Concrete Coffee And Sofa Tables
Sometimes we get called to help resolve an unfortunate situation. Such was the case with this client in Prosper, TX who contacted us after some movers had dropped her concrete sofa table.
She said it had cracked it on one end and she was hoping we could fix it. When we got there, we realized that cracked was a bit of an understatement, the table had actually split into two pieces. I was a little surprised as concrete is pretty tough, I expected to see some chipping or a hairline crack, but literally splitting in two was a surprise.
Upon closer inspection I found out why, the table top had no reinforcement inside, it was literally just poured concrete and nothing else. While concrete is naturally very strong in compression, i.e., when you push down on it, it won’t crush down, it is weak in tension. That means it doesn’t like to bend a lot.
We know this, so to give our concrete coffee tables a little more flexibility, we always add fiber reinforcement to our mixes. This allows them to “give” a little, say when the table is tipped over so that they won’t immediately crack. This reinforcement lets it take the shock of an impact without just splitting in two. Could it chip? Sure, but it’s easier to touch up a chip than a crack.
Obviously the reason they hadn’t put in the reinforcement is because of cost, the fibers are not cheap so skipping out on them lowers the price of the concrete sofa table. To be fair, normally these tables don’t get dropped but if it is not reinforced, there is not a whole lot of safety margin to prevent this from happening.
We had to inform our homeowner that her top was too damaged for repair but we could replace it with a new one at a reasonable price. She agreed and we got to work pouring a new precast one, reinforcing it correctly, then coming back and installing it. While the color is not exactly the same, we were close and she was happy with the final result.
In our second example, we have a more traditional concrete coffee table. This homeowner in Dallas, TX had an old coffee table that he wanted to upgrade with a new top.
As we were already pouring him some concrete countertops he wanted to know if we could set him up with a new top. He wanted it to have the same edge as his countertops – angled. It’s a slight angle, the top part of the edge sticking out a little bit more than the bottom but it gives it a nice flair compared to our standard edge which is straight up.
This was a cast in place project so we built the mold directly on his table and poured it right after we did his countertops. As you can see this is not a natural gray color, he wanted his concrete coffee table to stand out so we added a little pigment to it and gave it a rich Kahlua brown color.
When you look at the edges you can see small holes. We call these “bug holes” which of course they are not. In reality, its air bubbles in the concrete mix that get stuck against the side of the mold during the pour. We always vibrate our mold to minimize them but they still can show up in random areas.
We always give our client a choice of whether they want to see them or not. It’s no problem at all filling them in after we have stripped the mold open but a lot of clients love seeing them as it gives the tops more personality.
Our homeowner wanted them just as they were so we gave his new concrete coffee table top a light sanding then sealed it to protect it from normal wear and tear. It came out great!