Today Marcy writes:

Diva,  I love my patio table but it is looking a little shabby this year.  Is there any patio table tile that I can use that can handle large family gatherings? Thanks!

Marcy, you’ve come to the right diva! I can definitely help you find the right type of patio table tile that will hold up to heavy use. Here is a list and some helpful info on the most commonly used patio table tile.

The most commonly used natural stone tile for patio tables is slate or granite. People also use travertine, but personally I’d stay away from it, limestone and marble.  The lighter the natural stone tile, the easier it is to stain.  But that is just my opinion and you may like the look of it and be willing to take the risk of it staining.  Regardless of what type of natural stone you choose for your patio table tile, make sure that you use a good penetrating sealer on both the grout and tile. This will help you get the best protection possible.

The most popular type of natural stone used on tables is slate. When it comes to slate though, there are a couple of things you should consider.  First of all it’s natural, so every single tile will look different. This is the attraction of slate, so if you are wanting something uniform in appearance consider something man-made instead. Second, slate comes in different thicknesses, even within the same tile. Which is especially important if you serve meals at the patio table. The more un-level it is the harder it will be to slide a dish across. So pay attention to the type of slate it is before you purchase it. I would recommend going with a minimum of a gauged slate tile, but getting something tumbled would be more level and smoother for dishes to sit on and move across.

Patio Table Tile

Unless you are creating a mosaic look, the only man-made tile you should put on a table top is porcelain. Porcelain is tougher than ceramic and can handle heavy use. This is because porcelain is denser than ceramic, so things can drop down on it harder without chipping or cracking.  Notice, I’m not saying it won’t crack or chip, I’m just saying it will take more to make it crack or chip than a ceramic tile.  Most porcelain tiles are frost/freeze resistant as well, so if you leave your table out all year you won’t have to worry about the cold weather cracking the table top tile. Porcelain tile is much harder to stain than natural stone and it does not have to be sealed, but you will want to make sure you still seal the grout.

Let’s take a moment and revisit the comment I made about mosaic tiles. The reason it doesn’t matter if you use ceramic tiles when creating a mosaic look is because smaller tiles are harder to chip or crack once installed. On top of that, since in order to create a mosaic look you smash a regular size tile into little bits it would be hard to notice if a mosaic tile sustained any damage from everyday use. When it comes to using mosaic tile on a table top the only rule I have is to make sure you use tile that is the same thickness. Otherwise you’ll run into the same problems you do with un-gauged slate and that could get messy!

If you stick to natural stone, porcelain tiles or mosaics you’ll get an even longer life out of your old patio table. Just remember no matter what you choose to use a good sealer before you start using the patio table tile top!  And it wouldn’t hurt to re-seal the grout and/or tile every year to give maximum life to your hard work!

Do you have questions about the selecting or the installation of: tile, carpet or wall treatments (window blinds, etc)? Then email me your tale of woe (diva(at) and perhaps I will be able to answer your questions right here at the Home Makeover Diva Blog!



Written by Amanda Hartley