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patio table replacement

I have a square patio table that was broken in a storm and I want to replace the glass with something else. I was thinking of a tile mosaic. How would I do this and what would I use? Any help is grealty appreciated.

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Posted 2012-03-16T19:51:51+0000  by tenthumbs tenthumbs

Hello tenthumbs,


Welcome to the community, lets talk about fixing your patio table!


Making a tile mosaic can be a great and unique replacement for your table top, be it in an organic pattern or a defined pattern shown below...

Martha Stewart Palamos 20 in x 20 in. Side Table


To make a mosaic tile top for your patio table, you can approach it 2 ways:


1. Use pre-made stone or glass mosaic tiles


2. Make your own custom, one-of-a-kind mosaic tiles by hand!


No matter which way you choose, you'll need to first install a secure base so that the tiles have a firm and permanent place to rest upon. This step is just as important as the tiles themselves, so it shouldn't be overlooked.


Let's get started!


Preparing the table for mosaic tile


Now depending on the size, shape, and how the table is constructed will depend on how much materials you'll need to buy. Hopefully, you've gotten the remaining glass out of the table and surrounding area. At this step, check carefully any strips, edges or fasteners that held the original glass in place. If it is rubber or a vinyl-based material, it will be easier for this project for you to take it out now so the new material can fit properly. If the table had a hole for an umbrella to go through, you'll need to consider the diameter size for the new table top. Either way, the main takeaway at this stage is inspection and measuring. You will need to take careful note of how thick (or thin) the table edge is as well as finding out the exact size of the opening. This will make sure your base, and then your tile will work effectively. For example, choosing thin base materials (tile backerboard and wood) to hold up the final tile and grout will mean the table top won't go very much higher than the edge of the frame of the patio table.


As for a material base, there are various items you can use for this project. You'll want the materials for your table to withstand the weather, and fortunately, there are items we sell in our stores that will work perfect for this!


Shown below, I included a cut-away illustration that best describes the items you will need to make a base and to hold the tiles down securely. While I realize your table edge and materials maybe different, this should give you an idea of what to expect.

Cross Section of Mosaic Table Top

Some of the items listed above, like the screws, may not be needed. You may only have to put a wood frame to hold the tile backerboard in place. Again, it all depends on the size and shape of the existing patio table frame that you have now.


Essentially, if you place down the backerboard with wood underneath (the wood can be fastened underneath with adhesives and sheet-metal screws to the frame), you'll be giving yourself a long-lasting and professional tile top that can withstand any weight and weather beating down on top of it. So, lets say we've got this base down, now lets get to tiling!


Using pre-made mosaic tiles


When choosing which tiles to use, using a mosaic tile that has existing patterns are a time-saving and very beautiful choice when it comes to putting a new table top.  These kinds of tiles typically come in 12" x 12" sheets and have a mesh backing, allowing you to make cuts and place the tiles all at once.

Pre-Made Mosaic Tiles available at The Home Depot

With all tiles, no matter the style you choose, you'll first need to measure and layout the space to find out how much tile you'll need. After getting the tiles that you like, you will need a good adhesive to stick them down.  You can use a pre-mixed thin-set mortar or adhesive, since we are dealing with a small area. The great thing about these kinds of tiles is that most of the spacing is done for you. While you can line up the other spaces where the tile mosaics meet, using tile spacers will guarantee you a professional finish.


I'd recommend using a tile installation kit that has everything you'll need to put down the tile. It includes a grouting sponge and gloves to make the job much easier.


One of the most important tools in the kit, the tile nipper,  works well for if you decide you want to do a custom mosaic table top.... 



Making a Custom One-of-a-Kind Mosaic Table Top


If you decide to make your mosaic using broken tile pieces no bigger than a quarter, you'll need to do a little more preparation with the tiles. The upside of this is that you'll be getting a unique and customized table top that no one else on earth has! To do that, lets get started.


First, obtain the pieces of tile you would like. Remember to consider thickness as well, so that at the end of the day, the table top is as level as possible. You can place the tiles you want to break up in a folded dropcloth and break the pieces using a rubber mallet. Wear gloves during this stage, since chards of broken tile can cut skin very easily.


Next, depending on the size of your table, you can layout the tiles by pattern, color, or style on a flat surface so you can mimic that pattern onto the final table top. Now you can place a small amount of tile adhesive spread thin in a small area so you can work the tiles in carefully. 

The tile nippers (included in the tile installation kit), can cut, or bite into the tiles if you want to give more smoother or different edges that the original broken pieces. This tool is very useful when making a mosaic pattern. If the tiles happen to be glass, you can use the item shown below that works by 'scissoring' the tiles to be manipulated.


I've seen some arts and crafts stores sell tile mosaic glue, but if you do a small amount of pre-mixed tile adhesive we sell, this can work just as effectively. Space the tile mosaic pieces out from any space you like as little as 1/16" up to 1/2" wide. It is entirely up to you what particular pattern or space you want. Just remember: the more space, means the more mortar you'll need to place between the tile pieces.


Let the tiles dry out overnight, and you can place grout or mortar to fill in the spaces between your tile pieces. Grout can dry very hard, but I'd recommend to use mortar, since it dries even harder and can stand up to heavy use. The mortars we sell in our flooring department aren't meant to be seen, therefore, I'd recommend to use Quikrete Mortar products in building materials that can be mixed with color additives to give you more choices for your final look. No matter which kind you use, they will be applied with a floating trowel. If you already bought your tile installation kit, it is already in there!



Be sure to wipe off excess mortar/grout as soon as you are done with the application. Be sure to pick up all haze, residue while it is still wet, as cleaning dried grout/mortar isn't something you want to be doing after coming this far along in the project.


After letting the tiles and grout/mortar set overnight, you can now place the last thing on your mosaic tile surface, a good tile sealer. I'd most definitely recommend putting a clear sealer down to ensure no food or water can reach into the tiles and mortar and damage the job you've spent so much time on. Depending on what kind of tile down will determine what kind of sealer to put down, which is why I can't recommend one until you choose your tile. No matter how you put down your tile, using a quality sealer guarantees you won't have to worry about failure in your table for a long time.


And that's it! All the options, steps, and choices when it comes to putting down mosaic tile for your patio table!


Please let us know if you have any further questions or concerns.


Have a great day,



Posted 2012-03-17T19:55:40+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL

This was helpful. I am hoping to try soon. The replacement glass from the company could very well break again so tile could be a good fix. Thanks!

Posted 2012-04-21T13:30:57+0000  by BREWCREW
Use of patio glass tabletop has become very popular in the recent years. You can use glass tabletops, which are protected by solid material and these are looks awesome also.
Posted 2012-08-10T11:33:04+0000  by tjackson

This is such a great project idea, that we shared it on the Apron blog.


It prompted a question from reader Pam:


"I have a small metal or wrought iron round table. Can I put backer board on a metal table and then make a design with broken dishes or glass tiles?"


That sounds like a cool idea. What does Pam need to do?




-Craig, from the Apron blog

Posted 2012-08-30T16:00:08+0000  by HomeDepotCraig
Need Patio furniture
Posted 2012-09-02T15:20:28+0000  by carleejoe711

We posted these mosaic table top instructions on the Apron blog, and it's getting a big response... including several follow up questions. 


Here's one from DYIprojectLover:


"Great idea. many a poly resin table has ended up in a landfill because it needed a face lift. Who knew or thought of doing something like this? My question for you is this. I woulld like to do a similar project on my large faux terra cotta planters. This poly resin material is so much lighter than actual terra cotta and I want to do some original mosaic designs on the outside of the planters.
Do you know if the glue you spoke of using could be used to effectively and permantly hold down the tile to the poly surface and would grout work on the surface?
Thanks for you help!  :) Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Happy days!
Jeanne DYIprojectLover"


-Craig, from the Apron blog

Posted 2012-09-04T14:37:02+0000  by HomeDepotCraig

Thanks for relying that question over HomeDepotCraig!


And Pam, thanks for joining us here online!


She has a great idea for making her wrought iron table new again with a unique mosaic, and it can be done. If you decide to place backerboard on top of it, it would need to be thin (1/4" thickness) as stated in my original post above this one, and done so that the final combination of backerboard/adhesives/tiles/grout will be in flush with the rest of the table. 


I recommended to use backerboard and plywood to the other user since they had no table top at all, save for the frame. If you already have the table top, I'd be concerned that the tiles could be set up high, leaving sharp edges over the top. This problem can be solved with careful grouting sometimes, but the end result is to get the table top as flush as possible.


Another option to use instead of tile backerboard if the table still has the top on it, is to use one of 2 items we sell that is shown below. These are much thinner options and will give you the most flush finish for your table.  Please note that the 2nd option isn't rated for outdoor use. 

EasyMat Underlayment

This option above maybe too large for your project, but I recommend it since it will give you a thin layer to apply any tiles you choose on top of it. 


The option below is for an interior-only base. It is easy to install and skips the step of placing any thin-set mortar down before you set the mosaic. Be warned though, make sure you have a layout for your mosaics first. The adhesive on these aren't very forgiving; once they stick to the tiles, they are stuck for good.



Just like our previous customers response, this project can be done easily and effectively. If you have an existing table top already, these two options above will suffice to get the mosaic thats right for you.




Posted 2012-09-08T15:20:21+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL

Thanks again Craig for getting us these great questions!


DYIprojectLover: This is a project that can easily be done, and you have lots of options to achieve the face lift for your faux terra cotta planters. Since it is a plastic, most ready-to-use thin-set mortars and mastics won't stick to the surface, so try out the SimpleMat that was previously shown on this thread that I posted. 


It's thin, sticks very well, and can be cut easily to fit your planters. Since the adhesive is very effective, make sure you know exactly where you plan do put down the mosaic pieces before placing them on the surface. SimpleMat is very sticky and is next to impossible to remove the tiles once their down, so this step is important. 


I hope this helps you out, and good luck on your project!


Posted 2012-09-08T15:51:18+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL

Hello carleejoe711,


Thanks for your question and welcome to the community!


You are in luck, we carry a plethora of patio furniture online and seasonally in our stores! Simply click on the beautiful seating set below, and it will take you directly to our patio furniture main page :

Patio Furniture from The Home Depot


Hope this helps you out, and have a great day!


Posted 2012-09-08T16:03:24+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL

This is great information! Thanks aboveaveragejoe!


I have a somewhat unique situation, maybe. We own a round patio table that was purchased with a mosaic top. Unfortunately, it was left outside, water got underneath the tiles, froze and all of the small glass tiles broke off of the table top. The rim of the table is now higher than the surface, and the surface is rough and messy from the thinset that previously held the tiles. 


I'm trying to find a way to fix this without re-doing a mosaic. Honestly, I just don't have the time for it. Is there a resin or compound of some sort that I could use to fill in the table top so you can't see the rough thinset mess and can be done in the course of an hour or two (not counting drying time)? 



Posted 2013-04-15T21:51:27+0000  by TrappedSouthern
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