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Unread 01-29-2019, 06:49 PM   #1
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How unlevel is too unlevel for countertop/backsplash transition

I am tiling my backsplash with 3 x 12 ceramic tiles. The counter top is soapstone which, as I've just discovered, has high and low spots varying by 1/16". Originally, I planned to set my tiles directly on the counter using a dime as a spacer but am now afraid that by the third and fourth courses, the eye will perceive unlevel lines. This can't be an unusual problem since there are so many natural stone countertops out there.

So, what would a professional do? Just use the counter as guide level since it is out of level by 1/16" or less, scribe the tiles to the high spots or, raise the tiles to a level line at the high spots and use caulk to fill the 1/8" or less gap between the counter and bottom course (which I planned to do anyway).

Other important info: I am using white tiles whose edges have just the tiniest bit of gray. Planned to use the palest gray grout I can find but there will be contrast between tile and grout lines. I had planned to use 1/16" spacers between tiles.
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Unread 01-29-2019, 07:19 PM   #2
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Hi Holly, welcome. Keep in mind that ceramic tiles will probably vary in size a little and using dimes for spacers doesn't mean the tiles will stay straight. I would use plastic wedges so you can easily adjust the joint size to keep the tiles straight. A straight edge on top of each row or two will show where the tiles will need to be slightly raised or lowered.

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Unread 01-29-2019, 07:54 PM   #3
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Thanks Davy and I should have been more clear. I only planned to use dimes between the counter and tiles since they will lay flat and those little plastic spacers everywhere else.
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Unread 01-29-2019, 08:27 PM   #4
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Davy is suggesting wedges that you can use to get the tiles level at each row, rather than fixed width spacers. You vary how far you stick the wedge in to get the space you need for that tile. Your joints will have minor variations, but you will keep the top of each row level. You can use them at the first row as well. Your bottom joint may vary a little, but you will never notice.

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Unread 01-31-2019, 06:27 AM   #5
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Wedges are the best to be able to adjust the indifferences in the countertop. Then silicone the space between the counter and first row of tile.

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