How to Build an Outdoor Countertop

What You'll Need
Mixing wand
Mixing bucket

An outdoor countertop is the most important part of an outdoor kitchen, and is a great way to enjoy your backyard in the summer months. Installing an outdoor countertop is not a project that is out of the reach of most homeowners.

Step 1 - Template

Create a template before you install the countertop outside. When creating the template, leave a 1/8 inch gap between the countertop and the wall, if the countertop will be placed against a wall.  

Step 2 - Forms

Construct forms for the concrete countertop. This can be done in a workshop before you install the countertops. Make the forms strong, but easy to remove after the concrete hardens.

Step 3 - Mix

With a mixing wand, stir the concrete. Combine the sand, small gravel, color, and water in a mixing bucket. Pour the concrete into the forms and allow it to harden.  

Using shims, fix any imperfections that are in the concrete in each section. This is important because as the concrete sets and cures, some of the sections may not align properly if they contain imperfections. This is why it's important to level the countertop with shims to create a smooth and even surface. Caulk to prevent leaks.

Step 4 - Seal

Seal the concrete so that food and liquid doesn't stain the surface once in use. Use a sealer designed for concrete. Keep in mind that you must wait a period of time before applying the sealer to the concrete. After you have applied the sealer, grout the seams.

More Tips

If you want to add color to the concrete, use a powder or liquid pigment. This is added to the concrete mix before putting the concrete in the forms, or you can spread it on while the concrete sets.  

Keep in mind that sealers do not always last forever. In addition, some are not scratch resistant or heat resistant. In many cases you have to continue to apply sealer every once in awhile. Although seals keep stains away, it is still possible for concrete to become stained.

The job of mixing, pouring, finishing, and staining concrete can be a little bit tricky. Plan ahead before starting the project to avoid making mistakes.

It's not recommended to pour the counter tops in another location and then move them to the kitchen area. This is because concrete is very heavy and easy to drop. It is even known to crack once it has been set in place.    

Pour the concrete in the location you want the kitchen, so it's easier to avoid problems with the concrete cracking and breaking. This is important if you want a smooth finish for your outdoor kitchen.