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Unread 04-05-2004, 03:16 PM   #1
C Hughes
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Granite tile countertops

I asked a question earlier about laying 12 x 12 granite tile directly over an existing formica countertop. The response was that this should not be done because should the formica ever come loose, so the granite goes also. My question now is this. Can I sand the exisiting formica countertops with a very rough grit sandpaper (to help with adhesion) and then apply Hardibacker by using a bonding agent and also screwing it down? As you can see, I am trying not to have to pull up the formica prior to laying the tile.
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Unread 04-05-2004, 03:43 PM   #2
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Hi C and welcome back.

We'll get one of the pros back on your case to answer that question. I don't see why that wouldn't work but lets wait for a more informed opinion. Hang in there, someone will be by soon.
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Unread 04-05-2004, 04:43 PM   #3
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Welcome, C.

Biggest drawback to doing what you want to do is that most Formica tops are installed over particle board, which is a poor choice in any area that sees any moisture at all. Doesn't matter much on Formica tops, you just replace them when they fail. But if you're spending the time and money to make a fine granite top, I think you aughta start with something more suitable under it.

That said, what you are suggesting will probably work, at least for a while. Some people have recommended using Ditra instead of the CBU in that application. It's up to you.

Are you planning to cut off the round edge on the front and the splash in the back? Or do you not have those on your tops? How do you intend to treat the front edge of the top?

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 04-05-2004, 05:09 PM   #4
C Hughes
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Carpe:
The front of my countertops are flat and not rounded so this should not be a problem. I have not decided for sure whether I will use granite strips or wood molding for the front cap. I'm leaning toward granite strips. I plan to cut out the rounded part of the backsplash at the back and install 4" tiles for the backsplash. If you really think I should take up the formica first, do you have any tips? Thanks
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Unread 04-05-2004, 05:12 PM   #5
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C:

Open up a door or two, git under their and look at the bottom side of the counter top. What does it look like? Plywood or particle board?
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Unread 04-05-2004, 05:32 PM   #6
C Hughes
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Particle board........
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Unread 04-05-2004, 07:22 PM   #7
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In that case, no other choice...gotta follow CX's advice.
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Unread 04-05-2004, 07:36 PM   #8
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Where it's really gonna get ya, C, is where you cut off that splash and end up with raw particle board. You could waterproof it with something, and it's not an area that normally sees a lot of water, but if it does it'll swell up liken to a toad and pop your tiles sure as hell. And the raw front edge provides the same potential.

Those tops are generally not terribly difficult to remove. Most are either just set in some caulking on the top edges of the cabinet boxes or screwed from below through the corner bracing in the top of the cabinets. You hafta remove everything on top of the counter anyway (sink, stove, etc.), so it's generally gonna be easier to remove the top than to cut out that molded splash. It's a little more work making a new plywood top, but I'd sleep a lot better. And I'd make my top thicker than 3/4 inch whilst I was at it, too.

So, for my usual Q & A in questionable situations:

Would I install tile over a particle board top in a customer's house? NO.

Would I install tile over a particle board top in my own house? NO

My opinion; worth price charged.
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