Has anyone been successful installing tile over counter laminate?

I have a rental where the tenants have used kitchen knifes on the countertop instead of a cutting board. I would like to install ceramic tile.
Has anyone had success installing directly over counter laminate without removing the countertop substrate? I am afraid of damage to the cabinets in trying to remove the existing countertop. I have seen suggestions regarding roughing up laminate to provide a more porus surface. Any suggestions, or help.
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Rick,
I would post at www.johnbridge.com forums. They have a great group of tile setters that can help you.
I would really think twice about doing this. If your tenants don't use cutting boards what are the chances they will keep the grout lines clean and sealed. I would see grout lines as a potential maintenance problem. Epoxy grout (not sure if safe to use in a kitchen) might help. Couldn't you put another layer of laminate over the old with proper surface prep?
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Beat me to it. If this is an old-style square section counter without rolled backsplash and bull nose, you can field-apply new laminate, given a good DIY book and a cheap router to edge with. If it is the curved stuff, I don't know of any painless way to redo it, short of pulling it. Why are you afraid it will break the cabinets? Is it glued down, trapped in a pocket or in backsplash tile or something? I'd call whatever company the local apartment projects use to refresh trashed apartments between tenants. I wouldn't use a company like that for a new custom home, but for a rental, they probably do fine work. And they will know where to get a custom replacement top made up at less than retail prices.
I agree with ceramic being a bad choice for a rental. Some tenants are careful, but they are the exception. Unless the existing counters look totally horrible, I'd just clean and bleach them, and polish real well. Few tenants will notice or care about knife scratches, as long as they are all one color and clean. If there are deep knicks through to the brown stuff, they sell spot repair kits.
-- aem sends...
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Two thoughts -
You could screw down a layer of 1/4" tile backer and tile over that, or you could use a 4" grinder and scuff up the surface in a couple hundred places.
You might be able to use a really aggressive sandpaper (60 grit or rougher) with a random orbit sander, but that laminate is pretty darn tough.
I have done lots of countertops in tile and granite tile. The last time I commented to this group about it, people freaked out about the idea that bacteria could live & thrive in the grout. Personally I don't worry about it, and I have never had a tenant freak out about it either, and I have been a landlord for nearly 15 years.
Best of luck,
JK
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wrote:

a belt sander would be a lot better. have someone follow you closely with a shopvac though.

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Removign old laminate is simple, a torch to warm it up and it comes right off. Easier with two people, one running the torch, the other pulling.
Of course then you are left with the subsrate smeared with contact cement. I don't know what grout over that would do.
Harry K
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Good thing you have their security deposit to cover just such an eventuality.

I don't see why you would want to incur cost, install a more expensive countertop material and one that is just as likely to get damaged. Tile doesn't like knives much more than laminate, and it doesn't hold up as well to the dropped pot and pan. Put down a new layer of laminate on top of the old and be done with it - it's a rental.
You can tile over laminate, but there is a fair bit of controversy over the method. Here's one that says no problem. http://www.diynetwork.com/diy/shows_wkr/episode/0,,DIY_14349_26895,00.html The John Bridge forum contributors are very knowledgeable and pretty much purists - they don't like laminate. http://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/archive/index.php/t-320.html
R
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