When your bathroom needs a new look, the best way to start is with your the countertops. Tile is a reasonable and appropriate material for bathroom countertops. Follow these steps to remodel your bathroom countertops using tile.
Step 1 - Assemble Underlayment
Assemble the countertop underlay. Cut your plywood according to the size and shape of your existing countertop. Attach it to the vanity using 1-inch wood screws. The blocks may need to be secured if the vanity is older or if there are not any adequately sized places to properly secure the plywood. Cut the opening for the sink. Cut the tile underlay to the exact size of the plywood with a matching hole for the sink. Secure the plywood with wood screws.
Step 2 - Lay Tiles on Top
Temporarily lay tiles on top of underlayment. Mark tiles that require cutting. Make a draft showing where each tile should be placed. Place labels on the drawing and the backs of the tile with a permanent marker.
Step 3 - Cut the Tiles
Cut the tiles according to your guide. Prepare your mortar. It is best to only mix the amount you need because it dries quickly. Once the mortar has dried, it is useless.
Step 4 - Apply Thinset on the Countertop
Use a notch trowel to generously spread the thinset on the countertop. Make sure that the grooves go in the same direction. The lower part of the grooves should be at least 1/8-inch thick above the underlayment.
Step 5 - Follow Layout
Lay tiles according to your design. Always start from the back corner and work your way towards the front corner. Lay the tiles firmly, but not so much to completely dislodge the thinset under the tiles. Use tabs to guide your alignment.
Step 6 - Apply Thinset to the Walls
Apply thinset to the walls to an area 1-inch from where the end of the tile will be. Start at the back corner and work in both directions along the countertop, making sure the rounded bull nose is facing up. The edge piece on each part of back splash must be double bull nosed with its rounded edge facing upward and out. Leave it to dry for 2 hours.
Step 7 - Mix the Grout
Mix the grout and allow it 20 minutes to pre-set prior to applying. Always adhere to the packaging instructions.
Step 8 - Spread the Grout
Spread the grout on the countertop using your grout float. To ensure that grout reaches into the tile gaps, firmly press and spread it. Check for air bubbles. Once you have properly placed the grout, take a wet sponge and gently clean any grout you find outside the gaps. Let it cure for 2 hours.
Step 9 - Clean Residue
Clean the remaining grout residue with a grout sponge and water. If there is a lot of residue, use the cheesecloth to buff it. Let the tile set overnight.
Step 10 - Seal the Tiles
Using a sponge, apply tile sealant evenly over the countertop and backsplash. Let it sit for at least half a day before using the countertop.