Replacing outdoor table top with Trex


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Old 03-20-23, 11:47 AM
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Replacing outdoor table top with Trex

We have a 5' by 5' square outdoor aluminum frame, glass top table. Unfortunately the glass shattered. It looks like it is prohibitively expensive to replace the glass. The table had a 1/2" (or so) inset lip, which the glass tabletop sat in.

My idea is to build a new table top out of wood, and I wanted to use Trex (or equivalent), given the outdoor nature (and my lack of expertise finishing wood, especially for outdoor use).

I have purchased enough Trex boards to cover the table, but I'm a little concerned they have a lot of bend for the 5' run. Now I'm considering building a frame out of pressure treated two by fours, with one or two cross beams. I'd either use very small stainless steel L brackets to hang onto the table frame lip (https://www.amazon.com/Brackets-Stai...df_B09GPX6PTQ/), or a flat stainless steel bracket, which I can overhang the proper amount for the lip (https://www.amazon.com/Hilitchi-Stra...f=sr_1_17_sspa). Then I can put in some cross beams, either using pocket holes, or more of the flat brackets.

I know Trex Boards have a system to connect them to a frame, but for simplicity for me, I'll probably bolt the boards to the frame.

I will also need to drill an umbrella 2" umbrella hole in the center, and I'm not sure if the 2"x4" can take a hole like that or not.

I was hoping someone with a lot more experience than me can give me an idea if I'm headed in the right direction, or if there is a better way to do which I'm not thinking of. Thanks for any advice.


 
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Old 03-20-23, 12:17 PM
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With all that, I'd think glass would be the less expensive, less time consuming way to go. Plop the glass in... done. Any city glass shop could get you what you need, tempered and laminated. And they will need to know the size and location of the hole. Yeah, it will probably cost a few hundred bucks.

If you insist on continuing with your trex plan, I'd suggest you go to the hardware store and get some 1x1 steel (or stainless) tube. If steel, coat it with cold galvanizing prior to assembling.

Fasten the steel tubes to the bottom of the lip. You'll likely need to fasten a 1/2" spacer between the tubes and the lip, so that they drop down the right distance. That way your 1" thick trex will be flush with your top. Put one tube every 12" or so... like joists on a deck. Drill pairs of holes in the tubes so that you can attach your trex (perpendicular to the tubes) with screws from underneath. Plan it out so that you have a plank right in the dead center of the table, and drill your 2" hole right through the 5 1/2" wide plank. I assume the umbrella has a base to steady it.

You might want to round over any cut ends of your trex with a 1/8" or 1/4" roundover bit.
 
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Old 03-20-23, 01:01 PM
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Thanks a lot for the tips. I agree it's a lot more work the way I'm doing it, but the quotes I'm getting for a new 5'x5' glass table top are upwards of $1k, and I'm spending ~$200 on materials with the Trex. (plus I really never want to deal with that much broken glass on a patio ever again).


 
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Old 03-20-23, 01:05 PM
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I didn't mention that you will also probably need to router a 1/2 x 1/2? notch in the perimeter of the trex top so that it sits flat over the notch that the glass formerly sat in. Putting that notch in each piece individually as you set them in place, but before you screw each one in.

Since the table is aluminum you might be able to use 1x1 aluminum tube too. But don't let anyone dance on top of it.
 
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Old 03-20-23, 01:45 PM
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I often find glass outdoor tables and the glass by the curb in fall. If you wait until the spring yard/garage sale season starts you will probably come across several of them. Glass tops can be had for $5.
 
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Old 03-20-23, 06:01 PM
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Thanks XSleeper. I had a few questions, if I am conceptualizing this right.

In your example would the 1x1 tube connect to the frame, or would it just hold the Trex boards together underneath the frame? If the Trex board is routered so it sits flat in the lip the glass sat in, then I've having trouble envisioning if the 1x1 tube could connect to the frame.

My thought is for my frame (1x1 tube or PT 2x4 wood), to sit on top of the lip/notch with some sort of bracket. The Trex would stick up a little above the frame. I was planning on making a boarder out of the finished end, so it is at least finished around the edges. If I could get a bracket that is 1/2" on one side, and longer on the other, then I could drop my frame down and have the trex sit flush with the frame of the table, but I don't know if I have it in me to do all the routing.




 
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Old 03-20-23, 06:10 PM
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Well I can't see your table. So I can't be too specific. I'm assuming there is a rim that is dropped down, around the perimeter where your glass was and that the tube could be shimmed down 1/2" or so, then could be fastened down through that lip and into the ends of the tube by just drilling a few holes and then screwing or bolting the tube on. The idea would be that in the end your trex would sit just as flush with the top as the glass was. The tube sits under, the trex lays on top, and the top of the trex is where the top of your glass once was.

I don't think much of using treated wood, making a frame and having it all sit way higher than your glass was, and having to trim (cover) the edges of the trex. But like I said, I can't see it and it's your project anyway.
 
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Old 08-01-23, 08:59 AM
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So I finally got around to finishing this project, and I wanted to send some pictures. I'm very beginner level at any woodworking, so there are probably a lot of opportunities for improvement.

I think the suggestion for a metal frame would have been good, but I went with the materials I had available.

I used treated 2x4 to form a frame and used these small L-brackets to hang the frame on the lip of the table. (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08QD6PF1D/.

I then used Home Depot Timbertech decking with finished ends to build a boarder and middle of the table. I used 2.5 inch outdoor construction screws to secure everything. I may go back and try to use color matched screws in the future.

I think the table top now weighs over 200lbs, so I'm hoping the aluminum frame holds up long term.






 
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Old 08-01-23, 10:44 AM
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Got to be one heavy table.

Could have probably used 1x wood for the frame and even some rim joist trim for the top. It's a little thinner, wider, and lighter.

But looks good!
 
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Old 08-01-23, 04:33 PM
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Looks great, nice job!
 
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Old 08-02-23, 12:57 PM
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Thanks! Hopefully something in here is helpful to someone else in a similar situation.

The 2x4 frame is being held together by 2.5" construction screws. I'm debating if I should but 2x4 hangers on all the T intersections as well, or if that is overkill.
 
 

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