DIY Waterfall Concrete Countertop w/ LED River Inlay || How to make GFRC Countertops


What’s up everyone? I’m over here today
at my buddy Al’s house where we just finished renovating his mancave. There are a few
parts that we’re going to go through in this build. The main feature is a one-piece waterfall concrete countertop with integrated LEDs that
waterfall over the edge. This is the first of two videos for this mancave
makeover. In this video we’re going to cover building the melamine form for the
countertop, and installing the countertop in the bar. In the second video we’re
going to cover the installation of the wood feature wall with the floating TV
panel, and the installation of the cabinets. So I’ve cut all of the
countertop form pieces at home and I brought them on site here. The form is
going to be pretty simple. We’re casting upside down so we have the top of the
counter on the bottom of the form. So the first thing we’re going to do is attach the sides of
the form, which are 3/4 inch taller than we want the sides of our countertop to be. And then we’re going to attach the waterfall base piece. And after that we’re going to attach the sides to that. When I attach the waterfall to the base, I use
right angle squares and clamp them down to make sure that the waterfall and the base were perfectly perpendicular. Now as I’ve shown in past videos I pre drilled in
the melamine to make sure it didn’t get blown out, and then used drywall screws
to attach everything. Now these two pieces are going to be for support. So we’re going to attach these when we put the waterfall up to hold it at a right
angle, so that the waterfall is braced against the pressure of the concrete
against it. And, to make sure I had room to grind the concrete even with the
sides of the form after it dried, I added spacers between the angle braces and the sides of the form. I also added a brace between the waterfall sides and the base sides to make sure that they were pulled flush so the inside of the form would also be
flush. The next step was to add the molds for the LED channels in the countertop. This piece is actually going to sit inside the form and make a channel in the concrete where we can lay some LEDs. I’ve cut these at a slight
angle, so it’s going to give us a bevel and when we cut a matching acrylic diffuser pieces, the bevel will allow the acrylic pieces to sit flush against
the top of the counter. And, the bevel will hold the acrylic diffusers in place so we won’t need any support from below for them. I’m using the same technique
and I’ve used in all my past videos with concrete forms — applying paste wax, followed by silicone caulk and then running around all the edges of the form with
the metal ball tool. So go back and watch some of those old videos to get this
technique. It’s a really cool way to get a clean and perfect caulk line in your
concrete forms. While we’re removing the excess caulk, I wanted to take a minute and remind you, if you like this video please click the little red subscribe
button below the video to get reminded about my future builds and also click that thumbs up button to let YouTube know you like it, which really helps me
out and helps me keep creating content. The melamine molds for the led channels
had exposed sides so I went back and covered them with electrical tape, which
will prevent water from getting into them. Then it was time to mix some
concrete for this build. I used a from-scratch glass fiber
reinforced or GFRC concrete mix, and because we wanted to have the face coat,
which we’re spraying on, and the back coat, be of consistent colors throughout, we mixed up 280 pounds of the dry ingredients all at once in a big bucket. I measured out about 40 pounds from big bucket to make the face coat, and then used a drywall hopper to spray the face coat on. This is goning to give you a really nice, smooth and even, coat. I’ve got all the links to
the products that I used in the video description. You’ll notice I’m spraying the
edges and corners first, because I want to avoid sand bouncing
in there and giving an uneven coat. After waiting 30 minutes for the face
coat to dry, I mixed up the back coat, which is identical to the face coat, except for the addition of the glass fibers. I used about a pound and a half of glass fibers for each 50-pound batch that I made. I made this a little bit thicker — like
the consistency of play-doh — so that I could pack it by hand against the
vertical face. I used my hand to pull the back coat up, so that it would stick to
that vertical face and wouldn’t slump. After putting 3/4″ of concrete down, I used a compaction roller to push the back coat into the face coat,
and to align the fibers, which will give you really strong GFRC — important when you have a long horizontal span like this countertop. I then put some foam inserts
inside of the concrete, so that it would keep the weight down, before putting the final 1/4″ of the GFRC back coat on top of the foam, so the foam was encased in the countertop. After I finished the vertical face, I was still getting a bit of slump so I just stayed there for 30 minutes or so, and kept working the concrete up the vertical face with my hand. Because I wanted this to be really strong, I used a really high glass-fiber density that resulted in a mix that wouldn’t perfectly level on its own.
Because of this, we’re going to take this angle grinder, which Tack life tools sent this to me to try out, and we are going to put it through its paces to see how it does grinding down concrete. To grind the concrete, I just used a really
inexpensive diamond cup wheel that I got off Amazon. There’s a link in the
description. Together, the Tack Life angle grinder and the diamond cup wheel cost under 50 bucks (USD), and they worked really well. So if you’re looking for a an inexpensive quality option for a grinder, I think this is a good combo. Before demolding, I ground down the base of the waterfall flat, so it would sit nicely on the floor. I also ground the face and inner corner of the waterfall section so would fit nicely around the cabinets. Then time for the big reveal — which isnt that big of a reveal here because I had some really bad lighting, so I apologize for that. I promise at the end of the video we’re going to have some really nice shots and everything. Second apology — I forgot to record myself applying a slurry coat, which is a mix of sand and cement that you rub in with your hands to fill voids in the concrete. You see me sanding the slurry coat off here. After sanding, all that was left to do was apply the sealer and get it nice and beautifully shiny. …actually, that wasn’t everything… there’s
a “little” part about having to maneuver this huge awkwardly-shaped 270 pound
counter inside and onto the cabinets. It actually wasn’t too bad with the
help of a few friends. I took the piece of the form that I’d used to make the LED channels, and re-used it to make sure I set my table saw on the exact same angle. This way, when I cut the acrylic diffuser strips, they are the exact same width and bevel angle as the channel in the countertop, and will flush against the top of the countertop without any other support from below. I used a sheet of smoke-gray transparent acrylic to make the diffuser strips and sprayed them with a frosted glass spray, so that you can’t see the LEDs through the diffusers when the LEDs are off. I then ran the power and control lines through a hole I drilled in the concrete channel, and and used the tape on the back of the LEDs to stick them in the concrete channel. I put the acrylic diffuser on, then
we wired everything, and fired it up. If you’ve watched my past videos you know I’ve used an Arduino with an elecret mic to control LEDs and sync them to
music. This time I simplified things by using an off-the-shelf LED controller
that only cost about 10 bucks. This store-bought controller includes an RF remote, does music syncing, chasing
modes. and solid color modes. It’s pretty cool. I’ll leave a link in the
description. That’s it for part 1 of the mancave. If you like this, please click
that little subscribe button below, click the thumbs up to let YouTube know you
like it, and be sure to check out the second part, which should be either out now or out in the next few days, depending on when you’re watching this. Thanks, and I’ll see you next time.

100 thoughts on “DIY Waterfall Concrete Countertop w/ LED River Inlay || How to make GFRC Countertops

  1. This project originated from viewers asking me to combine LEDs and concrete. Do you think the project succeeded in bringing the suggestion to life? Any ideas for improvement? And, after watching this what project ideas do you have for the combination of LEDs and concrete?

  2. Id just buy wood and use epoxy.. Man I don't have half of the tools used.. Looks awesome though!

  3. How difficult was it to cut the bevel such that the acrylic sat flush with the surface? If I were tackling this, I'd make test pieces and sneak up on the final width with a dial indicator, epoxy the strip in and sand it flush. I'm curious to know how you went about it and achieved such a clean look. Good work!

  4. That form looked complicated. Personally I would've tipped it on it's side, and leave what would become the back of the counter open; face coat two separate halves, attach them, then pour the concrete in, and do all the typical form work.

  5. hi there how come u don't make money from all your IDEA and help out your family mates and kids and past the rest too  CHARITY ) love this 1

  6. I stumbled across your video while randomly browsing yesterday and being an electrician.. i LOVE anything with LEDs and this…. This will defiantly be a project for my home. But Im going to start off small and make bedside end tables. Ive been searching up the supplies needed, I can find some things available local (sand, concrete, GF and pigment) but the other chemicals and such (alto-pozz, KongKrete, ect) I cant seem to find a Canadian supplier. Would you happen to know of any by chance?
    Thanks! And Keep up the awesome work!

  7. My 6 year old son says you should do this again, but run REAL water through the channel and down the side into a water machine that pumps it back to the top.

  8. Would like to know more about how you made the concrete glossy… I wish there were videos on how to make white concrete, black, glossy, etc. Don't know how to make concrete from scratch…

  9. Cool idea but I've determined that GFRC anything is way more work and mess than other mediums. It's versatile and interesting but still too process intensive to be practical.

  10. Hi, do we have to apply a face coat when using GFRC? Can we just sand away the fibers when its cured?

  11. Beautifully done, made to look simple in the video, but I wonder how simple it is to do as a amauture!

    Great Video, Great Idea, Great Workmanship!!! Thanks for putting the time in to make the video. 👍🏽

  12. Love this! Just went under contract on a house, can't wait to start something cool like this, if I can get the wifey to sign off on it.. lol

  13. Good video, I also like the design. But I am curious why he didn't use a plasticizer to help the backer coat level out? Also why not place the foam board in place to create spaces then remove them, instead of leaving them in the project? It seems like leaving them in would negativly effect the flexeral strength?

  14. Great job! I love your show. Now, can you show how to do a kitchen countertop with the same concept? It's the same idea but weight becomes an issue. I figured you'd do it in place since it's going to be really heavy.

  15. like the idea. would of made more sense if you floated it off while wet rather than spending all that time grinding it.

  16. Just came across this build, as well as your channel. Awesome work, and you gained another subscriber. Keep up the great content!

  17. Excellent work, greetings from Peru …. Question … what software did you use for the modelation?

  18. I was wondering, in the results using normal concrete and some steel reinforcement, had you ever tried that way?

  19. No. The project was a success obviously. That being said, concrete stained with two complementary shades of color and then sealed with a shine are an elegant touch to any mancave bartop, but LED lights incorporated take away from that elegance. LEDs are cool but definitely have their place like light up liquor shelves or underneath trim as an accent, or around an arcade game etc

  20. Nice piece.
    That poor little shop vac was having some fun trying to keep up with the grinder!

  21. At 4:32 you were eating during the voiceover weren’t you? Awesome project my dude, bet your friend was well chuffed.

  22. i love the project but i do have a pet peeve i hate it when people encase foam inserts in concrete furniture
    its just bad form and more often than not there are structural failures after a couple of years or even a small earthquake .
    i really dont see the argument about saving weight in this case you maybe saved 20 pounds is that really worth it ?

  23. Buy a trowel lol, also concrete is generally only 10-25% cement and is mostly aggregate (could save some money on future builds). It turned out beautiful though, very impressive.

  24. how did you account for the thickness of the leds to keep it flush with the top? i'm thinking of just doing a strip in the back side of my outdoor kitchen bar and wiring from the underside

  25. Very cool and nice job I'm new to your community doesn't look like you've done anything for a while what's your next project look forward to hearing from you keep up the good work.

    I also have a how to channel look forward to hearing from you you might be interested in checking out my handmade Oak Fork.
    God bless,
    Kem

  26. A man cave is a TV in a garage with tools and other manly stuff a yuppies room is what you have

  27. I have seen a lot of people do this without the sprayer, would you 100% suggest having the sprayer or can the top coat be laid in and brushed in (similar to your white small table top with the wood piece)? right now my compressor is on the fritz and I would love to try some of these projects but would rather spend the extra 200$ id have to spend for compressor and spray gun on other products. Thanks in advance, love your work!

  28. If you would have closed frame the wall it would have been flat and you would have never had to babysit it. Also if you would have screed the top/bottom and used a trial the bottom/top would have been perfectly flat. Why order from amazon go to the hardware store.

  29. This is pretty sweet! I just watched a guy named Colm Black-Byron and he used a pvc pipe to make a rounded waterfall edge. I loved his, but I think I like yours better. You make me feel all competent and things. 😎

  30. Did you get a shot yet for whatever was causing the muscle spasms in your arms and hands? Hope you're better now 🙂

  31. I like your very instructive videos.
    Thanks for sharing I am in the construction school now. I hope one day to get me a place where I can do works like the way you do.
    But I see it too far because the rent is super high in San Francisco. So bad
    But still I like your videos very much

  32. Creativity and ability!! Very nice stuff. I am just getting started on your videos and want to attempt to try this process. Is there a particular video that explains the process in detail of setting up the forms. I think I got it for the most part but the roller ball is a bit murky thus far. Where do you buy that and are you simply removing the excess by hand after it dries? That is a great process if so. I apologize if this is a redundant question but if you could provide a link to the purchase of the "Ball" . Great Stuff Mike!!!

  33. Beautiful installation! do you generally have to remove the cream of the concrete before sealing for the sealer adhere to the surface?

  34. Hey, great video! I've been wondering, why don't you vibrate your concrete? or do you vibrate it and just don't show it?

  35. thank you for making this video. i would have never thought about this. … with that said… "I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO DO WITH MY HANDS" – Ricky Bobby

  36. Are you able to eliminate bug holes by spraying your initial coat?  I've never seen that done before.  BTW – I've found the Chen sealer to be best for my kitchen countertops.  It is a bit expensive.  Do you have a cheaper alternative?

  37. This is crazy man wow just wow i want to buy just every thing you make!!!

  38. Excellent video, precise and ilustrative. I don´t have a compressor + hopper gun, it could be done without face coat? In this case would be use only one mix with fiber glass from the beginning? Thank you 😉

  39. Arm thrusting aside are you suffering from tennis elbow.. it's not easy as I had one when I was a teenager.

  40. That looks really smart, never seen that because. 👍👍👍👍👍😂 I would've thought you could've screed off the surplus concrete.

  41. On the 4 minute and 30 second market sounds like he's eating while talking so rude.. I can't stand people reminding us that do we need to like the video over and over again like we know dude…

  42. Hello great video!!!

    Wanted to ask you what did you use to sand the final product??

    1.)Diamond sandpaper on your orbital sander?

    2.)What grit did you use ?

    3.) Would a wet sander work better ?

    4.) Did you expose any of the aggregate?

    5.) Have you experimented with any other sealers that last a long time ?

  43. now that's better idea to use melamine than using it to make furniture.

  44. Hi sir in I have been watching your video they are awsome,i have a question GFRC premix is not available in our country is there anyway to diy mixing it

  45. Muy bueno…lo único que le faltó es una estructura de hierro… cuando se quiebre el hormigón se cae…

  46. To combat slumping, have you tried fixing covers to the side forms to stop the concrete flowing down?

    I’ve got a concrete counter planned that has waterfalls on both sides and feel this would be a way to eliminate the risk of slump.

  47. Hey man this is Dinesh from India I like your all videos it’s awesome make me wood and epoxy round Bluetooth speakers

  48. Hi I love your videos, I was thinking can't you put that grinder blade on a router to have every thing equal?

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