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So last summer we bought a fire table from Ace hardware for our new deck. In late October we covered it up along with the other deck furniture, and left it for the winter. We uncovered It a couple of weeks ago to find this:

enter image description here

Disappointing to say the least. Although there were several snow storms here (Tunkhannock, north east PA), as far as I know, it was dry the whole time.

My questions are first, did I do something wrong here, or did something cause this? Or is this just a poor quality product?

And secondly, can I reasonably repair this, and if so how?

If not, then I need a new fire table, what features and/or qualities should I be looking for to insure that this doesn't happen again?

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    You definitely didn't do anything wrong. This is a product that's supposed to be able to sit outside. May 27, 2017 at 16:21
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    Step one, complain to the store you bought it from and see what they say, or to the manufacturer (since I note that Ace's website only gives 30 days, so the store is also unlikely to be helpful after several months.)
    – Ecnerwal
    May 27, 2017 at 20:37

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I have the exact same fire table and mine does the same thing! I even pull it inside during the MN winters, but to no avail, I am refinishing it every year! It is definitely a poorly made product. I have had mine for 4 years and when it started peeling right away, I contacted the manufacturer and received my money back. So then it was worth it to me to keep it and give it a touch up paint job each year. I use the high heat spray paint, but does still always chip!

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did something cause this... is this just a poor quality product?

Yes and yes. I suspect that freeze/thaw cycles caused this damage.

can I reasonably repair this, and if so how?

It's hard to tell from the picture but it looks like this is a resin/fiberglass material (you can see glass mat fibers in the broken spot at lower left of picture).

You could fix it by removing all chips and dust and applying a resin putty filler (like auto-body filler/Bondo). Resin filler is easy to work with and shape if you have some experience with it.

You will still have an aesthetics issue because it will be ugly; however, you could prime and paint the whole top a color of your choice.

I do not know what you paid for it, only you can assess repair effort versus cost for a new table. I would try to fix it if I were in your shoes, but only because I hate to throw stuff out and I have filler on hand at all times.

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  • I think it was $125, which seemed like a really good deal at the time. I'll probably replace it. Any suggestions on how to avoid this problem in the future? May 27, 2017 at 17:39
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    I would be very surprised if the surface of a "fire table" is resin. I'd guess at a fiber-cement board under ceramic tiles. But evidently the tiles were not suitable for use outdoors and were damaged by freezing (usually there's plenty of condensate under a cover, even if rain/snow don't get under there.)
    – Ecnerwal
    May 27, 2017 at 20:27

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