Substrate for tiled counter?

I am finishing a bathroom counter. It's approx 75"x25" and will have two sink bowls
Right now I have the top made from 3/4" plywood. It is not marine grade plywood BTW. The tiles are cut and ready to lay. My original plan was to use structural adhesive to attach the tiles to the plywood and then grout. But I bet I need a waterproof substrate - backer board, cement board, Hardiboard? Problem is I don't want to make the top any thicker than it already is, though 1/8" or so would be fine. Any suggestions welcome on materials and method. I only want to do this once.
Thanks
Rex B DFW
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RBnDFW wrote:

A layer of cement tile backer board would be appropriate, the same as tiling a wall. I would however suggest you reconsider the idea of tiling the counter as in my experience tiled counters are less than ideal. Tile counters are hard, noisy, the surface is not level so bottles rock, and the grout lines are a royal pain to clean.
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On 12/17/2010 9:24 AM, Pete C. wrote:

I had considered those negatives, and I don't agree. The wife and I have been back and forth on it for some time. We like the look.
Thanks for the input
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On 12/17/2010 12:47 PM, RBnDFW wrote:

That should have read "we don't DISagree"
We are willing to to forgo the smooth surface so that the counter will match the floor and shower.
The wife and I have

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RBnDFW wrote:

Split the difference and after tiling give it a coat of something like System3 Mirror Coat epoxy perhaps? Smooth and softer crystal clear surface over your matching tile?
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On 12/17/2010 3:41 PM, Pete C. wrote:

That's an interesting idea. I was concerned that the grout would pass moisture.
Thank you
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Back in stone age, when we would use plywood in wet areas (like a hanger board for wall-hung sink or towel bar), we would often paint the plywood all six sides with epoxy before installing, like when you are building a fiberglass boat and installing mounting pads. But that was dfor mechanical fastening- dunno if thinset or mastic wil stick to epoxy.
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RBnDFW wrote:

That's why you seal it. Coating a tile counter top with epoxy would be abominable.
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+1. I'll add that tiles are more delicate than you might expect. One hard hit, and you'll be doing this again.
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For years tile has been installed on kitchen counters long before the invention of cement backer board. My friend did his counter top in tiles that are the same width as the counter top and grout lines are very thin. Black tiles with very dark green grout is epoxy type, needs no sealer and no problem to clean.
Jimmie
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JIMMIE wrote:

and the substrate for years has been a concrete bed, not plywood.
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If you only want to do it once, toss the cheap tiles, and grout that fails and stains, and get some granite.
Steve
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