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harleysilo 01-06-2014 09:11 AM

Concrete Basement Bar
Hi all, been awhile, but we are going to finish ~ 1000 sq feet of our basement.

Our overall design is to have the ceiling painted flat black leaving everything exposed, the concrete slab sanded/polished as best as can be done and stained and sealed, with drywall covered walls all around the perimeter of the room but only to about 7'-8' tall and not connected to the ceiling joists. So the reason for using concrete for the bar, is that we think it would fit the look of the basement.

While i'm saving some cash up for an additional furnace, i'm going to take my time building a concrete bar, finishing the concrete slab, and framing up the walls for electrical.

In this thread i'm going to talk about the bar.

So the plan is to have the bar wrap around the space under the stairs that descend into the basement. There are several reasons, primarily because that space would otherwise be underutilized, and i had to add some additional support work for the tile floor on the main level, so this will tie in those 2 posts.

In the picture below you will see the framing i've done to open up the space. On the far side of the walls will be a door way to access the "behind the bar area" which will be directly under the stairs. The bar top will be on the side closest to you in the picture, and then wrap around the side facing the stairs. It will not continue around the far side.


At this point i'm researching the concrete makeup, i want to mix my own with Portland cement (white or gray), and i am interested in what aggregate to pick.

I've got a pretty good idea of how i'm going to frame up (for pouring) for a wall, and the bar top. But i need some advice on what products to buy to sand/polish the concrete once cured, for a handheld grinder.

About 1/2 through i realized i didn't have the proper nails, so it's just held there with a few screws, nails and completion of the framing will go in tonight.

BridgeMan 01-11-2014 11:58 PM

I hope you mean just the bar top being concrete, and not everything below it. Pouring just 3 or 4 C.F. of solid concrete will place heavy concentrated loads on your floor slab that it's not designed to resist, resulting in possible cracking and settlement.

kok328 01-12-2014 09:41 AM

Plan on adding support to the double 2x4 king stud that was cut and replaced with a single 2x4 also add the cripple studs to the top of the door header.
Maybe you could frame out a bar and do a stucco finish to tie in with the polished concrete?

harleysilo 01-13-2014 08:26 AM

So i finished the framing opening up the area under the stairs.

I've talked with some concrete re finishers, who also suggested not pouring a wall for the bar, although not for the same concerns, they suggested I could make a faux concrete wall with a skimcoat on backerboard and polish that. I'm looking into it now. The wall i was considering would be 17' long L shape and at 3" thick it would require ~15 80lb bags on concrete or ~1500 lbs. So it may really be a concern as it would also sit near the one crack in the slab on that side of the basement.

I'm in the process of removing all the ancient cable/phone/security system wiring from the basement, chasing down a few unknown breakers, removing old insulation in the ceiling, opening up some cracks in the slab for patching. I've got to lay out a bathroom for stubing up the future plumbing.

nealtw 01-13-2014 06:39 PM

Your framing looks good, I too would be inclined to build the wall out of wood and do a faux finish.

harleysilo 01-14-2014 08:05 AM

I did finish installing the 2x4’s above the one header, I just didn’t take a picture afterwards.

I haven't got a grinder capable of adding water during use yet, nor have i got the various pads/discs for grinding/polishing of concrete. I'm not sure if I can make a polished concrete faux finish. I'm not sure of the minimum thickness required to successfully polish without cracking the concrete. I can make the outside surface of the wall using some type of concrete board, and the put on a skim coat, but will that survive finishing/polishing/sanding?

So the current design plan calls for me to build two more posts such that the L shaped bar top has a post at the four corners of the L. I dislike the 2 steel posts in the middle of room but am not willing to put in large beams to get rid of them. So I’m going to make the 6 posts (2 house support, 2 that shorten the span of ceiling joists to lower deflection for upstairs tile work, and 2 new ones that will support corners of bar top) match. I plan to form up around them with 2x10’s or 12’s and the fill them with concrete. The resulting post will by 8’x8’, and I’d like them 7’ tall.

So if I just form and pour, I’m looking at around 3.5 80lb bags of concrete for each post. If I can get the pour down to just 1” on each side of the post I could get that down to 1 bag for each post. The question is how to do that. For the wooden posts I can nail up plywood to thicken the posts (i.e. reduce concrete required). For the round steel posts I guess I could do the same thing. I’ll be using some expandable foam for some other things, I guess I could spray the posts, then the next day shave them down square to 6”, and then glue and nail up two layers of ply, overlapping the corners with the second layer, that should be strong enough not to collapse while I fill them.

The other thing is I was planning on pouring the posts to 40-41”, and then having the concrete poured in place countertop overlap the concrete on the post. Then after I’m done with the countertop, pour the rest of the post to 7’ height, effectively locking the countertop into place.

I was planning on doing test pieces of concrete prior to doing the countertop, if I make the test pieces on the larger side, say 40”x24”, I could use them to cover the bar wall. If I went that route the “concrete wall” would be ~564 lbs. plus, or all in 884 lbs. bar wall and 4 posts, not including bartop. If I can make the bartop 2” thick max, that another 560 lbs, or 1444 total. I won’t know if I think I can make the pieces 1” thick successfully until I try.

harleysilo 01-14-2014 09:39 AM


Originally Posted by kok328 (Post 98504)
Plan on adding support to the double 2x4 king stud that was cut and replaced with a single 2x4 also add the cripple studs to the top of the door header.
Maybe you could frame out a bar and do a stucco finish to tie in with the polished concrete?

I didn't see this post.

I goggled cripple studs, i really need to learn the proper names, and while they aren't pictured they are installed. I presume the double king studs are good enough, do people ever build triple? What do they call the original framers pieces of 2x4 where they could have put a stud in? Spacers? You see i removed those and put in a full stud.

I'm going to continue to think about the bar wall finish. I have EFIS stucco on my house, and have seen it repaired/installed, i could do that actually, just have to buy the trowel with the pieces of grit on it.

nealtw 01-14-2014 05:45 PM

In the book the king stud is full height next to the header, jacks hold up the the header and the blocks above or below are criples. two jacks for headers five feet and longer, three jacks when there is a barring load and more often with an engineered beem. Where I live everyone has different names for all of this stuff so it can be confusing.

Any post that was placed when the house was built should have a footing under it, the question is, is the footing directly under the slab or deeper but if you attach your concrete to the posts they should carry the weight. ( I think )

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