Benissimo granite countertop [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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03-02-2006, 01:14 PM
Incredible site, kudos to you tile missionaries.

I am installing Benissimo 12 x 12 granite (Fiama Rialto) tiles on the countertops in our kitchen, and using the same tiles, cut to 3” for backsplash, topped with 1” pencil molding. Also, installing a stainless steel, undermount sink. The sink and faucet cutouts are being subbed out to a local granite fabricator.

Based on the information I’ve gathered from several relevant threads, my plan is as follows:

Two layers of ¾” exterior grade plywood**, glued (titebond, or equivalent) and screwed together, and to the cabinet tops; Redgard, or similar waterproofing, on plywood; ¼” CBU thinset with ¼” x ¼” trowel and screwed (while thinset is wet) to plywood, and seams taped; seal tiles with solvent impregnator sealer; set tiles with modified thinset with 3/8” x 3/8” trowel and set backsplash tiles to drywall with modified thinset (all tiles spaced with dimes) and grout with Spectralock; apply silicone at counter/backsplash joint, and around sink edge. Have a beer, or two, depending on quality of finished product.

** One issue: The bullnose edge on the Benissimo tiles covers a maximum substrate height of 1 1/8”. In order to use two layers of plywood I was planning on recessing the bottom ply layer INTO the cabinet top. This would minimize deflection (peace of mind - I have a couple little kids who love to climb on counters to get to stuff), and give me the perfect height for the BN edge to cover the remaining substrate (3/4” ply and ¼” CBU + thinset) :crazy: – Am I nuts, will this cause a problem?

Thanks for any advice,


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03-02-2006, 02:18 PM
Weclome, John!

A couple of comments:

Test seal a piece of your granite before you commit to large scale sealing. Some granites won't absorb any sealer, so you'd be wasting your time and possibly aggrevating you granite.

Recessing teh bottom layer of plywood is one technique I often advocate, so naturally, it'll work. :D

03-02-2006, 02:23 PM
John, I'd say you have a well thought out plan. Excellent and I'd say you are good to go with it. An overhang of one inch or so of single layer 3/4" should be plenty stiff to support a little kid, maybe even a big kid. You know about not using CDX plywood, right? Titebond is good stuff having spread 2 gallons of it myself yesterday. If you can, pre-drill the top layer so you can really suck the bottom one up tight.

Welcome to the Forum by the way.


Edit P.S.

How'd that injineer from eastern Tennessee git in there so fast. ;)

03-02-2006, 02:48 PM
Hi John, I'll add just a couple points.
The Redgard is mostly wasted if it's penetrated by oodles of fasteners from the 1/4" CBU above, I'd leave it out or put it on top. Another option is to use Ditra (1/8") instead of the CBU+Redgard.
The Benissimo edge reallly only covers about an inch after you deduct the thickness of the thinset. Another possible option instead of recessing the the bottom layer of plywood is to add a short piece of tile from your scrap pile to the vertical front edge & tuck it up underneath the Benissimo edge, like in the picture below on the right.
Usually we cut the plywood flush with the front of the cabinet because the tile itself already has a generous overhang.
Thicker body laminating screws (HD has 'em) also will suck them together extra tight without predrilling.

The biggest issue you have to consider on this job however is what kind of beer. This could make the difference between success & failure. I would recommend a good full body microbrew porter myself. :yummy:

Steven Hauser
03-02-2006, 06:21 PM
Nice work Tom,

A slab would have been easier though.


03-02-2006, 06:46 PM
Cheaper too.
Well at least in the ball park. I suggested it, but this is what they wanted. :shrug:

03-07-2006, 09:30 PM
Is there an industry standard for faucet hole size and location?

I got my tiles cut for our undermount sink and faucet holes drilled at a local fabricator, and there were lots of questions regarding hole size and placement. When the tiles came back, the holes locations were off (somewhere between my measurements and marking, the guy I talked to and the folks doing the cutting in the shop, something got lost in translation).

I have a four-hole setup with the spout in the middle, soap dispenser to the left, faucet handle to the right and sprayer to the far right. All I know is the holes are generally spaced 4" on center, and that's where my knowledge ends.

So now that it's a do-over, how far from the edge of the sink do they go, and are all the holes 1 3/8"?

...and the fridge with the beer in it crapped out over the weekend

John :confused:

03-08-2006, 07:03 AM
1 3/8" is the most common size for faucet holes. Most stems fit through them and most flanges cover them. Smaller holes can be drilled if the flange or lock nut assembly is really really tiny.

Edit: The hole for the spout will be centered on the sink or if it is a bigbowl/small bowl over the sink divider)

4" on center spacing is also right, depending on if you wanted the spray/dispenser at the far end on the regular spacing or in a different location, in which case you should have pointed it out to the fabricator (in a firm voice filled with authority - uh no - wait that was for doggy obiedience :lol2: )

The faucets should have a little wiggle room - how far off were the holes drilled?

03-08-2006, 07:31 AM

The main problem for my hole locations was the distance from the back edge of the sink - the holes were too far from the sink, and the high arc spout we have would hit the handle on a casement window at the sink. So how far from the sink (or how close in this case) is considered acceptable for the holes

Thanks again


by the way, from reading other threads, boy you know your rock!

03-08-2006, 08:34 AM
:o Thanks, JD

We normally set them back so the outside of the hole is about 1 1/2" from the side of the cut-out, but that would depend on the width of the sink lip (stainless) or the location of the pre-drilled holes (cast iron or other composites)

03-08-2006, 02:30 PM

What is that granite in the pic?