, use 20L buckets with 5L buckets as inserts (to reduce weight). Use taller buckets as stools. Here’s how to make 3 tall legs/stools

Gather your supplies

Buckets 5L (3), 20L (3)

Hi-strength concrete (5 x 20kg bags)

You’ll also need

Tape measure; pencil; WD-40; square mouth shovel; metal concrete trowel; a few bricks and large cinder block; angle grinder

For you to note

Plastic buckets are used here but you can use a 20L stainless steel bucket for outer bucket. It will slip off easily and can be reused.

STEP 1 Put a 5L bucket inside a 20L bucket. Measure distance from top of 5L bucket to top of 20L bucket. Mark distance from base on inside of 20L bucket.

STEP 2 Spray WD-40 inside 20L bucket and outside of 5L bucket.

STEP 3 Mix concrete following product instructions.

STEP 4 Put 20L bucket on a level surface and fill with concrete to mark. Jiggle bucket to level concrete, making sure it reaches mark, and to remove air bubbles.

STEP 5 Place 5L bucket inside 20L bucket, making sure it’s centred. Ensure top of inner bucket is level with top of outer. Put brick in inner bucket to stop it rising.

STEP 6 Carefully fill gap between buckets with concrete, holding inner bucket to prevent it from moving off centre.

STEP 7 Smooth top. Put cinder block on top of buckets.

STEP 8 Repeat Steps 1–7 to make 2 more legs.

STEP 9 Leave for 1 week to set. Use angle grinder to cut away outer bucket. Position tabletop on legs.

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