How To Make A DIY Kitchen Island With A Concrete Countertop

Because every man (/woman/human) needs an island.

Concrete countertops are popular design options and kitchen islands are one of the most common remodeling projects. Here is an easy way to make your own itchen island with a concrete countertop. Making your own instead of buying a premade one like this can save you hundreds of dollars.

Supplies + Tools

Quikrete Countertop Mix (in grey)
Available at Home Depot
QUIKRETE® Countertop Mix is a super high-performance mix that is worth the price. It has no large pieces of gravel or aggregate, which makes it great for small intricate pieces such as lamps and vases. It’s easy to work with and comes in different colors. Most stores don’t carry it in-stock so call ahead to your local Home Depot to have it ordered for pickup.

36” Long 1 1/4” Square Fir Balusters
Available at Home Depot
These square balusters are straight, smooth and easy to work with. I used them to make block supports for the concrete form.

3/4” Melamine Board
Available at Home Depot
Melamine board is particle board with a smooth laminate surface. It’s a great product for making concrete formwork. I bought two 2’ by 4’ sheets and had four 2 1/2” strips cut at Home Depot.

2×4s and 1×4s
Available at Home Depot or Lumber Yard
Because the island was planned as an outdoor piece, I used cedar lumber. Cedar and Redwood weather well and are great for outdoor use but cost a bit more than other soft woods. The same design could be made using standard 2×4s and deck screws for a little less money.

3”, 2 1/2” and 1 5/8” Stainless Steel Screws
Available at Home Depot
These stainless steel screws have a small head, a nice appearance and won’t rust. If you’re building the island for indoor use, cheaper coated screws can be used.

This project can be made with hand tools…

RYOBI 18 Volt Cordless Drill
Available at Home Depot

RYOBI 18 Volt Circular Saw
Available at Home Depot

…but is easier with bench top tools:

RYOBI 10” Sliding Compound Miter Saw with Laser
Available at Home Depot

1. Download the Plan

Click here to download the Wood + Concrete Kitchen Island plan.

2. Cut the Melamine Board

Use a circular saw to cut three 2.5” wide strips, 4 feet long. I used the guide attachment for my RYOBI Circular Saw to get nice, even cuts.

3. Screw On the Supports

I screwed pieces of the fir baluster around the edges of the 2×4 melamine board. I then placed the long 2.5” melamine strips and took a field measurement for the short side pieces. I cut the short pieces and screwed in the remaining wood blocks.

4. Glue Down the Formwork

Normally, I screw melamine strips to the wood blocks, but I didn’t have screws with the right length, so I tried using a hot glue gun to glue down the melamine strips. It worked quite well and also created a waterproof seal around the outside of the form.

5. Seal + Clean the Form

Use latex or silicone caulk to seal the form. Squeeze a bead of sealent in the corner and then smooth it out with your finger. Once the caulking is dry, wipe the form to remove dust and dirt before pouring in the concrete.

6. Prepare the Rebar

I wired together a rectangular reinforcement frame from 4 pieces of 1/2” diameter rebar.

7. Mix + Pour the Concrete

Quikrete Commercial Grade Countertop Mix is easy to work with and has no large pieces of aggregate. This mix is easier to work with, but sets up faster, so you need to work quickly. I used about 2 1/2 bags. I filled the form about two-thirds of the way full and then put the rebar in place before filling the mold the rest of the way.

8. Pack Down the Concrete + Vibrate the Form

Make sure the wet concrete is pack down into every corner and vibrate the form. I used a scrap piece of wood as a screed to level the concrete.

9. Let the Concrete Cure

Let the concrete cure for at least 48 hours before removing the form. The manufacturer suggests covering the concrete to control moisture.

10. Remove the Form

Unscrew the formwork and scrape off any of the caulk that is stuck to the concrete.

11. Cut the Wood

You can cut the wood for the base with a circular saw and a speed square, but a compound mitre saw makes it a lot easier. Lightly sand the rough edges after cutting.

12. Assemble the Bottom Tray

Lay out the pieces for the bottom tray and screw them together. Use a square to check and make sure that your corners are at nice, 90 degree right angles.

13. Assemble the Top Frame

Screw the top frame together with 2 1/2” screws. I used a cut-off end of the 2×4 as a spacer and a square to make sure the frame was square and ready for the legs.

14. Screw On the Legs

I used 3” screws to screw the legs to the top frame. Without the bottom tray to hold them in place, they will wobble a bit, so don’t worry about making them square yet.

15. Screw In the Bottom Tray

Flip the legs and top frame right side up and slide the bottom tray between the legs. Use scrap 2×4s to raise the bottom tray 3 1/2” off the ground. Use a square to make sure the legs are in the right position and then screw through the legs into the bottom tray with four 3” screws for each leg.

16. Add Additional Screws

Now that the bottom tray is in place, drive additional 3” screws through the top frame and into the legs.

17. Field Measure + Cut the Top Trim Pieces

Measure the width of the base and then cut two pieces of 1×4 that exact length. Screw them into place and measure the length for the long trim pieces.

18. Put On the Top

The concrete top is quite heavy and doesn’t slide, but I put a couple screws up through the wood and into the concrete about 3/8” anyway. You can also use a construction adhesive as well. I prefer screws because they allow the top to come off for transportation.

19. Seal the Concrete

I used Quikrete Acrylic Concrete Cure & Seal with a satin finish to protect and finish the concrete countertop. It’s easy to use and looks great!

Good luck making your own Wood + Concrete Kitchen Island and please email, tweet or hashtag photos to @benuyeda, or #homemademodern. For more DIY ideas, visit us at HomeMade Modern.

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