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Learn How to DIY Renovate

Learn How to DIY Renovate
Learn How to DIY Renovate

DIY Tutorials

DIY Tutorials
DIY Tutorials

{DIY} Table with a Feature Tiled Base & Concrete Top

DIY Feature Tiled Table with Concrete Top

Tiles. We use them in bathrooms and we use them on floors. But have you ever used them as part of a piece of furniture? Nope, me neither. But when you think about it, it's perfect! They're so hardwearing, they can make a real feature or statement in a room and many are even waterproof too. They're the perfect material for building a table base with! You'll never have to worry about kids kicking the table again and those mud marks will wipe straight off. You'll have a real bespoke and unique piece of furniture that's not quite like anything in a catalogue, and what's even better - the investment on tiles can be transferred with you when you move!

I've been wanting to make a feature table for some time now - we have a conservatory we're currently renovating that's dying for some furniture and these Stacked Stone tiles from UK Feature Walls just yelled 'TABLE BASE' at me. So, I had a go, LOVE it, and thought I'd share with you how it's made. The best part about this table is that it's completely suitable for either indoor or outdoor use, so if you're after a new garden table, this might be exactly what you need and using various materials around the home makes it super affordable too.

materials for building a tiled table

You Will Need:

  • Feature Tiles
  • Tile Adhesive
  • Wet Tile Saw
  • Trowel
  • Hardiebacker/Cement Board
  • Saw
  • Drill
  • Lengths of Wood
  • Large Smooth Board (I'm using an old kitchen worktop)
  • Screws & Screwdriver
  • Cement
  • Mixing Bucket & Something to Mix With
  • Wire Mesh - Optional
  • Spirit Level
  • Sealant
  • Fairy Liquid
  • Hammer

Step 1 - Cut Pieces to Make the Base

In order to use tiles as a base for a table, they need to have a suitable surface for tiling onto. This needs to be quite strong to hold the weight of the tiles too. I'll be using hardiebacker for this job (can be purchased from most B&Qs), which we had leftover from previous DIYs. This stuff tends to be used for creating shower enclosure walls and then tiling onto. Which means it's completely waterproof - perfect for the garden, super strong, and it doesn't break the bank either.

I cut (or rather, I asked Grant to cut) the hardiebacker into four exact rectangles using a jigsaw. The sizes of these will determine the overall size of the table; mine are roughly 45cmx30cm. Hardiebacker board is pretty tough stuff, so I do recommend a power saw rather than a manual one for this job, or you might be there for some time with rather blunt blades by the end.

how to cut hardiebacker

I then cut four lengths of wood to the same height as the hardiebacker and height I wanted the table to be (45cm). If you intend on keeping the table outdoors, make sure to use treated timber that's suitable for external use as the feet will get wet on the floor. The timber also needs to be quite chunky and strong to hold the weight of the tiles and the concrete top. CLS structral timber is perfect for this job and only costs a few pounds. I'm using similar timber I'd saved from a skip.

Step 2 - Affix Together

Using long screws, I then affixed the pieces of hardiebacker onto the wood. If your wood is rectangular like mine, you'll need to turn it around on each side to keep it all square. It's also really important to remember one side of hardiebacker needs to overhang the wood to meet up with the second piece. Difficult to explain - but you'll see in the photos below. Hardiebacker is really really tough, so it's best to pre-drill holes and don't forget to countersink those screws too! (I'm using an SDS drill here - but don't worry, you don't need one - our actual drill had broken!)

pre drilling holes in hardiebacker
how to countersink screws
creating a table base
heavy duty table base
base for side table with tiles
uses for hardiebacker board

Step 3 - Tile Away!

Now for the fun part - tiling! The tiles I'm using are from UK Feature Walls and are their Stacked Stone tiles in grey. I love the natural look to these tiles, when they're laid together they look seamless rather than individual tiles. There's various lengths and formations of the tiles in each pack and they can also be fitted upside down, so the pattern really doesn't repeat at all, particularly over a small area like this. I think they're the perfect tiles for this DIY. I used a wet tile saw to cut them and they were literally the easiest tiles I've ever had to cut. It was like slicing through butter. My top tip for using a wet tile saw is to place masking tape over the area you want to cut - it stops your pencil line dissolving through the water and it leaves a smoother cut.

tiling onto a table
cutting tiles with a wet tile saw
cutting stacked stone tiles

The tiles do have smooth decorative ends, so I've made sure to keep these exposed at the corners instead of the cut ends which will be a little rougher. This means one side of tiles has to protrude over the hardiebacker to match up with the other side...

tiling with stacked stone tiles

I laid tiles on one side at a time, letting it dry before rolling the table over. Don't forget - if you intend on using the table outside, you'll need a tile adhesive that's suitable for outdoor use. This is one I had lying around and happened to be suitable for outdoors anyway.

diy stacked stone table
creating a table base with tiles
uk feature walls stacked stone tiles
uk feature walls stacked stone tiles

Step 4 - Making a Mould for the Concrete Top

I've really wanted to have a go at making a concrete top and I felt this project was the perfect opportunity. Generally speaking, melamine is the best material to make a mould out of since it's completely smooth. We're on a budget here and using bits around the house (if you couldn't already tell) so we'll be using wood with an old kitchen worktop. The wood will leave a rougher finish around the edge of the table, but the kitchen worktop will be just as smooth as melamine. This will be the top of the table.

making a mould for concrete table top

I cut the wood to the size I wanted and then screwed it directly onto the worktop, making sure everything was completely square with an angle finder. I then used some sealant around the edges between the wood and worktop and also between the corners of the wood. This will stop the cement mix seeping under the wood. I always apply sealant with a gun and then use my finger dipped in a fairy liquid and water mix to smooth it out.

how to make a concrete mould for table
sealant in corners of mould

Step 5 - Pour the Cement

Once that's all dried, you can then pour cement. I'm using a white cement, which is actually called Snowcrete from Wickes. I'd never used it before, but seen it on the shelf enough times to know I needed to try it at least the once! You can also use regular cement with dye if you're after another specific colour, or already have some leftover cement already lying around.

Mixing snowcrete cement

I poured the cement into the mould around halfway up before inserting some wire mesh. I wasn't entirely sure how essential this was, bearing in mind it's quite a small table and this wire mesh isn't exactly going to re-inforce it much at all. But, I added it non-the-less. Like I say, this is the first time I've made a concrete top - so it's all learning curves! If you're making a large table, you will definitely need some strong reinforcement in the middle, I recommend rods.

cutting wire mesh for reinforcing concrete top
wire mesh in concrete table top

One thing I hadn't done was ensure the mould was completely level before pouring the cement. Yep - rookie error! The worktop was actually balanced on two chairs on our lawn so it was obviously less than level and caused the cement to slope accordingly in the mould. I then had to juggle trying to level the worktop which was already covered in very heavy cement, so do make sure to do this one first!

how to level a concrete table top
concrete top levelling

I found a length of wood was the best tool for levelling out the cement. By wiggling back and forth along the mould, it evens everything out nicely. It's also important to remove any bubbles in the cement as well as these are weak points and too many of them is bad. This is simply done by hitting the side of the mould which causes the bubbles to rise to the surface. You can then smooth back over with the levelling wood.

removing bubbles from concrete
level mould for concrete top

Step 6 - Leave 48 Hours

After a 48 hour wait, it can now be lifted from it's mould. This needs to be done very gently as it will be stuck to the sides and base and you don't want to pull off any of the concrete along with removing the wood. I unscrewed the lengths of wood and used a scraper for leverage whilst gently wiggling the timber away. I must say, I was deeply relieved when it came out in one whole piece!

how to remove concrete from its mould
removing set concrete table top

Step 7 - Enjoy!

Since the concrete top is pretty heavy, there's no need to physically attach it to the base, it really isn't going to be knocked off with much ease! Not having it attached also means we can store things inside it too (great for garden cushions during winter!) and makes it a little more practical. And that's it - you can now sit down with a book and glass of wine and enjoy your new table, indoors or outdoors.

diy garden table
stacked stone tiled table
diy table with tiled base and concrete top
diy side table with concrete top
modern rustic table made with tiles from UK feature walls
grey stacked stone tiles from UK feature walls
white concrete table top
diy small garden side table made from tiles

I absolutely love it, I think it's really eye catching and is a real piece of interest in the garden. In the future we'll be relocating it into the conservatory, but since that's full of DIY tools and materials, for now I'm really enjoying how it looks in the garden. The stacked stone tiles almost make it look like it's been made by one piece rather than individual tiles and the contrasting smooth white top gives it a really modern feel. I love the two different textures between the concrete and tiles and I'm thrilled to bits with it! I still have some tiles left, so I'll definitely be creating more DIYs with them soon.

I'd love to know what you think - would you recreate this or something similar in your home or garden? Have you used tiles elsewhere in your home?

For a tutorial on the hanging feature wall behind, click here.

*Tiles were kindly provided for the purpose of this DIY Tutorial. All words, thoughts & reviews are my own :) Thanks for supporting the brands who support this blog.

DIY stacked stone table


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