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I am working on a decoration project in which I need to stick 4 ceramic tiles of 12x24" to wood strips (2x2x24") in each corner to make a rectangular box. So basically tile will be stuck to 2" of wood each side.

Any opinion on what product I should be using as an adhesive to stick wood with ceramic tile? I am looking at something which doesn't let ceramic tiles to crack but also forms a strong bond because tile is going to be sticked with only 2x24" area of wood and I want to make sure that tiles don't fall off.

Also I have read people mentioning that wood expand and contracts differently than tile which results in breaking of tile. I am not planning to glue entire tile surface area with wood, it will just a small portion of it. Will that cause an issue in this case?

Will the Gorilla all purpose construction adhesive work for this project? Or do I need to look for thin set mortar and tile adhesive glue with grout?

Note - this is going to stay indoors and zero/minimal exposure to water.

Reference of what I am trying to make

enter image description here

Reference of the wooden frame i am thinking to make to support the ceramic tiles

enter image description here

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  • What will the tile box be used for? Tiles are not known for staying in one piece unless completely supported underneath.
    – crip659
    Commented Apr 16 at 19:28
  • This will be used as a decorative planters pot ( I will be using faux plant so it won't come in contact of too much water?
    – Sweet P
    Commented Apr 16 at 19:43
  • Water is not a problem for tile. Weight on a unsupported tile is a problem.
    – crip659
    Commented Apr 16 at 19:50
  • I think weight won't be too much, just the tall faux plant and that too I will add wooden support in the frame. So i think there won't be much weight on the tiles. Problem is how to glue tiles with wooden strips to ensure it stays in place without falling off.
    – Sweet P
    Commented Apr 16 at 19:55
  • a planter pot ?
    – Traveler
    Commented Apr 16 at 19:56

3 Answers 3

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The way to do this so it won't be crazy fragile is to use the tiles the way tiles are meant to be used. Just imagine you're building a tiny house:

  1. Build a strong wood frame out of 2x4s.
  2. Cover it in 1/2 inch cement lightweight tile backer board
  3. Tile it using tile adhesive and grout.

If the outside must be exactly "1 tile" in height and width, you must work backwards from that to determine the frame size.

You might want to add some metal edging along all the outside corners. This would be instead of your planned exterior frame, and is not structural, it just protects the corners from impact. And with edging you also won't need to miter the tile edges, a rather advanced technique that would be needed to replicate your reference photo.

I guess, aesthetically, you should plan to also tile the "top", IE the roughly 2 inch-wide edges of the framing and walls.

This thing will be heavy.

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  • 1
    There are foam-cored cement-faced boards designed for tiling onto. They're not heavy, even the flooring type.
    – Chris H
    Commented Apr 17 at 6:01
  • @ChrisH do you mean foam tile backer board like Kerdi/Wedi/etc? That's a good idea. They are not cement faced. And you can ignore all their taping and other waterproofing steps.
    – jay613
    Commented Apr 17 at 9:20
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    This stuff from Wedi is what I've got in a wet room "The rigid foam is reinforced with glass fibre (with alkali-resistant finish) on both sides and coated with a polymer-modified cement"
    – Chris H
    Commented Apr 17 at 11:03
  • No idea of the OP's skill level, but if a square tile can be sourced, a "picture frame" could be made for the top.
    – Huesmann
    Commented Apr 17 at 13:26
  • Backers board is actually a good idea. It will make it sturdy without making it too heavy and I don't have to worry about wood wrapage too much. Also I am planning to make picture frame for the top and I have it figured out. I didn't added in the post to not complicate it more than it is already. But thank you guys for the suggestion
    – Sweet P
    Commented Apr 17 at 16:53
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Mortar isn't appropriate as your frame isn't going to provide the stability required for what's a fairly brittle product. Grout is irrelevant--it only fills gaps between tiles.

These products will give you a strong bond but require stabilization during curing:

  • Construction adhesive
  • Project adhesive
  • Silicone or urethane caulk
  • Urethane glue

These products give instant grab, but maybe with less bond strength:

  • Hot melt glue
  • Panel adhesive
  • Double-sided foam tape

Expansion of the wood is not an issue for such small boards, but warpage (twist) due to moisture gain or loss could result in separation.

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  • Any suggestion on the good brands for construction adhesive, project adhesive, silicone or urethane caulk and urethane glue?
    – Sweet P
    Commented Apr 16 at 19:24
  • Brand recommendations are explicitly off topic here. Please see the help center. Also take the tour.
    – isherwood
    Commented Apr 16 at 19:25
  • I'm not at all clear on your design or the purpose of this box, so I cannot give you advice on that.
    – isherwood
    Commented Apr 16 at 19:29
  • I tried adding the picture of the wooden frame i am thinking to make, I am not good at drawing so not sure if it's clear or not. This wooden frame will be of size 12in * 12in * 24in and four ceramic tiles will go on each 12in * 24in sides
    – Sweet P
    Commented Apr 16 at 19:42
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I've successfully tiled onto plywood before. I used 18mm but it was one side of a shower enclosure above a bath in our previous house, so much larger than you've got. I'd make the box out of 9mm ply, then tile that.

I just used standard ready-mixed tile adhesive, this sort of thing (I can't remember the brand as it was a few years ago). This isn't exactly flexible, but it's less brittle than mortar, with a much stronger bond.

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