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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am new to this forum. Not sure how much you all expand beyond just wood, but thought I'd pose a question.

I am looking at building a patio table. I'm looking at making a wood frame, but would like to tile a design on a portion of the top. Brief research has taught me that I clearly cannot put the tile on plywood or any other wood that the remainder of the table top will be. However, having a frame, then plywood, then backerboard, then tile will make it quite heavy. So that brings me to the question:

Can I put backerboard on top of the framing, then tile, and just leave out the plywood? Or is the plywood necessary? Looking to cut weight and cost.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
 

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The backer board isn't structurally strong enough to use for a top alone. As long as you made framework to support the backerboard it would work. Otherwise the top would sag in the middle and the tile would bust.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Trying to post a picture of a rough sketch of the frame but I cant! It's Just 2x4s. Large rectangle with two board going the length of the table a foot apart centered in the middle of the width. From those baords, there would be 2x4s going from them out to the outter edge length boards. There would be 3 on each side. This would create a sort of checkered frame of 2x4s with no more than 2' gap anywhere. This might not be the best explanation, which is why I tried the picture, but if you can visualize, does this seem like enough support to use just backerboard??
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Think I finally got my scanner working to attach a picture. I'm hoping lack of reply is due to the fact that my description was terrible and you just needed a picture! The square spaces would be no more than 2' across anywhere. Is this enough support of 2x4s to put just backerboard on top and tile??

If so, what if I wanted the backerboard and tiling to over lap this frame by several inches so that the 2x4 frame didn't serve as a skirt (not a fan of that decoratively...).

Again, any and all input greatly appreciated!!
 

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If you are using full tiles i.e. not mosaic I would just glue them to the plywood with a polyurethane glue. If you must use thin set try plywood with a membrane on it like ditra. Do not attempt to use cement board alone as it will fail.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Appreciate the response, but I am a little confused. Other reasearch I feel like I keep seeing that under no circumstance do you go directly tile to plywood. That it would not stick long term....is there something I am missing?
 

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I wouldn't adhere the tile directly to the plywood either.

If your concerned about weight I suggest this...

http://www.lowes.com/pd_11640-12755-220001_0__

The other alternative would be this but it's a bit heavier...

http://m.lowes.com/pd_221200-272-CB...rentURL=?Ns=p_product_avg_rating|1&facetInfo=

In either case you'll need to use a 3/4" plywood substrate because the backer board will have to be screwed to the plywood and you don't want them protruding from the bottom of the table.

There is a rigid foam backer on the market bit I can't remember the name and it has to be laid on a thin coat of wet thinset and screwed down.

As previously suggested use tile adhesives and grout that will retain some flexibility after curing especially if you plan on moving the table around.

Another good suggestion was to incorporate intermediate supports between the side elements of your table top.

Think of these as floor joists and remember the closer they are to one another the more rigidity they'll add.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Appreciate those links.

So more small "joists" going the width of the table from sides to middle you think would help, and backerboard to plywood to frame.

Your point about plywood needed because you don't want screws protruding through the table. Is that the only reason? Because I feel like that could be solved by only screwing down where there are "joists", no? Or do you suggest plywood also for more strength that will be necessary to hold the tiles like I first asked?

Thanks again.
 

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I think it would be helpful at this point to know the dimensions of the table top.

:)
 

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Have you looked at the Schluter Ditra products? They sell it at big box stores. It's a light weight mat that you could mortar down to the plywood and the tiles get mortared to the mat. I am not if it would work for your application but it would cut down on the weight.
 

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I don't know a tremendous amount about tile, so I can't advise on the process. However, I wouldn't worry much about the additional weight that 3/4" plywood will impart to the project. If the table top is of considerable size, the masonry alone will make it a bear to move no matter what's under it. If it's only a few feet by a few feet, the ply will only add 10-12 pounds. I say this as a guy who carrys a lot of plywood up ladders.
 
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