Tile Techniques: Countertops

When tiling over a laminate countertop, make sure that it is square, level and structurally sound. The surface will need to be sanded before setting the tiles to ensure that they will adhere properly. If you need to remove your existing countertop, remove the screws from beneath the countertop and if needed, cut the construction adhesive with a knife.

Wood EdgeWood Edge

To ensure that your first row of tile is set straight, install batten along the front edge of the countertop.

  • Wood Edge - Fasten a 1x2 batten to the face of the countertop with the top edge above the top of the counter if you will be using wood edge trim.
  • Bullnose Tiles - If you are using bullnose tiles, a batten that is the same thickness as the edging tile, plus 1/8” for mortar thickness, should be fastened to the face of the countertop so that the top is flush with the counter.
  • V-cap Tiles - For v-cap tiles, a 1x2 batten attached with screws along the reference line will guarantee straightness.
It is always a good idea to lay out the tiles in a dry run using spacers before you actually install them. L-shaped counters should be tiled starting at the corner and working outward. All other counters, start at the sink to ensure that there will be equal sized cuts on both sides of the sink. To prevent yourself from having to cut very narrow tile segments, you may need to shift your starting point.

Another important tip when selecting tile for your countertop is deciding what you want for your backsplash and edging and what pieces are available in the tile you want to use. Using a combination of field tile and edge tile, trim, or borders can create a very appealing backsplash and edging. For backsplash ideas, check out our Backsplash Options.