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Old 10-01-2012, 07:43 PM   #1
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Default Concrete Counter Top Keezer

I'm in the middle of building my keezer and still deciding on what I want to do for the top. Right now my thought is to make the top out of poured concrete since it looks awesome. I've looked around the forum and the only other keezer build I can find is this one: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/pallet-keezer-344104/

Has anyone had any experience with this? I have never done something like this before and this project is certainly pushing the limits of my DIY-ness. My main concern here is weight, but using a calculator online it seems like the top will be at most 60 lbs, without accounting for any siding.

Also, can anyone experienced in concrete provide some insight on whether my keezer design will have issues with a concrete top? Right now my thought is to create a mold of the plywood top with a spot removed for the drip tray and tower (the shelving will be added later), and then make a 3/4 inch thick concrete piece that will then be glued on to the actual keezer.

So far I have the base and siding of the keezer built and it's coming out great. Hopefully the whole thing will turn out as good.

keezer-front.jpg   keezer-back.jpg  
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Old 10-01-2012, 08:07 PM   #2
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There was someone on here that did concrete bartops, and laid out exactly how they did it. Ill see if I can find the link.

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Old 10-01-2012, 09:45 PM   #3
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3/4" concrete will be very hard to do without cracking. Better put some mesh in there too.

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Old 10-02-2012, 12:27 AM   #4
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I read somewhere that you can make lightweight concrete using Perlite or Vermiculite (from a garden supply) for the aggregate instead of stone. This would allow more of a standard thickness but still save considerable weight. I suppose reinforcing wire, rod, mesh or fibers would still be advisable.

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Old 10-02-2012, 12:37 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OCBrewin View Post
3/4" concrete will be very hard to do without cracking. Better put some mesh in there too.
I don't think mesh (or wire or rebar) prevents cracking, it just prevents separation.

In any case, there are lots of different concrete additives available that provide varying degrees of flexibility. That's something that should be given serious consideration in this type of application, as it would be difficult to assure the contact surface supporting the sheet to be totally stable and flex-free...

Cheers!
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:42 AM   #6
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I've also seen people make a top out of plywood or mdf then coat that with something that mimics poured concrete. I seen it on DIY but don't remember what they used to put over the wood. I'll see if I can find it. Looked pretty good and would save a ton of weight.

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Old 10-02-2012, 12:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
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I don't think mesh (or wire or rebar) prevents cracking, it just prevents separation.
While true that rebar doesn't prevent cracking, and that all concrete cracks to some degree - reinforcing of any kind (glass fibers, wire mesh, heck - even chicken wire) will keep the concrete together. Concrete is really good in compression, but almost worthless in tension (read - flexure), but in which steel is excellent. Without reinforcing, once a crack happens - poof, there goes that section of concrete.

The main culprits in concrete cracking and low strength are too much water in the mix and not controlling the evaporation during curing. I know that this isn't exactly the Burj Dubai, but as a structural engineer who designs a lot of concrete structures, I must point out that there are a few small steps to take that will ensure a nice, crack free (almost, at least) surface.

Good luck!
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Old 10-02-2012, 02:37 AM   #8
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I poured my own countertops, and followed Fu-Tung Cheng's advice on pouring (http://www.concreteexchange.com/). Very precise in his instuctions. His kits are a little expensive for just 60 lbs of top, but I love the way mine came out. For crazy, baby bottom smooth top, this is the way to go.

1 - Measure and lay out a template
2 - flip templates over and build molds out of melamine. The top of the counter actually sits on the melamine to dry.
3 - SWMBO waterproofing melamine
4 - friend helping pour concrete (white patch in the back is the negative for the sink - that piece weighs 480 lbs) We put in the mesh as a rebar. Cheng suggests putting a rebar in if it's spanning anything, and more than an inch away from the surface. Too close and the rebar will ghost through the surface.
5 - finished product - we also poured some backsplashes.

counters-1.jpg   counters-2.jpg   counters-3.jpg   counters-4.jpg   counters-5.jpg  

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Old 10-02-2012, 02:37 AM   #9
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Yup, I definitely would plan on reinforcing it with something before pouring.

Also, I wanted to do concrete over just painting/staining wood so that the 3/4" drip tray would be flush with the surface. I think the concrete would be the easiest way to make a single top that has spaces for the tower and tray.

And it would look awesome.

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Old 10-02-2012, 02:42 AM   #10
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Make sure to vibrate it down when pouring. I just used a jigsaw without the blade for 10-15 minutes along the edges of the molds. A week after pouring, flip the piece over and let it dry for a few days, then start wet sanding.

We didn't take any pics wet sanding, because I was cold and cranky when we did this outside in January (great timing, I know.) but you can smooth it like crazy.

I do plan on doing this for my keezer when I get the ok from SWMBO, but not 2" thick. The weight adds up frikkin fast.

counters-6.jpg   counters-7.jpg  
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