How to Install Granite Tile Countertops

If you are about to install granite tile countertops in your kitchen or bathroom you are undertaking a difficult task. I strongly urge you not to do this unless you are very proficient with home improvement projects and have performed counter installations in the past. Granite is an expensive material to work with and you do not want to ruin a beautiful piece of granite by not knowing what to do.


If you have budget requirements that do not allow for a professional installation or even if you simply like the idea of doing your own work it is possible to install granite tile countertops for yourself if you are willing to deal with the details, which is always where the devil lies.

The first thing you should do before you make any cuts or anything along that line is to determine where you will place the tiles on your countertop. The reason for this is that granite tiles come in 12-inch squares and standard countertops are a little more than 25 inches in depth.

You need to decide whether you want to place your tiles in a specific pattern to avoid making the most possible cuts and when and where to make the cuts before you begin. You can also cleverly use cap pieces or wood molding on the front edge of your countertops in order to buy yourself just enough space to avoid cutting all together if that is your wish. You also may wish to use a decorative strip on the countertop rather than an end piece to fill in any excess space.

Tile Installation

You need to choose a surface upon which to lay your granite tiles when you choose to install granite countertops. The most commonly used type of material for this purpose is ¼ inch cement board. You can easily attach the board to the wood base of your countertops by using adhesive and screws. You should tape the seams with fiberglass mesh tape then fill them with setting mortar, which you will spread very thinly with the aid of a trowel.

When you install granite tile countertops the next step should be to apply the thinset. You will want to buy the type that is made specifically for use with granite tiles. You will use a notched trowel for this process and you will want to take great care to spread the thinset evenly and only in areas that you will be able to complete working within the next 20 minutes.

Once you have made your bed of mortar you will want to apply a very thin coat of inset to the back of the tile with a flat trowel. You need to go as thin as possible with this step for the best results.

You will want to make sure throughout the process that you are applying pressure evenly as you install granite tile countertops. This may seem tedious but taking the time now to make sure things are down properly and evenly could save a tremendous amount of dissatisfaction with your countertops later in addition to a lot of money replacing them.

If you want a cheap tip for checking your seems try a quarter. Seriously, if you run a quarter along the seems it will snag or bump at seems that are not as they should be which will let you know where adjustments need to be made.

See Also: Granite Countertop Cleaner Tips