I tiled my patio in 2011, and I absolutely hated the entire experience. I will probably never do a project like that again. In the end it came out pretty good, but bent over in the Georgia sun mixing mortar and cutting tile wasn't very fun. At some point I bought a tile saw for about $84 and it worked very well, I would not have been able to complete that project without it. So earlier this year I decided that I should not have a tool go unused, so I decided to make a tile top coffee table. I figured that it would be an easy project, a small project, and would look great.
Spoiler alert, didn't use the tile saw for this project.
Now, here is a bit of information:
1. I built the table depicted in this instructable, but you DON'T have to make your own! You can do this with any old coffee table that needs a new life.
2. You don't even need to do a coffee table, you can be as ambitious as you want. Do your dining table if you want.
3. You don't have to use coasters on tile, which is why I did this on the coffee table
Step 1: Collecting supplies and tools
Here is a list of supplies you will need, but remember, this is just what I used, there are several substitutes for some of these materials. This is A WAY to do this project, it is by no means THE WAY. That may come in later instructables, but I am way more likely to say things like: "Sub-creatures! Gozer the Gozerian, Gozer the Destructor, Volguus Zildrohar, the Traveller has come! Choose and perish!" and so on. If you got that reference, give yourself a pat on the back, you deserve it. And now, back to this...
1. A table or similar flat surface that you want to tile. If you notice the part I am going to tile is plain old 3/4" unsanded plywood. If you are going to tile something that isn't custom built for a tile project, use some 60-grit sandpaper to rough it up because a rough surface will generally grip better than a smooth one.
2. Construction adhesive. I used Liquid Nails Marble and Granite Adhesive because it will work on wood and tile and it DOES NOT STAIN. It says so, right on the tube. That point is very important, most general or heavy duty construction adhesives contain oils that will eventually seep through surfaces and make the surface look weird. I read on some online forums that this stuff will not stain through. I got it at Lowe's. Actually, all of this stuff came from Lowe's.
3. Grout sealer, so the grout areas are easy to clean later in life. It will also help to keep the grout from flaking out and getting dust everywhere.
4. Grout. I got some pre-mixed grout because I hate mixing the stuff, it is a really fine dust that goes everywhere and makes a mess. The Pre-mixed is available in many colors and is easy to work with even if it is a bit more expensive.
5. Scrub pad. This is to clean off excess grout after it starts to set.
6. Caulk gun to use the adhesive tube. If you plan to do a big project you may want to invest in an electric or air powered caulk gun because, as I type this, my hands are killing me and my project was pretty small
7. Tiles. You can use whatever fits your taste, just remember that if you get several different types, the thickness may be different and the sides may be a bit longer or shorter than other styles. You will see what I mean when you get to the end of this.
8. Tongue depressor, popsicle stick, finger, or rounded wooden stick to work the grout into the gaps and form neat lines.
9. Rags that you don't mind throwing away.
10. Bucket, for warm water.
11. Razor blade or thin knife to cut the glue. If you use tiles intended for back splashes, they are glued onto a plastic mesh so that you don't have to place each one individually. They are usually in sheets measuring 12x12".
12. Plastic bags. You can use a ziploc freezer bag or something similar, it just needs to be strong and have a sharp corner. This will be used to place the grout. I used a big canvas bag made for this purpose when I did my patio, but it would be a bit too big for this project.