"Dine In" – A Concrete Bar Countertop
Viva la food! This was an interesting project we completed right here in Fort Worth, Tx. It was a concrete bar countertop for a very well known Mexican restaurant chain – Chuy’s!
They were remodeling a storefront just across the street from Montgomery Plaza and needed for their entire bar countertop to be concrete. This project was two separate countertops, one inside and the other extending into the patio area.
Commercial work is always exciting, and this Fort Worth job was certainly not the exception. Lots of people running around keeping busy doing their thing and coordinating between all these different trades so that they are not falling all over your work keeps you on your toes.
We started by building the mold directly on site, what we call a cast in place countertop. This creates a seamless countertop as we pour the entire countertop in one shot. Our first challenge was the base our contractor had provided it. It was pressure treated wood that was so wet that it still “bled” water every time we screwed into it. You can imagine just how warped the wood was, and yes, it’s very hard to build a straight bar countertop when the base is going every which way but loose, but we managed.
Just as we finished building the mold, another contractor ran into the side of it with a scissor lift! Didn’t even slow down. That set us back about half a day repairing it. Once that was done we started bright and early and brought all our equipment to mix the concrete on site.
Not early enough! The tile guys had gotten there a half hour before us and had started tiling the floor. Well, you can’t just wheelbarrow 300 lb. batches of concrete over freshly placed tile, something is going to give so we had to sit tight for a few hours to let it set up.
The actual pour of our Fort Worth bar countertop went very smoothly. We built a large plastic tent on top of it, mostly to keep people from putting things on it while it was curing, then we left it alone for three days so that most of the moisture in it evaporates.
Now it was time to seal it. For commercial bar countertops, we always recommend going with either a polyurethane or epoxy finish. This is a very tough sealer that it almost nothing can damage so its great for this type of environment where spilled drinks are the rule, not the exception.
Epoxy sealers are very sticky while they are curing and unfortunately it was pretty windy the night we were applying it. Part of the bar countertop was outside and exposed to all that the wind could bring in, and did it ever; mostly in the form of bugs. We fished out about twenty in the couple of hours it took it to set up enough where it wasn’t tacky. What a project! In the end it was all worth it as you can see in the pictures. Eat and Be Merry!