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Unread 01-13-2010, 08:07 AM   #1
boo radley
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Edge issues tiling countertop mobile home

All -- we have a mobile home near the coast, as a "temporary" (grin) vacation get-away. We've been fixing it up as best as possible, and my wife would love to tile the nasty laminate kitchen countertop and a standalone island we built. She bought a bunch of American Olean 4" square black ceramic wall tile.

I've done lots of floor tile work in our main house, but this is the first counter project I've done.

I know the 'right' way is to rip out the existing laminate counter and rebuild with plywood. However, I'm not a great carpenter, and I'd like to minimize cost. I was thinking, instead, of just screwing 1/4" backer-board to the existing laminate. But this raises an issue:

2" thickness laminate + 1/4" backer plus tile, and thinset, and I'm close to 3" of thickness. Every piece of trim tile I can find: bullnose, radiused bullnose, or sink-rail (V-cap) is only 2" wide. American Olean does make a 4" radiused bullnose tile, but not in 'black' which is the color the wife wants.

What options exist for handling a thick edge like this? I'm really loathe to have a grout-line running 2/3 of the way down, and have to cut a thin strip of tile to make up the difference between the 2" of bullnose and the bottom if that makes sense...

Many thanks!
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Unread 01-13-2010, 08:30 AM   #2
Edthedawg
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Welcome, Steve

Here's the Hardie-Backer installation instructions. They detail how to use their product in a countertop install

What you're proposing is not recommended and probably wouldn't work well. plus as you've already noted, it wouldn't look too great either.

So I wouldn't be too a'feared of ripping it all offa there, adding supports to maintain the min. 16" span, and building up w/ new ply such that your 2" BN plays nicely w/ the total thickness of plywood, backer, tile, and 2 layers of thinset. 3/4" (nominal) ply + 1/4" backer + 3/8" tile + 3/16" thinset puts you at about 1-9/16. So adding another 3/8" ply layer on top would work if you wanna. that would help the stiffness and to hold the BN better.

Keep your q's on this countertop right here in this thread and we'll do our best to help. Good luck w/ your project!
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Unread 01-13-2010, 09:56 AM   #3
astrojeff
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Hi Steve:

As Ed mentioned, what you are proposing is not recommended for the sake of quality and longevity. We can help you do it right... However, you can do as you wish in your own house. You can always lay bullnose strips along the top edge of your countertop so that they overlap the edge by a little more than a tile thickness. The width doesn't matter if they're on the top. Then cut strips of tile for the front edge that are as wide as the edge is thick and thinset them on beneath and flush with the edge of the bullnose. By making a custom front like that, you can accomodate any substrate width.

Cheers,

Jeff
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Unread 01-13-2010, 10:20 AM   #4
boo radley
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Thx guys --

I thought about using bullnose strips on the top of the counter, as you suggest, Jeff, and field tiles cut to match the thickness on the edge, but worried about a clean cut on a black ceramic tile, it it being super sharp as well.

I think I'll just go ahead and bang off the current laminate countertop. It's just particle board and formica, and only 24x90. As suggested, I'll build it up so the total thickness should be ~2'' so the v-cap tiles ( what Olean calls sink-rail?) are flush with the thickness of the countertop.

My questions now -- the sink cutout for the drop-in stainless sink in the backerboard. How do you recommend cutting this rectangular hole in the 1/4" backerboard? Scoring and tapping out? Or with a power-tool?

Second, I've heard of people dropping the sink in on top of the backerboard, screwing the lip or flange down, but *under* the ceramic tile. Worth messing with? I'm otherwise just going to drop it in over a bead of caulk.

Aagh, question 3! Being greedy. And pros/cons to setting the v-cap's first vs. the field tiles?

thx again!
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Unread 01-13-2010, 11:03 AM   #5
astrojeff
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I've done my cutouts using a jigsaw and a carbide blade. The carbide blade is regularly available in the tool section at hardware stores. You can also keep scoring it on both sides with a carbide scorer until it pops out, but there's more sweat involved.

My 2 cents worth is to do a standard drop in sink. Some folks have tiled over the top, but you really have to be careful with waterproofing and getting the tile to look good is really dificult. I've seen pictures here done with granite tile that was custom finished to fit over the sink. I wouldn't do it with normal tile, not on a quick job. And think about if you ever need to take out the sink in the future...

No preference. I've done field tiles because I can custom cut them, but if you can do them or v-caps, I think it's up to personal preference. V caps might be easier to install and make them look good--less adjusting of individual pieces?
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