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How do I tile a metal bird bath?

Hey there, DIY dudes and dudettes.


A while back, we posted an article on the Apron blog about how to add a mosaic top to an old metal patio table. aboveaveragejoe was the way above average mind behind that.


The project has received a good response, and it prompted some questions.


Here's a question that I thought warranted a new thread here on the Forums.

Gwenn asks:

"I have been thinking about tiling a birdbath, but I am uncertain that it will work. It is a metal bird bath that has been painted. The bottom loses paint every time I clean it. Could it be tiled on the bottom like the table top? Thanks!"

I'm thinking this might be a bit more challenging than tiling a flat table top. But if there's a way, I know the DIY experts here will find it.

-Craig, from the Apron blog


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Posted 2012-08-30T17:06:09+0000  by HomeDepotCraig HomeDepotCraig


Posted 2012-08-31T17:18:10+0000  by Gwennm

Hi-  I posted a picture of the birdbath/fountain.  Is tiling a possibility?  Thanks- Gwenn

Posted 2012-08-31T17:19:48+0000  by Gwennm

Hi there Gwennm,


Thanks for posting up your question on our community!~


While I can't say I have ever endeavourered to tile a birdbath, I worry about the fact that it is indeed metal. Metals can have a relatively high expansion coefficient, making them difficult to tile on-top of. A lot of time, people will inquire about how to cover up their metal fireplace and want to tile over it. But rarely will you ever see someone placing tile directly onto the metal, due to how different the metal will expand as opposed to the rest of the wall/mantle. It's a similar situation to what you find yourself in now.


Also, being that it's a bird bath...water temperature has a great effect on the molecular expansion/contraction of metals, meaning that your tile would be in for quite a ride with how much it may fluctuate. I can't say this is something I would recommend your average DIY'er to take on.


Re-painting may be your best option in this case. Rust-Oleum makes great products for covering metals and for exterior usage, but unfortunately does not have one that would necessarily stand up to constant water submersion. For that, you'd be looking for a pool-type epoxy.


Hope this helps you out!~ = )

Posted 2012-08-31T20:15:01+0000  by Jay_HD_CHI

There are Rust-Oleum paints available (not typically at THD) for boat hulls, that should work for you. Just make sure you follow all the prep steps and other products they recommend for a lasting finish. There are different varieties depending on whether you have a metal or fiberglass hull, so make sure you get the proper one.

Posted 2012-09-02T16:22:21+0000  by Paul
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