How To Build A Concrete Bench
Pour Concrete In Shapes And Have Fun
Yet at the time of writing the concrete benches article I was thinking mostly about making such a bench on my own. Doing this is not just a way to save plenty of money (as concrete is cheap), but also to have the bench you want to have.
In this article I will talk how to build a bench like the one shown on the picture. It's a bloody simple bench. I'll point you out to ideas and info how to build other designs of benches as well however.
This is the simplest design. You can add curves in the legs or smooth the edges of the sitting surface to make the bench more elegant.
Planning an measuring
Installing a concrete bench isn't such a big deal except that these benches are hard to move. So think well when choosing the location.You need to measure the space you have for your benches and plan the size accordingly to that. I recommend you to avoid designing too big concrete bench. These are hard to pour, to assemble and to move. Besides that you will need legs on each 3 - 6 feet (1 - 2m) of the length. In case you need really a large bench, it's much smarter to make 2, 3 or more benches and place them next to each other.
The bench that we'll build in our example is 5 ft / 150cm long, 15" / 40cm wide and 20" / 50cm high. You can change these measures freely.
If you are going to use a ready bench mold you will need to follow the size of the mold.
This is the most important tool when building a concrete bench as you will pour all the concrete in it. The mold determines the size and the shape of your concrete bench. The easiest and probably wise thing to do if you are building a bench for first time is just to buy a ready mold. For example this rounded rectangle bench mold is good and costs $69.95. Most molds cost $100 or even more which makes a large part of the bench cost especially if you are building only one bench. (On the other hand if you use the mold for more benches it makes perfect sense to buy it).
A cheaper alternative is of course to make the mold yourself. A good material for it is particle board or plywood. You need to draw and cut the parts of the mold, glue them or connect with nails and lute with silicone at the edges. The molds for the bench in our example will be too - one like 4"/10cm deep pan and the other (for the legs) will be a 6"/15cm deep pan.
Mixing and Pouring Concrete
Mixing concrete is not a rocket science but it takes some practice and patience. You can learn how to do it here. An easier alternative is just to buy ready mix concrete which is also quite affordable.
Before pouring it smear the mold with something which will let you pick the ready shapes easier. Some builders just use vegetable oil and it seems to work great. The oil should be well smeared leaving no dry areas inside but also no extra liquid oil.
After pouring smooth the top with lumber and tower and let the concrete dry. This may take 2-3 days. Then carefully pick the bench part without breaking the mold - even if you've made it yourself it remains the most expensive part of the bench.
Joining the Parts
When joining the parts make sure to place them properly. Since our simple bench has only three parts - a sitting surface and two legs - joining will be easy. Either
align the legs with the ends
of the sitting surface or place them at the same distance from them.
Joining itself should be done with glue, liquid nails or a concrete mixture.
Finishing and Installing
Concrete benches often need no special installation, you can just place them on the ground. Sometimes you may want to dig little holes in the ground to fix the position of the bench and make it more stable. Depending on the soil softness you may want to put some gravel in the holes to prevent sinking.
There are several options for finishing. First, your concrete bench is usable
without any finishing at all,
especially if you succeeded to make it smooth (or smooth it well with sandpaper after it's done). Many people prefer to at least paint the bench in some nice color. Another alternative is to place ceramic tiles or mosaic on the top which can really have great decorative effect.
If you use high quality ready mix concrete by Quikrete you will need eight of these packs which means $140 for our good, large and massive bench. You can choose much cheaper concrete however - sometimes it goes as low as $5 per bag which would make $40 for the 8 bags. You need few bucks for the mold and finishing stuff, but in any case building such a bench is fairly affordable.
I have used several other sites for further inspiration and information on the topic. You may find them useful too:
- How to make a concrete bench - this is a 2 pages guide from a guy who makes a lot of concrete benches
- How to make a concrete garden bench - a very good video showing the process with great details
- Making a Concrete Bench - a short but useful piece. Pay attention to the comments under it as well.
If you decide to try, please let me know about your experience and if possible send me pictures! You can contact us here.