Hey y'all. Just wanted to share this quick and easy project with you that will really "WOW" your guests and increase your seating capacity!
Just outside our living room sliding glass door is 11 feet of lovely railing. I love the space, it looks right into the tree cove and outdoor kitchen. But it's really awkward and unusable space.
The space is a little too narrow to put a table or even chairs because it is such a high traffic area. So, a narrow bar, that takes up about 24" of space is PERFECT.
I also did this project at our last house (pic below) and loved it then, and knew I wanted to do the same thing here in Texas.
Costs & Materials
$27 for (3) 2x8 lumber 12' long : Bar Top
$4 for (2) 2x4 lumber 8' long : Front support
$4 for (3) brackets : Back support
$5 for (1) small box 3" deck screws
$0 for stain or paint leftover from other project
So lets dive in. It's really a simple project, once you get started. The way my railings were built, they had a flat 2x4 as the top "rail". It was nailed in with a gazillion huge framing nails, so after banging with a sledge hammer from underneath for about 20 minutes, I was finally able to remove the top rail... AND then I remembered to take the "BEFORE" picture. I just really like demolition, hehe. I wanted my bar to be flush with the other railings at 36" high, which also happens to be standard "Counter-height", so a counter-height stool would fit perfectly. The picture on the right is the "Bar Height" bar I build at the Enumclaw house, that is 42" high. You could build your bar and either height, just as easily, all preference.
So first thing first, MEASURE. My distance was 11'-0" from outside of 4x4 to outside of 4x4.. and 10'-8" inside the 4x4's. So started my cutting my first 12 foot 2x8 at 11'-0" with the circular saw, and cut out 3.5"x3.5" squares on either side for the posts with my jig saw.
My three year old took this picture of me. Wasn't that nice of her. You can see her little boots in the jig saw shot. She left shortly because it was "Way too woud".
Don't worry about painting or anything yet. My support posts are white because they are salvaged from the top of the original railing that I ripped out moments ago to install the new bar. Salvage as much as you can. So, technically my project was about $30, because I had salvaged 2x4's and my mother-in-law gave me the support brackets, but we'll just assume you have no wood.
Once you have your front supports built, you will need to secure them to the bottom of the front of the bar. I have a rolling baby gate going underneath my bar (we'll talk more about that later), so my supports needed to be 4" away from the back of the existing railing. I measured the bottom of the bar and screwed them in.
However, we are in Texas. We do big meals, with big mugs and LOTS of napkins, so I needed an extra 7.25". I didn't want to intrude on the walking space anymore, and there was no more need for leg room, so I installed the last 2x8 out the back.
Now that your last 2x8 is secure, you are ready to paint. Wait til the rain stops, can you see the storm coming my way? We got like 3" of rain that night, it was crazy.
I pre-drilled my kreg holes, so I could secure this bar piece to the back of the existing center bar top. I drilled holes every 18-24". Then I put the bar top on the brackets, make sure your kreg holes are facing the existing top. Then I screwed in the last piece to the existing top with 3" screws. Once I that was secure, I attached the brackets to the bottom of the back of the bar using 1" screws. Do NOT use 3" screws to secure the bracket into a 1.5" piece of wood. You will have screws sticking up out from the bar. I'm told guests frown on this.