Ceramic Tile Counter Tops ... Easier Than You May Think!
Ceramic tile counter tops make a great upgrade to any kitchen. Few home improvement projects have greater visual impact on the interior of your house than tile counter top installation. The look is luxury and your countertops are very practical. You can spend a large sum to have tile installed or you can do it yourself. In this article I'll describe the main steps to install a tile counter top.
Now on to the first step is you'll need to choose the tile for the project . This isn't so easy since there are so many choices of ceramic tile for kitchen cabinets or bathroom counters. You must choose between sizes, colors, textures, grades, finishes. I can't help you a lot here.
But consider that cheap tiles often vary in size. That variation makes installation difficult. Also decide how you will trim the tile. If the edges will be exposed, choose a tile with a finished glazed edge. Many floor tiles have glazed edges and look great and work well as counter top tiles.
Part of the art to installing countertops is deciding how to arrange the tile. Where do you start? Where do you make the cuts? What layout looks best? Once you have your tiles and your base is installed, just try laying some tiles out on the counter and see how things look. Try different arrangements to see what looks best to you. Spend some time moving the dry tile around and save yourself a lot of grief later.
If you're remodeling, the sink will have to come up and possibly your range top. Maybe these can just be propped up without removing them. Electrical outlets will be obstacles. Be sure the power is off before working around the outlets.
The base for the tile is important. Tiles can be installed over many materials. Formica is a good base. Just check with your dealer to choose an adhesive suitable for your surface. The best base is probably Hardi-Backer cement board. Consider installing the cement board as a base for your project. With cement board you can pick a ready mixed latex glue as an adhesive for ceramic tile counter tops.
When you're ready to lay the ceramic tile, it's much like laying a floor. Spread the adhesive over an area with your trowel. Spread the adhesive with the notched side of your trowel to get the right amount of adhesive. The right amount is enough to stick the tile, but not so much that it oozes up out of the joints.
Lay your tile following your plan you made with the dry tile. Use spacers to get the gaps between tiles consistent. You'll be cutting tiles at edges and around obstacles.
You will cut using a cutter board and or a wet saw. Finish trimming is done with tile nippers.
Install any trim before grouting. An excellent trim is a piece of stained hardwood nailed to the edge of the cabinet to cover the ends of the tile.
After the tile adhesive is set, prepare to grout. You'll choose a sanded grout if the joints are 1/8 inch or larger. Another alternative is an epoxy grout which is excellent for kitchen counter tops. Epoxy grout is great, since it doesn't stain and is completely waterproof.
There you have the basic steps to completely update to ceramic tile counter tops. You'll have a beautiful, practical surface that can last for generations!
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