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Unread 12-20-2008, 08:09 PM   #1
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Sterling's Kitchen

[posted earlier and lost the post, probably posted to a forbidden place by accident, my bad, re-posting the questions now]

I'm putting in an island 8' long with knee wall and standard 24' depth cabinets. Slide-in range in the middle, 2 33" cabinets on either side. Porcelain tile countertop, breakfast bar supported on knee wall about 6" above countertop, also porcelain tile, extended 12" on public side and 1" or so on kitchen side, around 18" wide in total. Tile backsplash on the 6" inch rise to the bar. Knee wall to be drywalled all around. Questions:

1. The semi-custom cabinets we plan to order will have countertop material installed on the base cabinets. Will that work OK as long as it's 3/4 plywood, and I install the tile backer board properly? Or should I order without the countertop material and install my own 3/4" plywood on the base cabinets?

2. For the breakfast bar I plan to screw down 3/4" plywood to the joists on 16" centers, 2 screws per joist. Will this be adequate to secure the bar top?

3. The knee wall is being cut down from a wall, and there are electrical receptacles on either side of the range. I plan to turn these sideways to fit in the 6" backsplash under the bar, and maybe also install a dining room light switch in the backsplash. I will use remodel-style boxes that secure to the drywall with ears. Is that adequate support in a tiled backsplash, or am I risking cracking the tile or grout? Is there a recommended minimum height above the countertop for the receptables?

Thanks!
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Unread 12-20-2008, 09:47 PM   #2
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Welcome back, Sterling.

1. I've never seen nor heard tell of cabinets that came with any kinda top installed 'cept some of them furniture-lookin' vanities.

Don't think I'd have any confidence in those arriving with anything I'd wanna use for my tile base, though. Be a PITA to install if the top's already on there, too. Believe I axe'em to send mine with just cabinets and provide my own tops.

2. Don't unnerstan the question. Joists? Bar top? Doesn't compute.

3. You can tile a backsplash over sheetrock if you want.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 12-21-2008, 12:03 PM   #3
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Thanks CX. I think I was half asleep when I wrote the post. In the 2nd question replace "joists" with "studs" as in the studs in the knee wall. The third question wants to ask whether the electrical receptacles will be OK on the tiled backsplash, considering they will be turned sideways to fit the space, and will be attached to the drywall using remodel-style boxes (ears) rather than boxes nailed to the studs.

I'll discuss the cabinet-top material with the cabinet people on Tuesday, see what's up with it.
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Unread 12-22-2008, 05:50 AM   #4
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Sterling, the breakfast bar secured to the studs with only 2 screws won't be sturdy enough. You need something like corbels or steel angle brackets to stabilize that joint.

The "old work" boxes you are planning on using won't affect the tile.
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Unread 02-13-2009, 01:36 PM   #5
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Sterling's kitchen: floors and counters

Hi folks. Would kindly Mr. Moderator please change the name of my thread here to "Sterling's Kitchen?" Thanks! And I'll just keep my posts right here. We are getting ready to go full bore on this thing when we return from visiting our son the Marine and his good wife and the grandkids (including a brand new one) next week.

We have tiled a very small amount in our bathroom (ceramic tiles around a bathtub/shower surround, probably did it all wrong, doesn't matter cuz the bathroom gets a full re-do soon). Never a fully involved tile-em-up project like a floor and countertop before. Thank goodness for JB Forums and Tile Your World! Since you all are so helpful, we humbly submit herewith our plans, issues, and questions...

- We've taken out the kitchen vinyl floor and 3/8 particle board underlayment. The subfloor is 1" plywood. Feels very solid and movement-free (after we stiffened things up considerably with the help of the good folks here - thanks!). However, the plywood sheets are butted right up against one another, with little or no gap between them. I've read several posts that recommend having some gap for expansion and to prevent "tenting" (the floor pitching a tent?). Should I run the circular saw on those gaps and gap 'em up?

- The Plan for the floor: We'd prefer to match the kitchen floor height to the planned adjoining 3/4" tongue-and-groove hardwood floor. I'll use 1/4" Hardibacker set with thinset directly on the 1" plywood subfloor and screwed to the subfloor (but not the joists) according to the mfr's recommendation, then 3/8" porcelain tile set with thinset. Should give about 3/4" total height. I considered using Ditra but it seems to me the Hardibacker would work just fine, and I'd rather spend the extra money elsewhere (like on the tile itself). Please let me know if anyone sees a problem with The Plan

- I'm reading that people just tile into the refrigerator and range space. I was just going build up the unseen space under those appliances. I suppose we could use up the crappier tiles for the appliance spaces--is that how you folks do it? What's the usual thing for the fridge and stove areas?

- The Plan for the cabinets and countertops: Cabinets are standard 34-1/2 height. Our dishwasher will need minimum 34" clearance for installation. To achieve this plus a bit extra I'll install 3/8" plywood under the new cabinets (just delivered and waiting in the garage, baby!). Then 3/4" plywood countertop base (BC or CC plugged if I understand correctly) screed into cabinets, Hardibacker set in thinset and screwed to countertop base, then 3/8" porcelain tile set in thinset. I chose 3/4" thick base because that seems to be a standard choice---but, is that typically consider adequate over the 24" dishwasher gap? Any other problems with this plan?

- The bottom of one kitchen window will be about 1/2" lower than the finished countertop--more if we need a thicker base. I see it as having a counter edge next to the window sill, more or less. I plan to tile it like the other counter edges, and tile the window sill at its lower height. See any problems with that? Maybe I should do a sort of raised edge to keep spills off the sill? How would I do that? (edges described in next bullet)

- The Plan for the counter edges: I will run the field tile off the edge of the base so that it covers the edge tiles, which I will just cut from field tiles at about 1" wide or so, whatever is needed to cover the edge. Set the edge tiles on hardibacker like the top. Rent a variable speed grinder and soften the bottom of the edges, maybe even nose over the edge to soften it up, if I'm feeling frisky. Also to round off the corners a bit. This seems like a common approach. Any suggestions or hints on edges?

- Epoxy grout, like Spectralock, is sounding mighty fine for the floor and countertop grout because of the never-needs-sealing aspect--goes nicely with the porcelain tile concept, methinks. The Boss says we are going to sell the house in a few years after all this here remodeling is done. Sounds fine to me, I gets to do another one.

- Holy ___ is this post too long? Apologies in advance. You guys like advances don't ya.

Y'all see any problems, issues, fatal flaws, catastrophes-in-the-making, I guess you can either sit back and be entertained, or correct us ahead of time! We would prefer the second option! Thanks again.

By the way, this is a fun forum to read...and the pictures show some outstanding work, very inspirational, a fellow could get overstimulated here. I'm sure that almost never happens though.
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Unread 02-14-2009, 08:46 AM   #6
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Sterling, your Plan for the floor seems OK to me. No need to kerf the plywood seems at this time. If the plywood was going to tent, it would have done so by now.

By your remarks for the fridge and stove areas, and your concerns about the dishwasher, you don't intend to tile under the cabinets. That's fine. I suggest that you install 3/4" plywood or OSB under the cabinets, since this is the thickness of your tile/backerboard combo. Find out where whole tiles end under the cabinets, then mark the floor and cut the plywood to suit. The whole tiles means your cabinets look better on top of the tile, and you won't have so many cuts.

I think it a mistake not to tile under the appliances. I've seen a lot of crud under them, and it's easier to clean tile than plywood. You don't have to use the same tiles, but if you could see them when the appliance is installed, different tiles may look weird. Something to think about.

I see a number of window "wells" in countertops. If you can't waterproof the well area, you ought to consider some sort of dam.

Your countertop edge plan needs some testing. Sanding and poliishing the edges of porcelain tile works well for through-body colored tiles, but surface glazed tiles may need something else. It would be money well spent to do a mockup to see if you plan is feasible.

Many folks like epoxy grouts for the reason you gave. Might be a budget consideration, considering the potential for resale later.
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Unread 02-21-2009, 01:44 PM   #7
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Thanks Bob! We just got back from visiting the kids in MO. Helped my son with his kitchen remodel. He'll be doing a porcelain tile countertop with Spectralock grout. Sadly, we didn't get to the fun part of setting the tile while I was there . So now I'm itching to get back to our own project .

Under our cabinets, we were going to cut and install plywood to fit the cabinet footprint, then install the cabinets, then tile around, then install molding on the cabinet toekicks which would cover the tile edges. But, I like the idea of extending whole tiles under the cabs, to reduce the number of cuts.

Good point about tile under the appliances, I think we'll do it that way. Fortunately our floor tile is stocked locally so we can just run up and grab more on short notice.

For countertop edge, I'm now thinking we'll do a miter cut where the top meets the edge. We'll do up a test edge and see how it comes out.

The countertop tiles are 16" x 32". We'll be cutting them down to 24" and using the excess for edges and backsplash. Probably do diagonal cut in the L of the countertop. That means we will set a small tile in the corner of the L, 8 inches square. Right? Or is there some other better way to do the L corner using these big tiles?

Any suggestions on how to do a dam in front of the window well? Maybe have a 1/2 inch or so strip of tile that is set higher than the field tile? Or maybe a decorative pencil-thin listello-like thingie?
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Unread 02-21-2009, 03:10 PM   #8
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A mitered edge treatment will mean sharp edges for you elbows to rest on. Also, they will be prone to chipping.

You plan on the diagonal sounds fine to me. Keeps the groutlines symmetric around the miter.

A strip of tile for the dam will show a lot of edge. If your tile isn't a through-body colored tile, this won't look good, as you probably figured out in your edging plan. I think you probably will need to locate a trim tile for this.
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Unread 02-21-2009, 05:31 PM   #9
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Counter edges and window dams

The countertop tiles are through-body, so it looks like we'll have some options. When the tiles arrive we'll test out various approaches to the edge treatment. The bar top will definitely need something comfortable. Maybe a wood edge on the sitting side, maybe also on the ends, and a tile edge on the kitchen side, which is above the range and some counter space.

We'll hunt up some trim tiles for the dam. Probably give the window well a fancy treatment and tie it in to the backsplash in some way. This will be interesting.

Many thanks for the comments and suggestions
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Unread 02-22-2009, 11:47 AM   #10
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Add a layer of 3/4" OSB under bar top base?

For the bar top, which will be 8 feet long and about 18" or so wide, I plan to use 3/4" BC plywood with corbels and'or or angle irons every 16" or so. I'm thinking of doubling the thickness of the bar top with a layer of 3/4" OSB below the BC plywood. Worth doing for additional stability?

This comes up because I'll have enough OSB left over from my cabinet underlayment. But if it wouldn't improve the bar top stability much I won't bother. Just looking for a good use for the leftover OSB.
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Unread 03-03-2009, 03:49 PM   #11
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Tiling floor soon - Yippee! - questions about installing CBU

Hot dang, gonna go pick up the floor tile. Some CBU questions before the fun begins:

1. For installing Hardibacker over plywood, their website says to use "dryset mortar" or modified thinset. What the frick is "dryset mortar?" Same as unmodified thinset?

2. From what I've read on this website and the TYW book, thinset under the CBU is not meant to be adhesive, it is there to fill voids. My subfloor has some gouging from removing the previous flooring, the largest gouge is an oblong about 7" x 1" and 1/8" at its deepest. Do I need to patch such gouges or will the thinset handle that just fine? Otherwise it's pretty flat and smooth.

3. The subfloor had some spatters of paint and drywall mud material that I just scraped down until it felt pretty flat, do I need to clean it down to the bare wood?

Thanks!
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Unread 03-03-2009, 04:30 PM   #12
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1. Same-same.

2. Thinset'll handle it.

3. Izzok.

Sorry you got missed earlier. Make a post and bump your thread to the top for attention when that happens. Some of our unpaid help get pretty lazy hereabouts sometimes.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 03-05-2009, 02:11 PM   #13
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CX, thanks for the good word as always. In recognition of outstanding accomplishments in the field of excellence, I hereby nominate all the upaid help to a 50% raise!

Picked up a used TM-75 saw yesterday, $190 in near-new condition, tried it out on a reject tile sample and got all excited. Picked up the highly-recommended MK225 Hot Dog blade from Master Wholesale here in Seattle. Can hardly wait to start a-tiling the kitchen floor this weekend. Soon I'll have some photos to share, finally.

Probably won't be doubling up the thickness of my bar top with my leftover OSB. Research indicates it would be OK to do, and would add rigidity, but it might look funny if the bar top is twice as thick as the counter. Plus, my overhang is only 12" so doesn't seem necessary anyway. Maybe use the leftover OSB for my countertop edge experiments.
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Unread 03-09-2009, 11:27 AM   #14
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Ack!!! CBU Re-do?

Over the weekend we installed the Hardibacker on the kitchen floor (plywood). Used unmodified thinset (as per Hardibacker website), applied with 1/4 x 1/4 notched trowel, did one piece at a time, laid the CBU and screwed down immediately. When all CBU laid, went back and taped the seams with fiberglass tape and modified thinset. Thinking that we were doing the work carefully

This morning I walked on it and in several places I detected a soft crunchy noise underfoot! now I fear a "failed installation." Do we need to take up the CBU on the crunchy spots and re-do it? Maybe use modified thinset instead? What the heck happened?
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Unread 03-09-2009, 01:54 PM   #15
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I don't know, Sterling. Both plywood and Hardibacker suck the water out of thinset very easily, so maybe some got too dry before you got the board fastened to the floor.

The thinset is basically a filler, so adhesion to the floor is not required. Either modified or unmodified thinsets are specified. The "soft crunchy noise" is not a good thing, though. It means there is some movement.
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