Installing Kitchen Countertops: Granite Tile
by Jane Smallman
Face Your Kitchen Columnist
Installing granite tile kitchen countertops is one of the best ways to add value to your home. This can be done even by the average do-it-yourselfer by following these steps:
About the Author
Jane Smallman runs a mountain guiding business with her husband. Her early training was in hotel management and she has worked in the hotel industry in France, Holland, the US and the UK. Following this she worked in an administrative capacity for a number of not-for-profit organizations in the UK, including the International Planned Parenthood Federation and the Refugee Legal Centre. While doing this she earned a degree in Social Sciences through distance learning with the Open University. After graduation she progressed to the University of Sussex as a full-time student where she was awarded a Masters Degree in Social and Political Thought.
- Measure the areas for the countertops and install a layer of plywood in each. Screw a half-inch cement backer board to the plywood.
- Cut two-inch (or more) strips of cement board and screw them to the edges.
- Carefully cut the area where the kitchen sink will go (this will be installed later).
- Using a notched trowel, spread the mixed thin-set mortar on top of the cement board to the areas that are closest to the edges.
- Begin laying the tiles, starting at the outer edges, butting them up against each other.
- Cut the tiles (using a tile saw) that you need to lay along the wall, along with strips for the edges and around the sink. Ensure that the tiles fit well in the awkward parts of the countertops.
- Apply thin-set mortar to the sides of the cement boards and position the two-inch edging tiles in place. If you want a backsplash, spread some mortar on the wall, too. For a professional look, ensure that these strips are well aligned with the tiles located on the top of the counter.
- Using a rubber float, apply grout between the seams of the tiles, after the mortar dries. Clean up the excess grout with a damp cloth.
- Once the grout dries, apply sealer to prevent stains on your new countertops. Although this is an optional step, it is highly recommended when installing granite tile kitchen countertops to protect them.
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