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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
| Malcolm Hoar "The more I practice, the luckier I get". |
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Age and Treachery will Triumph over Youth and Skill
I tiled a kitchen counter tops several years ago. The base was Formica or
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.
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
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.
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