While granite is a popular choice for kitchen countertops, the high cost of materials and installation can put a big dent in your home improvement budget. A less expensive alternative to a pricey granite slab is to use 12” x 12” granite tiles instead.
Not only do granite tiles make an attractive and durable countertop, they’re easy to apply and weigh much less than a solid granite top, making it a perfect DIY project.
- Tape measure
- Safety glasses
- Carbide tipped scoring tool
- Circular saw
- Drill with screwdriver bits
- Notched trowel
- Rubber padded grout float
- Stone polisher (rent)
- Tile saw (rent)
- 1/4 x 12” x 12” granite tiles
- 3/4” plywood
- 1/4″ or 1/2” cement backer board
- Masking tape
- Thin-set mortar
- Unsanded grout
- Grout sealer
How to Install Plywood Substrate
Begin by removing the existing countertops, then check to be sure the cabinets are level—both left to right and front to back.
Cut a piece of 3/4” plywood to serve as the base for the top, making sure to allow for the desired overhang. For a thicker look, double the plywood, or glue and screw a strip of wood along the outer edge of the top.
With the plywood in position, measure from the cabinet to the edge of the plywood. Transfer this measurement to the top of the substrate, adding half the thickness of the cabinet frame, and mark the location for the screws.
Drill holes and screw the plywood to the top of the cabinets.
As an alternative, the plywood substrate can be screwed from underneath to brackets or a ledger strip located inside the cabinets.
How to Install Cement Backer Board
Once the plywood substrate has been screwed down, cover it with 1/4″ or 1/2” thick cement backer board. Cut the backer board to size by scoring it with a carbide tipped scoring tool and breaking it much as you would drywall.
While cement backer board can also be cut using a circular saw, it makes for a very dusty job, so work outside and be sure to wear a respirator and safety glasses. See our article on Tips for Cutting Cement Backer Board to find out more.
Screw the cement board to the plywood, being sure to countersink the screws below the surface. Cut 2” strips of cement board and attach them to the edges of the substrate flush with the top. Cover all joints in the backer board with mesh tape.
Cut the hole for the sink using a jigsaw. Most new sinks provide a template. Measure carefully to be sure the hole is centered over the base cabinet.
Fitting the substrate around the stove will vary depending on the type of cooking surface you have. A freestanding stove requires no substrate while a drop-in type will need backing between the stove and wall.
How to Polish Granite Tile Edges
Polish any exposed tile edges before installation using a polisher specifically designed for stone.
A stone polisher uses a series of coarse to fine pads. Begin with a coarse pad in the 50-150 grit range and work up to 3000-5000 grit.
Rough or sharp edges can also be rounded using the polisher. Both wet and dry polishers are best used outside, as the process can be messy.
How to Lay Granite Tile
Use a notched trowel to spread thin-set tile adhesive on the cement board substrate.
Lay full tiles on the outer edge first, butting them together. Remember to overhang the tiles to allow for the edging.
While granite tiles average 1/4” thick, individual tiles can vary. To compensate for thinner tiles, use a thicker bed of mortar. Check with a level as you go to be sure all the tiles are the same height.
How to Cut Granite Tile
Once the full tiles have been laid, use a tile saw to cut pieces to fit along the wall.
Both tile saws and polishers can be rented at tool rental centers.
If it’s hard to see marks on granite tile, apply a strip of masking tape to the tile then use a pencil to mark the masking tape.
How to Install Tile Edging and Backsplash
When the top is complete, apply thin-set to the side of the cement board substrate and position the edge tiles. For a uniform look, align the joints with the top. Use tape to hold the edge tiles until the mortar has dried.
To form a backsplash, apply thin-set to the drywall and press the tiles in place.
How to Apply Grout to Tile
Even though the tiles are butted together, the narrow seams need to be filled with unsanded grout.
Use a rubber padded grout float to force the grout into the seams, then wipe off the excess with a damp sponge.
Once the grout has dried thoroughly, apply a high quality sealer to the seams to prevent stains.
Install the sink, faucet, and appliances to complete the job.
This counter looks great. Are there problems with the grout joints getting wet? How much would it cost to put this together?
How do I prepare the surface to install 2 large pieces of granite on an outside countertop?
Hi, I am in the process of installing a granite tile counter top and forgot to apply any adhesive to the underneath side of the backerboard. Is this a huge problem? Also, I can not seem to get my screws to countersink well. Will it be ok if they stick up a bit given that I will be applying an 1/8″ of thinset. Your help is appreciated! Thanks!
I’m looking into doing this project in my kitchen…we currently have somewhat new formica countertops with a 2.5″ wood trim that was built to coordinate with the cabinets. Is it possible to reuse this wood trim so not to have to deal with the edging/nosing. if so what is the best way to salvage it? Also do we need to tear up the existing formica covered top and put new plywood down???
As long as you screw the cement backerboard down well to the plywood, adhesive shouldn’t be necessary. While countersinking the screws would be better, as long as you have a good coating of thinset over them, it shouldn’t be a problem.
I just installed a section of a granite tile countertop. I was not happy with the thin set, it was very difficult to get it even. As a result, now that the countertop is “set” my wife notices that some of the tiles are uneven. I still have another countertop to do and was looking for a better quality thinset, one that is easy to work with that will result in even tiles throughout. Do you have any suggestions?
isn’t there some way to mix epoxy and particles of tile or some way to hide the grout lines better? I thought I had heard this practice being used somewhere. I may have been dreaming lol. I know they make a new thin granite countertop, almost a veneer if you will, that isn’t what I am referring to.
As long as you seal the grout you should be fine. Granite tiles vary in price but it is about 5 bucks per 12×12 tile. You will need a Diamond tipped wet saw blade (this typically comes with the wet saw, that is if you purchase one, ranging from 88 bucks to 300 at Lowes or Home Depot) the backerboard is about 10 bucsk per 4ft x 8ft and comes in 1/4 inch or 1/2 inch. grout is about 10 bucks per bag, adhesive is about 13 bucks per bucket (if you are an amature, go with the premixed adhesive), there are specific screws that work very well with backerboard (about 3 bucks), but you will need the bit for it. Be sure to follow the recommended curing time for the adhesive, grout and sealent. Also be sure to buy more tiles (about 10% more) to account for any mistakes in cutting, but you will also have trouble returning them for the full price as you most likely will have to special order them.
Can granite tiles be used with under counter sinck mount? I really do not want a top mount sink.
Is there any way to install a new countertop (granite tiles or porcelain tiles) on top of the existing formica?
You can install tile and possibly granite tiles over top of the existing formica as long as the countertop is in perfect condition. Even if it is not in perfect condition, if it is repairable, you may still be able to do it. There are many do it yourself references to this online if you search for them. I have done this in the past and I am getting ready to once again take on the project in my new home.
I have installed granite tiles and love the result except for one thing. The compound we used to seal around the sink is causing a stain all around the edge of the sink. We used a plumbers putty and I think the oil is causing the problem. We did seal the tile prior to putting the sink in. Help!
How do tou cut the tiles around the sink. It’s a round cut and I have a side grinder. Is this the way to do it?
Do you recommend foam rather than plumbers putty to seal around the flush sink?
Would the weight of a full sink break the granite tiles?
I’d like to ask a question. I have the granite slab cut out…ready for the sink and facuet. I was told that I need angle lines because my sink is heavy (I have a black cast iron, how do I measure for the angle lines?) Once I get the angle lines, do I have to use the backer board for the granite slab…just like you did with the titles.?
I am thinking to install a new granite tile countertop but the existing one is formica.Can I take the formica off and lay the tiles on or do I need to screw plywood on the existing one? And also,if not do I need to use cement backer board before laying the tiles?I really appreciate your help.
I am in the process of installing granite tiles on an island countertop (to be used only for eating and food prep. Do I have to use a concrete backerboard besides the plywood?
Yes. The purpose of the cement backerboard is to keep the tiles from cracking and pulling loose due to movement in the wood.
Can you tell me exactly which kind of pads do I need to polish the sides of the granite tile? Should I buy a whole set or can I just buy specific ones?
I seem to have problems with the surface of the tile after applying an initial coat of sealer “Stone Glamor”. The surface now feels gritty and need to remove the gritty feel before applying the 2nd coat. ANY remedies?? Thanks Rob
I have a formica counter top in perfect condition. Can I lay granite tiles directly on top of formica. If not, can cement board go on top of formica and then lay tiles.
I’m installing granite tile and plan to use a matching granite chair rail. Since this piece will be considerably heavier than the piece you used for the edge, I am worried about it staying in place while the thin set cures. Any tips?
As I started popping off the old 12×12 ceramic tiles on my kitchen counter I noticed that they were applied directly to the formica, which was in good if not perfect condition. Can the same be done with granite tiles or do I need backer board?
Yes, I have the same question as Laura B. It would cut out alot of work if I can place the tiles directly onto the existing solid-surface countertops, will this affect the results negatively?
Same question as A. Moore and Laura B. We have a nice flat surface to start from already. What would need to be changed?
Can I safely butt ceramic tiles the way you did granite ?
Same question as everyone above regarding putting tiles directly over formica instead of putting the cement backer board first? Screwing down the backer board into formica could expose the underlying particle board to moisture which would be counter productive. Has anyone tried just sanding the top of the formica counter tops and than laying the granite tiles right over it? I, and several of the above posters, would appreciate a response. Thanks.
Yes you can tile over Formica. Use the TAVY Thin skin system. I used it on Formica and over an existing tile floor. See thus video
Also check out here http://www.tavytools.com/
I currently have a concrete countertop which I dont like and would like to granite tile over it. Do I need to use plywood/cement board ? or can I tile right over it? If so, how do I prepare the surface?
I recently did my own Granite tile counter tops and back splash, including the adjoining breakfast bar. We were fortunate to find matching Granite bull nose pieces at the same store as the tile – Floors Decor (a national chain) and although the bull nose was 3 – 4 times the tile costs, it made for a very impressive finished product. Our costs to complete this was less than a quarter of the bids we got for solid granite (which did not include back splash) and was within a few $100 of doing the lamiate counter tops from chain Home improvement store. I noticed the other day that some of the Lowes stores now carry the bull nose granite too.
can anyone offer up advice to people having probs with their projects? if so,this may not be a great idea…there are some incorrect suggestions being offered..my advice is to get more info online before undertaking any costly project..have fun with all your home projects
We cut a hole in the wall to form a pass through between the kitchen and dining room. We plan to install a granite top on the pass through to create a kitchen bar with a slight (2″) overhang into the dining room. The slab is 25″ x 72″. I would like to get some coaching on how to best support the install on what is now only about a 5″ wide surface. Should I bolt a 3/4 piece of plywood to the surface to support granite. Should I use “L” brackets to support the granite. Will I need legs to support the grainte. Comments on the best way to install this would be appreciated.
didn’t find answer regard granite tile over formica. is a a backerboard necessary and must it be thinset over the formica or just screw down?
I have read several commits on adding tile to an existing counter top which is something I have been considering doing. But there seem not to be much info if this is a method of doing it and what steps to take for the job….any thoughts on this
When we cut the tiles around the sink: We just inner corner cut them. Even though the sink shows rounded corners it fits in easily. We installed a “granite” type sink that is self rimming. It covers it by plenty and you would never know. Funny I saw we cut. We used painters tape and a T Square to mark the cuts. We bought the tiles at Lowes. They make all the cuts for you. I do not recommend bringing you front facing 2″ pieces in on the same day. While they would do it that is mean to ask that much and they may get sloppy after that long. So all we had to do was rent a stone polisher.
My back splash idea for the kitchen made my whole project. I bought black granite tiles. They sell black granite side splashes for the bathroom sinks. It is 3″ X 20″X 3/4. They will cut this too. Now my kitchen counter has that more solid granite feel I wanted. And I am so glad I came up with the idea. I love it.
This countertop looks great. How much would it cost to complete this project with approximately 35 sq ft?
Also want to know if I have to remove my perfectly flat and great condition formica. Can I just sand it to rough it up for the tile adhesive?? I really want to know too!!
I am installing a granite tile countertop. Can I use ceramic tile adhesive for granite as well? I have left overs from my floor job.
I would like to lay a granite tile countertop. Can I lay the cement backer board directly onto the existing formica then lay the tile. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
I just installed granite tiles 12×12 on a kithen counter top. They got moved around before they were set. Is there a way to take them off without breaking them, so I can re set them?
That TAVY stuff looks awesome….the paper is a little pricy at $52.42 a roll at lowes……but it doesn’t say how much is on a roll. Anyone know?
Hi, I have the same question that most people have posted here but did not see a answer. I have a laminate counter top in excellent shape and I would like to put granite tiles, not ceramic. I did see the demo on youtube that was posted on this site, but it was for ceramics. Can I simply buy cement backer board and screw it on my entire counter top and then install the granite tiles or am I’m missing a step? Please advise. Thank you in advance!!!
Regarding covering a plastic laminate countertop with tile. Screw cement backer board to the countertop before installing the tile as above.
I noticed that you show doing the tile edging by hand. To get nice looking tile edges can be the most difficult part of the job. A friend of mine has just started a company that provides custom edged tiles you can order over the internet. They have created an online ordering system in which you select your kitchen counter arrangement, enter the dimensions, and it will tell you how much tile you’ll need and how much edging is needed. They just started this month and the web site just went online. It is at: http://www.easygranitetile.com/
You can even use the calculator just to see how much granite tile it would take for your counters. You don’t need to place an order.
Hi! I saw a segment on a DIY network show about installing granite tiles over formica, I bet you can look it up on their website archives for instructions.
with granite tile on counter top tell me steps 4 epoxie grout
Can I install the cement board directly on top of my existing laminate countertop and then finish it with granite tile?
I see no reason why you can’t screw cement backer board directly to an old plastic laminate countertop. Just be sure the backer board is attached well to the old countertop. In addition to screwing it down, a bead of construction adhesive between the cement board and old countertop wouldn’t hurt.
Ok so after doing some extensive research from tile experts, asking granite experts, and flooring experts, I’m going to answer most of the recurrent questions.
To all the people that have existing counter tops and want to use them as a base for their project. . . The point of tearing it off of your existing cabinets is to be sure and double sure that your project is going to be successful. Some cabinets in bad condition cannot support a heavier countertop such as granite. Also, weak or loose spots in your fornica joints are nightmares. Check the integrity of your countertops joints, your cabinets joints etc before considering putting new on top of old. If everything seems good and sturdy, follow through by screwing the backer to the fornica.
To all the people that want to skip the backer. . . You can, but be careful. The reason you want the backer is because it is specifically made to bond to the thinset. Fornica is a very smooth surface and doesn’t bond as well as the backer. If you want the job done right and you want it to last, use the cement backer. It’s an extra 10-30 bucks and a little extra work cutting, but it’s worth it. Water is going to get in the grout. Period. If water gets to that thinset and starts eating away at it on top of fornica, the integrity of the thinset is compromised, and the last thing you want is for trim pieces around the sink to be falling off. . . in short, no cement backer = tiles will become undone from the counter over time. Sanding it down may help, but it won’t be as good.
As far as camouflaging the grout lines in the tile go, I got a few different perspectives. Home Depot guy said the closest thing that he could think of was color-matching the grout color to the granite. IE Coffee brown granite to coffee brown grout. One tile expert guy (entrepreneur) said that one could possibly add color flakes or other soft additives to the grout to help, but he wouldn’t advise it because it’s not exactly easy to find the right combination of colors. The end result would be tacky if it weren’t a perfect match. He said to void adding hard things to the grout also (broken glass, pebbles, stone pieces etc.) because of the potential for jagged surfaces and compromising the integrity of the grout. Basically, over time the grout will wear down, but whatever you add will stay there. Nobody had anything to say about epoxies besides the potential mess and difficulty of clean-up.
I hope this helps everybody.
Thanks for all your hard work on coming up with answers to questions about tiling countertops. Nice post!
I just installed granite tile countertop. I was told to seal them first before I grout. The sealer just kind of “seperated”. On the places were we beveled the edges it went right in. Am I using the wrong sealer?
My wife wants granite counter tops on our kitchen that I’m remodeling. I’ve decided to install the 12″ X 12″ tiles myself but I’d like to use something other than granite, wood or metal for the edging. Is there anywhere you can buy a plastic or fiberglass edging in colors that’s easy to cut that would really look nice?
We are planning on tiling our counters in black granite. We plan on using an epoxy grout, and doing it right overtop our existing counters (which are painted formica). Would that work? Or do you recommend doing the backboard still? I read your answers to the others questions about this, but it seemed like the main issue was whether the surface was rough enough to stick. Trust me, the painted surface is fairly rough. Thanks!
I read some places that say granite tile does need to be sealed and some that say granite tile is already sealed. Do I need to seal my new granite tile kitchen countertops?
Should the grout be sealed? If so, what is the best sealer and how do you apply it?
I HAVE A 1200 SQ FOOT CONDO. I WOULD LIKE TO REDO MASTER BATH ANDALREADY STARTED KITCHEN WITH LAMINATE FLOORING AND PAINTED CABINETS AND HARDWARE. I EVENTUALLY WILL GET NEW APPLIANCES LAST AS MINE ARE FAIRLY NEW. I AM ON A BUDGET AND WANT TO FINISH MY FIRST FLOOR DINING AND LIVING ROOM WITH LAMINATE FLOORING AND IN MAIN BATH NEW VANITY AND SINK BUT MOST IMPORTANT MARBLE OR GRANITE FLOORING. ALSO MARBLE OR GRANITE COUNTERTOP IN KITCHEN,POSSIBLY IN MASTER AND 1/2 BATH ALL UNIFORM. I WANT TO DO IN PIECES DUE TO COST I AM ON A VERY SMALL BUDGET, I DON’T WANT TO PRICE MYSELF OUT OF MY NEIGHBORHOOD ALSO. I WAS THINKING OF WHITE MARBLE WITH BLACK VEINING. IF I BUY FOR ALL COUNTERTOPS WHICH NONE OF OUR HUGE AND THEN HAVE A CONTRATOR INSTALL ONCE I HAVE ALL THE MATERIALS. HOW CAN I FIND THE MOST INEXPENSIVE, FOR MATERIALS I CURRENTLY HAVE 2,000, WHICH I WISH TO BUY ALL LAMINATE FLOORING. I DID MY KITCHEN WHICH IS 100X100 FOR 100.00 OR SO FOR LAMINATE ONLY. HOW CAN I GET WHAT I WANT FOR JUST MATERIALS, LAMINATE AND GRANITE OR MARBLE. I THINK IT WILL BE NICE TO ALL BE UNIFORM IN ALL ROOMS. WHERE IS THE BEST PLACE TO SHOP FOR REMNIANTS OR THE CHEAPEST TO MAKE MY DREAM HAPPEN.MY LAM. FL IN KITCHEN NEEDS TO BE MATCHED FROM HOME DEPOT SO I MAY HAVE TO GO THERE OR MANU. ANY IDEAS? THANKS
PLEASE HELP ME I WOULD LIKE TO FINISH KITCHEN AND HOME. I CURRENTLY HAVE A LIGHT LAMINATE IN KITCHEN AND WANT IN MASTER BEDROOM AND DINING AND LIVING ROOM ABOUT 4-500 SQ FT. AND MARBLE OR GRANITE IN TILES FOR COST IN KITCHEN AND 1 AND 1/2 BATH. I WOULD LIKE TO BUY AND HAVE INSTALLED AFTER. I NEED IDEAS FOR WHERE I CAN GET A FABULOUS DEAL WITH A 2000-2500 FOR JUST MATERIALS. TOTAL SQ FT OF KITHEN IS 100 SQ FT BUT LIMITED COUNTER AND IN SM BATH JUST SINK WITH SMALL FLOOR AND COUNTER MAX 20SQ FT AND MAIN BATH PROB 75 SQ FT INC VANITY. I NEED UNUSUAL PLACES TO LOOK FOR REMINANTS OR INEXPENSIVE GRANITE/MARBLE TILES.PLEASE HELP. THANK YOU LISA
I HAVE TALL CHAIRS THAT THE BACKS HIT THE WALL AND LEAVE A MARK ON THEM, CAN I USE THE 12X12 GRANITE TILES TO MAKE A CHAIR RAIL ON THE WALL ABOUT 4 FT LONG TO PREVENT THIS FROM HAPPENING? I HAVE BLACK GRANITE COUNTER TOPS.
Lisa – I don’t know where you live, but Expo Design Centers and The Great Indoors are closing stores in some areas. You might find what you need there. I’d stay away from light marble for a kitchen counter. Marble stains easier than granite. You could get coffee or wine stains pretty easily.
Can two 1ft (30cm) tiles cover the depth of a typical counter top without adding in a small filler piece?
Most countertops are 25″ deep (to the wall), which would require a bit more than two tiles.
I forgot to use the cement board when installing my granite tile. What will have to my granite tile now?
If you put tile directly on a plywood substrate without installing cement backer board first, it may hold up okay, or the tiles could come loose over time. I would just wait and see rather than ripping it all out.
What is the best way to install marble tile on an existing laminate counter top?
Can I use the one I have or should I change it?
I would either screw cement backer board to your plastic laminate and tile on top of that, or remove them and install plywood topped by backer board. If they are molded laminate tops with a rounded front edge and attached backsplash, you may be better off removing them.
Thank you Ben will let you know how it comes out.
If I run into problems I will have to invite you to help me out.
You have a lot of good comments on this article. I have a couple of additional questions. I recently purchased a property with a partially DIY renovated kitchen. The person obviousy didn’t plan the project well. They installed the tile as you did, but rather than plan an overhang for the edge tile, the tile just ends. I don’t know what to do for the edge now. I can see the edge of the tile and below that is the backer board covered with what appears to be mesh drywall joint tape and some sort of adhesive. Any ideas?
In addition to the edge issue, the sink is held down with what looks like liquid nails. It is pretty thick on the underside with a 2×4 frame around the sink perimiter and plywood and backer board on top of that. Any idea what I can do to install sink clips or instead of them? I hate to rip all this out! Thanks in advance for answers!
For those of you who don’t want to rip out your formica countertop, just do it and put down decent plywood and backerboard. It’s not that the thinset won’t stick, it’s that it won’t stick nearly as long. Formica is applied with glue which lets go after time which creates air pockets. You do not want that happening under your countertop you worked so hard installilng. In the photo we doubled up the plywood so we’d have a larger edging. Also we did another one where we used oak for the edging. We used a router and put a fancy design on it. then we installed the edging, staind (3coats) laquer (2coats). All you people are spending precious time and money on these jobs. Do them right the first time, especially if you’re doing it yourself. The contractor you hire to fix your mistakes will charge you more than it would have cost to have him do it right the first time. Also, Home Depot now sells granite tiles that are 18X32 and come with a polished edge. All you have to do is cut and lay.
I am installing 2ft x 2ft granite tile for kitchen countertop. For the base I used 1/2″ particle board (liquid nails to attach to cabinets) w/ thinset and then 1/2″ durock screwed to the particle board. I did this as the pre-fab prescott edging did not allow for 3/4″ and 3/4″ without showing wood at the bottom. Will I be ok witheparticle board and size that I used?
JUST NEED TO KNOW IS THERE ANOTHER WAY TO POLISH THE EDGE OF THE TILES WITHOUT RENTING A GRINDER .
Have been manufacturing an already made granite countertop out of tile for almost 9 years now. Do not sell on web yet but would like some input from DIY folks. It is extremely strong, installs directly to cabinets, relatively light weight (one man can easily handle a 4 ft blank ) and can be made into lengths from 12 inches to 8 ft. as one piece. I have been shipping to a few customers for resale for many years and have no shipping issues. Product is extremely beautiful, uses non staining,non porous resin instead of grout and is very flat. You can set down a single run up to 8 ft. long and have it installed in minutes! Tell me what you think!
I have used Schluter’s Ditra as the underlayment over sub-flooring instead of concrete backer board. While the cost is at least twice that of backer board, it comes in a roll, can be cut with scissors, goes over thinset and tile can be laid on it immediately. I’ve also used it on tub decks.
You can learn more about Schluter-Ditra underlayment and find a link to their website at Tile Underlayment Membrane.
I was just wondering what color the tile is that was installed in the pictures, that is exactly what I want but I can’t seem to find it anywhere. Please help!!
I am having trouble finding a stone polisher to rent. Any recommendations?
Thanks for your informative answers. I have faux marble counter top in my bathroom that I’d like to tile over with granite or ceramic tiles. What can you recommend for this process. Will I need to use a concrete sub surface? Thank you.
Man oh man. First thing you didn’t thinset the durock down on the plywood, or tape the seems. That granite will break up within months wast of money and time. You have to back buter each tile with thinset then install with a trowl no smaller then a 1/4 x 3/8, I would use a 1/2 trowl. I have been installing stone for 5 of the largest tile stores for 23 years. Your show is a joke. When home owners try to install stone or tile, when they mess up they call the experts to fix a job that cost even more money then what it would of cost in the first place. Plus you don’t even have the proper tools to be installing. I hope you stop leading people in the wrong direction.
granite tiles are 3/8″ thick,unsanded grout for 1/8″spaces or flush
We had our tile guy install granite tile countertops.
He did everything you suggested here. But we continually feel granite coming up on our tiles. I was told that when you seal the granite it would seal the grout? Lady in Kitchens at Home Depot says it’s the grout coming up. and we did not put special grout sealer on the grout because they told me with the spray granite sealer it would do it all? Can you help. I have the tile guy coming this week to look at my tile. What kind of sealer would you recommend for grout on granite. Is it to late to seal it.
We have a spray sealer by Dupont we used in Shower that we just had done, what do you recommend? Please help!!!
This ia a cheaper option. The only down side is the fact that you have grout lines which can get dirty and may be frustrating to clean
I’m doing our kitchen in granite and is it ok to lay over formica if we rough it up? Also we have oak trim on the edges. What should I do with that. Does it have to come off or can we put the granite over it for the sides?
I’m interested in replacing formica top with granite tiles. One question that I have is what do you do to support the granite tiles that will cantilever 10″ beyond the countertop framework? This is for breakfast bar which is about 7′ long. Thanks.
Since any flexing of the top could cause the tile to crack or pop loose, you would need to make sure the substrate for the countertop was thick enough and well supported to prevent it. This could include using two layers of 3/4″ plywood glued together, and/or wood or steel support below the countertop.
Thank you for all the good info! I am planning on doing my countertops however I don’t want to do the backsplash all the way up to the cabinets. Can I make a normal size backing to the the countertops like the ones you see on formica or laminate countertops?
Yes, you can make a smaller backspash on the wall behind your countertop from either granite tile or regular tile. You can attach the tile directly to the existing drywall, or build it out with cement backer board if you want it to have more depth. To find out more about installing a tile backsplash read our Ceramic Tile Backsplash Project article or watch the video on How to Install a Ceramic Tile Backsplash
I am reusing a dresser vanity for my bathroom. I want to use granite tile for the top, yet I want it ressesed into the top of the wood. I thought I could cut the existing top and place the backerboard under this so I could give the piece a very cool wood border. The problem is the dresser is rounded and I would have to cut the tile accordingly. I am nervous about rounding edges of granite tile and having it fit nicely around the inner edge of the counter. My other option is to just varnish(spar) the wood and place the sinks on the wood. I am not sure how the wood alone will hold. Help! I need your expert advice.
To Ben from May 22nd, 2009 at 11:04 pm. The bad jobs you speak of happen because many people just are not capable of doing quality work. As the son of a 55 year cabinet and tile professional who also knows how to do this stuff you are incorrect in your assumptions here about the instructions. I’ve seen many jobs done both ways and when done well neither have issues unless plywood was not leveled and fastened properly. There are so many ways a novice can screw this stuff up and simply reading many of the questions or comments here by them show that. One guy blames the thinset for his uneven tiles, that’s funny, try blaming yourself for not leveling them properly when attaching the tile. This stuff is not fool proof people, some of us have a capability of working with our hands and understanding how and having a feeling for how to do these things, some do not. If your tile/granite is cracking it’s because the top is not stable enough and that can happen for a number of reasons and if your tile is not level then it’s because you didn’t level it well.
I would like to install granite tile counter on a small peninsula but want ROUNDED CORNERS as we have small children and fear the hard sharpness of a square corner. How would you suggest I do that?
If you install a wood edge on the countertop, you could miter and round the corner, then cut the granite top tile to match.
Between where the stove is, how do you put a skirt there without closing in the gap too narrow for the stove to fit back in. Do you normaly put skirt tiles there or do you just leave it without and open?….
I want to put a granite countertop on a concrete block base outside with a 14 inch overhang. Do I use plywood substrate? How do I keep the plywood from rotting in the wet weather?
In your picture – cutting tile – using a table-saw style wet saw (blade underneath), it appears that the tile is being cut polished side up. Is there a correct side to mark and have up to prevent damage to the polished surface?
When using a tablesaw style wet saw with the blade underneath, you should cut it as pictured with the finished side up, since any chipping would occur on the back (bottom) of the tile.
I’ve just finished installing granite tile countertops in my kitchen…
My question is what exactly do i need to use to clean the graninte countertops..? everything that i’ve tried doesnt seem to work… the granite just accumalates powder and dust after a couple of days.
any help would be greatly appreciated.
You may need to seal your granite countertops.
Find out more in our Granite Countertops video.
I have formica countertops in my kitchen. They are new but have the sharp-cut edges. What can I do to cover this? I’m trying to eliminate the sharp edges. What is the best way to clean counter tops? I’ve noticed mine feel rough and I’m always wiping them off thinking they have something on them. Thank you.
You can use a file, sandpaper (used with a sanding block), or a special router bit to take the sharp edge off of your plastic laminate countertop. Just be sure not to take too much, do it evenly along the whole edge, and be careful not to scratch the surface of the laminate.
Plastic laminate can be cleaned with a sponge and a mild detergent. To remove stubborn stains, try sprinkling a little baking soda on the sponge and rubbing it with that (not too much to keep from dulling the finish). For stubborn stains, you can use the solvent acetone (it’s highly flammable, so extinguish open flames and provide plenty of ventilation) as a cleaner and to remove any contact cement residue. Bleach can be used in moderation, but don’t leave it on long and rinse after using to prevent discoloration. Many other common household cleaners and glass cleaners (such as Formula 409 and Windex) can be used as well. Avoid using abrasive cleaners like Comet, which can dull the shine.
Laminates come in different textures, from glass to matte, so the roughness you feel is probably the texture it came with.
The problem with this method is that the grout can get dirty very easily.
Slightly off topic, but i’d strongly suggest a nice premium quality Granite as an alternative.
What a silly response. That’s like saying the taps would look that bit nicer if they were gold-plated. The whole point to using granite tiles instead of solid granite slabs is the saving in cost – some people simply look to the tile alternative because they may not be able to afford the other option.
Help,my son installed Absolute Black granite tile on his counterop and now I see what lots like water marks. My daughter grouted for him and told him to keep it wet for two days. How do I get this water marks off before sealing?
What is the best way to attach crown moulding bull nose to the edge of the kichen counter tops
How do you cut the plug holes in the granite backsplash?
Layed the granite tiles on Sunday. On Monday noticed that several of the tiles are very dark. Is this moisture in the tiles. All the others are pretty good. On this section, we had opened a new tub of the thinset. Could it just be that there was more moisture in that tub? Will this dry and go away or do I have a real problem? I used the exact same stuff for the whole project. Very frustrated.
If the granite tiles were all the same color before you laid them, it’s probably moisture from the thin-set and should go away after a few days or so.
Thank you. They are getting lighter. One more question, when I grout…should I seal first….or grout and then seal after? I have heard both. Thanks in advance.
Unless you’re using a special stainproof grout, you should grout first, allow the grout to dry thoroughly, then apply sealer to the grout.
I am preparing to put granite tile on my counter top. I have a peninsula counter which is 24″ wide. With backer board applied to the edges plus nose tile and grout it becomes about 25″ wide. Question is two tile wide is only 24″ how do I address the remaining 1″? Thanks for your help.
You could add a 1″ wide mosaic strip down the middle of the top, or trim half an inch off each side of the existing countertop before attaching the backer board. You may also be able to find wider tiles and cut them down to the size you need.
Danny, thanks for your help. If I cut the countertop back 1/2″ on each side I won’t have any overhang on the edge. Will this look odd? Rather than running a 1″ strip of mosaic could I run a 1″ strip of same tile down the center instead of one side? Thanks
If you cut the countertop back on each side, you’ll still have an overhang from the thickness of the cement backer board plus the granite tile (1/2″ + 1/4″ = 3/4″ approximately).
can you put granite tiles over regular tile counters withOUT tearing out the tile tops?
Please help me, I have uneven countertop, a dip of less than a 1/2 inch. what type of self-leveler can i use on the plywood and will it be correct to say the step is leveler then backer board. Do i allow a drying time frame for the leveler and then apply the bcaker board or can i nail the backer board while the leveling agent is still wet?
You could use either floor patch compound or auto body filler to fill in the low spot in your countertop. Let the patch harden then sand or plane it flush before tiling.
To find out about floor patch, watch our video on How to Level a Subfloor.
For info on auto body filler, check out our article on How to Repair Rotten Wood.
How far do I overhang the granite tile to allow for the thinset and the tile edge? 3/8 (Tile) + 1/4 (Thinset)= 5/8?
I have existing granite coutertops with square edging. Can the edging be modified after installation?
I recently had granite tile countertops put in. When the initial tiles were put in the installer didn’t do a very good job of making sure they were even. I asked and was told the grout would take care of it. After the grout you could run a plate or glass along it and hear/feel it hitting the edges. I was told it could be polished. After it was sealed you could see several places where it looked like saw marks. I was told it was epoxy residue, and a stripper would fix it. I came home today and it is not fine. There are still saw marks and a haze, and also any flaws in the stone just jump out. If you look at the tiles from an angle it looks like they are unpolished or have water spots. It did not look like this before the stripper was used. There is also light spots in the granite that make it look like two different colors. Also, the stripper really lightened the grout. We had color matched it prior to the stripper and you almost couldn’t see it (even close up). Now it stands out like a sore thumb even from a long distance. The stripper also appears to have eaten away at the grout, as several spots are recessed and jagged edges are exposed. And, the unevenness of the tiles really is emphasized. I had them set my sink and cook top put back in, but neither lay flush. Now I am being told the granite tiles “cannot” be polished. As to do so would remove the factory shine. I asked about the need to reseal the tiles, and was told it shouldn’t need it. But I put a glass of water on it and after about 1 hour it left a ring. I was told re-grouting it will also darken the grout. This has been 3 ½ week process and I want to be informed so I can tell this person what needs to be done. What can you tell me about the issues with the granite’s finish, the grout, unevenness of the tiles and the need to reseal or not?
Regarding the post made on May 22nd, 2009 by ben.
Ben-i cant agree with you more. Ive read almost every post in this forum. If anyone would like to know if you can tile over existing formica, dont post it. Read the other posts. Its been asked, and answered, many many times. I wouldnt recommend doing it. rip it out. start from the beginning. do it CORRECTLY. get a nice tile saw, get quality tiles, get the granite bullnose finishing pieces, and THINK. If you have 24″ of counter and 1″ overhang, do some math. find the center, and measure the the edges. allow for grout lines. dont try to hide them. if you dont want grout lines, then dont do granite tile. get a granite slab.
FYI- to sum up the correct way to tile a counter top as shortly and simply as possible, id put it like this…
-remove old top to check level and integrity of cabinets
-lay a bead of adhesive (PL Premium) then 3/4″ plywood down.
-spread mortar over plywood with notch trowel, and screw 1/2″ durock down on top of that every 6″
-find centers of counter tops. start with full tiles in the middle, and work away so you end up with even pieces on the ends. be sure to include 1/16″ grout line (because of unsanded grout) in every measurement. measure and make all cuts, and lay everything out with no mortar. then mix “marble and granite” mortar. dont use other mortar.
-spread mortar with notch trowel, lay tiles with slight pressure to “squish” the mortar under the tile, keep all edges flush. if it isnt flush and its extremely difficult to get flush, remove the problem tile and set it later. it’ll be easier. set bullnose edges in place with stone construction adhesive and tape in place for 24 hours.
-24 hours later grout with unsanded grout. the grout needs to have moisture in it while drying otherwise it wont cure correctly. after grouting, come back in 25 min with a semi wet sponge and wide the surface of the top. Do this again in 25 or so min, and repeat about 5 times. work on something else in between.
-72 hours later use granite countertop cleaner, then wait an hour and use natural stone sealer. yes, you need to seal it. it is a food surface. granite tile will absorb any stains or spills if not properly sealed.
Enjoy your finished top- its hard. Not recommended for anyone who has never done tile before.
Thanks for taking the time to add your insights on tiling a countertop, they are very helpful
Thanks for this your instuctions. I would like to know if the plywood should be sanded or dose it matter sence cement board is going over it?
One major error! Cement board MUST also be adhered to plywood with modified thinset. Any movement between plywwod and cement board will be transferred to grout joints causing cracking.
I installed tile almost exactly as found on this page (before this page was available). It turned out fantastic. I built my own house and this one job gave me more satisfaction than the whole house. It really looks awesome. I put down 2 layers of 3/4″ plywood and then put 1/4″ backerboard on top of the cabinets. These three layers are very stable. I should say that before I put the first layer of plywood down, I did cut strips of plywood to strengthen the edges and backs of the cabinets and provide for more screw locations for the top. I installed a backsplash board thick enough to allow two 12″ tiles to cover the counter without having to cut any thin pieces. I also made a wood jig to hold several tiles in a line so that I could use my angle grinder with a diamond blade to rough shape a rounded bullnose on the front tile. After the rough shaping, I used a grid pad set as in the article to fine shape and polish the edge($63 for 2 fulls sets of pads). I cut even sized strips to hide the thickness of the counter and butted them up against the underside of the bullnose with no gap. It looks great. I tiled about 110 sq ft of counterspace and spent all up about $1700 (tiles were $10 each). I used an acrylic stone tile adhesive rather than thinset. It does shrink a little, but not much. One thing I would advise to anyone attempting this is to layout all your tiles first, checking color, defects and fit, etc., and then use masking tape to number every tile so that you can stack them and install just like they were laid out. This is a great article and it would have been nice to have before I started my tile job. Well done.
Thanks for your feedback on this project!
Adding a few details….I did put 4″ high cut tiles on my backslpash board and covered them with a stained maple piece to match my cabinets. It was a big job, but no too complicated for a beginner. It you are a beginner and wondering if you can do it, you can. Just buy about 6 extra tiles and an extra sheet of plywood and do a small “mock” counter to get the hang of what you are about to do. An extra $70 dollars to practice is well worth it. Besides, the little counter top (~24″x36″)can be used on an accent table or coffee table or outside counter or sold. It will be worth your time to do this step and learn the process and hit any pitfalls before you get into the permanent work.
how do i find a school in the florida area to learn to install the granite counter top at a pro.level.thanks
It would be very advantageous to see the answers to all of the questions. Questions are interesting but of no value without the answers…
The comment section under each article on our website is reserved for comments that visitors would like to post. These can be general comments, feedback about the article, questions about the topic, or answers to questions posted by other visitors or members. While it’s not possible for the Today’s Homeowner staff to respond to all of the thousands of comments posted on our site, we do read every one and try to help out when we can. As you will note, there are over 20 replies from the staff in this article alone. Feel free to post your own questions or respond to questions posed by others. Thank you for your interest in our site!
Just wondering if it would be a bad thing to put a bead of silicon over my grout lines after everything has been sealed. Thanks for your time.
The TAVY two part system does 100 square feet per bucket and roll. I had to read thru whole page to find out but it is on his website.
Question, I plan on changing out a sink. The hole needs to be enlarged by about 1″ in both directions. since the tile is already in place for some years now my plan was to use a hand grinder with a diamond blade for this task. Does anyone else have any ideas on how best to get this done.
I am thinking about installing granit tile in my kitchen as my countertop. I am wanting to extend my counter top space about 6 inches on one side as this is where we sit at the bar and it will allow more leg room. If we install the plywood first and the the backerboard will this hold the tile okay or is there a chance of it cracking or breaking?
I have a question around the polished tile edges. I had a shop polish the edges before install and noticed the bottom edge is not smooth due to the tile itself. also do you use the tile with the bevel edge for the side or can i use center pieces? will grout cover the uneven bottom edge or do i have to trim the tile.
I have the same question as Bob Lees – I have a granite tile counter top with a top mount sink – I wish to replace the sink – the new one is a bit larger – plan is to use a diamond blade grinder – will that work? Or does anyone else have a better suggestion?
Where is the 2″ mesh tape that is supposed to cover all your seams on the sheets of hardi backer’, I see this mistake made all the time, if you going to use Hardibacker board for any tile application you MUST float your seems or the grout Will crack and fall out no matter how many times you put some back in the grout joint , save youself from this disaster. tks.
Though not shown in the article photos, you should tape any joints in cement backer board before tiling over them, whether it’s in a countertop or floor. Thanks for the feedback!
I see and know that it would prpbably always be best to just remove the old countertop and start fresh when putting down granite tile. My question is for my brother-in-law who wants to save an much money as possible. They have regular 4×4 ceramic tile now, they want to know if they can just break off the old tile, remove the old thinset and lay down a new layer of thinset and lay the new granite?
I’ve never done that before, and am a little hesitant to do that, but I can see how much money and time it would save.
They are selling their house and want a new look.
Should I or Should I not butt the granite up when I install it. If I butt it up will the grout stay in
My husband built me a great looking built-in china cabinet/buffet. After pricing granite & even formica, we have decided to go with large 24″x24″ glazed ceramic tile. We would really like to just butt the tiles together. Is there any reason why we would need to grout? If so, what is the smallest grout line we can use.
I PURCHASED A CAST IRON SINK ON SALE AT A VERY GOOD PRICE.
I PLAN ON TILING THE COUNTER TOP WITH GRANITE TILES 12X12, MY CONCERN IS WILL THE GRANITE TILES BREAK OVER TIME IF I TOP MOUNT THIS CAST IRON SINK? SO SHOULD I JUST BUT AND SEAL THE TILES AGAINST THE SINK OR WHAT? HELP PLEASE, I WONT MY PROJECT TO A SUCCESS!!!
I HAVE A COUNTER TOP THAT’S IN GOOD CONDITION AND WOULD LIKE TO GIVE IT A FACE-LIFT, I WOULD LIKE TO INSTALL SO GRANITE TILES ON THIS COUNTER TOP THAT HAS FORMICA ON IT. I HAVE HEARD ABOUT THE TAVY THIN SKIN PRODUCT, BUT IS A BIT COSTLY. I HAVE ALREADY PUCHASED THE BACKERBOARD UNAWARE THAT I COULD NOT APPLY MORTAR TO THE EXISTING COUNTER TOP AND THEN SCREW ON THE BACKER BOARD. I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW SINCE I HAVE ALREADY PURCHARED THE BACKER BOARD, IS THEIR SOME TYPE OF GLUE I CAN BUY THAT WILL ADHERE TO THE FORMICA AND THE BACKER BOARD AND THEN SCREW THE BACKER BOARD TO THE COUNTER TOP. MY CONCERN IS SKIPPING THE STEP OF MORTAR BETWEEN THE COUNTER TOP AND THE BACKER BOARD, WILL THIS HAUNT ME IN YEARS TO COME? IF THE GLUE CAN BE USE, THEN WHAT’S THE NAME OF THE GLUE(S) I SHOULD BUY? THANKS IN ADVANCE.
You can find the answer to your question on our website at How to Apply Cement Backer Board to a Plastic Laminate Countertop. If you apply the cement backer board and tile over the existing countertop correctly, and allow the adhesive to set, you should be able to install your sink on top of the tile. This will look better and provide a more waterproof joint than trying to cut the tile around the sink.
My question is similar to Anthony’s above. I also would like to break off/remove the old ceramic tile and also remove the old thin-set and lay down a new layer of thin-set and then lay the new granite? Would that be OK?
Thanks for your help. Your website is so helpful.
Hi Anthony and Shannon,
If the substrate on the counters was cement backer board, removing the existing tile and thin-set and installing new tile should work fine. If the substrate is plywood, your best bet would be to put down a layer of 1/4″ or 1/2″ cement backer board before laying the new tile.
I WOULD LIKE TO INSTALL AN UNDERMOUNT KITCHEN SINK WITH THE GRANITE TILE COUNTERTOP. ANY SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO ACCOMPLISH THIS?
Can one use silicone as the mastic to adhere granite tile to Hardi Backer for a counter top?
I’ve never tried using silicone to adhere tile, but I would stick (pun intended!) with thin-set adhesive. It’s easy to use and has a good and long track record for attaching tile. Good luck with your project!
How do you get a 1 piece bullnose on the edges? I’m not real fond of the grout line on the edge.
I want to lay granite in the kitchen and make my life parnter, Mark Louis Webb, happy.
Is it possible to use granite TILES with an under-mount kitchen sink? (Or must it be a granite SLAB ??)
Also, what kind of tape is needed to tape cement backer-board?
Thank you for your help,
Dear Doitalls, As for the integrity of your home and quality workmanship,and proper job disciptions, Please do society a favor, Hire a professional so they can have work and feed there familys. It is not a legal issue to do your own work but a matter of integrity and princibles.
As a licenced remodelor, I dont cut hair, Repair teeth, Do Medical exams, Repair cars, Repair appliances, And a hunded other jobs that belong to qualified people. I can hardly find work now with a failing economy and this evolved frugel nit-picky american society.
Ps:We already lost our home and do to my failng business and 5 children Ive been forced to take a side job to pay bills, rent, and buy food to eat without food stamps and welfare.
Metro area Mpls Mn
We are installing 12×12 granite tiles on our kitchen countertops. We don’t want any grout lines whatsoever, but realize this may not be possible. The salesperson where we purchased the tile said that if we didn’t want grout lines, we would place the tiles in thin set, and then run a line of silicone caulking between the tiles, before butting them together. Anyone have experience with this? How did it work for you and in terms of reducing grout lines, how did it look?
Great article on installing granite tiles. Quick question, I have a section of my countertop (approximately 6 feet long) that has no base cabinets underneath. It is supported on the back wall, the side wall, and then continues over the top of base cabinets. There is a substantial piece of oak holding the front of the counter along with stringers about every 2 feet. Can we install granite tiles along this surface without additional reinforcement? Thanks
If your countertop is firm and doesn’t flex when you sit on it, it should be fine to lay the tile on it. If not, you should add more reinforcement underneath before proceeding. Good luck with your project!
We are putting slab granite on a two tiered bar in the basement. The top is not level and the installers said that they usually have an 1/8 to 1/4 inch “run off” in case of spills???? can that really be the case as I would think that you would want it as level as you can get it???
If it were mine, I’d want it level. Good luck with your project.
I’m installing 3/8 thick Granite tiles to a counter top. I want to butt the tiles tightly to keep from seeing the joint lines. I have read that you need a minimum joint line. If so how small can I go? Thanks
Do you think I could use Ditra over sanded Formica and skip the backer board?
I haven’t tried it, and the adhesion probably wouldn’t be as good as with cement backer board, but my hunch is that it would work. Check out our article on How to Tile a Floor Using an Underlayment Membrane to see how to apply Ditra and for a link to their website for more information on it. Good luck with your project, and let us know if it worked!
I ended up getting a great deal on 36×18 rectified porcelain tiles that I will cut down to cover the countertop surface front to back. I also got some matching 3×24 bullnose. It looks best if I but the bullnose up to the edge of the flat edge oftile, but now I worry that the grout line is on top and not the front side, so water could accumulate. I there a way to still make it look good, and ensure it’s truly sealed?
Hi Dan, I came across this sight and it brought back memories. This information is based on my life experience.
I used to work for old time Italian tile,marble,granite installers. When it came to grout joint for marble and granite we would use the thickness of those flat wooden toothpicks. Just a little space was needed to take in the WALL grout we used for granite and marble. Wall grout must be used for these small joint spaces. Matching the grout color as close as possible to the tile was the best way to give it that one piece look. Almost all our marble and granite jobs were color matched grout and tight joint spaces.
TRICK OF THE TRADE: The only time we used apoxy was for outside wall corners. We mitered the granite edges at 45 degree angles. When they met together, there would still be a space at the meeting points. We filled it with the apoxy. We mixed color in the a poxy to match the grout. When it reached a rubbery consistency we used a razor blade to cut it even. This made a beautiful outside corner. This method got rid of using that floor to ceiling bull nose vinyl strip. mitering the edges was a lot of work. We worked in many upscale homes on Long Island and Manhattan.
Thanks for the installation tips!
Hey, Patrick Lynard: Based on your posting, I am sure then that you always hire “professionals” in all aspects of your life, like to clean your house, cook all your food, cut your lawn, do all your laundry, change your oil, wash your vehicle, polish your shoes, cut your hair, and drive you everywhere. You understand, of course, that there are professionials that rely on your business to feed their families. It would not be fair of you to do any of those tasks yourself, right? Sarcasm aside, please understand that some of us like to do some jobs for ourselves that are performed by professionals. Of course, it is important for us to realize when we might get in over our head and need to call in a contractor. Also please understand that I am saddened that you have found hard times, and lost your home, but I am proud of you to have found other work so you do not have to go on welfare. I pray you get back on your feet very soon and can provide for your wife and children and get back to your chosen profession. May God bless you and your family.
The granite tiles we bought for out kichen countertop came with bullnose edge pieces that “hook” over the edges (shaped like an L from the side). To our dismay we found that they only hang down 3/4″ instead of the 1″ that would be needed to cover the 3/4″ plywood + 1/4″ backerboard. Can we downsize the plywood to 1/2″?
lee, those are meant to be used with a narrow flat piece of granite below the bullnose edge. annoying, i know. but… there ya go. you should not downsize the plywood below 3/4, you would still end up with plywood showing anyway, once you added the @1/8 of mortar/thinset.
lee… a thought… you could apply a narrow piece of wood trim to the plywood edge before you cut and lay the tiles, so that the exposed part of the wood would not have edge grain ply showing but instead a narrow band of wood. You probably don’t want much of an overhang in this case. Perhaps making it so the bullnose rests ontop of and over the wood edging and the wood edging is flush with the cabinet (plus its thickness) if that makes sense (so yo don’t have an awkward wood sliver hanging down below the bullnose)- does that make any sense?
Thanks, Gentry. I don’t see how adding a thin strip of granite would work, since the part of the bullnose that hangs down over the cabinet is about 1″ thick. How would you attach a thin strip of granite that is less than 1/2″ thick? Your idea about the would trim might work if I can talk my husband into it. He keeps telling me he is not a carpenter, but I am determined to turn him into one.
I was actually thinking you would put a 1.5 to 2″ piece of granite on the front edge of the cabinet, then the bullnose piece over it (exposing an inch or so)something along those lines anyway.
We are purchasing a new home that has granite countertops. The builder has pieced the granite in the middle of the sink, front and back and the backsplash. Do you think this will cause water damage to the plywood under the granite tops? The granite is on top of the sink, not a sink that is placed in after the counter top (I hope I am making sense!). I have never seen this in any home. Usually it is pieced at a corner or in the middle of a nonconspicuaous space. Your help would be greatly appreciated. Note: The backsplash has a space at the top of the granite, maybe the ceilant was not applied correctly.
While it’s best if granite (or any countertops) are all one piece, on long counters sometimes you have no choice except to piece it. On this week’s episode of Today’s Homeowner, the granite countertop on the island in Danny’s Kuppersmith Project home is made from two pieces seamed together in the middle of the sink. You can see a picture of it being glued together in this week’s episode article at The Kuppersmith Project 7: Yard & Countertops. Whether your installer did a good job of gluing the seams together so they’ll hold up, however, is something I can’t answer.
Instead of a granite bullnose piece for the front counter edge, how would a 2″ high (with rounded, i.e., bullnose) piece of black walnut look? Single piece (6′) of walnut sanded and sealed with polyurothane? Any problems of expansion differences between wood and granite?
While the finish on a wood edging won’t hold up as well over time as granite, it should work okay on a granite tile countertop, if you secure it well and apply several coats of a water resistant, built-up finish like polyurethane.
Good luck with your project!
I’ve read several comments regarding applying granite tile over existing laminate countertops, but what about applying it to ceramic tile? My kitchen countertop is grouted ceramic tile (each tile approx 2 inches square), and I am DYING to replace it with granite. Any advice?
I would remove the ceramic tile first, rather than applying another layer of tile over it.
Good luck with your project!
Thank you for all this information. I really wanted a solid granite kitchen counter top for semi-new solid wood kitchen, but after reading (nearly)all these posts, am willing to use large black granite tiles with matching grout, as we’ve already some tiling experience. Thanks, everybody.
response to some of the questions.
Yes you always need backer board, even over formica, it gives tile/granite a firm backing to prevent flexing and causing breakage. someone said its about $10 for a 4 x 8 sheet. I have Never seen a 4 x 8 sheet of backer, In my area it comes in 1/4″ thick 3×5 sheets for about $10. Definately clean and seal your grout anually, this will keep it looking nice and prevent stains, sealer will wear off with use over time and needs redone.
#1 – You should be using MARINE grade plywood e.g. the stuff you can use outside. Why? Moisture. Moisture in and around sinks will ROT regular plywood. When this rots, you will have mold and/or eventual failure of the substrate. On top of this marine plywood you then use concrete backer board. I would additionally on top of this use ditra backer as it creates a solid floating substrate that resists movement from below and will prevent cracking.
#2 NO! Don’t even think about placing tiles on existing countertops. This would be a major hack job and you will be ripping this out in no time.
#3 Hiding grout is near impossible. Best bet is 1/16″ or 1/32″ grout and color match. Use a dark granite with dark grout and this will give you the best “solid slab” appearance. You won’t hide grout on light colored tiles.
Not sure where some of these people get their info, but if you want your tile to last and look professional, cutting corners on the foundation of the tiles is not the place to do it.
I have already installed the granite tiles and am fairly happy with how it turned out. UNFORTUNATELY, I have three spots that are not completely level where the tile meets another. Is there some sort of filler that could be used to level the surface before I seal the grout and tiles? The depressions are 1/16-1/8 inch deep. They don’t show very much, but I know they’re there and you can feel them if you run your fingers over the surface. thank you.
I have solid granite countertops in my kitchen. Recently my glass cooktop got broken and I removed to replaced with a new one. After removal, it was apparent that the opening for the cooktop was out of square and slightly undersized for the original cooktop. To achieve the desired squareness some material on the inside edge will need to be removed. To get to the proper size front to back will require approx. 1/8 inch be removed from either the front or back edge. Side to side will require 1/8 inch or less removed only in certain places, but not along the full length. I would assume grinding with a wheel made for the granite application, but with the money I have invested in the countertop I’m apprehensive about jumping in. What is the best tool and method to use for this job?
I have 12×12 granite counter tiles that I will be using as countertops. I came across a problem while installing I have an existing counter that has a rounded corneth what method should Use or do to make my project work with the rounded corner?
My husband and I installed granite tiles in our kichen but the compound we used to seal around the sink is causing a stain all around the edge of the sink. What can we do to fix it,and what could be a good sealer. We need help as soon is posible
I have applied granite tiles directly to 1 inch plywood several times using the newest flex thin set cement. I have not had any issues and one project is 5 years old. If you are using in a kitchen, water is not much of an issue. I also mixed my own “grout” using epoxy glue and clored it with grout color as you wish. The epoxy dries to a very hard glass finish and will not stain or allow moisture to pass through it.
We just got done doing a remodel on our kitchen, new hickory cabinets, with 18″ x 18′ granite tiles, black galaxy. I installed kerdi-board, glued it down, and then waterproof membraine. Now, we’re tiling yesturday started at about 3pm, finished at 5pm. Used the epoxy grout, what a messy undertaking… but it came out fantastic, this morning, son got up early to work, tyler and I set the double bowl ceramic cast iron sink in, and guess what, wont fit…. didnt take into acount about the inside beveled edge…have 7″ tile saw blade on my small tile saw table. I going to mount blade on hand grinder and gently grind away edge to make bevel, my only choice…
COULD YOU RECOMMEND A BRAND NAME
FOR A SEALER ?
I SEE MINWAX POLYURETANE AT
HOMEDEPOT BUT DON’T KNOW IF THAT
That is not a granite sealer ! Use an approved granite sealer it is available in the tile section at your favorite Home imporvement store.
I’m am applying 12 x 12 granite tiles on top of a wood night stand to use as a vanity in the downstairs half bath. Bring the tile down around the edge is not an option to finish it off. Should I build a small frame around the edge to set the tile down inside? That’s the only thing I can think to do at this point. Is there a better way?
We just installed a granite top and it has round dark circles on some areas like if it sucked up water or something? what could have happened?
My question is related to the topic but is actually about removing the 12 x 12 granite tiles on the wall. 10+ years ago we installed 12 x 12 granite tiles for our kitchen backsplash and the tiles have worked really well. It is time to update the look in the kitchen and I want to replace the granite wall tile / backsplash.
Any tips or suggestions for removing the granite from the wall? Given the large size and the fact that you can’t break the granite with a mallet to remove small pieces at a time, we haven’t made any progress.
Thanks in advance for your response!
Removing tile or granite applied with thinset type cement is always difficult and requires lots of manual labor. I would suggest a slow methodical process with cleanup as you go, don’t get in a rush. Not an easy task.
If I lay my 1/2″ thick 12’X12″ granite tile on my kitchen countertop with no gap will the grout hold? As I read through the various posts I saw this question asked but didn’t see an answer. Anyone have advice or experience to share? Thanks.
My granite counter tops look smooth and polished, but the counter tops feel dull. No matter what I do or how much I clean them, they just don’t feel clean. What do I need to do,will I have to have them re polished?
I have laid my granite tiles without any gap and filled in remaining gaps with epoxy.. 7 years old now and not any issues with the granite coming loose. Use a high quality flexible thin set for the cement . note to Donna, sounds like you have a poor quality granite. Make sure granite is cleaned with an acid cleaning agent sold for cleaning tile. If that does not work, sound like a quality issue.
I have granite slab counter tops. I hate the color! Can marble tile be laid over the granite? I would like to change my sink and faucet at the same time.
I would suppose you could, with the major issue being making the cement agent stick to the granite. Do some tests using a high quality thinset material. On word of caution, marble is a soft material, porous and will stain easily even with sealer. I would think twice about using marble in kitchen. I have laid tile over tile after distressing the surface of the tile being covered, this worked well so far on the shower floor.
We want to install 12×12 granite tiles on top of a formica top that is painted. The top is a small pennisula with a slide-in oven so we only need one width of tile to go around the oven and partial tiles to fill in the corner next to the wall and cabinet. The surface is level. Do we still need to use cement backer board if we won’t be butting full tiles up against each other? If we don’t need backer board, any suggestions on how to rough up the surface so the mortar will stick to the painted countertop surface?
I would use backer board , because of the painted surface.
OK,I have read through most of the comments… I am in the middle of building a bar on my back porch. I live in southwest Florida, so we get lots of rain in the summer time, which means lots of humidity. I Plan on using 18 X 18 Granite tiles on my bar top. From what I’ve read, It looks like I will need at least 1/4 backer board to mount my tiles to. The question I have, has to do with the chicago style bar rail that will be butted up against the granite tile. Do I have to extend the backer board to the outer edges of the top where the arm rail will be attached, or just under the granite tiles? My Problem, Is that using the backer board adds another 1/4″ to the height Of my granite, which may create a bigger gap between the arm rail and the tile because of the rounded edge of the rail butting up against the tile… 2nd, what do you recommend as far as sealing the granite once it’s installed? And, should it be sealed before or after it’s been grouted?
No need to put backer board under bar rail. Fasten the bar rail well. Seal the granite after you grout, use any good granite sealer or protector. Granite is not porous and once it is polished, it holds up well to most uses.
We have a Formica counter with an undermount farm sink. The counters are 8 years old and the seems are showing around the sink perimeter. Is there some sort of trim I can purchase to cover the exposed seems? The rest of the counter tops are in perfect condition and we would hate to spend money replacing them with a solid surface material. Thanks Bob
I am going to install 12″ granite squares for my kitchen counter top. I have already installed 3/4″ cabinet grade plywood on the counters. I have 2 questions. The 3/4′ plywood plus the 1//4″ backer board plus thinset makes it over an inch thick. The granite tile bullnose edge pieces are not deep enough to cover the 1″ plus thickness. I guess I either have to skip the backer board or skip the decorative bullnose pieces and do the edge like the above example. Also I would like to butt the pieces together and not have any grout gap. The tile store said this would work ok but that I would still need some unsanded grout installed.
I am putting granite around a sunken tub. Three sides and the top. long-side’s of the tub will be just 4″ wide, head/foot of the top will be about 12″. The wood framing is complete and very-solid.
Questions: Do I need Cement Board on the top? Can I skip the Cement Board for the sides (about 12″)? .. the sides will go to the tile floor, glued to the wood frame, floor and granite top abobe.
I am building an island for my kitchen , and I want to install 2 or 4 tiles to be able to lay a hot pan or pot on it . Would granite be safe or do I need another kind of stone ?
Thank You for your time .
You can easy to install granite countertop by yourself, I just mention few basic steps: If you have Countertops than Prep the Cabinets to Receive Granite Countertops and cut the plywood sink hole. Join the granite seams. Glue the granite tile down and glue the seams. So it is basics things you have to do to install granite countertop. I hope this will help to make beautiful and refurnished your kitchen.Thanks!
After installing polished granite tiles do you need to use sealant on the tiles as well as the grout? Are there types of sealant better for countertop use? I’m thinking food safety or durability, since we are talking about kitchen surfaces.
My husband and I are also considering other types of tile with different finishes than that of granite, for our kitchen countertops. Does anyone have recommendations or warnings to avoid certain types of tile or finishes?
Wow. Great idea. How often should you reseal it?
Hi, Joey! There’s a test for every kind of home improvement, and that certainly applies to granite as well.
You can take the water test to determine whether you need to seal your granite countertops. Jut pour 1/3 or 1/4 cup of water on the countertop and see how long it takes to absorb.
If it’s an hour (or even a half-hour), you won’t need to worry about resealing. But if absorption is immediate, we’d recommend resealing annually. Even if the water’s not immediately absorbed, you may need to reseal every three or five years.
Oh that’s cool, I thought you can feel the difference and know when to reseal it again. How about for removing stains? How could I go about that?
That would depend on the type of stain and its severity. We recommend taking a photo of the stain and sharing details with your local home center so they can recommend the best product.
Thanks Danny. Very informative. I have been taking notes about what I need to know before purchasing new granite countertops in my kitchen. I’ve got the maintenance figured out but now I need to know what the color has to do with the pricing.
Thomas** not danny haha
Okay I will do that. I’ve also been considering to change the whole countertop to a different material, I’ve been looking at Quartzite but I heard it’s just broken glass that’s glued together? Does that mean it’s cheaper or more fragile? I’ve been looking for someone to break down the prices but everyone doesn’t post prices online.
Would you be able to tell me average prices per sq. ft for granite? I am seeing so many different prices for different colors so I just want an average of what to expect
We don’t offer project estimates or quotes on construction materials, as this varies by location, but we encourage checking your local phone listings for suppliers and the best quotes. 🙂