How to Design a Bar Counter


Bar counters should be stylish and durable. They should also be easy to clean, since bars often experience many spills. There is a variety of materials from which you can choose to design and build your bar counter; however, concrete fits all of the above qualifications and is also on the cutting edge of interior design. You do not have to be fond of cold and gray to utilize concrete for your new bar counter; concrete is now available in many shades, so you can choose the one that you like best to fit your space.

Things You'll Need

  • Coated lumber
  • Drywall screws
  • Drill with screw bit
  • Heavy tarps
  • Protective clothing, including gloves, face mask and safety glasses
  • Prepared fiber-free concrete
  • Metal trowel
  • Prepared reinforced concrete
  • Magnesium float
  • Channel screed
  • Metal finishing trowel
  • Orbital sander
  • 100-grit sanding discs
  • Muriatic acid
  • Water
  • Plastic bucket
  • Large long-handled paintbrush
  • Garden hose
  • Concrete filler
  • Rubber float
  • Clean cloth
  • Determine how long and wide your new bar counter should be. Use the base cabinets or other foundation for your bar counter to guide you. Do not make the bar counter more than five feet wider or longer than the base, or tension breaks may occur.

  • Construct a mold to the length, width and depth specifications that you have selected for your bar counter in which to pour the concrete. Use coated lumber, drywall screws, and a drill with a screw bit. Cover the bottom of the mold with more lumber so that it is completely enclosed.

  • Protect your floors and other surfaces with heavy tarps. Place the mold on a tarp and make sure that it is completely flat. Dress in old clothes that cover you well, and put on gloves, a paper mask, and safety glasses.

  • Spread a 1-inch layer of prepared fiber-free concrete inside of the mold with a metal trowel. Cover the bottom and all of the sides completely and evenly. Smooth the concrete with the face of the trowel.

  • Fill the mold 3/4 full with prepared reinforced concrete. Do not fill the mold only with fiber-free concrete; it looks nice, but is not strong enough for the entire bar counter. Float the top of the reinforced concrete with a magnesium float and then smooth the surface with the face of the trowel.

  • Pour fiber-free concrete into the last quarter of the frame. Float the top surface and then drag a channel screed along the frame to level the concrete. Cure the bar counter for 2 hours.

  • Use a clean metal finishing trowel to smooth the top of the concrete. Check that the concrete is even and level. Allow the bar counter to cure for 48 hours.

  • Remove the bar counter from the frame, disassembling the frame if necessary. Dress again in the protective clothing. Sand the entire counter evenly using an orbital sander with a 100-grit disc.

  • Mix one part muriatic acid to four parts water in a clean plastic bucket. Use a large, long-handled paintbrush to coat the whole counter evenly with this solution. Wait 5 minutes; rinse the bar counter very well with a high-powered garden hose and allow it to dry for 48 hours.

  • Spread concrete filler onto all of the counter surfaces (including the edges) with a rubber float. Use the edge of the float to scrape away excess filler and allow it to dry for 1 hour. Sand the whole bar counter again with the orbital sander and a new 100-grit disc, wipe away any dust with a clean cloth, and install the new bar counter as desired.

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  • Photo Credit concrete image by Empath from
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