Our next guest for Turning Tables DIY Week had a common but awesome problem: a free but broken patio table, just the metal base up for grabs along the side of the road (score!). All it needed was a replacement top, so Nicole got to DIYing and build a new patio table top with some lovely great detailing!
PS: No Friday Favorites today since we’re allll about tables this week — but link up your tables here to be featured in our big round-up tomorrow, or our regular Remodelaholics Anonymous party is open here, for features in next Friday’s favorites.
How to Build a Replacement Tiled Patio Table Top
by Nicole from Q-Schmitz Home Design + DIY Blog
My name is Nicole Q-Schmitz and I’m a DIYer and blogger at the Q-Schmitz Home Design + DIY Blog. I live in Northern Ontario, Canada and we don’t get a long summer – so we definitely try and make it last by spending as much time outside as possible! This also usually only gives us a couple of good warm months to do any outdoor projects.
From framing and pouring a concrete walkway, to building raised garden beds along our shed and adding benched seating around our deck – we had lots to do last year. Thank goodness we were able to accomplish so many big tasks, because we just had a cute little baby boy a few weeks ago, and I’ll be a little occupied this summer!
Today I’d like to talk about the custom tiled outdoor patio table top that I built (which goes perfectly with those benches I mentioned) and share with you the simple tutorial in case you’d like to replicate this look at your house 🙂
My table top is approximately 4′ x 7′ and here are the materials and tools that I used:
- Patio Table Base
- 1 4×8 Sheet of Aspenite/Chip Board
- 2 Sheets of 3×5 Cement Board
- 2x4s (or other similar lumber) I used about 6 lengths
- Tile thinset and grout
This table top is going to be very heavy, so make sure you have some muscly helpers to lift it!
The whole idea for this project started after the Husband had brought me home a patio table base he found at the end of someone’s driveway (aka where people leave things they don’t want, free for the taking).
I knew that I wanted a tiled table top, so started by gathering the materials I would need, and began measuring and cutting some cement board. (Note: You will go through a few blades when using a utility knife to cut through cement board).
The cement boards were only 3’x5′ so I had to puzzle together some pieces to make a big enough surface. I ended up placing them lengthwise across a 4’x8′ sheet of aspenite and cut off the extra foot from each cement board to fill in the center. This way, I only had to cut a foot off of the wood and was able to maximize all my pieces.
Once I had the cement board pieces in place, I screwed them down into the sheet of wood. Now comes the trickier parts! You’ll need to flip your board over and mark where all the next pieces of wood will go, then flip it back over and drill down from the top (so everything is stuck to the cement board top).
Basically, I created a frame around the perimeter of the table with 2x4s and then used smaller pieces of wood to fit snugly around the size of the table.
Once those first pieces were in place, I added some more pieces of wood so that the table top would be wedged nicely in place (again, you have to put the pieces of wood underneath and screw down). Think of it like building block pieces, I wanted the pieces of 2×4 to stick out and fit like a puzzle around the edges of the table.
Once I had my base built, I added some 2x4s along the side (that I pre-stained to match my deck) to create a border. I used the tiles as my guide and placed the 2×4 at the height that would match the tiles. I just had straight cuts on the ends of my boards, so if you prefer a mitered edge – you may need to make your table slightly smaller than 4′ (or just use more pieces of wood).
I knew I wanted a tiled table top, so I placed my tiles and moved them around so that they were evenly spaced. Note: you don’t want your tiles to be straddling overtop the cut lines/edges of your cement board because they’ll crack easier.
I had some big gaps to fill on my table, but thankfully I had a lot of broken tiles leftover from various renovation projects. I simply smashed up tiles into smaller sizes with a hammer, and then arranged each size into groups. Be careful when you are breaking tiles, there will be flying shards of glass and any unprotected skin may get cut.
I started by placing the larger pieces first, then filling in with the medium and smaller ones. If you’re planning on doing a tiled table as well, keep in mind that the mosaic tile pattern will take the most time for your project (at least 75% of my time was spent placing these pieces).
I then back-buttered each individual tile in place with thinset (make sure it’s one that can be used outdoors) and waited for everything to dry. Again, the tiling portion took the longest amount of time of this entire project – and I spread it out over a few days.
Once everything was set, I grouted the tiles and waited for that to dry.
Because I was working outdoors, I had to cover the table so that rain wouldn’t ruin the curing process. Once everything is complete, you can leave your table uncovered and it should be fine.
Did I mention I lived in Canada? We get a lot of snow in our area, and my plan was to move the table indoors so that the weight of the snow wouldn’t break it. Unfortunately, that never happened and it was left outside (uncovered) all winter!
Thankfully the snow didn’t break the base, but I did notice a bit of cracking/splitting on the surface of some of the ceramic tiles. If you’re planning on doing a tiled table, you might want to consider a hardier tile (like slate) that will be more durable. You could always cover your table and hopefully that should protect it from the elements.
There was also a bit of movement along the stained 2×4 frame so I will need to either screw the pieces in tighter again, or re-grout in that gap. Just wanted to give you a heads up! (Of course, I also know that regular 2x4s weren’t really meant to be outside in the rain all the time, so you could also substitute the side pieces with cedar or pressure-treated wood).
All in all, I’d say making a tiled table top is a great DIY project! It was easy to complete, but the mosaic tiled sections were definitely time consuming. The only other change I may have made was to consider the weight of the table – you’ll need a few people to help move it!
Thanks for following along with my tiled table tutorial, and I hope you come visit the Q-Schmitz Home Design + DIY Blog and follow along in my adventures! A big thanks to Remodelaholic for having me share my project with all of you 🙂
Thanks for sharing with us, Nicole! Bummer that the Canadian winter undid your hard work, but I’m sure you’ll have a great solution to make it amazing again!
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Lorene has been behind the scenes here at Remodelaholic for more than a decade! She believes that planning projects and actually completing them are two different hobbies, but that doesn't stop her from planning at least a dozen projects at any given time. She spends her free time creating memories with her husband and 5 kids, traveling as far as she can afford, and partaking of books in any form available.