Tile Over Laminate Countertops Part 1- How to Use a Tile Saw
I’ve been blogging about my big summer project over the past few weeks. I’m redoing my kitchen and so far I have painted the kitchen walls and bottom cabinets. I also installed a faux tin vinyl backsplash. After a DIY disaster with the crackle finish on my cabinets I was ready to move on to a different project in the kitchen and take a break from painting. Today I am going to show you how to use a tile saw and how I installed ceramic tile over my dated laminate countertops.
I wanted to refinish my counter tops and started investigating different ways to go about it. Turns out there are a lot of different products on the market.
I considered the following products:
- Rustoleum Countertop Transformations
- Giani Granite Countertop Paint
- DAICH Spreadstone Mineral Select
I decided I didn’t want to paint the laminate to look like faux granite and the other options would have cost more money than I wanted to spend. I have a lot of counter top space. It’s over 65 feet of counter top and our kitchen is quite large compared to the size of our house.
If I had chosen any of the kits above I would have had to purchase at least two of them in order to have enough product to cover all of our counters. The cost would have been a minimum of $300.
Instead I decided to try tiling over the laminate counter tops. I was really iffy about installing tile on my counters because it can have a very dated look (I’m trying to get away from the 1980’s, not recreate it). On the plus side, tile is super durable and you can place hot pans right on it and it won’t be harmed. The faux countertop finishes I considered would not be as durable and may flake or peel off. I decided that white tile with white grout would look fresh, clean and timeless.
I had never tiled anything before or worked with grout and the thought of it was kind of daunting. So many things could go wrong, but I was ready for a new challenge. My main concern was that I would have to cut tile and using a tile saw terrified me. In fact, it’s the main reason I chose to use a faux tin vinyl backsplash in my kitchen instead of regular tile.
Turns out using tile saw is no big deal. It’s kind of fun once you get the hang of it.
If you are thinking of doing some tile work there are two different ways you can cut tile. You can use a saw or you can use a manual tile cutter.
I highly, highly recommend getting yourself a saw. It makes the job so much faster and easier. You will be so happy that you did. I had to cut a lot of tile pieces for this project and I mean A LOT.
When you cut tile, stone, brick etc. you need to use a wet tile saw, not a regular saw. These types of saws have a diamond blade and spray water onto the blade as you are cutting to cool it. You pour water into the reservoir and it sprays onto the blade.
After checking out the tile selection at Lowes and Home Depot I ended up going with this ceramic white 4×4 tile with a 6″ white bullnose tile for the edging. Bull nose tile has a smooth, finished edge and it is used for tiling the border of a project so you aren’t left with a raw edge.
I laid out the tile in the areas that I was working with and decided on my pattern. For this tile installation I would need to cut the square tiles in half to make triangles as well as 45 and 22 degree cuts and miter cuts for the edges. All of these cuts can be made with the QEP tile saw. It comes with a guide for the 45 and 22 degree cuts to make sure they come out perfectly.
FYI: The table also extends for larger tile pieces.
Always, always wear safety goggles and keep your hair tied back. Don’t wear any loose clothing that could get caught in any part of the saw.
First, measure and mark where on your tile you want to cut it.
Then, set up the guide and position your tile.
Flip the on switch and gently guide your piece of tile through the blade. Don’t force it- let the blade do the work.
*Gnome Tip* To prevent your tiles from chipping I flipped my tile pieces over so the glazed side was face down. Every single cut came out perfectly.
Always make sure the water reservoir is full. The water keeps the blade cool and if the reservoir runs dry your saw will be ruined.
I also used this diamond grit porcelain tile file to smooth a few areas on my cut tile so they looked perfect.
Although I am not completely finished my project I have several areas done. Check out these before and after photos.
I will share the exact method I used to adhere the tile to my counter in the next couple of weeks once it’s finished.
The best part of this project is that I have overcome my fear of saws. I am so thrilled with how my countertops are turning out and I have increased confidence in my DIY abilities. I’m ready to take on more advanced projects like woodworking.
How do you feel about tile saws and power tools? Are you ready to take your DIY projects to the next level with more power?