Any of you have any experience with tiling kitchen counter tops?
I recently installed our new kitchen cabinets and am now at the point
where I'm ready to put in the counter tops. Oddly enough I thought the
cabinet installation would be the hardest part of our kitchen re-
modelling, but now that I've come to the point where I'm ready to put
in the tiled counters, I've discovered it may not be quite as easy as
I first thought.
My initial thoughts were that I'd simply use 1" marine ply for the
base and then put the tiles in place on top of it. But when I ventured
onto the net to do some research on the subject I discovered that a
number of sites recommend the use of baseboard over the ply, and even
the use of mesh above that. In some respects I don't mind the extra
trouble, even of having to use the appropriate cement, as I've tiled
all the living areas in our home and did a pretty decent job of it,
even if I do say so myself. But if I can get away with simply putting
the tile straight on top of marine ply I'd prefer just that, as it
would make my task somewhat easier.
If the latter option is okay can someone suggest a good epoxy glue to
use for the task?
Mortar is used to supply strength along with lath but saying that this
is the worst choice for countertop in my opion as it is hard to keep
the stains out of the grout and it is extremly un hygenic as tile is
porious and prone to chipping on the corners . Epoxy is not safe for
food use suggest you think this over
I don't understand why more DIYer don't go for the granite slaps which I
think is cleaner than tile and install a lot faster. No problem cutting it,
the challenge would be the sink undermount cutout. I could get a 8' sheet
with bullnose anywhere between $60-$400 and the 8' x 4" high backsplash is
from $20 and up.
ANYthing is superior to tile for countertops. Just the thought of eating
food which was prepped on a tiled and grouted surface makes me gag. There's
Corian, granite, formica, stainless, the list goes on and on. You definitely
want to re-think tiling your countertops.
folks, the question was not on counter top materials. I'm
well aware of all the pros and cons involving tile, granite, corian,
laminate, wood, stainless steel, and anything else you care to
proffer. If some of you prep food directly on tiles than you get what
you deserve if you pick up bacteria from the grout. Personally I use
cutting boards regardless of the counter top surface I'm using. It's
more hygienic, and much less likely to cause staining or damage to
most of the various materials one can use for counter tops. Stainless
steel would probably be the perfect choice purely from the point of
view of functionality, which is why most professional kitchens are
decked out in the material. Aesthetically though it sucks, which is
why few home owners have it in their own kitchens.
Tile is the way we're going, and if anyone would like to help me out
by offering some advice on the appropriate technique for base
materials I'd certainly appreciate it. As I said, I've come across
conflicting advice on the matter. Some say I can lay the tile directly
onto marine ply with epoxy, others say I have to use a layer of
baseboard (and perhaps mesh) over the ply while using an appropriate
cement as the adhesive. I'd be grateful for any thoughts on either
PS to Jim - I'm a little mystified by your point on epoxy being
hazardous where food is concerned. As the tiles and grout would
eventually conceal all traces of the adhesive, how do you imagine that
food would come in contact with it once the job is completed?
So you're seriously saying that you put ALL food on a cutting board? You use
a cutting board when you're packaging up chicken for the freezer. Yes, the
actual food stays off the counter since it goes directly from the store
package to the freezer bag, but there's definitely going to be dripping onto
the counter, and you just CANNOT get tile and grout clean. When you're
making a salad you never put a whole tomato on the counter? When making a
pie crust, you roll the dough onto a 20x40 cutting board? Well, I guess
you'd have to on tile, since it's not exactly a smooth, level surface free
of joints. It's absolutely disgusting and I would never eat food prepped in
a tiled kitchen.
To I,am just fine it is called leeching and do what ever you wish just
pointing out thats all also make sure you have no open spots under any
of the tiles as they could snap if you were to push down on the spot
later, The sink should not be undermounted unless you have a corian
mount area but I know you don't want that as it would cost to much but
so doe's redoing countertop. When the area around the sink leaks and
bulges from the wood swelling, but just letting you know as Ive only
put in more if them then you can imagine. And most will leak and look
like hell shortly after cause the water gets underneath them as the
caulk seperates from the sink due to weight and temp but go ahead have
fun. Use hardy board and lath works fine if still want to know marine
Tile is about the easiest thing *to* clean...smooth, totally
non-absorbent, won't stain. Yes, grout can absorb if it isn't
properly sealed. If sealed, it is simple to clean - just wipe off.
Tile has another advantage that might be of interest to you...it is
fireproof. That means you could blast the freakin' counter with a
blow torch. Let's see the nasty little microbes survive *that*.
Don't go abroad then, lots of restaurant kitchens have tile counters.
Speaking as someone who purchased a home with a tile countertop,
I'd have to disagree. Cleaning that thing was a royal pain. So
much so that the tile is gone; replaced with granite slab.
Having said that... the grout lines were relatively broad at
about one eigth of an inch.
So, for anyone considering tile, I would certainly recommend
using the minimum recommended thickness (for that tile) of
grout line. Also, use sandless (smooth) grout and, of course,
seal it properly.
Yes, tile has some strong points. Grout lines are not one of
| Malcolm Hoar "The more I practice, the luckier I get". |
yeah, like the "granite slaps" where there are so many flecks in the
product that you can't see the dirt and you get it into your food.
ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
What the heck is a "granite slaps" , anyway? ha!
I have to disagree with you.
To the OP -
You can't make the surface "too stiff". Imagine someone sitting on
the countertop sometime in the future. I like using 3/4" plywood, and
bonding cement tile backer to it using a layer of thinset, and nailing
the tile backer down with roofing nails. You could use screws, but
once the thinset sets up, it really doesn't matter.
On the first counter I tiled, I used epoxy grout, because is was
supposed to be very durable and stain resistant, but I was really
unhappy with it over the years and just redid it, 7 years after the
For the last several years, I have been installing 12" x 12" granite
tiles on counters, with stone or granite trim for the edges. Looks
great - here is a Craigslist post of a rental property that I uses it
I can't see what the big deal would be prepping food on such a
surface. The grout lines are very narrow and were properly sealed.
BTW, a wet saw sure makes the job go easier...
Best of luck with your project. Feel free to email me off list if you
Yes 2' wide, 3/4" thick with 1.5" thick bullnose. I see them in the Bay
Area, various granite shops.
HD Repair & Remodel has it too, a little more money though.
Thanks for the feedback Jim.
I'm not actually after a critique on which medium to use, as tile is
the way we're going. I'm well aware of the pros and cons of using it,
down to the issues with grout and porosity, each of which will be
taken care of.
My question is more to do with the technique of putting the material
in place - plain marine ply or marine ply in combination with backing
Also, your point about epoxy left me a little mystified, as the epoxy
won't be in evidence once the tile and grout have been applied, so how
can it possible pose a health risk to food once the job has been
I'd ripped my original counter top off a couple of years ago on a 1981
house. Particleboard, thin wax paper, chicken wire with a bed of mortar then
the tile on top. The 24 year old particleboard was in perfect condition
without any signs of water damage anywhere including the sink area. They did
it cheaply but they knew what they doing. BTY the tile was in pretty good
condition too, though it needed regrouting.
Well it depends whether your substrate ever gets wet or not. If not..then
Marine ply will be fine. However, wet marine ply will eventually promote
mold..so if theres a chance it will get wet (there very well could
be..depends on how much water/spillage the user puts on the countertop and
how well ther groutlines are sealed) I d suggest you go with cement board
and if you re doing that, then you dont NEED "marine" ply but if it makes
you feel better, go for it.
Forget the epoxy, go with the material intended for the job..thinset
Tile is about the worst countertop you can get, if money is an issue
Formica is better. If money is no issue then granite is best by far,
Uba Tuba (which is your basic entry level granite) can be had here for
around $50 per foot installed.
I'm assuming you have horizontal nailers under the ply to which it
will be attached. If so, 3/4 ply is plenty thick enough and...
a. You can put your tile directly on the ply. I'd use tile mastic
rather than thinset to lay the tiles.
- OR -
b. Put 1/4" or 1/2" cement board on top of the ply. Use thinset under
and nail/screw to the ply. Use thinset to lay the tiles.
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