A little background:
When Derek and I moved to our new base on the other side of the country, we were newly married...and had not lived together yet. Which meant we moved out here with our personal belongings, a television and an air mattress. If you can guess where this is going, you'll get that I'm telling you we had no furniture what-so-ever when we arrived. So our first furniture purchases (with the exception of our bedroom set) were inexpensive, cost effective options.
Since having Conner though, it's safe to say our frugal furniture has taken somewhat of a beating.
In an effort to keep some of it looking pretty...and to extend it's household life...I took to my crafty roots and did a little CTR: Coffee Table Resuscitating.
I measured my tables and ventured down to the local Home Depot with a friend and scoured their tile section. That aisle is slightly overwhelming for me because some of that tile is sparkly...and so pretty...and we all know where I stand with sparkle. If it was possible to bleed glitter, I'd be the girl who'd have that stuff running through my veins like it's cool. And it would be. But anyway...I made my way down to the section where they stash the stacks of 12 x 12 backsplash tile. I knew this would be the easiest way to go because the tile is already neatly laid out on a mesh grid. All I'd have to is trim the tile to the size of my table (because the tile came in squares and my table is a rectangle), adhere it to the table and then do the grout. Problem was that I was clueless as to how the heck I'd adhere the tile to my wooden table.
And this is where the friendly folks at Home Depot come in.
I consulted with one of the employees who works in that section of the store, who pointed me in the direction of these 9 x 18 inch adhesive strips that you lay directly down onto the surface and then stick the tile right on top. It's clean, easy and takes the guesswork and mess out of using other adhesives. I then took a quick grouting lesson from the employee, who also showed me what products I'd need to do the grout work. An hour later I was on my merry way home with plans to do something fabulous to the tables.
Before I go any further, let me recap with you the materials I used for the project:
- 12 panels of M.S. International Inc. Desert Sunset Mosaic Glass Floor and Wall Tile
- 3 boxes of SimpleMat Tile Setting Mat
- 2 quarts of pre-mixed grout in linen
- an extra large grouting sponge
- a QEP 4 x 9 inch Rubber Grout Float
Now, when I got home (and put Conner to bed for the night...this is not a project to do while the kids are running around. It's a little messy!), I prepped by laying down newspaper under the tables. I then laid out the tile setting mat (before pulling off the backing), cut it to where I'd need it, and then laid the tile panels on top and cut them as needed. Once everything was cut and ready, I removed the backing from the setting mat and carefully applied it to the table tops (no sanding needed on the table tops beforehand!). I say carefully because this stuff is seriously sticky and doesn't budge once it's set! I then carefully set the tile panels on top.
My next step was to fill a bucket with water and my grouting sponge. I set it next to me, along with one opened container of the pre-mixed grout and my grout float. Doing one half of the table at a time, I applied the grout as they had taught me in Home Depot, then wiped the table top down with the sponge and water. I will note, if you plan to attempt this project yourself, I highly recommend taping off your table edges with painters tape to avoid any grout drying on your wooden table edges. It doesn't come off easily! I repeated the process until my coffee table and two end tables each had tile laid and one good coat of grout applied.
I let the tables set for 24 hours, then the next night used the second container and applied a final coat of grout. With this second coat, I also paid close attention to the edges of the tile, making sure they had neat, grouted edges and minimal holes in the application for a clean look.
I again let the tables set for 24 hours before putting anything like books or lamps on top, and viola! Beautiful, revamped tables!
And I will say...having the tile on top has been wonderful! It's eliminated the worry of water warping the wood, it's super easy to clean and the tile can take a toddler beating much easier than the plain wood can! I would do this project again in a heartbeat.
So there you have it. If you plan to attempt this and haven't applied grout to tile before, I highly suggest visiting the local hardware store for a quick lesson. It took about 5 minutes for my Home Depot pal to teach me the way to do it, and it was well worth it!