How to Glue Tiles to a Metal Patio Table

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What You'll Need
Metal patio table
Thinset, tile adhesive or glue
Notched trowel
Putty knife
Grout sealer
Tile spacers
Rubber float
Chalk marker
Tile snips
Tile cutter

Gluing tiles to a metal patio table can give it a distinctive style, that is both functional and decorative. Since ready-made tile table tops can be quite expensive, learn how to do it DIY style to save on cost. Here's how.

Step 1 – Plan Ahead

It is always important to plan, before working on any project. First of all, determine what type of tile to use and what pattern to follow. Ceramic tiles are a good choice, and the pattern can be as simple as a black and white checker board design. Include border tiles in the design if preferred, and use tile snips to break some tiles when deciding to create a mosaic pattern all over the table surface, or only on a certain portion.

Step 2 – Prepare the Table

Clean the table surface with a piece of cloth. Soak it in soapy water if necessary, especially if the metal surface is quite oily or rusty. Wipe the moisture and residue with a clean dry cloth. Use a straight edge and a chalk marker to lay out the tile pattern on the tabletop. Locate the center of the table, and divide the entire table into quadrants. This allows you to work from the center, going outwards to the edges. Draw patterns as well, if deciding to create a mosaic design. If border tiles are to be installed, mark them correctly as well.

Step 3 – Lay the Tiles

Prepare the tile adhesive, glue or thinset, according to manufacturer’s instructions. Apply about 1/8 inch of the adhesive onto a small workable portion of the table, using a notched trowel or a putty knife. Work in minute sections, when dealing with a mosaic pattern. If the pattern is simple, start at the center of the tabletop.

Butter the back portion of the tile with the adhesive, and position it onto the tabletop surface. Press it firmly on the thinset or adhesive. Lay the next tiles from the center, moving away towards the edges in the same manner. Use tile spacers to ensure even spacing. When laying mosaic tiles, cut them to size using tile snips, and lay them carefully to fit the pattern. Cut the tiles using a tile cutter, to fit them onto the edges, or at the marked lines for the border tiles. Install the border tiles in like manner.

Step 4 – Apply Grout

After the adhesive has set, remove the spacers and prepare the grout. Mix the grout with water, in proportions stated in the manufacturer's instructions. Use a rubber float to apply the grout into the joints. Let the grout set for about 20 minutes. Wipe off any excess grout on the surface of the tiles using a damp sponge, and give it about 48 hours to cure completely. Finally, apply grout sealer .