Tile over Laminate counter top -DEBATE- [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile

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Jim wood
03-07-2009, 08:02 AM
O.K. I know many here are opposed to this and at one time I was too. But a Laminate counter top in good shape is perfectly flat, most are made with MDF not particle board,the laminate acts as a water barrier so it wont get wet, except around the sink, which if the sink is siliconed down, I don't see the problem.

So let the debate begin !

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davem
03-07-2009, 08:07 AM
I don't trust laminate to stay stuck. The stuff in my old house started letting go after around 8 years. Was done with the water based contact cement by the prior owner just before we bought it.

Shaughnn
03-07-2009, 08:24 AM
I don't see any long-term benefit. If the client wants a tile top, then it's a simple act of explaining that the laminate *has* to be removed first, while providing your client with enough information to distrust anyone who tries to under-bid you by proposing to tile over the laminate. You don't have to be aggressive about it, just matter-of-factly confident and let them make up their own mind.
Bottom line is that it's bad practice and shouldn't be considered unless you either don't care about the client or are not confident in your own ability to remove the old top. I'm sorry if I'm coming across accusatory in this, but I really don't see any reason that a professional should consider this as an option.
Shaughnn

cx
03-07-2009, 08:47 AM
There's no doubt the tile can be stuck to the laminate, Jim, that was never the question at all. We can stick tile to your mirror if you want, eh?

But the problems remain as already pointed out. Not to mention insufficient support for stone tiles that folks frequently want.....most are made with MDF not particle board....Not really a big improvement there. Doesn't take much moisture to make either of them start changing shape, eh? May never happen, of course. But if it does, you lose.

For DIY projects it may be an acceptable installation, but I sure wouldn't do it in my customer's house.

There's also the problems treating the front edges, 'specially the post-formed kind with the rounded front. And the back edge if you hafta cut the little splash off, exposing the core material.

And on and on. I just don't see it being a "feature" at all.

My opinion; worth price charged.

tilelayer
03-07-2009, 08:54 AM
I don't see any long-term benefit. If the client wants a tile top, then it's a simple act of explaining that the laminate *has* to be removed first, while providing your client with enough information to distrust anyone who tries to under-bid you by proposing to tile over the laminate. You don't have to be aggressive about it, just matter-of-factly confident and let them make up their own mind.
Bottom line is that it's bad practice and shouldn't be considered unless you either don't care about the client or are not confident in your own ability to remove the old top. I'm sorry if I'm coming across accusatory in this, but I really don't see any reason that a professional should consider this as an option.
Shaughnn


Not topic related but this is how you stay busy in these tough times, great post shaughnn!

Levi the Tile Guy
03-07-2009, 10:50 AM
I would never consider it. I couldn't sleep at night knowing I did a customer that way. And sure couldn't confidently stand by my work if I were to do it that way. I've never had a home owner question me in that regard, though I only mud my countertops if they want granite/marble and have had them freak out about that.

thuffner3
03-07-2009, 12:55 PM
I've done quite a few tile over laminate counter installations.
I use metal lath, nail the crap out of it, then layer it with a nice high grade thinset. Let that cure then tile as normal.
As with all counter tops though, I wont do one unless the customer agrees to use epoxy grout.
I'll stand behind my method for (10) years.

MTCW

Peace
Neil

cx
03-07-2009, 02:17 PM
What's the purpose of the metal lath in that installation method, Neil? :scratch:

java
03-07-2009, 04:52 PM
Here are some pics of some counter tops over laminate I did in a house some friends are remodeling to sell. This was done back in Jan. of 2007. They are still working on the house and the tops still look good.

I screwed 1/2 inch Permabase over the laminate, with modified thinset underneath of course, and stuck the travertine with the same thinset. Hand polished all the edges with a PVA kit.

gueuzeman
03-07-2009, 04:54 PM
I've never don it, but given the opportunity to do so I would. That is.....
Customer needs to be informed that it could go bad due to laminate letting go and how it is not an "industry spec" installation process.

Hey. some folks just want a quick turn around and if it goes 5-8 years it's enough. Yes, MUST do epoxy grout. CX is right that rolled lip tops are a no-no and 4" backsplashes are a bit problematic.

Shaughn and Rick, I will respectfully disagree as long as the customer is aware of the possible problems it is their decision to make. It is your decision to make if you want to do it or not. I have over the years turned down a few jobs that I saw to be big problems waiting to happen, but I have as recently as a month ago replaced the tile 20" around a rotting tub surround as the HO didn't want to do the whole thing. We got rid of the moldy glue on sheetrock and got CBU and thinset there. I got a few days work I wasn't sitting home.

We had a thread a week or so back inthe shallow end about Tavy thin skin for countertops. I've never used it, but I'd be fully confident of using Speed-flex peel and stick membrane on the laminate.

Luckily, I havent been in a house that didn't have slab tops (95%) or corian (4%) the last few years, the remaining 1% having laminate.

gueuze- mostly a high-priced call guy, occasionally a common whore.

java
03-07-2009, 04:54 PM
.

Jhereg
03-07-2009, 05:38 PM
Not sure about anyone else, but it doesn't take very long to rip an old counter off, toss on some plywood and re-cut sinkhole and selfedge. Doing a top one way or the other is not going to make or break a company. You may think you're covered because you explained the downsides (cost difference is not that much, time is not that much so I can't argue for it myself) even if you have them sign off on it, do you really think you won't be called back,and be held responsible, if it goes bad?

I vote for doing it right, explaining carefully why it should be done right and what can go wrong if done the other way.

Aquera
03-07-2009, 06:14 PM
I did it once before I started doing tile full time - The laminate tops are usually held on with just a few screws, and the one I did actually flexed a bit in the middle.. this was a rush job for someone who was selling their house. It was $2 tile with regular grout, and despite the fact it was a huge improvement, I'm sure its been probably ripped out by now... hence, I'll probably avoid ever doing it again if I can.. hate the feeling of knowingly doing band-aid jobs...

Levi the Tile Guy
03-07-2009, 06:19 PM
Not sure about anyone else, but it doesn't take very long to rip an old counter off, toss on some plywood and re-cut sinkhole and selfedge.

exactly:tup1:

K_Tile
03-07-2009, 06:53 PM
?Ditra?

java
03-07-2009, 07:56 PM
Something wrong with the way I did those tops?

I have only done those tops like that but I don't see anything not "right" about them. The laminate tops were solid. The area is not very big and there was/is no flex or movement in the tops at all. I did install CBU so the tile is not installed directly on top of the laminate. What's the problem?

duneslider
03-07-2009, 08:36 PM
Jason,
If you are willing to carry the warranty on them then they are great. There isn't an industry standard that involves tile over laminate counters.

I learned to do counters with two layers of particle board. I thought it was a waste of money to use expensive plywood when I first showed up here. I don't use particle board anymore for anything but shelving in my closets.

gueuzeman
03-07-2009, 09:02 PM
There is also no industry standard for installing tile onthe bottom of a space shuttle. One does fall off here and there, but for the most part they work.

While we do what we can to do "buletproof" installations, we live inan imperfect world, and sometimes we do the best we can with what we've got. Like mcGuyver-
http://www.crownedfox.com/video/stills/sb_2006_mastercard_mcguyver.jpg
http://www.journerdism.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/01/macgyver-clip.jpg
http://www.tuaw.com/media/2006/03/mcguyver2.gif
gueuze

Tool Guy - Kg
03-07-2009, 10:29 PM
...as long as the customer is aware of the possible problems it is their decision to make.That's a slippery one. These risk-decisions made by the customer are rarely in writing and is just the sorta thing that gets dis-remembered at the most opportune time. Putting stuff like this in writing to document the risks and pitfalls, and how the customer understands the decision is simply too time consuming to be practical most of the time. :)

And the answer to gueuze's last picture is: He'd use his socks. :nod:

gueuzeman
03-08-2009, 08:16 AM
I have put those litle paragraphs in on a few occasions, and will be doing it in about 2 weeks when I speed-flex and tile a 40 sq ft. entry over hardwood in a rental unit. :deal: I have done many installs for this person in many rental properties and her words after explaining the out of spec nature of that application was "well, there's no time or money to remove the hardwood. And besides, it's a rental, not my house."

On monday I will do a frankengueuze shower system waterproofing install.

Perhaps I'm just the wrong guy to comment on these kinds of issues. :nod:

gueuze- for hore, or something....

Levi the Tile Guy
03-08-2009, 11:39 AM
posted by guezeman,
I have put those litle paragraphs in on a few occasions,

Gueze that may work and may not. I think the wording would have to be perfect and envolve something along the lines of at "ho's directive, bla bla bla, holding no liability to said contractor in the event of failure. Even so in the event of a lawsuit I think a good attorney could argue it is the profesionals job to explain and know the proper installation methods therefore still possably holding contractor liable. I'm far from an attorney, but in this day and age people will sue for anything and usually find a way to win.

tilemanct
03-08-2009, 02:15 PM
I cant remember the last time I tiled a counter top. In our area every one does stone slabs on the counters.

Bill Vincent
03-08-2009, 11:59 PM
Hey Gueuze-- you might want to check out the following thread before you add those little paragraghs again:

http://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=30627&page=4&pp=15

pay particular attention to post #55.

gueuzeman
03-09-2009, 06:10 AM
Bill- Either I've read that thread or one like it here before. Read post #55.

Gobis- Only a very small percentage ever get as far as an attorney much less court.

I'm a small residential contractor, most catastrophic failures I could cause would amount to a few thousand bucks, tops. Most actual failures would come to a few hundred, figure 10-15 cracked tile were I to do a "big" (slightly larger than small) exterior patio.

Also see post #57-
Gobis- Secondly, you should probably get out of the tile business and become a fishing charter Captain if your never doing a job again unless everything is by the book, you would have a better chance of success. Nobody does a job by the book, I don't care what he or she may say and I dare anyone to prove different. I can assure you there is fault with every job out there if you go "by the book". It is all about risk management.

-------------------------

Remember, we're not talking about the between building walkway on the 431st floor (EDIT- make that 41st) of the Petronas Tower in Kaula Lumpur, we're talking about a countertop.
http://www.tallestbuildingintheworld.com/tallestbuildingv2admin/images/200706010304200.petronas_towers.JPG

In the end, you said it best-
Bill V- Things like as Davey said-- is this a contractor you know? One that you've done a lot of work for? Someone that's a stand up guy that'll own up if it goes south? How much do you have invested in the job that you won't see if you walk? How much will it cost you if it DOES get pinned on you, regardless of waiver?


Meantime, I'll have to take some piccys of the repair at the entry to show how my out of spec install will probably perform great in comparison to the horrible tile job that already failed there. And besides, Eileen, the landlord/property management lady loves me.:yeah: Why would I try to jeopardize that?


gueuze

Bill Vincent
03-09-2009, 07:04 AM
Jim, That's all well and good. if you're willing to take the risk that it might screw up, fine. As Dave also said, it's all about risk management. But don't put it on paper that you know it's not right and you're going to do it anyway. That's all I'm saying.

pooky
03-09-2009, 08:22 PM
scarify and upholstery staple the crap out of the laminate and use high quality thinny -- be sure to burn it in and backbutter the tile

cross your fingers

if a customer won't spring for a new substrate and or backerboard likely price is the issue not quality

sadly, you'll have to get them to sign off on a lesser quality product ie limited warranty

I've stapled lathe to laminate as well for stone when the customer
won't spring for a more correct method

sign of the times

walk away if you can -- adapt if you must

stephen

cx
03-09-2009, 09:15 PM
Same question as in post #8, Stephen.

pooky
03-09-2009, 09:27 PM
more reliable mechanical bond than with thinny alone

but as I said -- NOT preferable to a more suitable substrate

stephen

pooky
03-09-2009, 09:32 PM
when setting the facia -- sometimes laminate counters have that gross beveled
edge and by lipping the lathe over the edge you minimize the effects of disparate surfaces moving as the lath makes that edge contiguous

but again . . .:deadhorse

Absolutely prefer a new and sound substrate

stephen

ob1kanobee
03-09-2009, 10:16 PM
They have a company here in Orlando that comes in with granite and installs it directly over the laminate tops. Advertise right here in the mall.

http://www.granitetransformations.com/installation.aspx

Tool Guy - Kg
03-10-2009, 11:26 PM
Ben,

Your link is to a hollow granite "shell" of ~1 cm granite that is dropped-over the old laminate top. That's a different animal altogether, as it's not individual tiles being assembled/bonded to the laminate top. :)