Patio Bar Plans

Thank you for stopping by to check out the FREE Patio bar plans! I created the plans because I was having a hard time finding ideas and plans to make a unique bar to put out on my deck. So, I did something about it and created the most in-depth video and tutorial online about how to make a cedar patio bar with a concrete top and LED lights. In this tutorial I will walk you through the process of creating your own patio bar. For the FREE printable plans with all the dimensions and even more details simply enter your email address below!

Download the Free Patio Bar Plans. Click here or on the image below. You will get the concrete top plans and the cedar base plans. The patio bar stool tutorial can be found Patio Bar Tutorial.
Patio-Bar-Plans-DIY-PETE

Download Patio Bar Plans

Concrete Top Tool List:

Circular Saw
Table Saw – Optional
Miter Saw – Optional
Jig Saw
Orbital Sander
Drill
Bolt Cutter
Concrete Trowel
Concrete Edging Tool

Step 1:

Measure and then cut the Melamine wood to size using a circular saw. Use a jig saw if needed to cut hard to reach areas.

Melamine for Concrete Counter MoldStep 2

Cut the sidewalls for the concrete bar mold using a table saw or circular saw. I cut mine to 3 3/4 inches wide. This gave me a nice bold looking concrete top that was a total of 3 inches thick. The extra 3/4 of an inch is to compensate for the base of the mold.

making-a-concrete-bar-moldStep 3

Layout the sidewalls of the mold to make sure everything fits correctly.

melamine-mold-for-concrete-counterAttach the sidewalls to the base using 1 1/2 inch drywall screws. Pre-drill prior to inserting the screw.

making-a-concrete-counter-moldStep 4

Use a knife to cut 1 1/2 inch thick foam for the knockout in your mold. It will be slightly smaller than the mold. There is a 1 inch channel around the entire perimeter between the foam and the sidewalls. This will allow concrete to form around the foam and to create a lip. Your concrete counter will look like it is 3 inches thick throughout. However, it will only be 1 1/2 inches thick where the foam is placed. Thus, you’ll reduce the weight of the countertop dramatically and will not have to purchase as much concrete.

cutting-foam-knockout-for-concrete-counterThe foam I used had a metallic backing. Please note that any foam will work. I bought smaller project sized pieces and then used packing tape to piece them together. I also sealed all the edges of the foam with clear packing tape so the foam would release from the concrete easily.

how-to-make-a-concrete-counter-apronThe concrete will go into the gaps and form an “Apron” or “Lip” around the edges.

how-to-make-a-lip-for-concrete-counterStep 5

Cut re-enforcement for the concrete down to size. It typically comes in 4×8 sheets at Home Depot.

concrete-counter-reenforcementStep 6

Seal the joints in your mold with 100% silicon caulk. Use silicon to adhere the foam to the base of the mold as well. Let the silicon dry before adding the concrete.

concrete-bar-moldStep 7

Mix up your concrete 1 bag at a time. I’d recommend using Quikrete Counter Top mix. If you can’t find countertop mix, Quikrete 5000 will work. The countertop mix consists of finer aggregate and is much easier to create a perfect hard trowel finish with. Mix the concrete with a hoe or a shovel. Add water until it is about a cookie dough type consistency.

concrete-for-outdoor-concrete-barStep 8

Add the concrete to the mold. Use a shovel, bucket, or your hands to pack it into the counter top mold.

filling-a-concrete-counter-moldUse your hands and fingers to pack the concrete into all areas of the mold. Make sure to wear rubber gloves whenever handling concrete.

making-a-concrete-barStep 9

Fill the mold half full with concrete. Then place the re-enforcement in the concrete. Make sure it is as flat as possible. Then continue adding concrete until the mold is full.

concrete-bar-reenforcement-Step 10

Screed the concrete using a 2×4. Simply move the 2×4 in a saw-like motion back and forth. This will level out the concrete. Fill in low spots as needed and screed from one side to another until the concrete in the mold is as level as possible.

screeding-concrete-counterUse a trowel to smooth the concrete for the first time. If you have a float, you can use it to help bring more “cream” to the surface which helps make the hard troweling process a bit easier.

trowel-concrete-counterStep 11

Vibrate the concrete a few times throughout the process. There are a few ways that a DIY’er can accomplish this. One is to use a rubber mallet and to tap the sidewalls and underside of the mold. Air bubbles will release and pop out at the surface. You can also use an orbital sander and use the vibration to help remove air bubbles around the sidewalls. Lifting the entire work surface up and down quickly will help too.

vibrating-a-concrete-counterStep 12

Use an edging tool to give the top edges a beveled finish.Slightly raise the leading edge of the tool so you don’t dig into the concrete.

edging-a-concrete-counterSmooth out the concrete again using a trowel.

how-to-hard-trowel-concreteStep 13

This is one of the most important steps. I like to compare it to watching the grill so you get a perfect medium rare steak for dinner. Except with this, it takes a lot longer and you don’t get to eat a steak. Anyhow, let the concrete firm up for a few hours and check it every half hour because curing time will depend on temperature, humidity, the amount of water used, and the concrete mix. Use a finger to test the firmness. If it leaves a small dimple and you don’t get any water or concrete on your finger it is ready to remove the sidewalls and trowel.

hard-trowel-concrete-counter-finishStep 14

Slowly remove the sidewalls. If the concrete sags make sure to put the sidewalls back on and to wait longer. Once the sidewalls are off you can smooth out the edges and fill any bugholes with extra concrete. Fill the bugholes using either the countertop mix or mix up your own fill using portland cement, water, and a pinch of sand. Trying to fill in holes with regular Quikrete 5000 won’t work well because it consists of large aggregate (rocks).

pour-in-place-concrete-counter-tutorialWhen the sides are all smoothed out you can move onto the top surfaces. Use your concrete trowel to give the bar top a super smooth finish. The hard troweling process will give the top an organic and natural look. It has a handcrafted touch!

how-to-hard-trowel-concrete-countersStep 15

Allow the concrete to cure for 3 to 4 days. Then rotate the concrete vertically and remove the foam knockout. Make sure to have a friend help out with this process. Pull the foam away from the concrete.

removing-foam-knockout-from-concrete-tablePlace wood blocks below the concrete to prop it up and allow air to flow under the bar top. This will help the bar top cure evenly. Let the concrete continue to cure for another 24 hours or more.

concrete-counter-tutorialHere is a look at the apron which formed around the foam knockout. This apron made the concrete look 3 inches thick. However, it is only 3 inches thick around the outside edges and is 1 1/2 inches thick throughout the rest of the piece. Meaning you save money on concrete and the bar top will weigh much less.

concrete-counter-apronStep 16

Lightly sand the surface and sides of the concrete with 400 grit sandpaper. This will remove any rough spots.

sanding-a-concrete-counterStep 17

Prepare for the acid staining process by pouring the stain into acid resistant spray bottles. Make sure to wear rubber gloves, safety glasses, and a mask for this process. Dilute the stain as recommended by the manufacturer.
how-to-acid-stain-a-concrete-counterPour water on the concrete prior to staining. This helps the stain go on more evenly and helps prevents unwanted droplet stains.

acid-staining-a-concrete-barSpray the acid stain on. I used Quikrete acid stain and used 2 colors. (Coffee and Black). The acids will slowly change the color of the concrete.

acid-staining-a-patio-barHighlight areas with another color if desired. Once the entire surface is covered you can let the stain set into the concrete and dry.

how-to-acid-stain-concrete-countersLet the stain set for at least 8 hours. I’d recommend overnight if possible. This is what the concrete looked like after it sat overnight.

acid-stain-curingStep 18

Neutralize the acid stain by mixing baking soda or a small amount of ammonia with water in a 5 gallon bucket. You’ll only need a table spoon or 2. Pour the solution on the concrete.

how-to-neutralize-acid-stainUse a rag to lightly clean any remaining residue from the surface. Rinse a few times with more water. Then let the concrete dry prior to the sealing process.

acid-staining-concrete-countersStep 19

Seal the concrete using a clean rag and a water based concrete sealer. I’d recommend 3 or 4 coats.

how-to-seal-outdoor-countersI used a high gloss concrete sealer from Quikrete. It looks great and has been super durable.

outdoor-concrete-counter-sealerStep 20

Move the base to the patio and install the concrete top. I like to run a bead of silicon around the top of the base prior to setting the concrete on it. This helps prevent it from sliding around. Then add a bottle cap opener and catcher to the side of the bar if you’d like!

installing-bottle-opener-on-a-barStep 21

Add LED lights to make this bar the talk of your next party or barbecue. I used 16 feet of LED strip lighting and ran it around the outside channel of the concrete. Secure the controller to the inside using velcro. The strip lights will secure to the concrete with the adhesive backside.

concrete-bar-with-led-lightsLED strip lighting along the outside channel of the concrete.

how-to-install-LED-lights-in-a-barStep 22

Have a barbecue and put your new patio bar to use! Cheers!

patio-bar-with-led-lightsHappy hour! It’s five o’clock somewhere.

DIY-PETE-at-Patio-BarMontana views….

DIY-PETE-concrete-barInside of the bar lit up with LED lighting.

DIY-Pete-patio-bar-with-lightsLED lighting that changes colors

DIYPETE-patio-barClassy night look.

DIY-PETE-led-barOpening a cold brew with the bottle opener and cap catcher.

diy-pete-big-sky-brewery

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE PLANS!

  • Patrick Vickery

    Pete, how heavy would you say the concrete top is? Also, I found your plans And made this for my wife’s and I wedding this summer. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8e2477a79c57218e649e251eb803a40241d7c5e2a271eb59a21439b779d77387.png

    • DIYPETE

      Hi Patrick, I would say that this concrete top is around 140 lbs. Your bar looks great! I like the way that your top turned out! Cheers!

      • Patrick Vickery

        Thanks Pete, how much would you say the bar weighs without the top?

        • diypete

          I would say it weighs somewhere around 150 pounds as well, most likely a bit heavier

  • Patrick Vickery

    Pete, how heavy would you say the concrete top is?

  • TJM

    I took your plans and modified them into an “L” shaped bar to fit my patio. I weighs about 600 lbs. so I don’t have to worry anyone walking off with it. Attached the umbrella for shade and lights over the bar at night. Great plans. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d733432b42eb0a0f40fe10c60e1e0c6cc751e55fcd6cc60c900f65e0a1ad070e.jpg

    • Hi TJM! Wow, that looks absolutely beautiful! I love it!

  • C PM

    Hi Pete, What do you think of this? I got inspired for another project from another site but was only interested in the roof structure which I made some changes and modify also the base to support the stands for the roof. This is my second base after I got the first one done with porcelain tile top. Will see how friend will comment on it for my next coming party! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/02e7869b9b185368d72a49b031aed8d731162d0f1b8cf91aa920fe26389f3557.jpg

    • DIYPETE

      I really like this! Definitely a great way to get some shade out on the patio. And I think it compliments the bar area in an awesome way!

  • Andrew Lucchetti

    Thanks Pete for the tutorial, this will be my first project and am having difficulty finding cedar lumber in central California. Would redwood be a suitable substitution, and if so what are the differences between the 2 types of lumber I need to keep in mind with outdoor furniture?
    Thanks for all the information.

  • C PM

    Thanks Pete for that awesome concrete bar plan and tutorial.I finally got it done yesterday on time for next week home party. They don’t sell Quikrete acid staining here in Canada, I’ve ended up using Behr products for etching, bonding and coating the concrete. I’ve picked the Coffee Iruna, that’s what you see in the pic. They don’t have much choice of color though. Still need to install the LED light and the beer opener kit and I’m all set.

    • DIYPETE

      Great work! I think it looks beautiful. I’m sure it was a hit at that first party!

      • C PM

        Thanks to you, it was a smash hit. We had Chivas 18 year old scotch and my friend brought Remy Martin VSOP cognac. A lot of beer and red wine too.
        We played live band outdoor at that party but the bar steals the show specially when they see there is also light at night. Man everyone loves it. Even guest asking me to do one for them! LOL. It’s really a nice added value to our backyard. I’m planning to do the bar stool next but I will need them a little bit higher since with the wheel , I currently have the high as 44.5 inches so I probably need to go with 32 high bar stool. Also, I was planning to make a top in cedar so I can bring the bar
        indoor when winter arrives so I can let the concrete top outside.

        I bought a audio system shelf which is not mobile friendly so I made a custom one so I can bring next to the bar to play music. Here you go, it’s not that good but it does the job and made of cheap wood. A far cry from your amazing works though.

        Cheers!

        • DIYPETE

          You are so creative!!! I love the audio system addition. The whole project turned out super cool. Thanks so much for sharing about your build. I love it!!!! Cheers

      • C PM

        Since it’s starting to getting colder and colder as day goes by, I’ve removed the concrete top and leave it outdoor for winter. I brought the bar base indoor and have started working a new removable tile countertop, so it will not be wasted for the lengthy coming winter.

        I first wanted to do the new top in cedar but changed my mind for a stone tiled one.

        Here are a couple shots of work in progress of t-nuts inserts to attach the bottom of double plywood to the bar frame added reinforcement joists for later easier removal.

        I will resume the remaining bar stools later as I’ve only finished the first one. Thanks a lot of sharing your work, Pete. Love it as it matches perfectly with the bar.

        Stay tuned as I will post final work once it’s completed. Never done tile work so a lot of self learning in the process too.

        It probably will be getting as much as heavy as concrete top once I finish laying the tiles.

        Hopefully I can get this done in few weeks,

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4880dfc2ce0fe0b5d638f474da4bf5747c13ec8bd304298844a1718be24e2309.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/32a80f82d8ff0d4adaf0d9216bcb35a99a5bf2fb0b6711a6297011c256891e0b.jpg

        Later!

    • DIYPETE

      Awesome! I think your tiled top will turn out great. Good luck!

  • Kyle McAdam

    Thanks man, this is amazing. I was in Pottery Barn and saw one of these for X thousands of dollars, and I was like wait, this is cement and wood, why so much, I must be able to make one. Now I found your site on google (pretty quickly i might ad), so thanks for sharing! I’m going to be able to afford that awesome bar/island now! I’m thinking of doing a bar and a counter area with a built in grill. We’ll see how it goes. Thanks again!

    • diypete

      Kyle! So awesome to hear man. Can’t wait to see your finished piece. Cheers man!

  • Larry Plamann

    I am planning on making a rectangular version of this and enclosing the entire bar area with an access door for storage below for cushions, bar supplies etc. A couple of questions. Any recommendations on how to provide a port to accept a patio table umbrella? Any suggestions on how wide of an overhang I could include to provide the ability to sit closer to the bar? I was planning on creating an oversized concrete top by constructing as you have above, but adding a support surface of 3/4″ plywood to support all except the section of top that is 3″ deep. Can I get away with extending 9″ all around the bar base assuming I have it supported below with the 3/4″ plywood?

    • DIYPETE

      Hey Larry! Sounds like a fun project you have coming up. To make a circular hole / port in the concrete for the umbrella pole — you can use pvc pipe as a knockout. Similar to the pipe I used for a faucet knockout. Wrap with duct tape to help it release easier from the concrete (and spray with some cooking spray). Yes, 9 inches will work fine, and I’ve done this before. Worst case, — you could always create wood are metal support brackets — but I’ve had success with overhangs 9″ without issues and support.

  • Jared Cross

    Pete! Glad you’re back after vacation. I thought you abandoned the site for a while there. I have two questions as I prepare to build this bar for my new patio – 1) I’m not so great with concrete. What do you think would be the best alternative for the top? 2) I want to be able to store things inside of the bar and not worry about them staying on the patio. How easy would it be to add doors? I’m great at following plans, but still sometimes struggle creating them myself. Thanks for the tips.

    • DIYPETE

      Thanks Jared! Yeah been super busy with things, but glad to be back in the shop. As for a top that does well outside, cedar is always a good choice — you could attach the boards to each other using biscuits or pocket holes and glue. I wouldn’t recommend a plywood. Using planks or decking and getting the boards as close as possible to each other will create a nice bar top. — a few coats of spar urethane will create a durable finish. Tile is another option. As for doors, not too hard to add with some simple hinges. Cheers

  • TopJwa

    Here are the pics!

  • TopJwa

    Thank you for the inspiration Pete! I merged the bar and the built-in cooler table and create my own. For this project I did a cast in place top. I included the cooler using a 16″ plastic platter. There is a pipe to drain the water away from the bar and I also ran outlet for electricity.

    It was a very fun project to complete. Just need to do the stools now!

    • Thanks so much for sharing TopJwa! I absolutely love it. Cool stone finish as well!

  • Ashley

    Hey pete, where are the plans for the base of the bar? Do you have measurements etc?

  • Just wondering how this has held up since you completed it? We’re looking at creating something similar for a bar with a stone base, but I’m worried about it cracking over the winter, as we live in Ohio.

    • The base has held up great, but you’ll want to re-seal it every couple of years depending on the amount of sun it sees. Cheers!

  • Casey Jones

    Pete, that is an awesome patio bar you have! I would love to make something like this! It would be a great central location for all our patio furniture.

    http://patioshoppes.com

  • Taylor

    Hey Pete. Bar-base built. I started my concrete top today and noticed my mesh was ghosting through the top. I tried to press it back down with a screwdriver, but I ended up having to rip it out. I used the countertop mix — what do you think the liklihood for disastrous results is without that reinforcement? I’m hoping you’ll say it’s primarily a precaution 🙂 Pictures of the bar and double bench soon! Thanks again for these tutorials!

    • Hi Taylor!

      Thanks for the update. I am glad you were able to get some re-enforcement in the concrete. I can’t wait to see the project! – Pete

      • bighurt

        Hey Pete – looks awesome. I was trying to make one with some leaves and stems on the top – sort of a fossil top. Any suggestions on how to do that. Thanx BIGHURT

  • David Cicetti

    Pete,
    Thanks for providing me with the inspiration to complete my first woodworking/concrete project! I am going to start the bar cooler project next. I altered your plans a little bit and added my own Cleveland Ohio pride to the piece. I haven’t installed the LED’s yet, but that is the final step. Thanks again for all of your excellent plans and video’s you have been a true mentor to me as a beginning woodworker, and have gotten me hooked on DIY!

    -Dave

    From Cleveland Ohio

    • Hey David! Thanks a ton for sharing the project photos. I love the customizations you made and your concrete top is awesome. Is that hard troweled or did you use the reverse cast method? Keep up the good work and thanks for the kind words! – Pete

  • Kurt Murphy

    Another completed DIY Pete project.

    • Kurt! Great work man. I love the “Tiled” top as well. Thanks for sharing!

  • Taylor

    Hey Pete, getting ready to tackle this build and I was wondering if you had any recommendation on a sealer? Or at least, what to look for? Brand? Etc. I like the rough look for outdoor use, but I’m using this table build as a stepping stone to eventually taking a crack at a bathroom vanity, which will be aimed at a more glossy look.

    • Hey Taylor, I like to use water based-acrylic sealers. For outdoor use make sure it has a UV protectant. I Used Quikrete sealer for this project and they have matte or glossy finishes. You can dilute it with water to help it go on in nice thin and even coats. Home Depot or Lowes has some basic waterbased UV sealers that should work for your outdoor application. For indoor vanities Cheng Sealer is a good one that can be ordered online. It is expensive though. I’ve had pretty good luck with some of the stone sealers in the tile section at home depot. I actually just did a vanity using a glossy stone/tile sealer that was about $35. I can snap a photo of the container in case you want to pick up a similar sealer!

      • Taylor

        Hey Pete, thanks for the reply. When you get a chance, that would be great! Is this the stuff you used for outdoor?

        http://www.homedepot.com/p/Quikrete-1-Gal-Acrylic-Concrete-Cure-and-Seal-1030861/202524327

        I think it is, but it doesn’t say anything about being water based in the description.

        A photo would be very helpful! I’ll make sure to pass along pictures once my builds are done. Thanks for the steps and ideas (even dating back to the old reddit posts!).

        • Hey Taylor!

          I used a different sealer (shown to the right) — I think the cure and seal would work as well — but have not used it. I use the middle sealer which is solvent based when I do acid stained floors as it is super durable too. The one on the left is what I sometimes use for indoor projects (especially bathroom vanities and side tables). Can’t wait to see your finished project!! – Pete

  • Aaron Nichols

    Great instructional video Pete! Only question I have is why do you use 1 1/2″ foam to create the cavity in the top as opposed to something more rigid, such as melamine or another wood product?

    • Hi Aaron! The foam works great because it come in the 1 1/2 inch thickness but most importantly, it pops out super easily. The foam is plenty rigid and it is cheap as well. Cheers! – Pete

  • Patrick Seiler

    I really like this setup. I am halfway through building a 8 foot bar and found this by accident. I think I now know how Im going to do my bar top. One question how could I incorporate the light holes like on your patio table design into this? I think that would be awesome to do, but I have never worked with concrete or really built anything aside from a work bench. Thanks a lot!

    • Hey Patrick!

      I think you are referring to the LED patio table project with the Acrylic coasters and light that shines through. If this is the case, I’d recommend checking out the LED tutorial video and seeing the foam knockout technique and acrylic material I use. You could then build the bar top 1.5 inches thick and do the knockouts in it. And run LED strip lighting beneath. If you haven’t finished the bar top already you might give that a try. Nonetheless, I’d love to see how your bar turned out. Feel free to post a project photo if you want! — Cheers – Pete

  • Panos

    Pete,

    I am almost finished with the Double Chair (2 more coats of
    Minwax to go). I will post pics in th comment section under for that
    soon. I am looking into my next project (I’m a beginner) I could use a
    nice bar like this on my patio but don’t want to mess with concrete. Is
    there a wood option top for this bar that you might have plans for? Im
    definitely going to knock out a couple bar stools as well.

    Thanks again for your site. It has inspired me to pick up a new hobby.

    Panos

    • Hi Panos! Congrats on the double chair build!! Can’t wait to see it.

      I know a few people who have built this bar and done a wood top instead. Some have done slats and other’s have used plywood. You can run some trim around the sides to create a channel for the lights to run in if you want to. I don’t have plans unfortunately, but I think you’ll be able to come up with a great design:) Best of luck! – Pete

  • CreativeLiving VirginiaBeach

    Just a thought !

    There are many ways to utilize stamped concrete, for uses to driveways, sidewalks to patios. Stamped concrete has been in use for thousands of years to resemble brick, slate, flagstone, stone, tile, wood. As concrete sets a accent is added sometimes with machine tools and sometimes with natural tools.

    Creative Living Concrete Virginia beach

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  • Tyler

    Cant wait to make this some day (soonish, hopefully). How much does the tabletop end up weighing?

    • Figure about 13-15 pounds per square foot for concrete that is 1.5″ thick. Can’t wait to see a photo of yours! Good luck and have fun!

  • Hi Pete! Awesome work! I have been looking for the video on the chairs for the outdoor bar. Is that video posted?

    • Hey Sean! Thanks for the comment! The video on the chairs in under construction at the moment. Sorry about that, I got a little behind on editing. I’m hoping to have out in the next 2 weeks. Please check back soon! – Thanks for checking out the site and feel free to post photos of any of your projects. I’d love to see what you’ve been building.

      Cheers – Pete