Natural beauty, durability, resistance to heat and a sense of permanence are no wonder the hallmarks of a granite countertop. However, ordinarily solid-stone countertops are a pricey proposition due to the special tooling and installation required. In this article, we’ll show you how to install an alternative a solid-granite tile countertop that costs about the same as a professionally installed plastic laminate countertop. That’s for a wide variety of standard granite tile selections, but be aware that you can pay considerably more for premium selections.
Part 1:Preparing of granite tiles Countertop
We’ll cover preparing a solid sub-base of 3/4-in. plywood. Next we’ll add a lightweight tile-backer material called “Den-shield” over the plywood. And finally, we’ll lay out and install the 12 incehes granite tile surface itself.
The trickiest part of installing granite tile countertops is cutting a crisp, clean countertop “nosing” (or front lip). This difficult task is simple when you use a homemade that’s clamped to a tile saw’s sliding table to cut perfect 45-degree mitered.
To calculate the number of tiles you need, multiply the linear footage of 24’’ wide countertops by 2.5. Then add as many tiles as required to cover wider peninsulas or islands and subtract for work tops, stoves, sinks or other built-ins. Keep in mind that you’ll probably need partial tiles for filling around built-in appliances as well as at least a half dozen more tiles to allow for breakage and mis-cuts. Have extra tiles on hand.
In addition to the tile, you’ll need:
(1) One 25-lb. bag of thin set mortar—gray for dark tiles or white for light tiles.
(11) Plastic spacers for supporting the backsplash tiles.
At first it might seem intimidating to work with tile which is made from rock, but it’s not difficult. While you can’t score and snap it like ceramic tile, it cuts easily on a conventional diamond tile saw. In fact, you’ll make all of your cuts that way. Other than that, you’ll use the same tools, materials and techniques needed for ceramic tile except for the grout and sealer types.
In addition to standard carpentry tools, you can rent or buy the tile-cutting saw. If you’re really organized and have underlayment installed and all the tiles laid out and planned ahead of time, you can do all the cutting in one day. But if you want to take more time, it may be worth buying a saw, especially if you plan on tiling floors or perhaps a bathroom in the future. Also buy four rubber padded mini-clamps to hold the tiles to the jig. C-clamps may crack the tiles. But use a couple of small C- clamps to secure the jig to the saw table.
Part 3: Preparing the cabinets
Move aside stoves and refrigerators and pull the kitchen sink before removing the countertops. Then remove all of the lower cabinet drawers and doors and cabinet contents.
Removing the old countertop can be easy if it’s just screwed to cabinet corner braces or tough if it’s glued down. One peek inside the cabinets will tell you how it’s secured. If it’s glued down you’ll have to pry it loose with a flat bar. It’s best to pry from inside the cabinets to avoid damaging the finish.
The key to flat, long-lasting tile countertops is a solid plywood base. Thin cabinet sides or corner braces simply won’t provide enough anchorage to hold the plywood flat and stable. After the tops are removed, you’ll have to build up cabinet edges with 1x4 or 2x4 blocking along cabinet backs, ends and areas where plywood splices will fall.
Cut the 3/4-in. plywood underlayment to length so it splices over blocking using the factory edge of the plywood in the front for straight nosed . Cut plywood length to fit flush with finished cabinet ends and 1 in. short of cabinets that butt against appliances like stoves or refrigerators.
Here’s what you need:
(1) 3/4-in. plywood underlayment: You’ll need a full sheet of 3/4-in. plywood for every 8 ft. of countertop.
(2)Tile backer: Buy a 32" x 60" sheet of Denshield (or cement board if Denshield is not available) for every five lineal ft. of counter.
Back to Top 1
Part 4: Use cement board or Den-shield for the tile backing
Rip 3-1/2 in. wide 3/4-in. plywood backsplash strips and screw them to the wall with two 2-in. drywall screws into each stud. Score and snap the tile backer to fit flush with the plywood edges. Span over sink openings and mark the underside with a pencil, then flip it over and cut out the opening with a jigsaw.
You’re probably already familiar with cement tile backer board, which is completely acceptable, but a gypsum-based material called “Den-shield” is also a great choice for countertop tile bases. It has a gypsum core like drywall, but the core and the sheathing have been modified to repel moisture and accept a tile overlay with conventional bonding adhesives. If you’ve ever struggled with cutting and installing cement board, you’ll appreciate working with Den-shield. It’s lightweight and you cut, snap, rasp and fasten it exactly like standard drywall. It’s sold throughout the country, and home centers usually stock the 32 in. x 60 in. sheets—the best size for countertops.
Splice the Den-shield wherever you wish, but keep in mind that all of the splices and the outside and inside corners need to be taped with fiberglass mesh tape and a thin layer of the inset, so avoid using lots of little pieces.
Part 5: Laying out the tile
Set up your mitering jig and cut a sample nosing piece and a countertop tile for the tile layout. Clamp the jig so the blade cuts just shy of the factory micro-bevel. Make a test cut, then remove the tile and make sure the bevel is even. Adjust the jig and re-cut if necessary.
After the tile base is in place, spend some time dry-laying the tile to work out the best-looking top. Inside corners are critical because the grout lines have to align in two different directions. So start at inside corners and work your way towards the countertop ends. Spacers aren’t necessary, because you can easily eyeball the 1/8-inches grout lines for both dry-laying and the actual installation. On the countertop section containing the sink, work from both ends toward the sink. That way, you can custom cut one or more shorter tiles near the center of the sink where they won’t be as noticeable.
Another advantage to laying out the tile ahead of time is that you’ll know if you have enough tiles, and you can mark the backs of tiles (write on masking tape) that need special cuts like narrower tiles at countertop ends or in the middle of the sink. Also mark the tiles that need 45-degree angle cuts and the outside corner tiles.
Tile saws are a watery mess. If you’re cutting in the house, make a temporary tile saw water-containing workstation out of plastic sheeting, 2x2s and a piece of plywood for a splash guard.
When you’re marking your cuts, remember that cutting lines are hard to see or wash off in the tile saw, so mark cuts with masking tape instead.
Cut miters on all countertop front and end tiles (outside corner tiles need miters on adjacent edges); then cut miters on opposite ends of half that quantity for the nosing. Cut the nosing tiles 2 in. wide. Use the leftover sections for the backsplash.
Part 6: Avoiding bumps in the road
Here are some of the major things to be aware of so that your countertops project will be as smooth as polished tile:
(1) Before you pull your sink and trash your old counters, get all of your materials together, including the tiles, which may have to be special ordered.
Mix un-sanded grout to the consistency of peanut butter and work it into the grout lines with a grout float. Use diagonal swipes across the gaps for good penetration. Sponge off the seduce grout with a damp sponge , rinsing it frequently in clean water. After the grout dries overnight, buff off the haze with a clean cotton cloth.
One downside of any tile countertop is the potential for grout to get stained by food or beverages. We recommend two coats of grout sealant applied about a week after grouting.
Also, an ordinary wall backdrop can drag down a beautiful countertop. While all of the tools are at your fingertips, consider tiling adjoining walls. We used various-sized tiles of tumbled and honed (matte finished) limestone along with a metallic tile listed to finish the wall above the backsplashes. Den-shield or cement board
In this way, you can experience the enjoyment of DIY your kitchen , and saving money at the same time.
Enter your email to join our newsletter