Tile Over Laminate Counters
I've been chronicling my mini kitchen renovation over the past couple of months and things are slowly coming together.
I previously shared Part One of my counter project and shared my experience using a tile saw for the first time with instructions on I how cut the tile for my counter tops. Click to check out that post if you missed it.
Today I'm going to explain the exact method I used to adhere the tile to the counter.
To refresh your memory, I used 4x4 white ceramic tile as well as 2x4 white ceramic tile and 2x6 bullnose tiles for the counter edges. Bull nose tile has a finished edge and is used where you don't want a raw edge.
If you want to tile over a laminate counter, the counter has to have a flat edge. Counters with rounded edges cannot be tiled over. The laminate cannot be peeling or chipped off and needs to be in decent condition.
I started by sanding the counters with 60 grit sandpaper. Sanding the countertop surface will help the tile stick better.
I used a product called the Simple Mat to adhere the tile on top of the laminate. Simple Mat is basically double-sided tape that you stick on the wall or counter to adhere the tile to the surface instead of using thin set mortar. You stick the tile on top of the Simple Mat and you can grout immediately.
Using Simple Mat appealed to me because I do not have a lot of time to work on projects. I also need to use my kitchen to prepare food for my family and don't have time to wait for the mortar to dry and then for the grout to dry. Anything that will make things easier and faster is always appealing to me.
I'm honestly on the fence about recommending Simple Mat. The reviews online were divided. People either loved or hated it. My mom told me she had used it on her kitchen backsplash and she really liked the product so I decided to give it a go. Like many others I read about online, I had issues with my tiles adhering to the mat.
The mat stuck well to the counter. The tape is very, very sticky. It's the tiles that don't seem to want to stick to the mat. Some of my tiles fell right off or came loose before I had a chance to apply the grout.
I discovered that for the product to work properly the tile must be clean and dry ( no dust or residue from cutting on the back of the tile)
I washed and dried every single piece of tile but despite my prep, some pieces still didn't want to stick.
For these pieces I had to apply construction adhesive and use painters tape to hold them in place while the glue set.
The area around the sink was the most difficult. I had to partially remove the sink in order to lay the tile. The sink is secured from the bottom with little screws. I unscrewed those and unscrewed the pipes and popped it up. It was annoying but it wasn't difficult.
I used sanded grout on my counters. If you are tilling with spaces of greater than ⅛th of an inch you use sanded grout and on less than ⅛ you use un-sanded.
Mix your grout with water in a bucket according to the directions on the bag and apply with a grout trowel. Then use a grout float to smooth it into the spaces between the tiles. Run the grout float diagonally across the tiles to make sure the grout gets into all the little cracks. Use the float to remove excess grout from the counter and then take a sponge and clean off the excess grout.
There will be a residue called a “haze” on the tiles. Don’t worry about this. Leave the counters to set for at least two hours and then buff off the haze with a microfiber cloth.
Don’t put anything on the counter for at least 24 hours.
After 2-3 days you are ready to seal the grout. I’ll go over how to do this in Part 3 coming up in a couple of weeks.
Overall I am pleased with my new countertops. There are definitely a few spots that look kind of wonky and some of the grout lines aren't even, but considering I had never tiled anything before I think I did a good job. I almost wish I could start the project over with all the knowledge I have now on how to lay tile. But that's how you learn, right? My next tile projects will turn out even better because of the skills that I learned with this project.
Have you installed tile counter tops before? Let me know about your experience in the comments and if you found this tutorial helpful please share on social media!