Ceramic tile countertops can be the perfect covering for the surfaces of your kitchen or bathroom offering functionality and aesthetic beauty. They are not difficult to install but the selection of the backing is very important.
Tiles can be laid over an unbroken old tile or plastic laminate countertops if need be. For a new backing you can use backer-board or plywood. If you use plywood use exterior grade plywood because the adhesive is more secure when the countertops get wet.
When installing ceramic tiles as countertops, the edging and trim tiles are important, it is not like floors where the tiles are all the same size. If you are incorporating a sink within the design you will need sink caps. You have two options with the front you can make the cabinet the exact length of complete tile lengths or you can have rounded edges at the front of the ceramic tile. Plan ahead so that you have everything ready before starting the installation of the countertop.
The shelf which the ceramic tiles counter tops is being placed on has to be level and flat, if it is not the countertop surface will crack. This consideration is even more vital when it is being installed over plywood.
Before you place it in position you should measure from the finished floor to the bottom of the counter trim, and then measure the height of any appliances, that are later going to be slotted in. The counter top can be laid on either a cabinet or a shelf. If cabinets are being used as the base they should be securely anchored at the base and also fastened to the wall at the top.
It is important to provide sufficient resistance against movement and also ensure that the finished structure is capable of holding firm under the weight load. Shelving needs to be very secure but it is also a good idea to reinforce them with brackets. If all the corners are not at a ninety degree angle to each other then the tiles will be in danger of cracking.
It is also of importance when installing ceramic tiles as a countertop that the front tile be a whole uncut tile, except possibly the front tile on the extreme left and right which may have to cut to size; this applies even if your backsplash is going to be less than half a tile in width. Do this dry run as a first step, and then affix the front layer first. Use spacers to ensure that the tiles are laid evenly.
Your sink will be set into the cabinet in one of two ways, it will be below the tile level or it will be raised. If it is set below the tile level, then lay the sink trim next. When installing ceramic tiles as a counter top you need to use silicone to seal and caulk, between the sink and the plywood backing to make it watertight. Lay the tiles from front to back.
It will be easier for you if you cut the tiles to be used around the sink before starting the work. Remember when cutting tiles to take into account the spaces for the grout.
A wet tile saw is useful if you are cutting a lot of ceramic tiles. Once cut number or mark the back of the tiles in such a way, that you will recognize where they go when they are laid permanently.
The backsplash is put into place last. It is your choice as to whether you apply a bull nosed shaped tile to give a rounded edge. You can also edge the surface with a shaped trim tile.
As you are applying the tiles wipe any blobs of adhesive when it is wet, it saves a lot of time and effort later. Once the tiles have been placed in position they need to be left for twenty four hours before grouting