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Doing a ceramic top

edited 6:18AM in EGG Table Forum
Hey Guys,
I have a typical table bulit from Naked Whizs plans. I used 2x4 and decking board. I really want to redo the top with ceramic tile. I have never done this before but feel certain after watching alot of HGTV that I can do it. I need to know should I use concrete backing board or will plywood work. And I would like suggestions for the size and type of tile. THanks in advance and all advice is truly appreciated!

This is my current table but it does not look this nice anymore LOL it is covered in sacues charcol lump dust and various other unknown elememts.


  • I would recommend that you do use the cement backer board. The great value of cement board is that it does not rot, warp, grow mold, or deteriorate, when subjected to water. Wood alone obviously is not a great material to use in wet applications such as outside. As for the tile, it is personal preference... The smaller tile, the more you will get to see of it if you choose one with a nice design. Good Luck, post pics!
  • hutchyboneshutchybones Posts: 45
    Agree with the concrete backer board. On the other hand (regarding the size of the tile) if you use 12X12" or even 16X16" tiles, it's considerably less work and less grout to deal with (grout will stain and crack regardless of how well you seal it)

  • Capt FrankCapt Frank Posts: 2,578
    Here is a thought to consider.
    Assuming you want to cover most all of the top, measure out what size tile will fit and give you maximum coverage. Then just set them in place on your existing top, loose, no glue, no grout. Then cut lumber to make a border around the outside of the tile.
    My first table is about the size of what you have. I laid 6 pcs of 12" tile on a piece of 3/8" plywood, then built a border. Of course, that was my original plan.

    Why loose? I had not had mine in service very long when I sat a hot CI skillet down on the top and after about 30 seconds a tile broke with a bang like a 22 rifle shot. Replaced it in about 10 seconds.
    My table is on here somewhere, search "Wagon Wheel Table" if you care to look.

    Capt Frank
  • NC-CDNNC-CDN Posts: 703
    Nice post. I am going to do the exact same thing with mine. I was going to use the concrete board on top and maybe on the sides too to make a nice finished look. What I need to determine is if I can cut the tile without a tile cutting wet saw. I have a few options like a rotozip, which I think will work.

    If staining of grout is a concern, what I was thinking of doing was adding a colour to the grout. Not sure what colour. My table has been stained with a reddish brown deck stain. So I may use red in the grout. Or you can use something darker. This should negate the problem with staining. I use a few loose pieces of tile on the table and on the deck posts next to the grill. I use them to set the daisy wheel on and the platesetter, while they are still hot. Works great. NEver had them pop yet. I think I'd crap my pants if that happened while I was out there grilling.

    I also want to add the beer openers I've seen on so many people's tables. That will be fantastic.
  • Big George's BBQBig George's BBQ Posts: 1,152
    It still works and looks good
  • I used the backerboard when I did mine but then went non traditional after that. I have some friends that tile, and they recommended "off the record" to use liquid nails to bond the tile to the backerboard. Grouted as I would normally.
  • JTC123JTC123 Posts: 4
    I built a 2X4 foot prep table to sit next to the egg table. I used pressure treated plywood as the top and topped that with hardibacker. I also used modified thinset to set the tile and made sure coverage was good by back buttering each tile. I used 16 inch tiles, which meant I only need to buy 6 tiles and cut three. I used black grout, since I knew that was how it would end up anyway. I built the frame from pressure treated 2x4's and covered them with 1x4 cedar boards, smooth side out. I edged the tiles and the top 2x4 with a 1x6 cedar board, and ran clear silicone caulk between the outer edge of the tiles and the board. I am no skilled carpenter by a long shot, but it looks pretty good. I stained the wood with some maple stain I had and plan to coat it and the egg table with a couple of coats of Cetol marine varnish. Oh, yeah, the prep table has a shelf about 20" down from the top made from pressure treated decking.
  • JTC123JTC123 Posts: 4
    That all said, I wish I had seen the post about laying the tiles loose before I built the table. That just makes sense!
  • I have to agree with this approach. Unless you are buying really premium tiles (even then it isn't assured), you are going to break tiles. The type of tile from the home store isn't designed for extremes of temperature and moisture changes your table is likely to experience. I set mine with silicone instead of an adhesive like liquid nails. The silicone will give you plenty of hold and is easily removed when you need to change a tile. A broken tile held down with PL or Liquid Nails is going to fight you every shattered fragment. Then, once you get the tile out, the new tile won't sit flat as the residue from the adhesive will be in the way. Silicone is easily removed from both the tile and the table top. Slather on some new and you are back in business.
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