Face Your Kitchen
Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

Granite Tile Kitchen Countertops: DIY Installation Tips

by Gabriel Traverso
Face Your Kitchen Columnist

If you are going to remodel your kitchen and install granite tile kitchen countertops as a part of it, you will need to plan ahead. You will need to ensure that your kitchen is "tile-ready" before you pull it apart.

The first step is estimating the number of granite tiles that you will need. Calculate the length (in linear feet) of your 24-inch wide countertops and multiply it by 2.5. Remember to add to the amount for islands and subtract from the amount for appliance spaces. Make sure that you also order partial tiles for filling the spaces around the appliances. Buy a dozen tiles more than your actual estimate because you may need them if any get accidentally damaged.

Carpentry Tools

You will need the following tools and supplies for the project:

  • Diamond-edged saw for cutting the tiles (these can be rented)
  • Thin-set mortar in a suitable color
  • Unsanded grout for the tile joints
  • Polished-granite sealer
  • Fiberglass mesh tape for the tile-backer seams
  • Trowels - a small one for spreading the thin-set mortar; a margin trowel; a small putty knife; and a grout float for spreading grout
  • A honing stone for softening the sharp, exposed edges
  • Caulk as a grout substitute for the inside corners
  • Plastic spacers to ensure even grout spaces and to support the backsplash tiles

Support Materials

You also will need these additional materials:

  • Three-quarter-inch plywood sheets (one sheet covers eight feet of countertop)
  • Cement board or a DensShield (offers resistance to mold) tile-backer board (a 32-by-60-inch sheet covers five feet of countertop)
  • Cabinet blocking
  • Nails, screws, and wall studs

About the Author
Gabriel Traverso is a freelance writer, professional musician, and an artist. He resides with his family in Reno, NV.

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