Introduction: Renewed: Tile Table Top and Chairs

Learn to tile a table top and refinish furniture with Chalky Paint.

In this Instructable you will learn how we RENEWED a sad and sorry $45 table and chair set into a beautiful and practical living space in our backyard.

This project came about due to lack of ample sitting space under our backyard Pergola for enjoying a meal or cocktails with guests.. Look at it as an outdoor Home Improvement project as well.

As with many of my Instructables, this is a first time attempt in two specific processes.

  1. Chalky Paint.
  2. Installing tile to any surface.

Our first feat was to find a table and chair set. Over the span of a winter, we took the time to find a set on Craig's List for a reasonable price. We knew the renewal materials would have a substantial cost, so we scoured Craig's for a CHEAP but good quality set.

We finally found this set after 2 months with a $70 price tag. After a little negotiation due to the poor condition of the table top, we were able to drive away with the set for $45.

Read on to learn of our Before & After Story.

Step 1: Before: Table and Chairs

These images show the sad state of the table and chairs prior to beginning the RENEWAL process of the table and chair set.

The chairs were not in terrible shape but needed new life. They were structurally sound with normal scratches and and dings. Overall not bad, but not the style we wanted.

On the other hand, the table top was is bad shape. From the images you can see water stains, scratches, gouges, and the faux would finish veneer bubbling from water damage.

Step 2: Table Top Construction

When purchasing the table and chair set I inspected the construction of the table top. Immediately I noticed the bracing which appeared to fasten the table apron and table top together. Initially I figured this would be a very simple process to disassemble the the top from apron and simply replace the top with a new wood surface.

What I did not consider was that the braces and apron were not only screwed to the table top but glued as well.

That changed the whole plan of this renewal. Instead of simply replacing the table top we now had to figure out a way to use the top and resurface somehow.

So, we continued with the painting process until we had a solution for the top. We decided to paint the chairs, table legs and table apron.

Step 3: Chalk Paint

Our first step to renew the chairs was to paint with Valspar Chalk Paint. The great feature of this paint is that there is virtually no prep of the surface. Just give the surface a quick clean of dirt or grime that might be on the surface. No need to strip or sand the surface of the furniture.

And, because we were looking for that weathered and aged look, your painting skills don't need to be that great. Our 6 year old boy lent a helping hand with his painting skills!

Step 4: Antiquing Wax

Next step is to apply the Valspar Antiquing Wax. With a clean brush, apply the wax paying attention to the line strokes of the brush. The line strokes give the look you desire. Now we have that aged rustic type look we were looking for.

Step 5: Table Top Surface

After completing the paint finish on chairs, table apron, and table legs we move on to the RENEWAL of the table top itself. Again, the sad shape of the faux wood surface need to be covered completely.

Our decision was to cover with ceramic tile.

Step 6: Frame Table Top

With a tile table top we needed some type of finished edge so not to see the outer edge of the tiles. We decided on an inlaid surface.

We decided to frame the top of the table with 3" wide x 7/16" thick wood trim. This would make a nice frame that would allow for an inlaid tile table surface.

Step 7: Framing Tools and Materials

Tools used for framing were as follows.

  • Wood Trim
  • Power Miter Saw
  • Marking pencil
  • Measuring tape
  • Clamps
  • Wood Glue
  • Finish Nail Gun and Air Compressor
  • Finish Nails

Step 8: Cut Boards

Let's frame the table. The table is 39 1/4 inches squared.

  1. Mark your boards at needed length. We needed 39 1/4 inch length boards.
  2. Cut 45 degree angles on each end.
  3. Repeat for all 4 boads.

Step 9: Dry Fit Boards

Before committing to glue and nails, be sure you dry fit your boards and trim as needed.

Step 10: Clamp Board 1

Before gluing and nailing I clamped a board in proper place and then continued with the glue and nail process. This first board clamped in place helped ensure the other boards would be square to the table edge..

Step 11: Glue, Set and Nail

Making the frame is relatively simple if your boards are cut accurately.

  1. Apply wood glue to backside of trip
  2. Set board in place and check that it is square with speed square.
  3. Nail in place along length of board.
  4. Repeat for all four boards.

Step 12: Plan Tile Placement

We used 12 x 12 inch sheets of 1 inch square tiles for our table surface.

So let's do some math.

Remember that the table is 39 1/4 inch squared.

The trim is 3 inches wide.

This means we need to cover a remaining surface that is 33 1/4 inch squared.

So, we will need to trim some tiles and center them

Step 13: Measure Mark Cut Set Number

In order to get proper layout we needed to trim 2 inches from length and width to use (9) 12 inch tile sheets.

  1. Measure and do math for layout.
  2. Mark centers of each side for proper placement of tiles
  3. Cut excess tiles
  4. Set tiles centered on surface.
  5. Number tiles.

After everything is laid out you can remove the tiles and stack them to the side to prep the surface for mortar.

Step 14: Protect Wood Frame

Since this is literally the first tile job I have ever done I knew there would be a good chance that I would be a little messy with the mortar and grout. So, to protect the wood frame mortar and grout I used applied painters tape to the entire frame.

Step 15: Prep Mortar

Prep mortar based on direction of manufacturer using and 5 gallon bucket, measuring cup, water, mixing bit, and power drill. We only needed a partial portion of the 25# bag. So some math had to be used to calculate the amount of water to be used based on manufacturer directions on package.

Step 16: Apply Mortar and Tiles

Since this is NOT an Instructable on tiling itself, I am not going to get into the specifics of tiling. What I will say is that it is not all that difficult but can be messy for a first timer like myself.

  1. Apply mortar with trowel size recommended by tile and mortar type. Be sure to read the manufacturers recommendations on trowel size. Not all trowels fit all jobs.
  2. Set and center tiles.

Remember in previous step when we numbered and stacked tiles? Set your tiles in your stacked order.

Step 17: Apply Grout

Again, not an instructable on grouting, but the next step for this project is to grout. Besides, like I said this is my first time doing tile and grout work. So, taking pictures of the this process was not a priority. My priority was to do the best job I could for a newbie. So... camera was forgotten until the grouting was done.

Step 18: Remove Tape and Sand

Now it is time to prep for staining the wood frame.

  1. Remove the protective painters tape.
  2. Use a fine grit sand paper to give frame a light sanding to remove and pencil marks.

Step 19: Apply Finish Coat to Frame

Next we applied a coat of stain to the wood frame. I simply looked to the stain supply in the cabinet. My first attempt with a cherry colored stain was a little too red so we did a second coat with a dark walnut stain.

We liked the dark walnut better.

Finally finish off with a few coats of clear poly coat.

NOTE: You can ignore the blotched look of poly coat image. That is just glare from the camera flash.

Step 20: Enjoy!

There you have it folks! A Before and After story of a sad table and chair set!

Now comes the challenge of the Wife playing rearrange the furniture for precise and efficient placement. Perhaps we will leave that for another day and another Instructable!

As mentioned this was a collaborative project between myself, wife and 6 year old son. Instructables can be a great way to bring family together and take ownership on projects. This was also the first time we had done Chalky Paint finish and any type of Tile installation.

Fun Fun Fun!

Hope you find this story valuable to you on your next project or idea and worthy of a VOTE!

Thanks for looking!


Before and After Contest 2017

Participated in the
Before and After Contest 2017

Home Improvement Contest 2017

Participated in the
Home Improvement Contest 2017

Makerspace Contest 2017

Participated in the
Makerspace Contest 2017