tiling kitchen counter tops

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I'm-just-fine, I rush to your aesthetic defense! Tile countertops remind me of visits to kitchens in northern California, where tile had been used a lot for the last century or so. It looks washable (like a bathroom wall does), informal, and cheerful.
Clean-up is accomplished by putting a bit of bleach in the cleaning water; that takes care of the germs.
In my own New England kitchen I added a countertop between stove and main countertops (which are of maple - I'm sure I can hear the uproar of the sanitarians already) by setting extra ceramic floor tiles onto 3/4" plywood, using clear silicone caulk/glue, and leaving no grouting space between them. I used painted lath for the front trim, nailing it tø the plywood edge. This area doesn't have to handle bare food items, only hot pans and tea mugs, so the sterilizing of the surface isn't an issue. It always makes me remember fondly my trips to the Bay Area and the Napa valley. Go with tile.
C.C.
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Hi again, Thanks for the responses, particularly from dadiOH, Big Jake, Jim, and C.C. I pretty well have in mind what I have to do now to accomplish the task.
To those who say that marine ply is overkill, I'd point out that the reason I'm using it is for the same point a couple of you raised about water leakage and swelling. The marine ply will negate that. My one concern is to ensure I get ply that isn't too wet, as I don't want it drying out and warping/shrinking after the job is done.
As for the anonymous poster (aren't they always?) with a fixation on hygiene, is there anything intelligent or constructive to your posts that had any relevancy to the question that was posed, or do you simply have a problem reading English? Most counter top materials can pose health risks unless meticulously maintained and cleaned. Porous stone counters that don't have the seal maintained can harbor bacteria, as can wood counter tops. Prepping food, such as cutting up meats or vegetables, on counters such as corian or laminate can damage the surface and create scratches that can also harbor bacteria. Many stone counter tops can also be stained relatively easily unless care is taken to prevent the problem. And as for the direct point about tile and grout, as someone else has already noted if both are well sealed and maintained the problems inherent with the medium should be no more or less of a problem that certain types of stone used for counter tops.
Your pedantic point regarding chicken is also presumptive BS, as we're vegetarian, and while you may be happy dumping baking items all over your counter top to make cakes we prefer using wax paper, regardless of the surface we're using. And if you're trying to suggest that you place your salad items directly on the counter top before cutting them up I'd suggest it's you who has the problem with hygiene. Like most people, I wash all of my fruit and vegetables under a tap before placing them on a cutting board (or directly in my mouth) to clean off any chemical residues or dirt that might still be in place as a result of the growing process.
In short, if you can't contribute something meaningful and pertinent why bother going to so much trouble to demonstrate your blow hard tendencies and irrelevant prattle? Do you really like seeing your views on display that much? You've contributed nothing of substance, just a leery if somewhat skewered fixation with hygiene that would have made Howard Hughes proud.
Rest assured that your points about gagging over food prepared on tiled counter tops has been noted, as has your point about the fact you'd never eat such food - is that before or after you've gagged, by the way? I can't tell you with what regret we'd have to accept the fact you'd never call round to our meager little home for a meal with our family as a result. After what I've read here I can see that we'd undoubtedly be missing out on one of the greatest experiences of our lives.
Cheers..........Tim
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A quick hello again, Sorry to Chris Lewis and SteveB, your posts came in while I was writing my previous post.
Yeah Chris, I agree with your view, I will be going with the idea of putting the tile directly onto marine ply.
And to Steve, tile can look dated if applied in that awful 70's fashion. If you look around you can see some tile layouts that look very tasteful and warm. We're going with a slate colored tile that's 6" square, with wood trim on the edges that will match the color of the cabinets. I'm also setting up the ply base in such a way that I'll be able to remove the counter tops in 5 - 10 years time with relative ease if we decide that we want to change the look to something else.
Cheers.......Tim
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on 10/17/2007 11:06 AM I'm-just-fine said the following:

If you haven't bought the tile yet, when you do, ask the person what is the best way to install the tile, that is, if you are buying it from a tile store. If you are buying it from the big box store, that information may not be available.

Good point. I recently re-tiled my countertop from the 4" ceramic tile to 12" granite tile, and the removal of the old was made easy by the prying up of the plywood from the underlayment.
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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One of the considerations relates to the thermal expansion and contraction of the tiles, relative to the ply or whatever substrate you've installed them over. So part of the problem depends upon the thermal characteristics of your specific tile material (I'm still not sure what type of tile this is).
Therefore, if at all possible, contact the tile manufacturer and ask for their recommendations. They will likely be able to offer some good inputs based on the porosity, thermal and other characteristics of their specific tiles.
Frankly, it's likely to be more reliable than the pontifications of various newsgroup participants ;-)
Personally, I wouldn't worry too much about moisture rotting the ply. That shouldn't be an issue provided everything is installed to a reasonable standard and you don't just ignore some obvious plumbing problem. But, sure, if you're not too worried about cost, go for the marine grade although it's probably overkill.
--
|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~|
| Malcolm Hoar "The more I practice, the luckier I get". |
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Of course you are. Just please make sure to give your family lots of lysine supplements, since lysine is something human beings need, yet can only get from animals. Probably why vegetarians are generally so unhealthy and sick all the time.
Keep well, and enjoy your germ-collecting countertops.
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<h> wrote in message wrote in message

If you are what meat eating produces, I may have to give it up.
Bob
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I'm-just-fine wrote:

So will any exterior ply. Main advantage (slight) of marine is that there are no voids in the internal plies. _____________

Unless it has been stored out in the rain, it won't be wet. By the time the veneer is cut and dried and then made into ply the whole thing is bone dry. Even if it weren't ply expands/contracts very little which is one reason it is used so much.
As far as ply getting wet at the sink area and rotting, I have had kitchens with tile on ply counters for close to 30 years. Current one for 12. I have never ever had a problem with water infiltration to the ply. Sinks have always been drop in bedded in plumber's putty.
--

dadiOH
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**************** When we bought this house, it had kitchen cabinets made out of particle board and covered with a wood grain looking Formica. I hired someone to come in and put in a tile counter top and back splash. It looked great. Easy to clean, etc. But the grout somehow came loose around the sink area and I didn't see it. Before long the water seeped into the particle board and it was a real mess. I was tired of the way the cabinets looked by that time so I just replaced the cabinets and counter top. I was lucky. The man who did the work was able to save the tile back splash. If you use tile for counter top, be real careful it doesn't leak anywhere.
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wrote:

And don't use particle board.
Bob
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I've never quite understood the insistance of not going direct to plywood on counterops. People install ceramic tile on floors with less support than 1" marine ply, with vastly higher loading, and _usually_ get away with it. [Mind you, the joists usually aren't 20-24" OC]
But just about everybody recommends not going directly to plywood, even directly on top of 2x4 stub frame walls holding up drop-in tubs. Go figure.
This may be very CYA recommendations, perhaps not taking into account 1" ply versus 3/4, 5/8 or gasp 1/2" OSB, that are overkill in many situations.
Or it may have something to do with moisture exposure with poor and/or degrading grout. That'd make more sense. If you get the plywood wet, the whole thing might start delaminating and tiles pop off.
Certainly, the full thinset/mesh route will be "better", but it's likely overkill. You could compromise by adding battens underneath to stiffen the plywood and making _sure_ that you do a good grouting job, seal it well, and reseal periodically.
--
Chris Lewis,

Age and Treachery will Triumph over Youth and Skill
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I tiled a kitchen counter tops several years ago. The base was Formica or equivalent.
What I used was a mastic. My advice is to read all the comments on this thread and then go to a tile shop that caters to the trade. Tell the guy there what you want to do and buy the stuff he recommends. Buy the tile from him too. They will have all the odd shapes that you might need. I also did the backsplash and had an inside corner. My guy got me the piece of tile that sat on the inside corner of the top and fit perfectly into the inside corner of the backsplash.
Forget about the big box stores and the flooring kinds of places. They will not have all the stuff you need that you don't even know you need.
Charlie

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Most recommendations I've seen these days suggest using a layer of backerboard under the tile. Personally, for kitchen counters, I'd use thinset and Roofing nails to attach backerboard to the ply. I'd then coat the backerboard with redguard to waterproof it. Then thinset the tile to that. I did use epoxy grout to attach tiles to the bottom of a hottub once, which seemed to work fine, but it would be huge overkill for a kitchen counter. Thinset should last forever.
The backerboard is a cheap, easy way to form a really good base for the tire. The expansion of backerboard will be much closer to that of tile, eliminating potential problems.
Redguard on plywood could be a possible compromise if you really don't want to add the backerboard. It would help prevent expansion from moisture which does goes through tile grout.
Bob
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Oops - that's Redgard, not redguard.
Bob
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