How to Build a Bar Top

By Sally Cohen , last updated January 13, 2012

If you’re aiming to turn your basement into the ultimate party lounge or man cave, then you should consider building your own bar top. If you’ve already finished the counter building process and are looking for a great and unique finish with the top, look no farther. Why spend hundreds of dollars when you can customize your bar top to suit your needs and budget using your own two hands? This project is easy, affordable, and sure to impress. You’ll need the following supplies:

  • Bottom layer of 3/4 inch rough plywood substrate
  • Wood of your choice (oak works particularly well)
  • Varnish or paint
  • Sealant
  • Wood glue
  • Optional: Laminate or wood strips

First, you’ll want to cut your plywood substrate to the measurements of your counter. If you want there to be room for stools to go under your bar, you should take that into account when sizing your counter-top. The next step is to lay out your design with the oak or wood of your choice. You can either go straight across or create a pattern using different lengths and shapes of wood, like a puzzle. Simply glue the wood pieces down onto the plywood surface. It’s a good idea to pre-drill your top before you varnish and seal it to make sure you have a clean finish. Once you’ve affixed your bar-top to your counter, layer on wood-varnish or paint, and then apply a coat of sealant to make sure your bar is spill resistant and long-lasting. For a cleaner look, you may want to add an additional layer of laminate or wood strips to the edges of your bar-top (using either nails or wood glue) in order to cover up the seam.

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