Outdoor Bar top

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Forum topic by thebuda posted 07-23-2014 10:12 PM 1163 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 1426 days

07-23-2014 10:12 PM

Topic tags/keywords: outdoor countertop

I’ve been lurking and reading, and planning and scrubbing, and I finally need to get some more expert opinions.

I am building an outdoor bar. The bottom of the bar is all designed and will be using pressure treated pine and plywood with a couple coats of deck paint (to match the deck it will be setting on). But the bar top is where I’m struggling.

Option A is a tiled top. My concern is that I’ll need to make a plywood base, top with cement board, and then tile. If the wood expands and contracts (as this will be outdoors in VA) tiles will be popping off in a few months and I’ll hate the thing.

Option B is a homemade cedar top. I thought about using cedar fencing pickets, cut into 1.5” strips, and gluing up a 100 of them to make a cool looking butcherblock-esq top and then sealing it in a spar varnish.

I’ve dismissed concrete as too heavy and granite as too expensive. Thoughts?

- Jon

4 replies so far

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2384 days

#1 posted 07-23-2014 10:47 PM


-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View Jake's profile


850 posts in 1654 days

#2 posted 07-24-2014 06:04 AM

As long as your finish on the end grain “chopping block” is tight you should have no problems. As soon as water gets in there the thing will pretty well explode. And it will happen at some point in time.

If wood movement is an issue, I would go with a concrete slab, tiled over. Pour the concrete, in a plywood box, break it out of the box. Pop that slab on top of the bottom and tile that sucker over. Throw some rebar in the concrete, so you don’t need to make it too thick, depending on the size of the top and how you intend to support it, a 1 1/2 or 2” will suffice. Throw that tile in on there and you will have eliminated all of the movement issues.

-- Measure twice, cut once, cut again for good measure.

View Yonak's profile


986 posts in 1544 days

#3 posted 07-24-2014 01:27 PM

The wooden top will require regular maintenance and you will probably find it fares better if it is covered when not in use. Both are a pain. Like Clint, I would go with tile. As long as they’re well secured to the cement board base they won’t pop off.

View JohnMcD348's profile


50 posts in 1620 days

#4 posted 08-18-2014 01:14 AM

Something you could consider for the sake of outdoor survivability is Composite Decking and for a top they have that artificial granite tops that you can get in many different styles and designs. I know a few guys who run the Professional BBQ circuit that have those tops in their prep trailers and swear by them.

I’m planning an very small outdoor kitchen and plan on using it for part of the build. The rest of the wood will probably be Mahogany or some other wood that’s pretty water resilient. Being in Florida, I might go with Cypress.

The composite and such is more expensive, but, it’s a 1 time expense and will save over time and maintenance needs in the long run.

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