Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Patio Bar Rehab for Less Than $200

I tend to be a glass-is-half-full kind of guy, which is especially beneficial in the year 2020. So while there are so many things going on right now that are not great (one of my favorite current sayings is, "Look out the window and see which chapter of Revelation we're in today"), some things have been beneficial. I have gotten to spend a lot more time with my family. I have walked hundreds of miles on all of my conference calls/phone calls/virtual meetings. And I have been extremely productive with house projects.

One project that I have been putting off for a few years is refurbishing my patio cabinets. The cabinet doors wouldn't close and were hanging off the hinges, the drawer bottoms were falling apart, the veneer was peeling off, and I was getting weekly calls from the '80s asking for their mauve back. So once I finished painting my downstairs, laying bricks around the border of my yard, and installing new banisters in my stairway, I figured it was time for me to slay this beast.

So here are the steps I took to refurbish my outdoor patio bar for under $200.

Goodbye mauve!
I decided to use redwood, cedar, and composite for the entire project—they're insect resistant and hold up well to the weather. I used redwood 2x6 boards for the drawer fronts and planed-smooth cedar fence posts made up the face frame of the bar.

First, I removed all the drawers. I discarded the drawer fronts, and while the metal drawer sides were still in good shape, the bottoms and backs of the drawers needed to be replaced. I cut the pieces from plywood scraps that I had in my workshop, and used redwood 2x6 boards fro the fronts of the drawers.

Trashed drawers - gone!
Once I rebuilt the drawers, I removed the two cabinets. I had no idea how they were attached, but a little wiggling and jiggling helped me find the screws holding them in place. When I pulled them out, I realized that they were in worse shape than I thought. The feet - the parts that came in contact with the ground - were made from plywood, and were completely rotted. I cut off the rotten plywood up to the base of the box, and rebuilt the legs with composite lumber scraps that I had at the house. The composite will (hopefully) give much longer life to the boxes.

After the feet were installed and the cabinets were upright, I cut the cedar pieces to cover the face of the frame. I decided to use pocket hole screws to attach all of the frame pieces together. I glued the entire frame to the face of the cabinets. I then covered the concrete blocks that make up the island with vertical redwood 2x6 boards.

Rotten cabinet base
Once the cabinets were in place, it was time to make the cabinet doors for under the sink. For those doors I used tongue and groove boards. I glued them together, added a some cedar boards on the back for support, and cut them to the right size.

At this point, everything was cut, sanded, and in place, and it was time to seal it all up. We decided that we didn't want the natural weathered look (it always seems like a good idea, but often ends up looking old and beat up way too quickly). I wanted something relatively easy to apply, long lasting, and easy to reapply at a later date. After significant research, I landed on a semi transparent deck stain and sealer. It should last a long time (especially considering that the entire bar is protected by the patio roof), with a six year guarantee. The stain and sealer brushed on nicely.
New cabinet base

The entire process took three long weekend days, as well as four weekday afternoons. So one week of sweating in the Arizona heat, under $200, and my patio went from drab to fab. No more mauve cabinets, but just natural wood.

And while it looks like there is no end in site for COVID cases letting up, my home project list is continuing to grow. Stay tuned for the next Renaissance Dad Quarantine 2020 project!

Cabinet faces installed

Cabinet bases sanded

Cabinet bases stained and sealed

Staining before (left) and after (right)

And now we're ready for a socially distanced party! 

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