Thoughts for a bar table

kimkats

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Jul 10, 2012
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Frank Here is a link to a pool build that has a very pretty outdoor area. New contract / New build - SE Pennsylvania, Gunite free form pool and spa I am also going to ask him to join us here and give his in put. @Gorilla83 as well as @jimim as he has done a awesome outdoor area as well! Guys you have any input for Frank?

Frank what are you thinking for this table? Bar height or normal table height? Do you want any storage? Do you want it to hold a grill or anything?

Kim:kim:
 

Dirk

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Uh oh, we just went from $500 to $5000!! o_O

I used my kitchen remodel's left over granite outside on my deck. Gotta love granite. I had to have it cut, but I installed in myself, on top of a wood platform. Pretty easy to do, actually. If you're DIY, then you can search various vendor's yards for just the right leftover (granite retailers, kitchen remodelers, etc).
 

Dirk

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I just looked at your pics. I had a very similar area. I built a 2x4 frame (horizontal) and hung it on the house's wall with lag bolts (used the siding's nails to find the studs). You've got that post for the other end. You could drop a leg for the fourth corner, or use a bracket or you could "45" a support back to the post. Then a layer of 3/4" plywood on top of that, and then glue the granite (or tile, whatever), onto the ply. EZPZ. Relatively cheap.

Yes, you could put cabinets or shelves underneath, and/or build a nice wood or stone front, but an alternative would be to leave that all open. Folks would sit on tall stools set on the deck, and use that raised concrete porch as a foot rest. People could sit on either side that way, too (two different stool heights required). Otherwise, if you have cabinets and a front, you'll need to cantilever the counter out over the deck a bit, so people could "belly up to the bar" while sitting at it. You need about 12-14" out, for that.
 
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Gorilla83

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Jul 2, 2017
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Thornton, PA
As Kim mentioned I'm in the process of wrapping up something similar, including one section that is roughly a 7.5' wide "table" with storage and an ice maker. Are you looking to house any appliances, storage, or prep area? Happy to help and share my experiences.

Attaching a picture of a the section of our outdoor bar/kitchen that is similar. This was steel framed and topped with cement board/stone (travertine) and a pour in place concrete top. If you're interested in going the concrete top route I can help with plenty of resources.
 

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Dirk

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Not to knock Gorilla's unit, which looks absolutely fantastic, but his pic illustrates one of the things I was getting at. His unit doesn't have a toe kick. If you look in your kitchen, you'll notice a space recessed into your cabinets where they meet the floor. That's a toe kick. Even those few inches make a huge difference in your comfort while standing and working at a counter or bar. It allows you to stand closer (and bend your back less) than you'd be able to without it. If you're going to stand at yours, allow for a toe kick. If you plan to sit at it, then you need a similar recess to allow for your knees/legs. Otherwise, you'll need to sit "side saddle," which is not comfortable at all. If you leave it wide open under the bar, it would allow for either.

When I was designing the bar I added to my kitchen, I couldn't decide on the height, the width, the distance from the fridge, the amount of cantilever to allow for comfortable seating, etc. So I built it out of cardboard boxes! I lived with it for a while like that, and used it as intended. I made a few adjustments and lived with it some more like that. Eventually I came up with the dimensions I liked and then had it made for me by a cabinet maker. Had I not, I would have ended up with a much wider unit, which I would have regretted. And the distance to the fridge turned out perfect. I ended up with toe kick on one side, and cantilevered bar on the other.

There are standard heights for this type of unit. Table height, counter height and bar height. If you stick with one of those, you'll have a wide choice of chairs and stools, which are made to fit one of those three standard heights.

I love the concrete top idea.

bar.jpg
 
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Dirk

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Oh, and like you, I ran this by anyone I could get to look at it. My buddy suggested that outlet in the end of the bar. Genius! I hadn't even considered that. Do. You'll want a plug or two for the radio, the blender, the clock, charging the phone, the hula-girl lamp, etc.
 

Gorilla83

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Jul 2, 2017
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Thornton, PA
Dirk - good call! That would have been a great idea but a bit too late for this round :) On the bar seating (attached) I did a 12" overhang which should allow for plenty of leg room. The bar is standard 42" height while everything else is just about 35".

PS - Also did the outlet at the end of the rectange section and 4x in the backsplash in the main area. :)
 

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Dirk

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Wow, what a great setup! Are those all concrete tops (just wet)? Those look fantastic. Is that cheaper than granite? Way cheaper? And no seams, right? (Which I really hate about granite.)

I settled on a 12" overhang, too. But mine is 37" high, because that's what the existing counters were at. I'm not sure where to point Frank for the "standard" heights...

I'm yakking over in another thread about water damage to concrete. How are your tops holding up, stain-wise? Granite's not 100% impervious, but pretty darn close to when it comes to stains.
 

Dirk

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I guess, technically, you could just extend the counter a bit instead of toe kicks. They came up with toe kicks instead of extending the counter because of drawers. The counter can't hang over too much or you can't get into a drawer. If you don't have drawers, then you can extend the top instead of allowing for the kick.
 

Frank in FL

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Jul 3, 2019
226
Florida
All great ideas!!
Dirk, I like yours and what I was considering. I don’t plan on having cabinets or anything fancy. Just a simple counter top, bar height (42”) to eat lunch at.

I was actually looking at Trex decking today at Lowe’s to use as my counter. Just reinforce it below so it’s solid. 8’ section is $15 and it’s weather resistant 🤔🤷‍♂️
 

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Newdude

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Jun 16, 2019
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My buddy suggested that outlet in the end of the bar. Genius! ...... You'll want a plug or two for the radio, the blender, the clock, charging the phone, the hula-girl lamp, etc.
Also did the outlet at the end of the rectange section and 4x in the backsplash in the main area. :)

Don't forget Its 2020. You need an electric outlet AND a 4way usb outlet so everybody's phone charging doesnt stop the hula-girl lamp. :cheers:
 
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Gorilla83

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Jul 2, 2017
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Thornton, PA
Wow, what a great setup! Are those all concrete tops (just wet)? Those look fantastic. Is that cheaper than granite? Way cheaper? And no seams, right? (Which I really hate about granite.)

I settled on a 12" overhang, too. But mine is 37" high, because that's what the existing counters were at. I'm not sure where to point Frank for the "standard" heights...

I'm yakking over in another thread about water damage to concrete. How are your tops holding up, stain-wise? Granite's not 100% impervious, but pretty darn close to when it comes to stains.
Thank you! They are wet in the picture but once I apply the sealer they will look wet and glossy so I wet them to simulate how they'd look dark/wet to make sure I was happy with the look first. :) I'm hoping to get some warmer weather soon so I can apply the sealer. If you DIY the countertops like I did, it is MUCH cheaper than granite - in my case roughly about 4X cheaper even buying tools and professional forms in the process. If you had a profesional installer build them, it mind up being a bit closer in price to granite or quartz. And yes, NO seams which I love as well.

As far as stain resistance, with a proper sealer (I'm using a product called Aqua-thane that is supposed to be very good) they are supposed to be comparable to any other sealed stone. Time will tell though, mine are still fresh. :)
 
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PoolBrews

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Oct 16, 2019
126
The Villages, Florida
I had a similar place to build a bar. I wanted it to fit my "Hacienda tropical" theme. Some details:
  1. The underlying bar frame is built out of steel beams so moisture won't impact it for a looong time.
  2. The exterior is all bamboo as this handles moisture and heat very well.
  3. The bar top is made of talavera tile, then covered in 1/2" of bartop epoxy.
  4. The side counters have a bamboo underlay, again covered in 1/2" of bartop epoxy.
  5. I added power for things like my kegerator and the margaritaville machine.
  6. There are two fans hidden behind the center tiki mask to provide airflow through the enclosed portion of the bar (and around the kegerator).
  7. The tiki top is made out of pvc piping, then covered with thatch.
This was my first retirement project last year. It took me about 6 weeks to complete, and cost me less than $1,000 to build. Any questions, just ask!

Note: These pics are BEFORE pool!
Hacienda 1 Tiki Bar Front.JPGHacienda 2 Tiki Bar Side.JPGHacienda 3 Tiki Bar Back.JPGHacienda 5 Tiki Bartop.JPGHacienda 6 Tiki Bartop.JPGHacienda 7 Tiki Bartop.JPGHacienda 8 Tiki Counter.JPGHacienda 9 Tiki Counter.JPGHacienda 9.1 Taps.jpg
 
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PoolBrews

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Oct 16, 2019
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The Villages, Florida
Thanks for the comment!

Hello Frank in FL! To provide some context to the size of my bar - the long side is 7' between wall and post. The short side is 2'. The short side works great for setting margarita's up for guests when you have a lot of them :cool: The long part is usually busy serving up my homebrew!

Where are you at in Florida, Frank? I'm in The Villages.
 

Dirk

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Epoxy over tile. Interesting. I'm not sure I'd use Trex. Trex is supposed to be stain resistant, but it's made from sawdust in part, so I'm not sure how much I'd trust their claims if used as an eating surface. I suspect Trex will not hold up well under wine and spilled taco meat, etc. I know I wouldn't be able to keep it clean enough for my sensibilities. The nature of their rounded edges means you'll have grooves and crevices in which to collect all kinds of food and dirt, which will be hard to clean. It's not going to wipe off well either, as it is textured with a fake wood grain. I'd want a seamless, smooth surface, like granite or concrete. Tile would be my distant third choice. But this epoxy idea would solve for my dislike of tile grout. I also have a vague recollection of getting micro splinters from my composite deck when it was new, but that may or may not have been Trex brand. Trex is engineered as flooring, not counter top. Just my two cents... I get that there is quite a jump in price from Trex to granite or concrete, but tile is cheap and made for tops. Float some epoxy across that and Bob's yer uncle.

Ivr, we gotta party with that guy!! :party:
 

PoolBrews

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Oct 16, 2019
126
The Villages, Florida
The epoxy has held up extremely well since installed a year ago. I got it from bartopepoxy.com. I did a lot of research, and their product is used by commercial bar installers. Once cured, the finish is much harder than standard epoxy you get at HD or Lowes. It's also guaranteed to never yellow. So far crystal clear!

Once I put the tile in (at my wife's request), I was concerned that if someone dropped a glass, the tile could chip or crack. Real Mexican talavera tile is fairly fragile. With the 1/2" thick epoxy, no worries! It also cleans up very easily.

This also allowed me to use a bamboo surface on the counters. Smooth impervious surface while retaining the look of the bamboo bar.

Oh, and it's a great surface to eat off of (or drink off of) whatever your pleasure!