Tile Tabletop DIY Guide

by Jan Kennemer 04/10/2022

If wooden tables aren’t your style, consider creating a DIY tabletop with an alternate material. There are many great options available depending on the type of table you want to build or if you simply want to replace the top of an existing table. One creative way to build your own tabletop is to use ceramic tile. If you’re looking for a DIY project that will result in a beautiful fresh look for an old table, we’ve put together a guide to help.

What You’ll Need

Luckily, this project doesn’t require a lot of materials or special tools. Here are the things you’ll need:

  • Tiles

  • Nail Gun

  • Mortar

  • Grout

  • Plywood for base and trim

How to Build Your Tabletop

  1. First, place your plywood base on top of the table, being careful to center it. When selecting a piece of wood for this project it’s important to keep it lightweight, as the tile will add most of the weight to the table.

  2. Measure and mark a rim around the outside of the table for you to place your trim. The size of the trim will depend on the size of the table.

  3. You have a choice of attaching the tabletop to the existing table or leaving it completely separate. The advantage of leaving it unattached is that you can swap it out for a new one if you ever create a new design. However, attaching the tabletop will prevent it from slipping in any one direction or becoming unstable. If you are using a wooden table base, you can use the nail gun for this purpose. Otherwise, research the best adhesive for your combination of materials to make sure the top is secure.

  4. Lay the tile on the surface of the wood, staying within the boundaries you marked for the trim.

  5. Remove the tile and set aside while you mix the mortar. Once it’s ready, apply it in an even layer beginning in a corner and moving outward, laying one tile at a time. Keep in mind that if you’re using tile with a large pattern, you’ll need to arrange them carefully, so having a definite starting point is key.

  6. Once you have your tile placed, let the mortar dry overnight. If you’re working on this project outside, wait for a dry weekend to avoid excess moisture buildup. Otherwise, make sure your indoor workspace is well ventilated to aid quicker drying.

  7. While you wait, you can measure and cut your plywood trim. Use the previously measured border of the table as a template and make your cuts so that each piece fits perfectly around the tile.

  8. Stain or treat the trim if you wish. Then, using a nail gun, attach the trim securely to the base. To finish it, use some grout on the inside edge to adhere the trim to the tile edge. You can leave some extra room around this edge to make the grout more visible.

Now you have a beautiful custom tabletop perfect for a patio, sitting room or dining room. Using this same method, you can create tabletops of all sizes or even decorative wall art. The possibilities are endless, so be creative and enjoy your DIY process.

About the Author

Jan Kennemer

Jan will show you how you can live close to Washington, DC – by public transit and/or highway – and still enjoy all the many amenities and friendliness of a quiet community. Jan is a life-long resident of Arlington, Va. So, she is very familiar with northern Virginia …Arlington, Falls Church, Alexandria and close-in Fairfax. She knows where to find those little out-of the-way places where you will still get excellent value and a home that meets your needs. As a Realtor® for over 20 years, Jan has developed a customized system for marketing and selling properties which includes the latest technologies combined with tried and true practices. She has received special training in working with first time buyers, repeat buyers and seniors. She is a certified VHDA trainer and is certified as a Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES©). Jan is also a certified e-Pro. She gets results you want – the best price in the shortest time. Jan is dedicated to helping clients satisfy their needs and wants while providing them with a strong investment for the future. She is readily available to provide explanations and information. She won’t push you into making an uncomfortable choice. Jan helps you to fully understand the transaction, so that you can always make an informed decision based on facts and figures.