cementing a little change...

I like cement.  I like its industrial nature.  I like its natural grey tone.  I have always been intrigued by cement counters and cement floors.  I picked up a couple of these little cement planters at Target recently and thought, "There. Design itch satisfied".  But it wasn't.

I haven't loved our coffee table ever.  It was supposed to be somewhat temporary, but it's a good size and the dogs can sort of sneak under it if they need to get up, and its height is generally enough to miss the sweep of puppy tails.  But it's not good.  The shape is good and the style is good, but the wood on top was not wood but some sort of laminate.  Yech. It was inexpensive, so I can't blame it (just myself).

Kinda like this (but not at all due to the laminate):

via West Elm
And then it hit me: cover the thing in cement!  I loved what Jenny at Little Green Notebook did in her laundry room, so why not?!

First, I tried locating the Ardex Feather Finish, but I couldn't find it locally and immediately.  Home Depot stocks something called Henry Feather Finish with Ardex technology, so why not?  Off I went...

I picked up the cement mix, a putty knife, a drywall taping knife (basically a giant putty knife), and a drywall mud pan.  I already had sandpaper in 120 and 180, so I set off for home to get started.

I'm a dingdong and didn't take a "before" before I removed the top of the table from the base.  But I did take a photo before I started covering it up with cement:

Bad/fake wood grain

First step was to rough up the wood.  I sanded all visible sides with heavy duty sandpaper. 

Then I mixed up my first batch.  I didn't want to use anything that I would want to use again, so I measured using a solo cup and mixed it with a plastic spoon.  Classy.  Basically, the consistency is kind of like a paste.  The directions called for a 2/1 ratio of cement to water which I tried to follow:

I then started the "slathering".  As other tutorials suggest, build up the edges a bit. 

This is partway dry.  I scraped the little ridges down a bit and let dry overnight.

The next morning, I sanded (with 120 grit) and then put on another layer.  I let dry, sanded again, and put on another layer.

Once dry, I sanded the whole thing down pretty well and applied a layer of Valspar's Natural Look Waterproofer, let dry, and another layer of sealer.  Seeing a pattern here?

All told I did 3 layers of cement (though it could have stood to get 4) and two layers of the sealer.

Once completely dry, I screwed the top back on the table and... voila!

I'm completely happy with this project.  It took a super cheap piece of furniture and actually added value, in my eyes.
Now, I could have done a better job on the corners, but I honestly don't think it's a huge deal. Because the concrete has such visual texture (despite being smooth and flat), it's not noticeable at all.  Next project (and you better believe I'm gonna cover something else in concrete!), I'll build up any corners and shave them down versus trying to be so careful and type-a.  

wood showing thru on the corner
Great texture in the concrete

 Oh, you want to see the whole thing again?  Boom.


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