How to tile a wood table top

Updated July 20, 2017

Adding a new surface to an old table is a great way to give the table a new purpose. Tiles are excellent for adding new interest to a plain wooden table. Tiles come in a variety of colours, finishes and even sizes. With the many different options available, you can create a simple one-color tile table or a multicoloured masterpiece. The possibilities are endless.

Sand the top of a wooden tabletop with fine grit sandpaper. Use a constant pressure and move the sandpaper in small circles to remove any residue and prepare it for the grout mixture.

Wipe the top of the wooden tabletop with a damp rag to remove any residue left over from sanding. Allow the table to dry.

Mix the grout compound according to the package instructions.

Apply a 1/4-inch thick layer of grout to the tabletop surface. Use a notched trowel to spread the grout evenly onto the wooden surface.

Carefully place the first tile on the tabletop so that the top side of the tile is 1 1/4-inch from the top of the table's edge, and the left side of the tile is 1 1/4-inch from the left edge of the table's surface.

Press the tile into the grout by applying even pressure to each of the tile's edges. Place the tips of your thumbs and index fingers on each of the tile's corners and press downward on each of the corners with the same amount of pressure.

Continue to add tiles to the top of the table in the same manner, leaving a 1/4-inch gap between each of the tiles. Make sure to press each tile into place as you add it to the tabletop.

Apply a 1/4-inch layer of grout to the table's edge and the remaining one inch of the tabletop's edge.

Press the first bull-nose tile piece along the edge of the tabletop using even pressure. Continue around the tabletop to complete the tile surface.

Allow the grout to dry overnight.

Mix the grout compound according to the package instructions.

Apply grout to the top of the tile using a grout float. Press the grout into the gaps left between the tile squares.

Scrape off the excess grout on the top of the tile. Hold the grout float at a 45-degree angle and slowly drag it over the top of the tiles.

Wipe the tops of the tile with a damp rag to remove the remaining grout residue. Repeat with clean water until the tile is clean and has a finished look.

Allow the grout to dry completely.

"Apply grout sealer," according to the package instructions, to the finished tabletop, "to protect the grout and keep the colour consistent," according to the HGTV website.


If you are working with a large table, it is best to divide the work surface into smaller sections.

Things You'll Need

  • Sandpaper
  • Rag
  • Grout compound
  • Notched trowel
  • Tile
  • Bull-nose tile
  • Grout float
  • Grout sealer
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