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How do I ceramic tile counter tops?

Preparation

Inspect your cabinets and workspace before beginning. Ensure the counter is level, the surface is sturdy and cabinets are securely mounted before beginning; any movement after installing ceramic tile may cause tile to break. Measure the surface area that you will tile, including the backsplash area that rises up the wall.

Draw a diagram of the area to tile on graph paper to estimate the number of tiles you will need. Don’t worry about an exact count; you actually want extra tiles in case of mistakes and breakage. Purchase tiles, grout and mortar or adhesive for tiles.

Lay Ceramic Tile

Lay the tile you purchased on the countertop for a dry run. Note where you need to cut tiles; score with a tile cutter and apply pressure to snap. Mark the middle of the countertop and start placing tile along this line; draw lines for each tile if desired. Apply adhesive or mortar to the back of tile, and set it in place securely. Set in grout spacers as needed. Work out from center, and up the backsplash. Make adjustments as needed.

Apply Grout

Remove grout spacers and excess adhesive. Allow to dry at least 24 hours before applying grout. Use a rubber float and sweeping motion to cover grout and grout spaces with grout, forcing grout into spaces. Let the grout dry a couple hours, and wipe off the tiles with a damp sponge, taking care not to disturb the grout lines. Let it dry two weeks, and seal with sealant.

References:

Do It Yourself: Installing a Ceramic Tile Counter Top

DIY Guides: Installing Ceramic Tile Countertops

Handy American: Countertops–Installing Ceramic Tile

The Tile Doctor: How to Tile Counter Tops

The Tile Doctor: Tile Countertop Methods

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