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Old 02-11-2014, 08:55 AM   #1
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Tile countertop

I'm re doing my countertop with ceramic tiles and wood trim along the edge....can I seal and cover the whole countertop with Varnish or shellac?
I want a shiny, thick, hard coat to protect the tiles/grout.


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Old 02-11-2014, 09:41 AM   #2
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No, that is not a good idea. The thick, hard "coat" is the tiles themselves. That is what ceramic tiles are for. A glazed porcelain should give you all the shininess you want.

If you want grout "protection", then you should seal the grout, or better yet use an epoxy grout which is harder and doesn't need sealing.

You and should of course protect the wood, and that is done with polyurethane.


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Old 02-11-2014, 09:53 AM   #3
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If you want a smooth surface for your counter with minimal grout lines, then you need to either use large format tiles, like 24x24, or do something else. Like laminate. Laminate blanks at a box store are fairly cost effective and easy to DIY.
Do it right from the beginning if you only want to do the job once. It'll be cheaper in the long term.
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Old 02-11-2014, 10:14 AM   #4
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I like the large format (24") tile for countertops, but it didn't sound like what the OP was asking for. Having said that, if you're worried about protecting grout, then the less grout the better.

I've been wanting to do a countertop with large tile and Schluter profiles. This one has 12" tile, but you can imagine how it would look with 24"


Tile broken up like this doesn't look good IMO

And smaller tile also looks very dated.
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Old 02-11-2014, 08:14 PM   #5
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I like 3x3 tile with epoxy for a countertop, with a wood edge.

I've used 12x12 in a commercial setting and it is fine. I guess I would use it if I wanted a more modern look in a kitchen.

I've also used 8x8 and I thought it was fine as well.

I don't have any problem with the epoxy grout. It can use a good scrubbing every now and then, but the darker colors stay looking good longer.

I would not use anything except epoxy or urethane and would try to stick with a through-body porcelain.
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