I have some Mapei KER 121 thinset left over from installing floor ceramics.
We want to tile (2x2 inch) our kitchen counters - one is a 'dry' counter,
other is 'wet' - around the sink. I need a recommendation of the right
to use if the KER 121 isn't ok.
On the dry counter (about 2x4 feet) I have two 5/8 sheets of exterior grade
Around the sink (about 2x3 feet, minus the sink itself) I have a single
of 5/8 ply and a 1/2 inch sheet of backer board (DenShield).
Never done this before so any tips are appreciated.
MIght be better off posting to alt.home.repair .
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt.
And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
Although tiled counters can be downright beautiful, as a work surface
they suck. They usually aren't very reliable, as water seeps in here and
there, around the sink, etc. Grout will stain, no matter what the
sealant companies will try to tell you. The sink problems have been
solved by a very innovative company, I suggest you study their ideas.
A drop-in sink on top of tile, will leave you with dirt traps all around
the perimeter. Silicon seals look just plain ugly.
What I suggest to my clients is to use a flat, watertight, non-porous,
refinish-able surface, such as solid surface acrylics or stainless and
create the tile masterpiece on the wall as a back-splash. That way they
get 'the look', without the high maintenance. A custom GP grade laminate
top will give you all those features as well for less money, but you
lose the non-staining, refinish-ability of acrylic solid surface.
Please note the emphasis on acrylic; polyester makes for bad countertops.
I hope this helps.
the smaller the tile, the more uneven the surface. 2" are horrible to work
on. plates, pans, cutting boards rock.
pick something larger, or go to a solid surface, for a better counter.
you can use that thinset on counters. use mastic for walls.
To the OP, my recommendation is simply this: don't do it. We spent a
long weekend two years ago ripping out the tile counters the previous
owners had installed in our house. They were arguably the worst kitchen
surface you can imagine-- hard to clean, impossible to work on (try
rolling out a piecrust on 4x4 tile), they chipped from pots, etc. etc.
We ended up ripping out the counters entirely and starting from
scratch, replacing them with laminate and oak trim. It was a huge
improvement. I'd never buy a house with tile counters again.
Bruce, I've not used epoxy grout yet. Could you describe as best you
can how the application differs from ordinary grout? Is it the
consistency that makes it hard to spread, or some other factors that
contribute to other difficulties? Is it harder to remove the excess?
How's the drying time as compared to std grout? More than likely I'll be
grouting my kitchen counter during a remodel that includes replacing
Formica with tile, but I'm doubtful we can keep the grout in decent
shape over a long period. I've got latex modified grout that's been on
2 vanity countertops for over two years and they are doing ok, but those
seams aren't soaked with oils as a kitchen would encounter.
On Wed, 18 May 2005 21:37:26 -0600, David wrote
All the other comments about chipping, using as a cutting board, making pie
crusts, etc. should be considered. In my case I used 12" granite with narrow
(penny width) grout joints.
Basically it is epoxy with silica sand for "texture" and color.
It comes in kits (check out http://www.laticrete.com/ )
There is a hardener, resin, and bag-'o-sand in the color of your choice. It
You need a rubber grout float (hard edged, not the "foam" type) and some
white scrub pads (the kits come with the pads) for clean up.
Simply, you apply just like regular grout. Glop it on and force it into the
joints. Be aware that it tends to "flow" more than regular grout. I was
worried about it flowing out of my backsplash but it didn't. After you get it
applied, you clean up by rubbing the surface with the white pads and water.
Really it's the same process as regular grout, just slightly different
equipment. I would hesitate to apply it to porous or rough surface tiles
since it would be difficult to clean the grout out of the pores.
It does have the texture of hot melted bubblegum. Kind of stringy and
elastic. Work time is reasonably long.
It does have a bit of sheen compared to the flatness of cement grout, some
describe it as looking like toothpaste.
Epoxy grout is what is used in industrial areas and kitchens. Basically
impervious to anything and it won't absorb stains or break down. Looks like
new after several years of total abuse.
One "bad" aspect of it flowing is if your tiles are set such that there are
any channels for the grout to seep into, it will and you will get somewhat
shallow fills unless you compensate.
You also should have a solid base in general for tile counters. I used 5/8
cdx plywood with 1/2" cement backer board screwed and thin-setted on top
(latex modified thinset). The tiles were places on top with the same thinset.
Yes, but it can be done with plenty of wipes with clean water,
It depends on the brand, but I seem to remember about an hour of work time
and 24 hours to full dry.
Do some google "epoxy grout" usenet searches and check with your better tile
Let me know if you have more questions 8^)
Sorry, been out of town for a while...
Charles Spitzer wrote:
Epoxy grout is epoxy with colored silca sand mixed in. No problems
sticking to any surface that regular epoxy will stick to.
If it were me I think I'd try to get the "depth" of the epoxy grout to
equal or exceed the width of the grout joint.
I like plumber's dope around the underside of the sink, myself. Works
pretty darn good, and you can't see it from the top of the counter.
I've done three or four tile countertops over the past several years,
and I'd tend to agree with you. They look okay, but keeping them
clean is far more hassle then it's worth.
This is the thing I really wanted to ask about- as I saw you make the
same recommendation in another thread. You might be taking about an
entirely different product, but a couple of years ago, I built a
showroom for a plumbing wholesaler who stocked acrylic tubs, and those
things were so fragile it was just rediculous. One of the salesmen
set a cardboard box full of faucets in one of them on top of a thin
layer of drywall dust when I was working, and it left a bunch of fine
scratches that basically destroyed the look of the entire tub. I know
you were referring to joint strength previously, but is the surface
really desirable for a situation where dishes are going to get slid
around, and may be used as a cutting board by some careless person
sometime down the road?
Like I said, it could be an entirely different product, and probably
is- but it really piqued my curiousity.
Boy, I hope it was- they were charging a mint for the suckers, and
calling them acrylic. I'm sure it was possible to sand out and
repolish them, but I was just amazed by how easily it got scratched.
You're probably right there- it just seems like such a shame that such
expensive products can be damaged so easily. The case I sited was a
really highly polished bright white, so the small scratches really
showed up because they dulled the flowing lines of the tub.
Whew- people with considerably more money than me, I'd guess. But
while we're on the subject of countertops, and since you seem to have
some expertise, what do you suggest for a guy with a budget that wants
something a little different. I was thinking that quarried slate
might be interesting, but I have no idea how well it would work as a
counter. I actually am not looking for anything overly glossy- the
kitchen floor is being redone in cork when I get around to it, and the
cabinets have nice maple doors (spalted and figured veneer from
god-only-knows where) so I'd like to keep that sort of organic look to
Want a bit of advice from someone with a tiled countertop? Don't, as in
DON'T do it! My wife absolutely hates the stuff. As the countertop ages,
the grout wears down and you wind up with cavities that are hard to clean,
hold stuff like spilled flour or sugar, and channel drippings all over the
place. There are numerous better materials out there for counter tops.
If you're gonna be dumb, you better be tough
I have read with interest the cons of using tile for the counter top and I
could not agree more with the comments on 4" or 6" tile.
That having been said, I chose 12" black granite tile for my new kitchen
remodel and demanded a black EPOXY grout from a company called Laticrete.
The product is sold at Lowes for the weekend warrior. It is not easy to
apply, particularly in regard to cleaning the residue. You must get it all
off and the key here is constant changing of the water and the sponges. But
it is durable, color fast and impervious to water.
Yes, even my 1/16inch grout lines catch a little flour but I use a baking
canvas on the counter anyway and if the contractor does a good job of
leveling the 12"tile, it really is a pretty flat surface. My trick is to
keep a powerful hand vac handy like the Shark to do the preliminary cleaning
and then glass cleaner and paper towel give me a beautiful clean surface in
a jiffy. I have a few pictures of the nearly completed copy on my web page
if you want to check it out.
Looks like a nice job, Dennis. The bigger tiles would make it much more
Is the lip of the sink sitting on the substrate and the tiles were
Nice job in the inside radii.
The concrete backer board is cut outside of the plywood cut out, beyond the
perimeter of the sink edge. You then put a series of stainless steel flat
head screws sunk half way down (1/8 " protruding) and level them. You put a
layer of marine adhesive in the recession over the screws and bed the sink
(elevated slightly by the screw heads to create a bed above and below the
sink lip) in the adhesive. you let that dry and then tile over the lip which
is now water tight and sealed. After the tile is set, you go back and seal
the edge with marine adhesive or silicone. You then have a permanent and
water tight sink edge that will never allow water underneath.
Dennis Slabaugh, Hobbyist Woodworker
I have to go against the consensus here and say that I love my tiled
counter top. Couple of things:
I used porcelain. It's tons harder than ceramic, and nothing can chip
these things. I've dropped huge pots on corner, and not a mark.
Cleanup is easy. I don't know what people are doing, but for this
stuff to stain, you'd have to leave a puddle on the counter overnight.
A simple wipe up with a sponge and it's done.
Go to Home Depot and buy their tiling 1-2-3 book. Everything you ever
wanted to know about tiling.
The sink I used is an under mount sink, and I made the cutout so that I
tiled vertically around it for about an 1.25" (I used 3/4" ply, and
1/2" cement board). Looks great.
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