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Potted succulent centrepiece on a tiled outdoor dining table

Overview

This is a great weekend project to transform a dated but still-useful outdoor table with tiles and a stained timber frame to tidy up the edges. All you need is an undercover workspace, simple tools and gorgeous tiles. (Ours are left over from a previous project.) Make sure your table is strong enough to carry the extra weight of the tiles, and adjust the measurements to suit the size of your own table and chosen tiles.

Steps

1Attach plywood to the table

Clean the table all over with sugar soap wipes. Using a caulking gun, apply construction adhesive over the top of the table and position the sheet of cut-to-size marine plywood, pressing it down evenly and flush with the edges. Work out the positioning of the tiles. (Our tiles fit without needing to be cut.)

Pro tip: Have the marine plywood cut in store to be the exact dimensions as your tabletop, or use a track saw to trim it to size.

2Apply tile adhesive to the tabletop

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to combine tile adhesive with water in a bucket, mixing it into a smooth, toothpaste-like consistency. Use a notched adhesive spreader to apply it in 5mm-thick sections, beginning at one corner of the table.

3Lay tiles and spacers

Position a tile flush with the table’s edge, add tile spacers and position the next tile. Repeat to cover the table, putting tile spacers between tiles for even gaps. Wipe with a damp cloth to press the tiles into the adhesive while removing the excess. Leave to dry.

4Apply the grout

Run the nozzle of ready-mixed grout along the edge of the tiles, using a damp sponge to smooth it into the gaps while removing the excess. Leave for 30 minutes and use a clean sponge to wipe away the grout haze that develops on the tiles as it dries.

5Make the frame

Measure the table length to cut two pieces of 65mm x 12mm pine with a handsaw. Working on one side at a time, apply construction adhesive along the plywood, clamp the pine flush with the tabletop and tap in 30mm nails with a hammer every 200mm.

6Secure the frame

Measure the table width, including the frame sides, to cut two pieces of 65mm x 12mm pine. Apply construction adhesive along the plywood, clamp the pine to the table and tap in two 30mm nails into each side of the frame, and every 200mm along the ends.

7Sand the frame, then apply stain and varnish

Position painter’s tape on the tiles around the edge of the tabletop. Smooth over the frame with 180-grit abrasive paper, rounding over the corners slightly and wiping away dust with a damp cloth. Apply two coats of stain and varnish with a brush, leaving to dry after each coat.

8Fill table sides with gap filler

Tape around the top of the frame. Apply gap filler between the tape, smoothing with a damp cloth to remove excess. Remove the tape and leave to dry. Finish the tabletop with clear tile-and-grout sealer, running the applicator along the gaps, wiping away excess with a cloth and leaving to dry.

 

Keep in mind...
  • When using a saw, wear safety equipment and always exercise caution.
  • It’s a good idea to have a few extra tiles on hand in case of breakages.
  • The tiles and timber will make the tabletop much heavier, so ensure the table weight loading is able to support this. Enlist some help to move the completed project.

*Timbers vary by state and territory; contact your local store for further information.

9Another way to give an old table a brand new look…

New legs and a fresh coat of paint can go a long way; take inspiration from our upcycled coffee table project.

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More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.