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Unread 10-01-2023, 07:28 PM   #1
Dog Doc
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Small Tile project

Good evening,

I have a very small decorative tile project that I am doing for our kitchen remodel and would like advice on how best to construct it. I am making a few trivets with 1 inch hexagonal ceramic tiles and am unsure of what type of backerboard would be needed for this. I envisioned mounting the tile on plywood and framing it with 1.5 inch x 1.5 inch walnut but after reading about cracking and stability do not know if this is an OK idea or not. I had thought about plywood rather than cement backerboard because the back of the wood is going to be exposed. The size of the trivet will be about 14" x 14" and sitting on the counter to place hot dishes on so they don't burn the counters. Being so small and not being exposed to water or being exposed to a lot of moisture I did not know if the surface it is mounted on matters as much.

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Unread 10-01-2023, 07:55 PM   #2
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Welcome, Sofie.

You can likely get by with most anything you elect to do on such small applications, I would think. But if you've got that massive edge to work with, and apparently weight is not a concern, I think I'd elect to use both the plywood, for compatible structure with the wood edging, and the CBU for a more compatible bonding surface for the tile. Seems we're entering the realm of structural trivets, eh?

Likely stick the CBU to the plywood with a construction adhesive. I'd use 1/4" Hardiebacker because of the ability to make cleaner cut edges. I suppose you could just rabbet the CBU into that Walnut edging and eliminate the plywood if you're so inclined, but the plywood, glued to the edging, would make it a good bit stronger.

I'd want to grout the tile installation with a cementitious grout. That will likely crack around the perimeter eventually, but I think I'd prefer that to taking a chance with a flexible sealant under potentially hot pots.

No real rules to follow for your particular project.

My opinion; worth price charged.


Last edited by cx; 10-01-2023 at 08:59 PM. Reason: Typo
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Unread 10-02-2023, 03:13 PM   #3
Dog Doc
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Small Tile Project

Thank you for your help!!
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Unread 10-04-2023, 10:20 PM   #4
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Sofie, for a project as you describe, I think you can use whatever materials work for the end result you desire. Using tile for art, in a very small project as you describe can be accomplished in many ways outside what would normally be considered tile industry standards. Those industry standards discussed here are geared toward floors, showers, steam rooms, pools, etc. There’s nobody walking on, rolling a refrigerator across your trivots. Your trivots are not a Las Vegas hotel lobby floor which is what the industry standards are designed for.

I’d say a hot glue gun and whatever other material you find appealing will be fine for your trivots.
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Unread 10-05-2023, 04:21 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Snets
I’d say a hot glue gun and whatever other material you find
She might not like the outcome after setting a hot dish on it for a half hour.

Mastic might work, but with the hot dishes sitting on it, I would have to suggest using thinset mortar for that. Not only will you have heat on the adhesive, you'll also have stress on the backer. You want that heat to dissipate quickly, and for the adhesive to be unaffected by the heat.

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