DIY Tile Outdoor Table
May 1, 2013
So you’ve all seen that mosaic tile table I built earlier this week sitting in the courtyard seating area. This was one of those “couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for so I’ll built it” DIY projects coupled with a “make it up as I go along” strategy. I knew how wide, long, and tall I wanted it to be and I also wanted it to be unique and snazzy, but beyond that, I just got creative and went with what came up inside my head.
I call it a coffee table but the design works just as well as a bench and you can embellish the basic frame as you please, with tile or reclaimed wood on top, whatever suits your style. The benefit of building something yourself is that get the exact dimensions you want and you get something totally unique too.
I built, painted, and tiled this table in a day starting with stock lumber from Lowe’s. I combined pine and redwood, not for any other reason except that I was in a hurry and since Lowe’s has a great selection I just grabbed the sizes I needed.
Wood Supplies for a 18” x 50” x 18” tall table: Two 7.5” x 50” pine boards; one 2.5” x 50” pine board; two 8’ lengths of of 2×4” cut to: 14” long top x 2; 13” leg x 4; 15” base x 2. I used my miter saw to cut the boards then wood screws to fasten it all together (seen above).
Next came the legs – I wanted it to be stable and contemplated an X base like we made with this table, but opted for a simpler “Roman numeral” design with 2x4s. To be 18” tall I subtracted the height of the leg top and bottom and the table top to arrive at a 13” leg, secured to the top 2×4 by Matt with a Kreg Jig and wood screws.
This is what the basic wood table/bench looked like after construction. You can see it’s a very simple design: planks fastened together to form the top and supported by legs made of 2x4s.
We didn’t use a stabilizer board on the inside since this is a smaller piece and of solid construction, but if you’re making anything longer consider including a board secured between the legs for maximum stability.
If you’re adding mosaic tile, make sure you construct your table/bench surface so that the tile will fit without having to use or cut it with a tile saw. I found this blue/green tile blend at Lowes for $9 a sheet and premeasured my cuts of wood knowing in advance the width and length of the tile sections and the fact I could fill in small gaps with grout.
You can see I also spray primed the legs with Bullseye 1-2-3 Primer (like with these DIY outdoor planters) and then added a coat of the same white outdoor paint.
I’ve gone over the step by step for tiling surfaces with mosaic tile on a bunch of occasions (look here andhere and here and here) but basically it’s this: first secure the tile with a thin set mortar applied with a trowel. Sometimes I buy in ready to mix larger bags but this time I used the premixed kind for convenience.
And since knowing how to tile is a good life skill, I brought in my apprentice. :)
An additional strip of tile hides the rough edges and painter’s tape holds it in place. (Tip: Instead of long 12 piece strips, I trimmed them to four pieces so the lighter weight strips wouldn’t slide or move.)
Once the mortar is dry, apply grout with a grout float (or I use a putty knife with smaller projects).
Sponge off excess grout from tile surface and allow grout to dry.
I love the combination of color and iridescent reflection brought into the sitting space by this one-of-a-kind piece.
And that’s how the “make it up as we go along” design turned out to be a fun and colorful tile table in our courtyard!