Wife wants little to no grout lines on countertop [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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08-18-2004, 01:55 PM
Though not a complete newbie, I've only tiled one bathroom wall and a backsplash several years ago, never a countertop. I'd like to tile OVER TOP of a laminate counter in our vacation home/condo. (For one thing, getting rid of the old countertop would present a BIG problem!) Wife agrees we need a new countertop but hates grout lines and thinks they are crumb-catchers and bacteria harborers. I'm thinking of using 13 x 13 tiles, butt-joining them and using non-sanded grout to (hopefully) end up with a level surface. Am I dreaming???

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08-18-2004, 02:10 PM
Hi Ken, glad you joined and welcome :)

I don't think you will find too many (if anyone) here that would go along with wife persons druthers -- butt joining tile not a good thing to do. :shake: A 1/16" space for stone tile with non-sanded grout is standard fare. If your more significant other can't live with grout joints, even 1/16", then maybe you should focus on a solid surface CT.

08-18-2004, 03:39 PM
You'll never get tile that size flat enough for that to look good.

08-18-2004, 06:26 PM
Then you'd really be in trouble Ken.

08-18-2004, 06:30 PM
Nobody likes grout joints! :) Most larger tiles just ain't made for that,i don't care for them on counters,i do em though,but i can't make them look like slabs :bow:

08-18-2004, 08:17 PM
Dave...since I've only worked with the 4 x 4's previously, I don't quite understand why bigger tiles wouldn't lay flat. Please educate me! While we're at it, I'd love to find out why some grout lines are wider than others? Is there a reason to make them wider sometimes or what? Thanks, guys!

08-19-2004, 05:43 AM
The bigger tiles require a flatter surface because there are fewer joints to hide the differences. Also, a larger tile will telegraph a surface irregularity because its bigger size magnifies the surface contours.

Narrow joints mean the tile edges are closer together. If you have a height difference (lippage), it shows more if the tiles are very close together, and less if they are far apart.

Combine the two, and you see that large format tiles with very narrow grout lines becomes a very difficult installation to get right.

08-19-2004, 08:42 AM
What is the largest tile you recommend I use for a counter top? I appreciate all the help you've given me so far. Thanks

08-19-2004, 10:22 AM
12" or 13" tiles work quite well on flat CT surfaces Ken - but are you still thinking butt joined tiles?

08-19-2004, 10:34 AM
What about a 24" square tile that covers the whole counter depth? Fewer grout lines to be concerned about and fewer chances to get mismatched tiles.

Steven Hauser
08-19-2004, 10:53 AM
Just here to address one additional grout joint width factor.

Many times a material that says it is 12x12 or 40 mm x40 mm is actually smaller than that. We view the generic size as a nominal value. So if the material is actually 11&7/8" wide by 11 7/8" wide your grout joint would be what to acheive 24" total?

That's right you have a a 1/4" joint to fill.

So pay attention to the actual tile size when deciding what size grout joint you want.

This information should be taken in consideration along with the room size.


A 24" tile sounds good for the counter but again what about the front edge?

Consider the full layout, the true levelness of the substrate and your the flatness of your room.

Large tiles need really flat substrates.


08-19-2004, 11:17 AM
I know for sure I am NOT going to butt join the tiles. At this point I'm not sure I'm even going to do the CT. My wife keeps wavering about what she wants. If its one thing I don't want is her to be unhappy when the job is done. I laid a press and stick tile kitchen floor one time and she didn't like the color of the floor when it was done and I had to take it up and put down new tile. I sure DON'T want to do that with a CT.

08-19-2004, 11:47 AM
If one uses a 24" tile, he could use pre-made bullnose pieces from the overhang/front edge just 12" tiles, but you have twice the pieces than flat tiles. It is possible to slide the 24" tile forward an inch for the overhang and have a fabricator grind a bullnose edge to it with a straight narrow (1.25") vertical piece underneath to cover the counter buildup. Something like what Monicakm did (http://www.pbase.com/image/20630818). For the back, you could make the backspash behind the counter top tile instead of on top.

Of course, all the numbers have to work out specifially for the measurements of your tiles, like Steven Hauser said.

I found some tiles from my local Tile Shop (http://www.tileshopsuperstore.com/) that are 24.4" square and 2cm thick which works out almost perfectly in the manner I listed above. I haven't done it yet because my new cabinets are not even delivered, so I only speak theoretically.


Derek & Jacqui
08-19-2004, 03:35 PM
I knew they were on the way just hoped it might have been a little bit longer. The last time we used that size tile was in Germany ten years+ago with the only thing to cut them with was an angle grinder, :cry: company wet saw 3hr drive away.
with this size tile you want a pool table flat surface.
If the wife is worried about germs in the joints you can always use :bang: E Poxy grout

08-21-2004, 04:48 AM
How much countertop area are you talking about?

Solid granite slab countertop can be had for $40-$60 per linear foot, installed. That's probably not much more than twice the cost of a stone tile (figuring 2 tiles per linear foot, plus some sort of bull-nosed front tile), and you won't have to do anything but remove the old countertop (or pay for someone else to do it). Then you solve the grout line problem since you won't have any. :)