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Old 12-04-2009, 09:51 PM   #1
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Granite tile for countertop


Closing on my new house next wednesday. I have several things planned. One of which is to repaint the kitchen cabinates and install new countertop and sink. The cabinates are solid wood but are painted blue. New cabinates aren't in teh budget and with them alerady being painted it might be too much trouble to strip paint and restore the natural wood appearance. Was thinking about just painting them white.

As for the countertop, I love slab granite but it also is not in the budget. The obvious economy choice would be laminate but I have the opportunity to purchase 12" granite tiles for $2.50/sq ft that I could use to do a countertop. The tiles are almost a buff/black mixture and I think would contrast well with white cabinates. Any words of wisdom or caution here? I've never tiled a countertop but I had an old frend that did this once and it looked good. Not as good as slab of course, but better than laminate. I was thinking about using a stainless steel sink and using finished stripped oak as an edge. Just not sure what color grout I'd use.

Anyone else do this and have some pictures?

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Old 12-05-2009, 06:14 AM   #2
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Granite tile for countertop


Don't do tiles if you actually use the kitchen... The grout will hold bits of this and that and it will get nasty and disgusting.

Check your local Habitat for Humanity resale store. Sometimes they have things you're looking for.

Another reason you're right about the cabinets is that if they were originally painted then they probably used inferior wood -- it's called "paint grade" instead of "stain grade."

Another DIY countertop option to consider is concrete. Taunton has a book. Most of it's about making slabs and polishing them with diamond grinding wheels, but the last chapter is about poured in place. You finish it with a trowel. It's not as pretty, but I like the look myself. At least in the pictures in the book.

We have Corian in our kitchen, which we both love, but it's about the same price as granite -- all the solid surface countertops are about the same price (at least where I live).

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Old 12-05-2009, 03:25 PM   #3
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Granite tile for countertop


You can use granite tiles just fine for a countertop.

You want to make sure you have at least 1 1/2" of plywood on top of your cabinets for support and brace up any wide spans. You then want a tile underlayment of some type directly beneath the tile. I use Schluter Ditra, but a cement backerboard such as hardiebacker or fiberrock will work as well.

The key to a good granite tile countertop installation is FLAT. Take your time and get the substrate absolutely flat and use a good medium-bed mortar to install the granite. Keep your level or straight edge on the countertop as you work to ensure that everything remains flat and planar.

You can use a 1/16" grout line (1/32" if you really take your time) to minimize your grout lines and your best bet would be to use an epoxy grout such as Laticrete's Spectralock to assist in making it stainproof. Also make sure you seal the granite if need be and definitely the grout if you do not use epoxy. Epoxy grout does not need to be sealed.

Here are some photos of a Granite Kitchen Countertop and Bar I tiled a while back. This counter has 1/8" grout lines (customer wanted) and I just finished grouting so there is a bit of 'framing' going on. (That's when the water from grout cleanup is absorbed into the sides of the tile and it looks darker around the tile edges than in the center - it dries out and looks normal)

Hope that helps, if you need any more info just let me know.
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Old 12-06-2009, 10:06 AM   #4
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Granite tile for countertop


Granite tiles are great for a countertop.

Use the same product that pyper would use to seal the concrete to seal the grout between the tiles.

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Another reason you're right about the cabinets is that if they were originally painted then they probably used inferior wood -- it's called "paint grade" instead of "stain grade."
NONSENSE!!!
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Old 12-06-2009, 10:23 AM   #5
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Granite tile for countertop


Here is a thread with a picture of my countertop. Double 3/4" plywood with Ditra. Don't know if I would do it again. I should have went with a darker epoxy grout. The materials were about a quarter the price of granite slab and right around the same price as a higher end laminate(Wilsonart HD).
counter remodel

Last edited by jerryh3; 12-06-2009 at 10:27 AM.
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Old 12-06-2009, 10:26 AM   #6
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You can use granite tiles just fine for a countertop.

You want to make sure you have at least 1 1/2" of plywood on top of your cabinets for support and brace up any wide spans. You then want a tile underlayment of some type directly beneath the tile. I use Schluter Ditra, but a cement backerboard such as hardiebacker or fiberrock will work as well.

The key to a good granite tile countertop installation is FLAT. Take your time and get the substrate absolutely flat and use a good medium-bed mortar to install the granite. Keep your level or straight edge on the countertop as you work to ensure that everything remains flat and planar.

You can use a 1/16" grout line (1/32" if you really take your time) to minimize your grout lines and your best bet would be to use an epoxy grout such as Laticrete's Spectralock to assist in making it stainproof. Also make sure you seal the granite if need be and definitely the grout if you do not use epoxy. Epoxy grout does not need to be sealed.

Here are some photos of a Granite Kitchen Countertop and Bar I tiled a while back. This counter has 1/8" grout lines (customer wanted) and I just finished grouting so there is a bit of 'framing' going on. (That's when the water from grout cleanup is absorbed into the sides of the tile and it looks darker around the tile edges than in the center - it dries out and looks normal)

Hope that helps, if you need any more info just let me know.
How did you do the bullnose?
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Old 12-06-2009, 10:36 AM   #7
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Granite tile for countertop


I fabricate my own bullnose but there should be a shop or fabricator somewhere near you that can do the same.
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Old 12-06-2009, 11:20 AM   #8
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I fabricate my own bullnose but there should be a shop or fabricator somewhere near you that can do the same.
Carbide router?
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Old 12-06-2009, 11:25 AM   #9
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No, I use a diamond bullnose blade on my saw and dry pads from there. The diamond router blades work fine, too, but they still need to be sanded and polished.

Last edited by TileArt; 12-06-2009 at 12:04 PM.
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Old 12-06-2009, 11:28 AM   #10
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Carbide router?
NOPE!
Carbide router bits won't last 30 seconds. This is stone my friend, not wood or laminate or solid surfacing - stone.

You'll need a diamond profile wheel then a right angle grinder with various size finishing and polishing pads. That's the cost of least resistance.

It is possible to use a belt sander with silicone carbide belts. First a 50 grit, then an 80 grit, then a 150, then a 220, then a 400, then a 1000, then a 3000. get the picture?

Another way is to use a $3400 wet router with a $400 nosing (round over) tool attached.
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Old 12-06-2009, 11:29 AM   #11
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I type too slow!
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Old 12-06-2009, 01:42 PM   #12
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NOPE!
Carbide router bits won't last 30 seconds. This is stone my friend, not wood or laminate or solid surfacing - stone.

You'll need a diamond profile wheel then a right angle grinder with various size finishing and polishing pads. That's the cost of least resistance.

It is possible to use a belt sander with silicone carbide belts. First a 50 grit, then an 80 grit, then a 150, then a 220, then a 400, then a 1000, then a 3000. get the picture?

Another way is to use a $3400 wet router with a $400 nosing (round over) tool attached.
Sounds like a lot work. I guess that's I just went with the Rondec. Do you need a saw that has an adjustable blade depth? I have one of these:
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=97360
I guess I could just buy a 6" profile blade and use shims to get the tiles to the correct height to cut.
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Old 12-06-2009, 02:02 PM   #13
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Granite tile for countertop


That is an option. You can place more tile beneath the ones you are bullnosing and shim up as needed. Just don't use wood or anything that will soak in water and swell - but you knew that.

It is easier to bullnose each opposite side of a full tile then cut them down to size rather than keeping a 3" strip in place and get a consistent bullnose on it. Bullnose 'em first - then cut to size.

There is a fairly large learning curve to doing this so you may want to look into having it done for you. It'll probably end up being cheaper. If you have them done cut them to size first - let them deal with it, they have the equipment to hold them in place.
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Old 12-06-2009, 03:18 PM   #14
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Speed I agree you should have someone else do the bull nosing for you. The profile wheel will cost around $160 and then may not fit your saw anyway. My profilers don't fit all of my saws.

Then as mentioned the learning curve is enormous. You will waste a lot of tile getting the saw setup to do the profiling.

Once the edges are profiled they will appear chalky and grooved and will have to be refined with a series of dresser grits.

A skilled shop will probably profile and finish the edges for you for around 10$ a linear foot. You can't begin to do it for that price.

The RONDEC is good too!
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Old 12-08-2009, 05:49 AM   #15
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Granite tile for countertop


The nice thing about granite tile countertops, if the look works for you, is that if you were to drop something on it and create a crack or somehow stain a section? You just pull out the damaged section and replace it assuming you buy extra tiles (hint, hint).

I will back up and steer off track to reinforce another comment made and put in a plug for the Habitat for Humanity ReStores. If you have the patience to swing by and look around once in awhile you can find some great deals. A friend was renovating an antique building in downtown here and I stumbled on palettes of brand new, boxed, drop dead gorgeous Italian tile he got for a small fraction of what it would have cost on the open market per square foot. Leftover from some really large house somewhere (or someone goofed ordering) it was enough to do all the bathrooms and the entry to the restored space.

Pier One here was redoing their track lighting to halogens or something and donated the old track fixtures to the ReStore. He got really nice, quality track fixtures (not box store crappy ones) for $1 each and the bulbs to go in them for $.50.

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