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Friday, May 29, 2009

How To Tile A Countertop- Lay Tile

Tiling a countertop may involve a little more creativity than a typical tile floor. Mostly, this is because there are more specialized tile pieces involved to make it all work. Like any tile job, it takes some careful planning ahead of time.

(See this post from yesterday for how to prepare the counterop for tile)

Here are the different tile pieces that I used to tile the countertop:

  • Field tiles- I'm using 4 1/4" basic square white tiles that will match the existing tile shower that's in this bathroom.
  • V-Cap tiles- These are the corner pieces that go around the front edge of the counter. They are made with a small lip so that any water that splashes on the counter will not run off onto the floor.
  • V-Cap corners- These match the other V-Caps except they are made to change direction and cover the two corners of the countertop. You can also just take V-Cap pieces and miter them, but the corner pieces make it a bit easier.
  • Radius bullnose tiles- These pieces are 6" long and will go along the top of our backsplash. They are curved at the top. When placed over 1/2" cementboard, the curve extends around the cementboard to nearly touch the wall for a finished look.
  • Radius bullnose tile corners- These pieces match the other radius bullnose pieces and will go on the two corners of our backsplash.

Whew! That seems like a lot, but there are many more types of pieces available for different applications. All of these are available at the big home stores and are usually kept stocked for the most basic tile colors.

Tile A Countertop- LAY TILE

1. First, mark where the center of your countertop is. Grab a handful of V-Cap edge pieces and lay them out to see where the seams will fall. It's best to start with either a full piece in the middle (like we did) or with a grout line right in the middle. You might lay out the field tiles as well to make sure you like where they are breaking as well. See what will look best for your project.

2. Mix your thinset and start by laying the V-Caps. I went from the middle to one corner and then started filling in with field tiles to make sure that everything was square. For my project I used 1/8" spacers, but 1/16" are also common for these smaller tiles.

3. Finish the counter, cutting the tiles around the sink hole and using partial tiles at the back where it meets the backsplash. It will go fairly quickly once you get your layout figured out.

4. For the backsplash we cut a bunch of field tiles to the same height and installed them first. Once they are in place we put the radius bullnose pieces which came right up to the mirror in our case. The bottom pieces support the weight of the edges. If you do the edges first they might droop because there's nothing to support them.

5. The trickiest cuts were around on the edges around where the backsplash meets the counter. You'll need to notch the V-caps a little to get them to back to the wall and look right. You'll also need to notch were the radius bullnose pieces meet the V-cap.

Tomorrow we can grout and finish it up!


By the way, see the finished countertop here.

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