How to make an outdoor tile table

Updated November 21, 2016

Tile tabletops can breathe new life into old pieces of furniture. Using mosaic tiles from the local hardware or craft store and some adhesive, you can turn an old metal table into a dynamic piece for your patio or deck. Creating your own table takes just a little time and effort. Follow the proper steps when tiling your outdoor table to ensure that your new piece stands up the elements and provides years of function and beauty.

Prepare the base of the table. Clean the surface of a metal table frame made for a glass table insert with water and an old rag. Remove any dust and dirt from the table's surface. If there are rusty patches, use sandpaper to sand the spots to make the table smooth.

Spray paint the surface of the table with an outdoor spray paint in the colour of your choice. Allow the paint to dry overnight.

Insert a piece of concrete backer board that matches the measurements of the tabletop into the table where a glass insert would go to give you a solid base to tile on.

Coat the surface of your mosaic tiles with a grout and tile sealer. Allow the sealer to dry overnight.

Place mosaic tiles onto the surface of the backer board in the desired pattern. Use tiles that are a minimum of 1/8 inch thick. Thinner tiles tend to sink into the adhesive too far. Play with the tile arrangement until you are happy with the look.

Insert tile spacers between the tiles. Use 1/8-inch or 1/4-inch spacers, depending on the desired look of the tiling.

Remove one tile at a time, starting with the centre tile. Use a paintbrush to apply a thick layer of adhesive that is both water resistant and freeze resistant to the back of each tile before placing it back onto the table. Reinsert the spacers after replacing the tiles. After all tiles are in place the spacers inserted, let the adhesive set for 30 minutes. Then, remove the spacers.

Place a piece of plywood on top of the tiles. Set bricks on top of the plywood to weight it down. Remove the bricks after 24 to 36 hours. Remove the board with the adhered tiles from the table's frame.

Apply a layer of tile grout to the surface of the tiling with a trowel or rubber spatula, pressing it between the spaces. Scrape the surface of the tiles with a rubber scraper to remove any extra grout. Clean the surface of the tiles using a damp sponge.

Replace the concrete backer board with grouted tiles in the table's frame. Leave the grout to set for another 48 hours.

Apply a layer of grout and tile sealer to the surface of the tiles. Allow it to dry for 24 hours before using the table outdoors.


If necessary, cut tiles to fit the table using a wet saw. When working with a wet saw, wear latex or rubber gloves and eye protection.

Things You'll Need

  • Rag
  • Metal table frame
  • Sandpaper (optional)
  • Outdoor spray paint
  • Concrete backer board
  • Mosaic tiles
  • Tile spacers
  • Paintbrush
  • Adhesive
  • Plywood
  • Bricks
  • Trowel
  • Rubber spatula (optional)
  • Grout
  • Sponge
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