ceramic tile and mild steel

greetings, i am planning on making a small table for our deck and i
would like to use a mosaic tile pattern for the table top so i thought
that i would make a pan out of 16 ga., turn it up side down and tack it
to the inside of the table frame, therefore giving me a flat surface to
put the tile in, and keep it flush with the top of the frame. now i am
wondering what kind of adhesive would work best to affix the tile(3/4
inch tiles sheets with a mesh backing) to the 16 ga. the frame will be
made if 3/4 square tubing that i will have powdercoated
any comments would be appreciated,cj
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I'd use a silicone based adhesive as the temp gradient on the metal may prove to bee too much re expand-contract for a "harder adhesive" ...
God Bless Tom in Belle Vernon PA
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thanks tom, can you recommend any products? cj
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Make the pan or recess deep enough to allow a layer of Hardibacker (or similar cement board) under the tile. Then you can use thinset on the tile side and silicone (as garigue suggested) or some other adhesive on the metal side.
Cement board is available 1/4, 3/8, or 1/2" thick. 1/2" 3'x5' costs about $10.
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James Waldby
I'd go with with James suggestion. Make sure you don't leave a path for water to get under the backer board and between the metal if in a freezing location.
Wes -- "Additionally as a security officer, I carry a gun to protect government officials but my life isn't worth protecting at home in their eyes." Dick Anthony Heller
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thanks for the suggestion james. so,the hardibacker board will affix well to the 16 ga. with just an off the shelf tube of silicon? also, would the powdercoat surface be to smooth(or undesirable) for the silicone to stick to? cj
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I'd be a bit leery that the first time the table was moved the pan would flex and cause the tiles to pop loose, or at least crack allowing moisture a path to the steel. I believe I'd glue the tile to a backer and just set it in the sheetmetal pan instead of glueing the whole works down
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I have been making some metal framed tile tables for indoor use:
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I agree with James, on the hardibacker or cement board under the tile.
For my indoor tables, I used 3/8" particle board. I welded sheetmetal ears on the inside of the frame and screwed the particle board to the ears with short sheetmetal screws. I used the Locktite construction adhesive to mount the tiles to the particle board.
For outdoor use, the particleboard would fall apart quickly, while the Hardibacker or cement board would not. The ear arrangement would be a good thing in this situation too because it would not leave any significant space for water to accumulate.
The ears were made of 16 gauge sheetmetal with a 1/8" right angle bend along one edge for welding to. They are about 3" long and about 1" for mounting the backing to.
I used powdercoat, but I don't know how it holds up to UV.
Something to watch out for - some types of tile are not very consistant in their sizes. When you design the frame, measure some of the tiles beforehand to get an idea how consitant the tile dimensions are.
Good Luck, BobH
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Silicone is not really an adhesive. Although it will hold a little bit.
Go to the Home Despot and check out the adhesives in a tube. Liquid Nail, PL-1, etc.
MUCH better adhesives.
The PL-1 in particular stays "flexible" over time. Ideal for what you are doing.
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cavelamb himself
I have to agree with the majority - you don't want the bottom layer of an outside table to be a steel pan. It's going to collect all the spills and rainwater and rust out in a big hurry.
I would use two layers of cement backer-board held together with construction adhesive - make the two sheets to fit the table, put the bottom one on a dead flat surface, place adhesive between the two sheets (even pattern of big caulking gun beads on the bottom sheet), place the top sheet on top and get them lined up, then clamp them together with a great big pile of concrete blocks for the glue to cure for two or three days.
The table top really doesn't need to be fastened to the steel frame, gravity will do most of the work - you could glue it in with a thin bead of adhesive where it sits on the frame, as long as you can get in with a shop knife to cut the bond loose. You want to be able to take it apart easily, because the steel will need painting every few years. Then you can drop the cured backer into the table frame and finish it by tiling with mastic tile adhesive - you can use thin-set mortar, but the odds are higher that it will come apart and need reworking after a few years. Any flexing and thin-set will crumble, where a mastic adhesive bond will give a little.
And grout the tiles to finish.
This way when (not if) it gets wet the water that gets past the grout or the caulking around the edges won't collect in the table top 'sandwich', the water will drain through and the backerboard will dry out in the sun.
Reply to
Bruce L. Bergman
My daughter and I were working on a similar table yesterday. The table came with the house when we moved in. It appears to be commercially made. It has a sheet metal pan about an inch deep that was filled with concrete, tile was set on the concrete It was much abbused but structurally sound. It is heavily galvanized and has been outside in the rain and humidity in Central Florida for the 17 years I have been here with NO rust. We had previously removed the old tile and concrete, and yesterday's effort was to mix up 2 bags of concrete mix and apply. We crowned the surface slightly (1/8" in 30" span) so that rain will run off. We will apply the tile with thinset mortor and seal the grout.
With out the galvanizing I would worry about rust as other folks have pointed out.
Carl Boyd
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Carl Boyd

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