When tiling countertops, and you desire the look of a solid slab countertop, You'll need to use natural stone tile that is honed or polished to a nice smooth finish.
Honed stone tile is very suitable for a kitchen counter tile, but it's surface makes scratches and stains more noticeable, so You'll want to seal these tiles regularly to protect them.
You can also use Gauged stone tile which is cut from slabs with diamond blades and then polished to a smooth finish. Gauged stone tile is fairly uniform in size making for an ideal countertop tile.
Most varieties of stone tiles come in 3 to 12 inch squares but 4X2 inch rectangles and 2X2 foot squares are becoming increasingly popular.
Natural stone kitchen counter tile can be made to mimic stone slab countertops by choosing polished, honed, or gauged stone countertop tiles, such as polished granite, honed slate or honed limestone.
You can also use any other stone tile that comes in a solid slab. These tiles must be rectified, so their squared edges can be butted close together, in order to allow for small grout lines.
Before you install your stone kitchen counter tile, Check to see if you will need to remove your old countertop base and install a new one. Stone kitchen counter tiles will need a solid level base to prevent the countertop tiles from cracking or chipping.
Snap chalk your reference lines to your countertop base. This will help to keep your tile layout straight. Be sure to snap your reference lines for your front edge countertop tiles as well as for the perimeter of the sink. The number of reference lines needed for installing your stone countertop tile depends on the complexity of your tiling job.
*When tiling kitchen countertops without a sink you should have a minimum of a line that locates the front edge countertop tiles.
*Tiling countertops with sinks should have lines for the front edge tiles as well as the perimeter of the sink. Tiling countertops that are L shaped is slightly different from tiling countertops that are rectangular.
When setting the location for your edge tiles snap chalk a reference line on the front of both legs.
Make sure that this line extends the full length of each leg. Then snap chalk lines for the rear edge tiles, and the tile that will be placed around the sink.
Be sure to dry lay your kitchen counter tiles before actually tiling the countertop, and don't forget to insert your spacers between the tiles. You are doing This to make sure your layout plans are accurate.
When you begin your actual tile installation, start laying your st kitchen counter tile at the intersection of the two legs, by first installing your field tiles to the section without the sink, and then installing them to the second leg with the sink.
Dry lay as many tiles as needed to ensure that the reference lines are located correctly. Be sure to insert your spacers. If you are intending on creating the appearance of a solid slab, use either 1/8 or 1/16 inch spacers.
Dry lay your edge tiles and mark them for cuts. Be sure to Dry fit the corners as well as the other edge tiles so that the grout lines match up with the field tiles. Once you are satisfied with your dry laid plan, pull up a section of your tiles.
mix up a batch of thinset and apply it to the section where you removed your dry laid tiles. Spread thinset onto the backerboard of this section.
Back butter each of your stone tiles as you lay them in the thinset. Install all of your field tiles, And your tiles for the perimeter of the sink cutout. Do not install the edge tiles at this time.
If you are using bullnose tile on the top edges of your countertop install them along with your field tiles and use a batten board to keep your arrangment lined up. A Batten board is a 1X2 board you should use to keep your countertop tiles straight.
Use drywall screws to install the batten board to the front edge of your counter base and install the bullnose tiles so their front edge is flush with the batten board. Remember for the look of a solid slab all grout lines must be lined up.
When you have finished dry laying and cutting your tiles, you can move on to spreading your thinset and laying the countertop tiles to edges of your sink opening.
When you're tiling countertops they Must be level. Check each section with your bubble level, as you are laying them. If a tile appears to be too high try carefully pushing down on it with both hands with your fingers spread.
If that doesn't work you may need to pick up the tile and remove some of the thinset from underneath it. If a tile seems too low, you may need to apply more thinset.
Measure And Cut your countertop tiles to fit around the edges of the sink opening.dry lay them first by laying one tile at a time and inserting spacers between each tile, then mark the cuts you will need.
Use your wet saw and tile nippers to make the cuts for around the sink. Your cuts don't need to be perfect, as they will be covered by your drop in sink. Make all of your other tile cuts at this time also.
Once you're done with installing all of your field tiles, clean out the thinset from the grout lines with a utility knife and remove all excess thinset from the tile surface. Let the adhesive cure for a few hours, then you're ready to install your edge tile.
Once your thinset has cured remove your batten board. You'll need to carefully remove your batten board by removing the screws, and begin installing your edge tiles. After you have installed your edge tiles wait about 12 hours before grouting your tiles. Remember to achieve the look of a solid slab countertop, you'll need to match the color of your grout with the color of your tiles. You may need to mix different grout colors in order to achieve the correct color.
After tiling countertops some tilers like a nice polished look to their countertop tile. If you desire to have your stone tiles and edges polished, it's best to get a professional who can do it for you.Polishing tiles can be tricky and the tools are expensive to buy for just a one time use.