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Overview

A concrete bench is an industrial-inspired piece that looks wonderful in any setting, but weighs a tonne! Using fibre cement (FC) sheeting instead gives the look of the real thing without requiring the skills of working with concrete – and makes a lighter bench that can be moved undercover in poor weather. We chose the reverse side of the FC sheeting to be the face as it has a more textured surface than the front. Avoid rust by using galvanised screws, and seal gaps with filler to avoid moisture damage.

Steps

1Cut the pieces

From the treated pine, use a mitre saw or handsaw to cut 2 side rails to 1185mm, a centre rail to 1115mm, 4 legs to 350mm and 4 cross rails to 230mm.

2Secure the frame base

To make the frame base, position the legs flush against either end of a cross rail, countersink and secure with 2 60mm screws, checking the heads are below the surface.

3Screw in the frame top

To make the frame top, position the cross rails against the ends of the side rails. At each join, countersink and secure with two 60mm screws, then position the centre rail and secure through the cross rails.

4Sand and apply sealer

Position the bases flush on either end of the top, secure with 60mm screws into the cross rails and the centre rail. Sand over all the screws to remove any breakout. Apply treated timber sealer to the exposed cut ends of the legs and cross rails.

5Cut the FC panels

Working widthways on the FC sheet to make strips 1200mm long (see below), cut a 315mm-wide top panel and 2 90mm-wide side strips. Then cut 2 300mm-wide strips and cut them into 2 outside end panels, 440mm high, and 2 inside panels, 350mm high. Cut a 350mm-wide strip into 4 105mm-high leg panels.

How to cut FC sheeting

Working with fibre-cement sheeting creates a lot of dust, so make the lowest number of cuts possible and reduce sanding by using factory edges for smooth sides. The dust particles can irritate skin, so always wear a mask, protective eyewear, gloves and long sleeves when working with it.

1. Prepare sheet for cutting

Lay the sheet on a flat surface and position the straight edge of a level along the cut line, clamping the level at either side.

2. Run the knife along the level

Run a specialty fibre-cement knife lightly along the edge of the level to score the line.

3. Create a 2mm groove

Remove the clamps and level and run over the line repeatedly with the knife, making an even groove about 2mm deep.

4. Snap the sheet

Position the sheet so the cut is over the edge of the work surface and clamp, then pull up to snap.

5. Clean up any breakout

Hold the knife at an angle to run the curved shaving blade along the back to clean up any breakout.

6Adhere the panels to the frame

Apply construction adhesive to the outside and inside end panels, position and clamp them to the frame, then tap nails into the corners with a hammer. Position, clamp and nail the side strips, leg panels and the top.

7Apply filler to the joins

Tap nails under the surface with a nail punch and hammer. With a caulking gun, apply filler into the joins, running a wet finger over to remove excess. Dab filler into the nail heads, leaving to dry.

8Sand the rough areas and apply sealer

Sand over the filler, edges and corners, then wipe all over with a damp cloth to remove dust. Use a mini roller to apply three coats of sealer over the FC, following the manufacturer's instructions for dry times.

9Add feet to the base

Add 2 feet to the base of each leg, replacing the supplied screws with 20mm galvanised button-head screws.

Green Bunnings hammer
Pro tip: the feet raise the bench to help prevent water absorption.

10More D.I.Y. inspiration

Check out our step-by-step guide to making a timber dowel herb planter.

Photo credit: Sue Stubbs

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Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.