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Unread 01-08-2010, 12:44 PM   #1
ChrisKC
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granite tile countertop overhang/edging question

Hi everybody - first thanks for this great site. I've been able to use the advice here for several diy projects.

My latest project is a granite tile counter in the kitchen. I've used all the advice here concerning substrate, support, redgard, thinset, spectralock grout, etc. My question regards how to finish the edges. We've got 18x18 tropic brown tiles that are somewhere around 3/8-1/2" thick. I got the edges bullnosed and was initially planning to do a flush granite edge, but now I'm considering doing a decorative wood trim, stained to match the cabinets, that sets back a little bit from the front edge - say a 1/4" (1 inch tile overhang with 11/16" wood trim underneath). Are there any concerns with having the tile overhang the support that much? If not, any suggestions for bonding the wood to the tile?

I would appreciate any input anyone can provide. Thanks in advance for your help.
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Unread 01-08-2010, 01:59 PM   #2
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I'm just brainstorming...

My purely intuitive thought is that you're risking breakage with such a long overhang. I don't know the engineering properties of your granite tiles, so I can't answer quantitatively how much of an overhang you can afford to have, but I personally would do everything possible to minimize the overhang. I believe you would need to caulk the space between the trim and the tile and treat it under the worst case scenario, as if there were no support under the tile overhang at all (since it could slip or sag over time and the caulk space would not give any structural strength). You could try to secure the wood trim with an upward force so that it is bearing some support force on the edge, but that simply won't hold over time. I forsee the real danger being when something heavy and hard (of which kitchens have many such things) hits the corner of your countertop and chips a 1" piece off the front edge.

Intuitively, I would think you don't want much more overhang than your tile is thick. For the lack of information on your tile mechanics, I would make a test piece of tile thinsetted to a test countertop without any wood trim beneath and try out a few overhang depths: 0", 1/4", 1/2", and 1". Let it cure a few days. Then get an iron pot and drop it on each overhang from a number of heights until each one breaks and record the result. I have no idea what will happen, but my guess is that you'll see that 1" overhang crack off much easier than a 1/4" one. Then you could publish a report for all of us to use on future countertops!

Is your counter and tiling substrate already built? I'm just wondering why your trim is so thick--why you can't rip your trim down to 1/4" and lessen your overhang to lower your chance of breakage? If you're designing from scratch you could do that--make the plywood base a bit wider and the trim thinner (or even cut the outer plywood edge tapered in at the bottom and rip your trim into a wedge shape to make it thin at the top and thick at the bottom to give the appearance of being thick all the way through). But if you've already built it in place and you're trying to add something to bring the front edge out further from the cabinets, I'm not sure how you can do that and keep the substrate monolithic with already in-place hardibacker.
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Unread 01-08-2010, 05:04 PM   #3
ChrisKC
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Thanks for the reply Jeff.

I've already built my counter and substrate. The inch overhang with 11/16" trim was the max I was considering and wanted to get some feedback. I'm going to look tonight to see what my options are.

I would appreciate any feedback anyone else might have. Thanks again.
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Unread 01-08-2010, 11:52 PM   #4
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Hi Chris,

Solid wood expands and contracts too much to support tile. Even if the wood support you're proposing was nice and solid....like a continuation of the rest of the substrate/membrane you have under the rest of the tile, that thin granite overhanging the edge is very likely to suffer breakage from a pot catching the edge of that top.

I'd avoid the overhang as you're proposing, in favor of either: a solid wood edge protecting the entire front edge (full thickness of top), or using bullnose to wrap the granite down the front edge.
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Unread 01-09-2010, 08:45 PM   #5
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I'm going to stick with the granite edge. Thanks to you both for the feedback.
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Unread 01-09-2010, 09:28 PM   #6
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Unread 01-16-2010, 10:59 AM   #7
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OK - I need some more help. I'm cutting the strips for my edging, but I can't cut a consistent width. After I cut the tile it's off by 1/8-1/16" on one end. I checked the blade and it seems square. I even did a test cut with a 12x12 porcelain tile and it cut square. But then when I went back to the granite it was off by 1/8th. I'm using a saw from Harbor freight with a Dewalt blade and those may have something to do with it, but I don't understand why it's cutting the porcelain square. Might I need a new blade? Thanks again for your help.
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Unread 01-16-2010, 11:54 AM   #8
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Chris,

A couple of things cause the blade to "drift".

1- a blade that isn't up to snuff. If your granite is too hard, a blade made for normal use will drift. You need a blade rated for your granite.

2- temperature. If you are not getting enough water on the blade and the blade is heating up, it will drift. If you are using hot water in the wet saw it will drift.

3- crappy tool. If the arm on the wet saw deforms when cutting it will drift. The saw will rise up over the tile as it cuts, throwing off the angle.

A decent tile saw to cut hard granite or porcelain well will cost $900 to $1200, the blade will start around $100. Rental shops normally have fairly decent saws as they need to be to take the punishment renters give them. Can't speak to the accuracy of rental saws. The rental blades are fairly basic though.
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Unread 01-17-2010, 12:21 AM   #9
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Switched blades and that took care of it. Thanks again.
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