At the center of our newly made-over patio is a modern/classic fire table.
It is powered by a small propane tank stored inside which makes it super easy to turn on and off for evening ambience, roasting marshmallows and staying warm.
I love a good outdoor fire, but I don’t love going inside smelling of bon fire. And, a quick turn on/turn off means no chopping wood or waiting until the coals die down before you can walk away.
There are endless fire table options available online and I had just started searching when Ryan called from Target saying he found this table on sale. It wasn’t the fire table of our dreams, but it was available and inexpensive and would work just fine.
He brought it home, put it together and that was that.
But then, I had an idea. I didn’t totally love the finish of the metal or the top so I came up with a plan for how to alter the table to be more in line with our style.
Here’s what the table looked like assembled:
The top of the table was a molded resin tile pattern with lots of texture and the metal base had a slightly brushed effect with some copper showing through the dark brown/black finish.
I have been wanting to try out this concrete-like product and the fire table felt like a great place to experiment.
I’ve seen this done to update laminate countertops and Young House Love just used it to make a top for a coffee table. It seemed easy enough and I figured if it turned out horribly, we could chip it all off and try something else. Fortunately, it worked perfectly!
Here’s how I altered the fire table to give it a classic modern look.
STEP ONE | paint the base
You can sort of see in the picture on the left how the finish looked. It is a little rustic for my taste, so I gave the whole thing a quick coat of satin black spray paint.
Once the base was finished, I moved on to the top (the fun part!).
STEP TWO | mix up the concrete
So this isn’t really concrete – it is more of a compound used to smooth out floors (or something like that), but diy-ers around the internet have been using it for a few years on kitchen counters and table tops.
I found the Henry FeatherFinish product at Home Depot. It took me forever to find it in the store. I would recommend looking it up online with your local store selected and it will tell you what aisle it is on.
I also grabbed two buckets (one would have been fine) and a trowel.
To mix, I used about a 1:1 ratio – maybe slightly less water than mix. I had read that a wetter mix was easier to spread, but I didn’t want it to be too runny or else it would drip off the edged. John, from Young House Love likened his mix to about the consistency of pancake batter. That was a good reference for me.
STEP THREE | spread on the concrete
I wasn’t really sure what I was doing; I just started glopping it on and spreading it out. I wanted it to be thick enough that when I sanded it I wouldn’t go all the way down to the ’tile’.
Here’s what it looked like when the first coat was on:
And here it is after waiting a few hours for it to dry:
STEP FOUR | sand
I used an electric sander with 120 grit sandpaper to sand off the rough spots and smooth it out. I don’t know if 120 grit was the right paper to use – it’s what I had! And it worked just fine.
It just took a few minutes of sanding. You can see in the picture on the right that the ’tile’ layer began to peek through a little. After sanding, I wiped it all down with a microfiber cloth to remove all of the dust.
STEP FIVE | add a second coat of concrete
This time, I was a little more careful about going on smooth. After this layer dried, I gave it another quick sanding.
After two coats, the top was not totally perfect and a few visible air holes remained, but I actually really like how organic that makes it feel.
STEP FIVE | seal
I bought the only sealer I could find at Home Depot that said it was for concrete (this one). The bummer was that it only came in a big container and cost about $35, when all we really needed was a tiny bit. But now we have lots of sealer for some other project down the road :).
Ryan was delicate at first with the sealer, putting it on the rag and wiping it onto the table. But after a few minutes of this (and watching the sealer completely soak into the concrete) he just started pouring it on and wiping it in. We did this three times.
After the sealer dried, here’s what the table looked like:
We moved it into place, added lava rock and gave it a try!
(We borrowed my parent’s adorable airstream to go camping so that is why it is in our yard. We sold the one we traveled the country with when we returned from our road trip two years ago. It was so nostalgic to take my parent’s for the week!).
I was not sure if my diy ideas would work, but I’m so happy with how the table turned out. It feels modern and organic and adds a natural texture to our patio area.
Just for comparison, here’s a before and after shot:
fire table | Rocksprings Fire Table from Target
chairs| Arca Vintage Brown from Article
woven side table + pillows | Home Goods
patio lights | String Lights from Costco