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tomtuttle
01-04-2003, 03:06 PM
Hoping that y'all will show me the usual amount of help, patience and grace, despite my history here :wtf: :D

Time to embark on ... tiling the kitchen counter and backsplash (insert eerie music here). I've done my searches, read my books, studied the forums, and I'm still too stupid to feel confident :dunce:

I'll post some pichers in a subsequent message.

1. I'm interested in just tiling directly over the laminate (I know, CBU is better, and mud rules....) for a couple reasons. Mostly, I'm concerned about the width of the counter edge, which I plan to do in wood. Not putting the CBU down first saves me ~3/8". Would you sleep better by talking me into the CBU (wider wood trim - probably ~2 1/4") OR what is conventional wisdom on tile adhesive if I insist on taking the shortcut (I resurrected a post where John said the M word :eek: ) Flexbond? M? Epoxy? And if I do plan to put the CBU down, do I use modified or unmodified over the laminate or something else?

2. I'm planning to take JB's advice and install the wood trim first then butt the tiles up to it. That's going to leave a hairline crack between the tiles and the wood. Do I caulk that edge? Before or after tiling? Or is it "better" to take MB's advice and leave a "caulkable" (1/8") gap there?

3. Paxil, beer or hard liquor?

More later.

:bow: :bow: :bow:

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tomtuttle
01-04-2003, 03:29 PM
Trying to attach a picture, but this is just too many disciplines to learn in one day.

tomtuttle
01-04-2003, 03:30 PM
Hey, it worked!! Can you do two pictures in one post?

John Bridge
01-04-2003, 05:10 PM
Way to go, Tom. Of course, it works. :D

I may have uttered the M word a time or two, but there is no way we will allow you to use that stuff on your counters. We'll excommunicate you and hire another brewmaster if you do that. :D

On the wood edge, here's the way it ought to work. You take your handy-andy skill saw and cut the overhangs off the edge of the counters, right back to the cabinet face frames. Then install the wood trim. That gives you a 3/4 in. projection if you use one-by stock.

I would install 1/4 in. CBUs to the tops. Use any kind of cheap thin set you want, and nail them down with roofing nails. Then use good thin set (modified) to set your tiles.

On the splash you can go right over the sheetrock after you remove the current low splash. It looks from here like it's not molded into the top, but if it is, I would suggest removing the tops and starting out with new plywood.

It was Corona last night. Tonight it's only Rolling Rock. ;)

tomtuttle
01-04-2003, 07:01 PM
Thanks, John. I appreciate your help (as always). :) Ten-Four on the Mastic; I was just funnin' with ya.

And yes, I am going to cut off the raduis corners at 45.

There is an odd detail about the cabinets, though.

Simply cutting back to the front of the face frame does not absolve the necessity of having the new wood edge trim go down to the level of the existing laminate trim. The cabinets do not have a square outside corner; they are "notched" at the top and the notch is filled with a ~2x2 rough frame edge. So, sawing back the existing edge doesn't help my ultimate "height of edge" problem.

So, I guess my question should be:
Is it better to have a ~2 1/4" edge with CBU under the tile or a (more standard) <2" edge and tile directly to the laminate?

And hey, what about that gap between the tile and the wood edge? ;)

cx
01-04-2003, 07:48 PM
Tom:

When I do tile tops over mud, my standard wood edge is, in fact, 2 1/4". I usually try to make an edge with the same profile as the stiles and rails of the cabinet doors. It looks fine in a two and a quarter width, and that width is about the minimum I can get by with using mud and still get at least a quarter inch lap over the top of the base cabinets. So I'd definately say do the CBU and the wider trim.

My biggest concern for your top is that it is likely to be particle board and that solid wood edging may not be present except where the overhang exists. Attaching the edge to a particle board edge will work well enough so long as it never gets wet in that area.

Which would bring us to the issue of the grout v. caulk issue. Caulk would better prevent the hairline crack that you will get if you grout that line, but then you have a caulk line there, which I don't favor when I do tops.

You will get arguments both ways on that issue.

I'll be right. :D

tomtuttle
01-04-2003, 09:17 PM
Thanks, cx. Of your last comment, I have no doubt :yeah:

I am grateful for your confirmation about the dimension of the edge. Will do the CBU. :yeah:

The edge seems to be doubled 3/4" plywood except on the overhang area where it is lumber. There is no particle board under the laminate (1965 or thereabouts). Howsabout if I run a bead of silicone along the edge between the new wood trim and the old trimmed laminate/plywood top? Any other ideas (besides mud)?

I am fortified and emboldened by the collective wisdom here. Many thanks.

cx
01-04-2003, 10:06 PM
It is good not to have some particle board. :)

I can see it being not a bad idea to caulk that joint betwix the new edge trim and the edge of the CBU before installing tile. Never thought about it, but it couldn't hurt.

I'll caution, as I always do, that you finish the edge trim before installing tile. At least finish the back side so it doesn't get wet with the thinset and grout. Probably not as much a problem as when using mud, but you still don't want that trim gathering extra moisture after it's glued up and all. And at least stain the front side or you'll damn sure get some thinset or grout splatters on it whilst it's raw.

Will you be able to match the cabinet door profile on the edge? Always makes it look like it belongs.

tomtuttle
01-05-2003, 12:17 PM
I found that there is a big bow in my wall with which I need remediation help.

The wall is nice and flat for about 8 feet and then it turns away from the counter so that, at the 10-foot end mark, it is about 1/4" out of alignment. There is an electrical outlet right in the middle of the 2 foot section. The bow starts right at the edge of the stove and ends at the refrigerator, so is contained pretty completely over one section of countertop.

I've thought of four options:
1. Ignore it and deal with what could be some pretty nasty lippage on the splash (I had planned to use 12" tiles on diagonal)
2. Float mud (or something else?) over just that section, so that it would go from feather edge to a 1/4" thickness. This way, the original wall plane would be preserved throughout the splash. But I'd have to deal with that outlet in the middle.
3. Mount 1/4" CBU over the entire width of the splash, shimming out in the offending section. I'll be using wood trim at the outside edge of the splash, so adjusting the thickness of the splash should not be a deal-breaker for either #2 or #3.
4. Give up, hire somebody and get back to my beer. (okay, that's not really an option, but I like to keep hope alive)

Help?

Also -
cx ably advised me about the height of wood edge trim, but what about the thickness? I had sort of planned to minimize the thickness (to say, 1/4" or 3/8") but noted that JB referred to one-by stock (3/4"). I'll probably end up with 2 1/4" high trim, and only be able to attach it in the lower 3/4". Are there structural considerations, or should I just do whatever looks good?

I thank you, as does SWMBO. :bow:

John Bridge
01-05-2003, 04:52 PM
Seems to me you'll have more attaching surface than 3/4 in. You're going to be coming down over the fronts of the cabs about an inch and a half. That's your attachment. If you have to add some filler in the front of the cabs, that's okay, too. All that should be above the rough top is enough for 1/4 in. backer and the thickness of the tiles (plus a sixteenth for thin set).

On the back splash, is that the stud by the outlet is bowed out? If that's the case, it might be fairly simple to remove the drywall in that area and deal with the stud. Don't worry about the outlete box. You can move it out or in with no problem. You could then nail up a new piece of drywall and tile over the whole mess.

On finishing the wood before the tile installation, I'll concur. I messed up a pretty nice piece of red oak years ago by floating mud up against it. :D

On the thickness of the wood, you need about 3/4 to keep things straight. It's terribly hard to deal with something only a quarter-inch thick. 3/4 looks good, too.

tomtuttle
01-05-2003, 06:37 PM
Thank you, John. :) You're right about having more attachment room than I indicated. Brain fart on my part.

I'd planned to pre-finish and mask the wood per your instructions in the book (I really am trying to smarten!)

I'll use thicker stock too. I appreciate the advice.

The wall is still befuddling, though. Thanks to your question, I am now theorizing that it IS the stud by the outlet that is the culprit, but it is bowed IN not out. I'm not all that jazzed about replacing the drywall, since the next stud to the right of there is behind the fridge (another outlet) and has perfectly nice texture and new paint, etc. on it and will not be covered by tile.

Since the vertical trim will be wood and the thickness at that point is not critical, could I apply an initial thickness of thinset to "fill in" somewhat?

tomtuttle
02-07-2003, 05:04 PM
I'm still puzzling over "flattening" my wall. Tried an initial coat of thinset, but am having trouble with the "craft" part - I'm messy and thinset is sticky!

Another question - I'm having trouble with aligning the woodworking and tilework schedules on this project. Can I set the tile to *temporary* wood trim (furring strips - to align the edges and such) and then subsequently replace those strips with the actual, finished trim? I'm assuming that I would need to do this BEFORE grouting.

And on doing plunge cuts in 12" tile for the backsplash - I'm planning to use the mighty plasplugs and nippers, but don't have a good technique in my mind. Do you make several, narrow, parallel cuts in the area of the outlet and then bust the little pieces out and nip them clean? Do you do the cuts from the front or the back?

Many thanks :bow:

John Bridge
02-07-2003, 07:39 PM
Tom,

Setting the tiles to temporary sticks will work. No problem.

I've never tried a plunge cut on my plasplug, but I'm sure it can be done. Since the blade will be beneath the tile, you should probably make a couple exploratory cuts in the middle of your hole and work your way out to the edges. You would mark the opening on the front of the tile but keep the front facing up when you lower the tile over the blade.

A better way would be to use a small grinder if you have one. That way you can do most of the work from the front where you can see what's going on.

cx
02-07-2003, 08:04 PM
Only drawback to using the temporary wood stops is that you can't then clamp the real edging to the front of the top/cabinet for gluing except at the sink opening - if any.

Best to make the temporary strips the same width as the real ones so you can be sure the top and bottom will be in the right place, eh?

But you knew that. :)

Claudia
02-07-2003, 08:42 PM
Hi Tom

I have been reading your message about tiling your countertop. Did you ever decide about tiling over the laminate?
I am facing the same dilema, my ountertop is already 1 1/2 inches thick and I was trying to keep it from getting thicker. If I have to put the backer Board on it and then the tile we are probably talking about another 1/2 inch. What did you end up doing ??

I just found this site and really like it.
Thanks
Claudia

tomtuttle
02-07-2003, 10:08 PM
Thanks, John and cx. I appreciate the guidance, as always. :)

No grinder. SWMBO let me buy the Felker TM75, so I'm pretty much out of excuses (and money) in the tool department now. I'm assuming a rotozip will do me no good whatsoever.

Claudia, this is the world's greatest web forum. The tile stuff is just a unifying theme. :yeah:

I put down the CBU. It's the right way to go.

John Bridge
02-08-2003, 03:18 PM
Hi Claudia, Welcome aboard. :)

Start your own thread, and we'll help you along with your counters. We will ask you to use either backer board or a thinner product called Ditra.

Claudia
02-08-2003, 06:30 PM
Hi John,
Thanks for the warm welcome. I am emailing you from the rather cold state of Maryland.

I have never heard of Ditra before, what exactly is it and were can I get it. I have read a couple of tiling books and many of them stated that it was OK to tile on top a laminated countertops. The only thing they recommended was that you sand it good and use thin set epoxy. I have only tiled small things before, never a countertop and I would like to do it right, but if it is not necessary to put that other stuff on why should I?
I am really reluctant about the baker board because my countertop is already 1 1/2 inches thick and if I add the baker board and then the tile that will make my countertop look very thick -too thick!

We are also throwing the idea of re-laminating around. We have seen it done and it turned out very good. The only thing that bothers me there is that I can only get it 4x8 or 5x12 and that will leave a seam were I don't want it. It looks like the builders had bigger sheet of the laminate, because the seam is right after 6 feet. If the countertop would not be almost new and very sturdy and solid, I would have already torn it out.

I am trying not to get discouraged over this, but it seems like when people can't make a ton of off you money they don't realy want to help you and god forbid the little jobs. Lets just rip the mess out and buy new - what an attitude! I am definitley the "fixer upper" if it can be fixed up and it serve the same purpose, why rip it out.

Well I better go, Thanks again
Claudia

John Bridge
02-08-2003, 09:05 PM
Claudia,

Please don't think we are trying to make any money off you at all. We are all in the business, but that's not why we are on this particular web site at this particular time. The people who answer questions around here really like being here. And they want to help people just like you.

We do want your countertops to last, though, and we want you to understand what you are doing. I wanted you to start your own post because I didn't want to confuse Tom's post, but hey, he's our brew master so he'll understand. ;)

First, your counters are not 1- 1/2 inches thick. They are only 3/4 inches thick, except on the very front edge, where there is an overhang that is thicker. If you were to cut this overhang off with a skill saw, you would be able to add the cement backer board and still have less thickness than you have now. Then you add the tile, and you still won't have the thickness you have now. I suggest you cut the overhang off.

Please don't think we're trying to sell you anything here. We are sincerely trying to help you avoid the pitfalls that can occur in the business we know a lot about. :)

We will be selling things here in the very near future, but even then we won't let that get in the way of our primary mission, which is to have fun and help others while we're at it. :)

cx
02-08-2003, 09:28 PM
Claudia:

What John said. :)

Another thing you might wanna think about is the back splash. If you have the one piece, post formed tops with the rounded front edge and the back rounded up to a splash, you'll hafta do something with both the front and back before you are gonna be able to tile anyway. You will also hafta remove the sink and stove and any other appliances that are mounted in the tops. By the time you have done all that removing and cutting, you may find it would actually be easier to remove the whole top and replace it with some 3/4 inch plywood and start fresh. You would not be able to replace the laminate on that kind of top yourself, either.

If, instead, you have flat tops with square front edges and separate back splashes, you might well find it easier to remove the splash and cut off the front edge (doesn't hafta be a neat cut).

Sometimes, though, the most reasonable method in a remodel is to remove and replace, even when you're doing it yourself.

My opinion; worth price charged.

tomtuttle
06-03-2003, 10:38 AM
Oooookay. Obviously, I'm on the same schedule with my kitchen counters as Dave is with his shower. :cool:

I set and grouted the countertops (to temporary wood edges). I set the splashes. I sealed the countertops. I'm planning to put in the actual, permanent wood trim and then grout/caulk the splashes.

The wood trim is alder, matches the cabinets surprisingly well, has the matching ogee edge detail and has two coats of water-based poly on all sides. I am not yet an accomplished wood worker, but the wife accepts "close enough" as a measure of success.

I am also not a finish carpenter. Your kindness and patience are appreciated.

Questions! :)

1. When I am attaching the wood trim to the now-tiled countertops, I'd prefer to use my handy finish nailer rather than screws and plugs. Really. Anybody strenuously object? What kind of glue behind? Just fill the nail holes with natural filler and touch them with stain?

2. I'll be attaching several pieces of wood trim vertically to the wall at the ends of the backsplash. Not in all cases can I hit a stud behind. Different glue? Finish nails on an angle? Caulk or grout the gap between the wood and the splash?

3. On the edge between the counter and the splash, do I caulk it first and then grout the splash or vice versa? :stupid2:

4. I will have to caulk the small gap between the wood trim and the tile counter. I've not worked with matching/sanded caulk before (and have generally poor caulk technique anyway). I'm planning to tape the wood, run a small bead of caulk in there and smooth it with a moistened index trowel. Coach?

Full Sail Brewery in Hood River, OR is making some excellent beers lately. Have been especially enjoying the Avalanche Ale, a malty, reddish american pale :yummy:

I read much more than I post. Y'all are appreciated. :bow: :bow:

bbcamp
06-03-2003, 12:44 PM
1. Your handy finish nailer needs to shoot some 1-1/2" long nails to get a grip on the edge grain of the plywood. Doesn't hold really well, so that's why I recommend screws, along with good ol' Elmers carpenter's glue, or some of that new Gorilla polyurethane glue. If you use the poly glue, follow the directions about wetting the surfaces, and be ready to clean up any squeeze out. It kinda foams and fills voids. Good stuff and waterproof. If you nail, fill like you said, or use some sanding dust from your wood, mix with elmers to make a paste, then fill. When dry sand flush and stain. Of course, that plan works better if you haven't finished your wood yet.

You got a Biscuit Cutter? Biscuits are flat footbal shaped wafers of compressed wood flakes that are glued in corresponding grooves cut with the biscuit cutter. Really simple to use and makes alignment easy (if you do the layout right). Plus, makes for a strong joint.

2. Finish nail into the edge of the plywood (if used for the backsplash) or just glue to wall. Tape secure until glue dries.

3. Either way, but if you caulk first, let it cure completely before you grout. If you grout first, dig out the grout before you caulk.

4. Good Plan! Good luck!

tomtuttle
06-03-2003, 01:21 PM
Thanks, Bob. :D

No biscuit cutter. "Next house" is the familiar refrain on such things.

I have a 16g Porter Cable finish nailer. It shoots 2" nails. I think I'll go that way. Thanks for the tip on the spiffy new glue. How does is dispense (aerosol, squirt, mix it up and smear, etc.?).

On the 90 degree angles (45 deg miters) at the counter corners, is it advisable to try to nail the trim edges together in the corner, or am I just likely to split the wood and :complain: ? Would a different length or gauge of nail help there? Predrill? Same questions where I have a section of several 22.5 deg miters :think:

Muchas gracias, amigos! :yeah:

bbcamp
06-03-2003, 01:48 PM
Gorilla Glue comes in a bottle, ready to use.

I think you would split some thinner moldings, although using a nail gun cuts down on that some. If ther're thin, glue'em.

John Bridge
06-03-2003, 06:15 PM
Watch out for that gorilla stuff. I use yellow carpenter's glue. Titebond is one you'll find at Home Depot.

I have about 200 board feet of alder curing in my garage. I plan on getting rid of it. When I was a kid up near Everett, I used to cut it up and sell it for firewood. Works good that way. I wouldn't try to stain it. Leave it natural, and it'll work.

I have recently broken into a couple twelve-packs of Miller High Life. A bit robust, especially if you drink them all in the same evening, but not fruity at all. Wait, maybe "fruity" has to do with wine. :D

tomtuttle
06-03-2003, 10:22 PM
After MUCH scrutiny at a couple of local cabinet shops, sage advisors decided that the existing cabinets are Alder (circa 1965 from Hoquiam, WA), hence my choice for the trim. It actually took the stain pretty well (Sherwin Williams Harvest Wheat was a near-dead-ringer) and machined pretty good too. Sounds like you've got about $600 worth of alder sitting there, John. I'm with you though - I always thought of alders as weeds, tree-wise.

"Fruity" is certainly a term aptly applied to beer as well as wine. It is particularly interesting when fruity flavors are derived from the fermentation process; often estery beers from northern europe are particularly satisfying. Belgium!! :yummy: But american pilsners, pre-prohibition or not, do not qualify as fruity.

I know there are lots of people enjoying Miller. I'm happy for you. :p

Thanks, gentlemen. :yeah:

John Bridge
06-04-2003, 02:15 PM
Tom,

I didn't expect you to take me seriously on the Miller's. Actually, I only do one twelve-pack at a time. :D

cx
06-04-2003, 06:13 PM
Tom, I have thoughts about this, but I still gotta work some more. I'll be back later if you're not already finished by then. :)

Jason_Butler
06-04-2003, 07:32 PM
Ditto on the caution statement for the Gorilla glue. That stuff expands about 10 times the application. Come back after a few hours and the stuff is takin' over.

Had a couple of bottles.. threw em' out ;)

I use Titebond exclusively. Good stuff but doesn't except stain very well so keep it of the "exposed" face of the trim

Only use the nails to hold the trim while the glue dries

Jason

cx
06-04-2003, 09:37 PM
1. I think you really want to use some trim-head screws here, Tom. If all you have to glue to is the edge of a 3/4 inch sheet of ply (and perhaps not a perfect edge at that?), you're gonna need all the clamping action you can get, and you don't get as much from the nails. The little square-drive heads on those screws makes not a hellofa lot bigger hole than your 16 gauge gun.

Type of glue: I would use Titebond II. You don't really need the waterproof capability, but I use it in that application anyway, perhaps because I put the trim on before I put down a mud deck for my tile, and it makes me feel better. I would also caution against Gorrila type glues. They really do have a bit of a learning curve and there is really no advantage to it in this application.

My biggest concern is that you mentioned that you have pewt two coats of sealer on all parts of this trim. The glues we have mentioned wanna see wood, not sealer, on both sides of the joint. Oh, yeah, they really do. :(

2. I trust that you are attaching these pieces to a sheetrock wall. I would use Liquid Nail, or equivalent, there and hold the pieces in place with a nail or two (or not) if I could not find a clever way to brace them in place for a couple hours (preferably overnight). I added the "or not" because you can frequently put construction adhesive on such pieces, moosh them into place, pull them back off (careful of all the stringy stuff gettin' on other stuff), let the glue set for five minutes or so, moosh them back in place and find that they stay there all by their onesies. Bracing or clamping is better, though, if you can.

3. Tile Q. Not my job, man. :)

4. Also tile Q, but........ We've had this discussion before. I grout that area. It will crack, but the crack will usually be at the wood side, be very thin, not be noticed much, cause no great harm, and I like the look. Matching caulk has come a looong way, though, so maybe you should listen to the tile guys.

5?(from your following post). On the mitered corners is where you are going to see your first problems with the trim not staying together if your glue joint to the counter is not really good. Again I would recommend trim-head screws at least in these areas, within an inchandahalf or so on each side of each joint. Your 16 gauge nailer is gonna be too big to shoot through the joints, I fear, but you might wanna try a couple tests on some scrap. I use an 18 gauge brad gun for such places sometimes, only because I ain't got a 23 gauge gun yet. Much glue in the miter joints, too, and since you're pre-finished the squeeze out shouldn't be a problem.

My opinion; worth price charged.

tomtuttle
06-06-2003, 12:10 PM
maybe even with pichers :D

Okay, I worked my tuchus off yesterday. Beyond proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that my finish carpentry skills need considerable polishing, everything went okay.

I abandoned the Gorilla glue and used Titebond II. I actually had quite a bit of glue-able profile on the cabinets, because I had sawed off the old laminate flush with the cabinet fronts. So, I really had ~1 1/2" to glue to, and it was really a pretty good edge. I used the nailer, because I like that cool sound it makes. But I'm going to lose sleep over not following cx's advice, for sure. :(

I'm learning. And doing. They mostly go together, I've found.

My overriding impression is that this particular plan worked poorly for me. Since I needed "custom" trim and I am not a highly proficient woodworker, the expense, time and trouble was MUCH greater than if I had simply selected a different (more expensive) tile that had matching trim pieces available. I do not find the look I've achieved sufficiently preferable to v-cap or bullnose-plus-trim-edge.

I mean, after all, it's not "Tile your world except for the remodeled kitchen countertop edge" is it? :shades:

Thanks again. I'll update with pichers after I grout/caulk this weekend.

tomtuttle
06-07-2003, 06:13 PM
Whew! Still got some details to clean up, but this is feeling very much like stand-around-and-drink-beer time.

Can't begin to thank you all enough. :bow:

tomtuttle
06-07-2003, 06:14 PM
Here is the other side...

tomtuttle
06-07-2003, 06:19 PM
You may have noticed that I don't feel much constrained by the traditional "logical" order of things. I had quite a time grouting the splash behind the already-installed sink and faucets. SWMBO came up with an elegant and clever sponge solution - sponge brushes! You know, those little angular, black cheapy things you paint/stain with. The old index trowel and the little-sponge-on-a-stick made the process possible.

My beer is getting warm. Horrors!

davem
06-07-2003, 06:58 PM
That looks mighty fine! :):shades: :)

cx
06-09-2003, 07:43 PM
Well, from what I can see in the pichers, you done fine, Tom. :)

One thing I don't recall your ever axing is if the wood trim was the easiest way of treating the edges. Me, I coulda 'splained that to ya right quick. :D

It is a nice clean look, and some of my customers have liked it real well, 'specially with tile that has no available trims or is not of a type that would do well on an edge. It's a way, eh?

And, anyway, now you is a trim carpenter, too! Hope it holds up well. :)

Cami A
06-09-2003, 08:07 PM
Very nice, Tom! I've got some trim work I need done on my curved breakfast bar top...

I like the idea for grouting behingd the faucet. :D

John Bridge
06-09-2003, 09:13 PM
Tom,

What can I say? All the superlatives have been used. (I think I used that one in another thread. ;) )

Aesthetically pleasing and workmanlike. I don't think a guy like me can come up with anything better than that. It looks great! :)

I can only imagine how long it took to do the backsplash with those big brutes on the diagonal. :)

tomtuttle
06-10-2003, 11:03 AM
Thanks very much to you, my friends and mentors, for taking time to pat me on the head. It is deeply appreciated. It is significant that I could not wait to take and post the pictures before eradicating all the grout haze. :D

Yes, John, while I like the look of the large tiles on the diagonal, it was very challenging. There is about 20 lf of splash there, and exactly 3 tiles that did not have to be cut at least once (behind the stove). Most of the rest got to visit the Felker at least twice, some many more than that. I'd love to confidently say "never again", but those decisions are simply not mine to make. :D Rob Z. helped me with layout. :)

One other essential learning I wanted to reinforce - cutting around the electrical boxes "properly" was a revelation to me. Simply making sure that the cut tiles went under the "ears" of the switches and outlets, but not over the hole into which they screw worked out very elegantly. And I was able to easly find longer screws where necessary at HD. Not that this would ever happen to anybody, but if your precisely cut and set tile just happens to protrude a bit over the outlet mounting hole, a rotozip with a masonry bit will, in fact, allow you to make a small notch, even in porcelain floor tile.

And it is very possible to do plunge cuts on a plasplugs. You do get wet, though. :D Prolly buy me a grinder before the next big time.

Next time, I WILL bullnose or v-cap the SOB, though. :D:D

Thank you again. Your kind advice and generous sharing of time made a meaningful difference in my life.