Concrete Mantle Refinish

Transform the focal point of a room with a contemporary concrete finish.

Concrete Mantle Refinish

Transform the focal point of a room with a contemporary concrete finish.

Difficulty: Intermediate

Protective eyewear
60- to 80-grit sand disc and sander, or sandpaper
Construction adhesive
Latex gloves
Plastic tray
Paint tray
Paint roller
Latex primer (dries in about 15 minutes) (mixture of gluing adhesives)
Measuring buckets
Damp rag
Cement powder (will harden in about 20 minutes)
Drill and paddle bit
Trowel and float
Painter’s tape

To Make Wall Flush (Optional)
(4) ¼"-thick luan sheets, cut to 2' × 4' (or size and quantity needed to fill space)
Wood shims
Utility blade to cut wood shims, if needed
18-gauge pin nailer
18-gauge nails, 1"

  1. Remove preexisting mantle or shelving from the wall

  2. Note: Steps 2 through 5 are for those who have a space in the wall that is not flush.

  3. Follow steps 2 through 5 if the desired space is not flush to the wall. Apply a generous amount of construction adhesive to the back of a luan sheet

  4. Place the luan sheet on the desired space on the wall. If the luan is not flush with the wall, add wood shims behind it to make it flush

  5. Use as many wood shims as needed to make the luan sheet flush with the wall. Position shims behind the luan, and nail them in place with an 18-gauge pin nailer and 1" nails

  6. Carpenter Tip: The wood shims should be about the same length as the width of the luan. If needed, cut the wood shims to length with a utility blade.

  7. Repeat step 4 around the perimeter

  8. Repeat steps 2 through 5 until the wall is flush
  9. Now that the wall is flat, use the sander and sand disc to sand down the wall, not including the luan

  10. Carpenter Tip: If you do not have a sander, you can use sandpaper to achieve this step; it will just take longer.

  11. After sanding, wipe the wall with a damp rag
  12. Mix the primer and pour into a paint tray. Apply it generously to the wall and luan boards with a paint roller

  13. Let the primer dry for about 15 minutes
  14. In two separate measuring buckets, measure out one part water to two parts concrete powder
  15. Set the gallon bucket on the floor and mix the water and concrete. Use the drill and paddle bit to create a smooth, creamy mixture

  16. Once concrete is mixed, use the trowel to scoop the concrete into the plastic tray. Work quickly as concrete can harden in as little as 20 minutes
  17. Use the trowel and float to smooth the concrete onto the wall using an upward, swooping motion

  18. Carpenter Tip: To cover tight spaces such as crevices, place the concrete on the tip of the trowel and use the narrow part of the trowel to smooth the concrete onto the area.

  19. When the entire wall is covered, let dry over night