DIY Mancave Makeover Pt. 1 // Waterfall Concrete Countertop w/ LED River Inlay

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

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..

As found on YouTube

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