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Unread 10-18-2011, 03:14 PM   #1
v00uuqpp
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Kitchen counter tiles makeover -- convert or redo?

Hi there,

We have a kitchen tile counter that was installed 10 years back (see photos).


The tile counter has worked fine -- except that it has wood trim all along the edges.


Kitchen sink counter area (8' x 2' deep tile counter):

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Kitchen stove counter area (16" wide on each side):

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The oak wood trim looks decent -- but completely impractical for a kitchen counter.


The reason is that the kitchen sink is an overmount sink, and water tends to stay on the counter after use -- unless we flush it back into the sink.

Name:  Kitchen - overmount sink.jpg
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Over time, the wood trim gets so frequent contact with water that it starts to rot badly near the sink (see photo):

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This also causes water leak inside the cabinet right under the sink.


The current condition of the tiles are ok, but there are a few cracked tile pieces close to the kitchen sink.

Name:  Kitchen Counter - Cracked tiles.jpg
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Right now, we want to do the following (as a minimum):

- convert the overmount sink to flush/undermount sink, so it's easier to flush water on the counter back to the sink.

- change out the wood trims along the tile edges, and do sink rail tiles all around.

- Perhaps change out the wood trim along the edge of the wall tiles also to bullnose to match the sink rail tiles since there won't be any wood trims anymore.


New DIYer here,

so perhaps folks can highlight some of the specific work that'd be involved if we were to convert to sink rail tiles/bullnose from all the wood trims along the edge (and changing from overmount to undermount sink) then we'd know what to expect if we were to choose this option.


And then, with the needed changes for this conversion, I just wonder if the time/effort/cost needed would be close to redoing the whole kitchen counter tile?



Thx much for the advice in advance.
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Unread 10-18-2011, 04:23 PM   #2
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Quote:
water leak inside the cabinet right under the sink
Is the water leaking into the cabinet behind the rotted trim, or further back? I'm thinking, putting bullnose cap on is'nt going to solve the water ingress. Sorry, I only have a few minutes here, but given the total size area and number of counter top sections, I would investigate granite. You would be surprised how reasonable remnant sections of granite can be. Find one thats pretty uniform in color (absolute black, cashmere gold, uba tuba etc) and you can gather enough pieces to get the job done. Granite yards are loaded with small pieces, be aggresive in your offer. You might have to live with some thin strips in front and behind the sink as it is so narrow. I dont think they could cut it one piece anyway. No reason why you cant have them polish the edges and install it yourself. Nothing wrong with a top mount sink if its sealed correctly, you might consider keeping what you have if its in good shape. Pull the wall tile and paint the wall and the cabinets. Do a backsplash later if you like. I just think this would be a far better upgrade at a very reasonable cost.
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Unread 10-18-2011, 05:39 PM   #3
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The leak is very near (and below) the left edge of the sink near the left front corner of the sink. Perhaps the somewhat loose caulking around the tile counter along that edge now also provides a good chance for water to seep and go underneath.


The wood trim is one area we definitely want to fix for good. The black mold/mildew you see in the picture is very obvious now.


Right now, whenever there's water on the counter, it'd immediately go thru' that rotten area along the wood trim and go further down into other areas outside the cabinet surface below. This is darkening those cabinet surfaces as a result -- really bad.

We definitely don't want the cabinet to get into worse condition.


We use the kitchen counter for cooking preparation extensively, so having the sink rail tiles would remove the mold problem on the wood trims and prevent water from dripping down the outside cabinet surface below the counter a lot better.


While the overmount sink does look decent shape now (the sink is no longer shiny and smooth though... ), we have to make extra efforts flushing water on the counter back to the sink. The water would bounce back and we have to keep doing it multiple times. Sometimes we just need to use a sponge and absorb water instead of trying to push the water over to the sink. If there's plenty of water, using the sponge won't be fast enough to do this before water is flowing down to the kitchen floor.

We want to change that out while we're doing any modification along the way so this would be settled for good.


Thx for help... .
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Unread 10-18-2011, 06:38 PM   #4
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Converting your existing sink setup to an undermount sink doesn't seem feasible at all. I think you'd be much happier biting the bullet and having a new solid surface countertop and undermount sink installed.
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Unread 10-18-2011, 06:56 PM   #5
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Randy pretty much nails it, in a single sentence. I know folks do it all the time, but grouted surfaces have no business in any food prep area.
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Unread 10-19-2011, 04:52 PM   #6
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Quote:
Converting your existing sink setup to an undermount sink doesn't seem feasible at all.
Can someone explain the reason?

Is it because the opening is already too large to convert to an undermount sink now? Or just that the work involve is too much to do the tile work needed to convert?


Thx.
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Unread 10-19-2011, 06:35 PM   #7
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Check it out underneath the sink to see if you could attach one. See what sizes are available and if it will fit.

Even if that it is possible, what are you going to do about the exposed tile and substrate layers surrounding the sink opening? It seems you would have to hodge podge some cut tiles around it. In other words, it ain't going to be pretty.

Just for fun, here is a picture of my old original kitchen sink, with a stainless steel topmount sink. You can see that it was sandwiched between the layers to give the function of a undermount sink. It has since been all removed and replaced with nice granite and undermount sink. It's so much nicer now. Wiping food particles across grouted joints is no fun.
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Unread 10-19-2011, 06:56 PM   #8
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Can you take a picture of the underside of the sink where that leak is? I worry about the substrate under the tile not being good enough for new tile.
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Unread 10-19-2011, 10:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
what are you going to do about the exposed tile and substrate layers surrounding the sink opening?
That's exactly what I want to know --

how to wrap around that area (w/ some round edge tiles?) -- if I manage to put an undermount sink under the support underneath... .

From what you're suggesting that tile work isn't going to be anyway straightforward... .


That's the part I wonder about the most (I've never done one yet).


To change from the wood trim to sink rail tiles might even be still doable--although need to cut out all the tiles adjacent to the wood trim to make room for the sink rail tiles (a lot of work... ). Perhaps should just take those tile pieces out, and put in shorter pre-cut tiles so would be easier, and would be all straight lines... .


BTW, here is the underneath of the kitchen sink (left side):

Name:  Kitchen sink - underneath - left.jpg
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1. Left front (very close to the front wood trim mold area)

Definitely wet. Found a brown soft spony material at that corner.


2. trace of another leak
- though doesn't feel wet now


Others:
- black mold area along the edge:
- feels dry, probably from old leak years ago
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Unread 10-20-2011, 06:25 AM   #10
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Hi Keen,

I've read through this and get the idea you still want to chop into and patch the existing tile installation. I don't recommend that. Tear everything out and start from scratch. Repair or replace the plywood tops and go back in either with granite or new porcelain tiles.
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Unread 10-20-2011, 06:55 AM   #11
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Those underside of the sink pictures pretty much seal the deal for me;

Take everything out down to the cabinets and start new.
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Unread 10-20-2011, 12:24 PM   #12
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Thx--I guess that settles my decision... (start new).

I think I'd try new granite tops--would look nice and pretty.


One question I'd like to ask -- some of my friends complain that w/ granite tops, if it's hard water source, the area around the faucets would often be plagued w/ mineral deposits.


I've got a granite top over a bathroom sink (the top was from HD), and it does accumulate minerals around the faucets also fairly quickly (in about 2-3 weeks time).


I have to wipe the area dry every time after use.

Otherwise, I'd need to use a razor blade to clean that out (which isn't easy in some real narrow areas like between the faucet and the backsplash). Somewhat of a pain.



Wonder if there'd be a way to avoid the mineral buildup from hard-water problem (would a better seal on a granite help?),

or an easier way to clean that out w/o using a razor blade (I've tried several cleaners but none clean out much at all).
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Unread 10-20-2011, 04:56 PM   #13
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Start by picking a denser granite. Absolute black is as dense as it gets. Some of the greens like Uba Tuva, Jade and Peacock are great too. Baltic brown can take a good punch as well. Generally the larger the sized grains visible which comprise the granite, the more porous the granite is. If in doubt, lay a test piece in the trouble area for a month. Soapstone is another nice choice.

Once you pick a good granite that you are happy with, then we can discuss sealants, cause that depends on the individual stone you choose.
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Unread 10-20-2011, 11:01 PM   #14
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Quote:
Start by picking a denser granite. Absolute black is as dense as it gets.
Does lighter color mean more porous stone--or no? My wife likes lighter color, but don't know if this means more porous and harder to clean.


Quote:
Generally the larger the sized grains visible which comprise the granite, the more porous the granite is.

Very good tip! Thx much... .
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Unread 10-26-2011, 05:03 PM   #15
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Really want to know --

if lighter color granite means lower density.


Wife likes 100% white granite--don't know if it'd pose a problem w/ mineral deposits w/ hard water source.

Is there a kind of high-density white granite?


Or if there's another way around this (like thicker sealer over the granite?)


Thx... .
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