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Unread 08-31-2009, 08:03 PM   #1
Schmidty
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Question on making an outdoor patio table top out of porcelain tile?

My wife found an outdoor patio set at Menards that she likes but one has a top made out of marble and the other is made out of slate. The tops are sealed but the warranty warns against ketchup, mustard, wine, and coffee potentially staining along with water glasses. It also warns against heat and cold. Long story short it costs a lot of money for something that seems too delicate for the outdoors.

I made an indoor wet wall out of quality porcelain tile and I think I could also make a quality outdoor table top with the same porcelain tiles. I would bring the top in the house during the winter months (live in ND).

Question/Problem:
I'm having a problem figuring out what I could adhere the tile to. I don't think using wood would be a good idea because of expansion and contraction. Is there any type of composite material that can be purchased to adhere the tile to? I need a composite material that would handle the weight of the tile and not expand or contract. The table will be 4 * 6.

Thanks in advance,

Schmidty
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Unread 09-01-2009, 04:39 AM   #2
bbcamp
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Schmidty, ideally you'd make your table out of reinforced concrete, waterproof the surface, then tile with an outdoor rated thinset and using frost-proof porcelain tiles. However, if you want a table that you can move from place to place, I suggest you make a wood framed table with a grid that can hold your individual tiles loosely. The grid would have ledges to keep the tiles separate and prevent them from falling though. Use any stable rot-resistant wood. Leave room for expansion and contraction, since the tiles won't move as much as the wood.


You can change the tiles when you get tired of them. Just remember not to turn the table on its side with the tiles in place, they'll fall out.
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Unread 09-01-2009, 05:03 AM   #3
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Yeah, i like the concrete idea Bob talks about. The table will stay put in a thunderstorm and stay nice looking for a long time. It will take 2 or 3 people to move it around though.
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Unread 09-01-2009, 05:09 AM   #4
bbcamp
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Of course, Davy's peoples are a lot bigger than most folk's peoples.
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Unread 09-01-2009, 09:52 AM   #5
Schmidty
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Good ideas

I don't think casting my own concrete table would work very well, but creating a wood frame is a good idea. The top would be 4' by 6'. I appreciate the thoughts and ideas.

Would it be possible to get a piece of counter top cut to my desired size and attach the porcelain tiles? I don't know if some countertops that are covered with laminate are made from a composite or are they all made from wood?

The wood frame is still a good idea.

Last edited by Schmidty; 09-01-2009 at 09:58 AM.
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Unread 09-01-2009, 10:32 AM   #6
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Countertops would not be suitable for outdoors. The laminated ones are made from particle board or medium density fiberboard, neither are good outdoors or as tile substrate.
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Unread 09-01-2009, 11:37 AM   #7
Schmidty
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Question

My wife doesn't want the wood in between the tiles. She wants it to be solid porcelain tile. Any thoughts beyond casting my own concrete slab for the table?

Thanks
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Unread 09-01-2009, 01:52 PM   #8
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Wouldn't exterior plywood topped with cement backer board work?
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Unread 09-01-2009, 02:02 PM   #9
bbcamp
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For a while. The table would have to be prepped like an exterior deck and the wood protected. It'd still be heavy.
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Unread 09-01-2009, 03:25 PM   #10
Schmidty
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Prepping the wood

Could I use 3/4" green treated plywood for the top, cover the top and sides with cement board, red guard the top, and apply the porcelain tile? I think I would just stain the bottom of the table top to protect it from the weather.

I would purchase a base that is used for the stone patio furniture found at Menards, which would ensure that it can carry the weight.

Would that work or just simply fail over time? If this would work what type/brand of mud should I use to lay the tile and bull nose?

Thanks
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Unread 09-02-2009, 07:24 AM   #11
Schmidty
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Marine Grade Plywood

What do you think:

Use marine grade plywood for the top, attach cement backer board to the top, place a couple braces underneath, and apply the porcelain tile?

Thanks
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Unread 09-02-2009, 08:55 AM   #12
bbcamp
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I'm no expert on plywood, other than to observe that it will fall apart with enough exposure to water. So, let's assume that you can apply backerboard to the plywood, waterproof it and protect the bottom, etc. You still need a support structure that meets the L/360 criteria. Keep in mind that this table will also see much more rigorous treatment since you will be moving it from time to time, it may not sit on a flat surface, and kids will use it as a playground. You'd be asking a lot of a tile installation if this was a house!

If you made this table, I think it fair to say that you might get a few years out of it before it started to fall apart. Considering lawn furniture, that may not be a bad deal. I just would not sink a lot of money into materials, or include it in my will.
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Unread 09-02-2009, 09:22 AM   #13
Schmidty
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I think I'll try it

Here is a link of marine grade plywood:
http://www.donearply.com/marine-grade-plywood.html

I'll give it s shot and see what happens.

Thanks for the help,

Schmidt
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