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Unread 01-04-2003, 03:06 PM   #1
tomtuttle
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Laminate Countertop

Hoping that y'all will show me the usual amount of help, patience and grace, despite my history here

Time to embark on ... tiling the kitchen counter and backsplash (insert eerie music here). I've done my searches, read my books, studied the forums, and I'm still too stupid to feel confident

I'll post some pichers in a subsequent message.

1. I'm interested in just tiling directly over the laminate (I know, CBU is better, and mud rules....) for a couple reasons. Mostly, I'm concerned about the width of the counter edge, which I plan to do in wood. Not putting the CBU down first saves me ~3/8". Would you sleep better by talking me into the CBU (wider wood trim - probably ~2 1/4") OR what is conventional wisdom on tile adhesive if I insist on taking the shortcut (I resurrected a post where John said the M word ) Flexbond? M? Epoxy? And if I do plan to put the CBU down, do I use modified or unmodified over the laminate or something else?

2. I'm planning to take JB's advice and install the wood trim first then butt the tiles up to it. That's going to leave a hairline crack between the tiles and the wood. Do I caulk that edge? Before or after tiling? Or is it "better" to take MB's advice and leave a "caulkable" (1/8") gap there?

3. Paxil, beer or hard liquor?

More later.

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Unread 01-04-2003, 03:29 PM   #2
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Picture

Trying to attach a picture, but this is just too many disciplines to learn in one day.
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Unread 01-04-2003, 03:30 PM   #3
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Picture 2

Hey, it worked!! Can you do two pictures in one post?
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Unread 01-04-2003, 05:10 PM   #4
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Way to go, Tom. Of course, it works.

I may have uttered the M word a time or two, but there is no way we will allow you to use that stuff on your counters. We'll excommunicate you and hire another brewmaster if you do that.

On the wood edge, here's the way it ought to work. You take your handy-andy skill saw and cut the overhangs off the edge of the counters, right back to the cabinet face frames. Then install the wood trim. That gives you a 3/4 in. projection if you use one-by stock.

I would install 1/4 in. CBUs to the tops. Use any kind of cheap thin set you want, and nail them down with roofing nails. Then use good thin set (modified) to set your tiles.

On the splash you can go right over the sheetrock after you remove the current low splash. It looks from here like it's not molded into the top, but if it is, I would suggest removing the tops and starting out with new plywood.

It was Corona last night. Tonight it's only Rolling Rock.

Last edited by John Bridge; 01-05-2003 at 04:39 PM.
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Unread 01-04-2003, 07:01 PM   #5
tomtuttle
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Odd cabinet detail

Thanks, John. I appreciate your help (as always). Ten-Four on the Mastic; I was just funnin' with ya.

And yes, I am going to cut off the raduis corners at 45.

There is an odd detail about the cabinets, though.

Simply cutting back to the front of the face frame does not absolve the necessity of having the new wood edge trim go down to the level of the existing laminate trim. The cabinets do not have a square outside corner; they are "notched" at the top and the notch is filled with a ~2x2 rough frame edge. So, sawing back the existing edge doesn't help my ultimate "height of edge" problem.

So, I guess my question should be:
Is it better to have a ~2 1/4" edge with CBU under the tile or a (more standard) <2" edge and tile directly to the laminate?

And hey, what about that gap between the tile and the wood edge?
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Unread 01-04-2003, 07:48 PM   #6
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Tom:

When I do tile tops over mud, my standard wood edge is, in fact, 2 1/4". I usually try to make an edge with the same profile as the stiles and rails of the cabinet doors. It looks fine in a two and a quarter width, and that width is about the minimum I can get by with using mud and still get at least a quarter inch lap over the top of the base cabinets. So I'd definately say do the CBU and the wider trim.

My biggest concern for your top is that it is likely to be particle board and that solid wood edging may not be present except where the overhang exists. Attaching the edge to a particle board edge will work well enough so long as it never gets wet in that area.

Which would bring us to the issue of the grout v. caulk issue. Caulk would better prevent the hairline crack that you will get if you grout that line, but then you have a caulk line there, which I don't favor when I do tops.

You will get arguments both ways on that issue.

I'll be right.
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Unread 01-04-2003, 09:17 PM   #7
tomtuttle
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Thanks

Thanks, cx. Of your last comment, I have no doubt

I am grateful for your confirmation about the dimension of the edge. Will do the CBU.

The edge seems to be doubled 3/4" plywood except on the overhang area where it is lumber. There is no particle board under the laminate (1965 or thereabouts). Howsabout if I run a bead of silicone along the edge between the new wood trim and the old trimmed laminate/plywood top? Any other ideas (besides mud)?

I am fortified and emboldened by the collective wisdom here. Many thanks.
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Unread 01-04-2003, 10:06 PM   #8
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It is good not to have some particle board.

I can see it being not a bad idea to caulk that joint betwix the new edge trim and the edge of the CBU before installing tile. Never thought about it, but it couldn't hurt.

I'll caution, as I always do, that you finish the edge trim before installing tile. At least finish the back side so it doesn't get wet with the thinset and grout. Probably not as much a problem as when using mud, but you still don't want that trim gathering extra moisture after it's glued up and all. And at least stain the front side or you'll damn sure get some thinset or grout splatters on it whilst it's raw.

Will you be able to match the cabinet door profile on the edge? Always makes it look like it belongs.
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Unread 01-05-2003, 12:17 PM   #9
tomtuttle
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More questions

I found that there is a big bow in my wall with which I need remediation help.

The wall is nice and flat for about 8 feet and then it turns away from the counter so that, at the 10-foot end mark, it is about 1/4" out of alignment. There is an electrical outlet right in the middle of the 2 foot section. The bow starts right at the edge of the stove and ends at the refrigerator, so is contained pretty completely over one section of countertop.

I've thought of four options:
1. Ignore it and deal with what could be some pretty nasty lippage on the splash (I had planned to use 12" tiles on diagonal)
2. Float mud (or something else?) over just that section, so that it would go from feather edge to a 1/4" thickness. This way, the original wall plane would be preserved throughout the splash. But I'd have to deal with that outlet in the middle.
3. Mount 1/4" CBU over the entire width of the splash, shimming out in the offending section. I'll be using wood trim at the outside edge of the splash, so adjusting the thickness of the splash should not be a deal-breaker for either #2 or #3.
4. Give up, hire somebody and get back to my beer. (okay, that's not really an option, but I like to keep hope alive)

Help?

Also -
cx ably advised me about the height of wood edge trim, but what about the thickness? I had sort of planned to minimize the thickness (to say, 1/4" or 3/8") but noted that JB referred to one-by stock (3/4"). I'll probably end up with 2 1/4" high trim, and only be able to attach it in the lower 3/4". Are there structural considerations, or should I just do whatever looks good?

I thank you, as does SWMBO.
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Unread 01-05-2003, 04:52 PM   #10
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Seems to me you'll have more attaching surface than 3/4 in. You're going to be coming down over the fronts of the cabs about an inch and a half. That's your attachment. If you have to add some filler in the front of the cabs, that's okay, too. All that should be above the rough top is enough for 1/4 in. backer and the thickness of the tiles (plus a sixteenth for thin set).

On the back splash, is that the stud by the outlet is bowed out? If that's the case, it might be fairly simple to remove the drywall in that area and deal with the stud. Don't worry about the outlete box. You can move it out or in with no problem. You could then nail up a new piece of drywall and tile over the whole mess.

On finishing the wood before the tile installation, I'll concur. I messed up a pretty nice piece of red oak years ago by floating mud up against it.

On the thickness of the wood, you need about 3/4 to keep things straight. It's terribly hard to deal with something only a quarter-inch thick. 3/4 looks good, too.
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Unread 01-05-2003, 06:37 PM   #11
tomtuttle
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Thank you, John. You're right about having more attachment room than I indicated. Brain fart on my part.

I'd planned to pre-finish and mask the wood per your instructions in the book (I really am trying to smarten!)

I'll use thicker stock too. I appreciate the advice.

The wall is still befuddling, though. Thanks to your question, I am now theorizing that it IS the stud by the outlet that is the culprit, but it is bowed IN not out. I'm not all that jazzed about replacing the drywall, since the next stud to the right of there is behind the fridge (another outlet) and has perfectly nice texture and new paint, etc. on it and will not be covered by tile.

Since the vertical trim will be wood and the thickness at that point is not critical, could I apply an initial thickness of thinset to "fill in" somewhat?
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Unread 02-07-2003, 05:04 PM   #12
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Need more help

I'm still puzzling over "flattening" my wall. Tried an initial coat of thinset, but am having trouble with the "craft" part - I'm messy and thinset is sticky!

Another question - I'm having trouble with aligning the woodworking and tilework schedules on this project. Can I set the tile to *temporary* wood trim (furring strips - to align the edges and such) and then subsequently replace those strips with the actual, finished trim? I'm assuming that I would need to do this BEFORE grouting.

And on doing plunge cuts in 12" tile for the backsplash - I'm planning to use the mighty plasplugs and nippers, but don't have a good technique in my mind. Do you make several, narrow, parallel cuts in the area of the outlet and then bust the little pieces out and nip them clean? Do you do the cuts from the front or the back?

Many thanks
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Last edited by tomtuttle; 02-07-2003 at 07:03 PM.
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Unread 02-07-2003, 07:39 PM   #13
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Tom,

Setting the tiles to temporary sticks will work. No problem.

I've never tried a plunge cut on my plasplug, but I'm sure it can be done. Since the blade will be beneath the tile, you should probably make a couple exploratory cuts in the middle of your hole and work your way out to the edges. You would mark the opening on the front of the tile but keep the front facing up when you lower the tile over the blade.

A better way would be to use a small grinder if you have one. That way you can do most of the work from the front where you can see what's going on.
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Unread 02-07-2003, 08:04 PM   #14
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Only drawback to using the temporary wood stops is that you can't then clamp the real edging to the front of the top/cabinet for gluing except at the sink opening - if any.

Best to make the temporary strips the same width as the real ones so you can be sure the top and bottom will be in the right place, eh?

But you knew that.
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Unread 02-07-2003, 08:42 PM   #15
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Thanks for the information but....

Hi Tom

I have been reading your message about tiling your countertop. Did you ever decide about tiling over the laminate?
I am facing the same dilema, my ountertop is already 1 1/2 inches thick and I was trying to keep it from getting thicker. If I have to put the backer Board on it and then the tile we are probably talking about another 1/2 inch. What did you end up doing ??

I just found this site and really like it.
Thanks
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