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Ceramic Tile Kitchen Countertops and Backsplash

by Roger

I just finished up a ceramic tile kitchen with the countertops on point (diagonally) and the backsplash straight.

We decided, as I will often suggest, that the countertop be installed diagonally. The reason I prefer this is that most kitchen countertops are 25 inches deep from the front to the wall. This being the case it often looks better with 12″ tiles to set them on point either with or without a frame (being surrounded by straight tiles). If you do not do it this way you end up with a 1″ strip of tile along the back wall which looks very unprofessional in my opinion. By framing the center diagonal tiles it leave a nice, clean look and adds some “movement” to an installation rather than simply plain, straight tile.

This particular countertop is built with two layers of 5/8″ plywood and Fiberboard attached with screws over thinset mortar.

You can click on any of the images below for a full-size version.

Joyce

Dear Roger:
How did you do the bullnose? Does this tile offer manufactured bullnose pieces or did you have to fabricate them yourself? Great job-BTW! Really beautiful work.

Reply

Roger

Hi Joyce,

I have a blade and tools with which I can bullnose any type of tile or stone. While this particular tile did have factory bullnose available they were only three inches wide and I needed a 4 1/8″ bullnose for my border pieces. If your countertops are 25″ deep you’ll need to make your own bullnose (or have it made for you) or use larger tile. Otherwise you’ll have a two inch strip of space you’ll need to fill and try to make it look normal. (It won’t :D )

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Laura M

Do you remember the color and/or brand of the tile you used? I’m in love with this look! Thanks!

Reply

Roger

Hi Laura,

It’s Florida Tile Taconic Slate. The specific color is no longer manufactured but they do have several different colors here: Florida Taconic Slate

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Laura M

This looks stunning and exactly what I’m wanting..I wish you were closer to where I lived so I could hire you to do this for me!! I was wondering what color grout you used on this countertop? Also, is it possible to tile over a laminate countertop that has wood trim edge?

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Roger

Hi Laura,

This particular countertop used C-Cure brand grout in ‘tumbleweed’. You should not tile directly over laminate on a countertop and never directly over the wooden edge. Wood will expand and contract considerably and this will eventually compromise the bond of the thinset on the back of your tile. You can place thinset and cement backerboard over your laminate and screw it down, then attach the tile directly to that, although it is always best to completely remove your current counter and rebuild from scratch. You can also attach strips of backerboard to the current wooden edge.

Any tile installation is only as stable as the substrate on which it is installed. If you build everything new you are assured a stable foundation.

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Susan Dozark

We are in the process of doing our kitchen and used your pictures as a model. When you were done did you seal the tiles with anything or did you just seal the grout lines? What did you use as a sealer? We love how ours has been turned out so far. We are getting ready to do the back splash now.
Susan

Reply

Roger

Hi Susan,

With glazed ceramics and porcelains you only usually need to seal the grout. The glaze on ceramics and especially porcelains make them nearly stain-proof as they are and any sealer that you use on them will be nearly useless. The grout, on the other hand, is a porous substance capable of absorbing liquids and staining. As long as you seal the grout really well you should be fine.

Sealer is also not permanent. Depending on which sealer you use you will need to reseal on a regular basis. Some sealers require every year and some will require only every five years or so. I normally use Stonetech sealers but any DuPont sealer is more than adequate.

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S. Lee

I love this idea. I just had a bathroom remodled and the guy doing the work suggested the bigger tiles and I wasn’t sure how the larger tiles would look on the counter tops for my kitchen. With the same color cabinets, I got excited when I saw your pictures. Thanks for the inspiration.

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Roger

Glad I could help. :)

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Ann

I am getting ready to do this counter top at home as I mentioned I think you did a great job. Just have one question do you have to sand the edge of the cut tiles. ?

Reply

Roger

Hi Ann,

I use a ‘dressing stone’ on the cut edge of the tiles although sandpaper can be used as well. You should be able to find a rubbing or dressing stone in the tile section of any big box or hardware store. The factory edges of the tile do not need to be sanded.

This is done to knock down the abrupt sharp edge created by cutting the tile. I sand them at about a 45 degree angle and just enough to smooth it out. If there are small chips due to cutting this will also remedy that.

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Ann

Excellent workmanship, love it. Can’t wait to see it at home
Thanks

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Roger

Thank you Ann.

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Susan

Thank you so much, we were looking at tiles today and I was thinking straight on the counter and smaller on angle on the top, but I like your idea better.

Perfect. Thanks!

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Roger

You are very welcome, Susan. Glad I could help.

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Bryan Hudson

We are very impressed with your tile. Did you use 18inch tiles?

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Roger

Hi Bryan,

Thank you very much! These particular tiles are actually just 12 x 12 inch ceramic. When turned on point (diagonally) they measure about 17″. By framing those with the straight cut borders they look much larger than they actually are. Perfect for a smaller kitchen or bathroom.

Thanks again for the kind words.

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