How are ceramic tile countertops made?
Ceramic tile countertops have a very simple construction, making them easy to install and requiring minimal skill and supervision. There are four phases in the construction of ceramic tile countertops. These are laying the foundation, reinforcing the foundation, placing the mortar, and placing the tiles.|
Laying the foundation
The foundation is usually created with hardwood pressed together using nails or special wood adhesives. You can buy hardwood sheets and glue them together yourself, or you can buy ready-made hardwood foundation from your local hardware or home supply store. Make sure the foundation is very stable and has a perfectly flat, horizontal surface. You can use a sheet of plywood as a flatness gauge.
Reinforcing the foundation
You need to reinforce the foundation to keep the hardwood sheets from sliding against each other, which is a common incident with ceramic tiles. This is done by wrapping a mesh fabric over the top and sides of your foundation. Make sure your fabric is stretched tightly and firmly around the hardwood.
Applying the mortar
Mortar is a paste-like mixture containing cement and plaster, used as both adhesive and filling. Spread your mortar generously but evenly over the foundation. As the mortar hardens, it will bind the mesh fabric to the foundation. Cut the excess mortar from the edges after it has dried. Smooth the surface with a sandpaper to prepare it for the laying of the tiles
Placing the tiles
The final step is placing the ceramic tiles over the countertop. Place a short steel barrier along the edges of your countertop to keep your tiles in a straight line. Use a rubber mallet to hammer the tile gently, which will keep it in place. Wait a few seconds before installing the next tile, to allow the previous one to set. Press epoxy grout into the space between each tile. After the grout has dried, buff the grout lines gently and sweep the dust away. You can also brush on a glaze finish, which will give your countertop a glossy look and protect it from stains.