I'm going to kick of my first tiling job on the top of a farily cheap
table. To make an ugly table into something nice for the back porch.
Just a couple of silly questions.
Should I staple plastic down between the table top and the backerboard?
Should I skip the plastic and thin set between the table and the
Should I simply nail or screw the backerboard down? Skip the thinset?
The table is thin, 1/2, maybe a tad less. I wonder If i should top it
with a piece of plywood then backboard? Would also make the table more
Any ideas or advice?
I wouldn't. The plastic will interfere with the adhesion.
That's the normal way of doing things.
No. I think thinset is the way to go.
Unless the table is quite large, I'd use 1/2" backer. I'm not sure
what to do with the screws though. 1/2" isn't much to bite into.
Maybe your idea of 1/2" plywood glued to the bare wood (sanded) is
the way to go. Then use 1" screws and thinset 1/4" backer to that.
How are you planning to finish the edge?
Note that grout is not a perfect water seal. Rain WILL seep through
the grout on a table as it is a flat surface. I'd consider web articles
about constructing tile shower stalls in order to provide a permanent
piece of outdoor furniture.
Also, how you plan to finish the edges should help you determine how
thick you want the overall top surface to be. Also, bullnose tile
seems much more expensive than the basic square stuff....in my
Best of luck, sounds like a really great way to use an old table.
The table does have some flex to it when you push on it. It's 8' long
by 29 11/16" wide. The top is made of partical board.
It will be sitting out outside. If the table dies after a season or
two, I don't know that I would die.
I was planning on mailing backerboard to the outside edges and using
bullnose tile or cut peices for the sides.
I also considered just framing the aoutside edges with some 2x4 or
something of the sort. Still in planning.
So far it seems that a plywood topper is going to be a great idea for
both rigidity and bite.
For a table that long you will certainly need it - use 3/4" exterior
ply. Framing outside edges with something is a good idea too. Even
better is to also hook a couple of cross pieces between the long
sides...that should firm the top up nicely.
The PB top is junk and any moisture will make it swell and ruin your
work in very short order. If at all possible, replace it. If you
can't, here is what I would do...
1. Cover the PB with plastic - heavy like visqueen - but do NOT staple
it to the top...wrap it over the top and sides (folding the corners)
and staple it to the underneath side.
2. Cover #1 with 3/4 exterior ply. Again, do not fasten through the
top...band with substantial wood, add a horizontal piece attached to
the banding so it extends under the PB and fasten through that up into
the PB & ply. Leave the banding sufficiently high so that it will
also border the tile after you lay it...better too high than too low,
you can always plane it down.
3. At that point you could either add 1/4 or 1/2" cement board and
tile on it using thinset; however, if that will make the top thicker
than desired you could lay the tile on the plywood. Main things are
to assure the top won't flex and keep moisture away from the PB.
You are underestimating the amount of work involved and the amount of
ego that will be invested in such a project. If it died after a season
or two, you could very well be psychically scarred.
Retrofitting an inappropriate piece, with bad bones to start, in an
attempt to make it a propriate piece, is a bit daft.
Start fresh. If you have the ability to cut plywood, tile and backer
board, you have the ability to make a new table. Buy some treated
plywood, frame with treated 2x material, thinset/screw backerboard to
the plywood and have at the tile. Save the legs if they are worth
Particle board outside will die, unless your climate is very
dry. Replace it with exterior plywood if you want it to last.
Either way, once you have a solid surface for the tile, you
could coat it with several coats of Redgard to prevent water
penetration into the backerboard and plywood. Redgard
is not cheap, but neither is tile, so it might be worth it.
Yep, skip the whole idea, throw the cheap table away and buy a good
patio table. Tile top tables and counters are a real pain in the a** to
clean and nothing really sits "flat and stable" on them anyway.
Trust me, you'll work yer butt off to build this thing, spend nearly as
much as a new table costs and in the end you won't be happy with it.
Well, thats MY opinion (you DID ask for advice, right?) :-)
Well, as you have seen from the responses above, doing this right is
probably way more hassle than it's worth. So, here is advice on how to
do it in harmony with the cheapness of the table: buy some peel and
stick vinyl tile and put that on. That will actually be cheap, fast,
and more likely to protect the particle board; will look slightly
better than the original; and be something you chose and did. If you
want to get really fancy, paint the top and edges of the particle board
with something like a stain/sealer, or oil-based primer, to waterproof
it before putting on the vinyl tile. -- H
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