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Concrete Table Top

topic posted Sun, October 3, 2004 - 11:08 AM by  c j
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I'm interested in making a concrete table top to use as a coffee table. I've never worked with concrete before and I'm looking for some tips. Are there any good web sites that I should check out?
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c j
offline c j
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  • hmmm...That is actually the family business. My great grandfather and grandfather came to America from Czechloslovakia and started up a concrete business in the 20's or so. They made concrete steps and ventilation grills (like you see that the bottoms of old houses, and there was even a patented design for a house made entirely out of concrete (which has it's ups and downs and is sorta like living in a many-roomed cave)
    Later after my grandfather died, my uncle came back from living in New York and restarted the business and focuses mostly on custom pigmented concrete counter tops.. I worked for him for a couple of years but mostly did office work. All's I can tell you is what I've observed and it is this:

    He would mix the concrete in a cement mixer and cast it in a trough of the appropriate size. The pigment for the concrete would be mixed in at that point. The concrete would be poured over a steel mesh for reinforcement (very important)
    I think the stuff is called remesh.
    At that point the guys would smooth it out and then cover it with plastic..my memory is hazy on the details...
    After the concrete is hardened It would be finished with a wax coating and then sealed with this stuff called plexi-seal 2000. Most of the ones he makes are for bathrooms and kitchen counters in fancy houses. That is all I can think of, but if you ask questions I might be able to answer.
    • one big step missing here is after the concrete is poured and hardened, you must somehow grind the top suface away. A 4 1/2" grinder with a diamond cup wheel will work. Then your polishing agents (diamond slurry) to polish the suface to a gloss finish, then any wax or whatnots.... Well that is if you are looking for that kind of flat gound off look. If you are looking for a pebble look, use regular old sacrete, and before it gets too hard, use a scrub brush to wash away the portland cement from the stones..... But yes do use a heavy mesh and maybe even a few #4 rebar to hold every thing together.....
      • c j
        c j
        offline 9
        Thanks for the tips so far. I have a few questions:

        1) The Mesh - I've seen mention elsewhere about this and rebar and it makes sense to help keep this thing sturdy. My guess is that I would want this to end up in the middle of the object that I'm creating since it would show if it were on the top or the bottom (I hope this makes sense). My question is how do I get it to end up in the middle? Do I pour half then place the mesh/rebar down then pour the rest on top? Can I float it somehow then pour?

        2) I would want this to be fairly smooth but I'm not sure that I would want to invest in a grinder. How close could I come with a float trying to smooth this out as it drys? Maybe the way to go is with pebbles which would create an intersting effect and may be easier than having to grind if I can't get smooth enough.

        2) as far as the cement goes should I look for anythig special? Can I use what I might find at Home Depot or another hardware store?
        • As far as the rebar goes, you can either pour half (or a little more) then lay the bars in. (at least 2 bars length wise and 3 or 4 along the width) or support them with coat hanger wire...
          Grinding vs pebble look: you can get it very smooth by trowling as it dries, but I was under the impression you wanted to see the polished aggrigate as with most concrete counter tops.
          The pebble look will be very easy to do... use the standard stuff you get from any hadware store... sacrete..mix it, pour it and let it go for a while.. hard but still able to dig your fingernail into the surface, use a sponge and or scrub brush and bucket of water to simply scrub some of the portland cement away from the top of the stones...
  • Not sure if this is too late to help you...but might help others. I built this site <www.concreteexchange.com/index.jsp> for my client Fu-Tung Cheng, who's one of the top designers of decorative concrete. They've come up with a prepackaged mix with all of the pigments, sealers, etc. that you need for the process. They even have a book and video, if you get serious about the medium. I've been itching to do one myself.

    You can also find other info at: www.concretenetwork.com

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