How to Tile Outdoor Counter Tops

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A tiled outdoor counter top is durable and weatherproof. If you use heat-resistant stones, you can place hot pots and pans directly on the tiles, which is convenient when grilling or entertaining. Tiling a counter top is a small, straightforward project that can be done by even inexperienced tilers. Select different tiles for the counter top, the backsplash and the exposed counter edge for a colorful look, or use the same tiles in different sizes for each section.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Cement backerboard
  • Saw
  • Screws
  • Power drill
  • Tiles
  • Tile spacers
  • Pencil
  • Wet saw
  • Chalk line
  • Thin-set mortar
  • Notched trowel
  • Rubber mallet
  • Beater board
  • Masking tape
  • Grout
  • Grout float
  • Sponge
  • Caulk
  • Silicone grout sealant
  • Measure and cut a piece of cement backerboard to fit on the counter top, the backsplash and the front edge of the counter. Attach the cement backerboard to the counter with screws. If your outdoor counter is made of concrete, skip this step.

  • Dry lay the tiles on the counter top with tile spacers in between them. Mark any tiles that will have to be cut to fit the edges with a pencil and cut them with a wet saw. Mark the edges of the subsurface with a pencil between the tiles. Set the tiles and tile spacers aside.

  • Snap a chalk line between opposite pencil marks on the counter top, making a grid that will guide you as you lay the tiles.

  • Spread thin-set mortar on the counter top inside one section of the grid. Comb grooves into the mortar with the notches on the side of the trowel. Place tiles on the counter top, following the grid lines as much as possible. Place spacers between the tiles. Continue until the entire counter top is covered with tiles.

  • Spread thin-set mortar on the backsplash and comb it with the edge of the notched trowel. Place the backsplash tiles on the mortar, placing tile spacers between them and between the backsplash tiles and the counter top tiles.

  • Apply thin-set mortar to the back of the front edge tiles with a trowel. Place each tile on the front edge of the counter and hold it in place with masking tape stuck to the edge tile and the adjacent counter-top tile. Place tile spacers between the edge tiles.

  • Place a beater board on top of the tiles and tap it with a rubber mallet to push the tiles into the mortar below. Let the thin-set mortar dry overnight. Remove the tile spacers and masking tape.

  • Spread grout into the spaces between the tiles with a groat float. Do not apply grout to the space between the backsplash and the counter top. Wipe excess grout from the tiles with a damp sponge. Run the corner of a damp sponge along the grout lines to create an even depth.

  • Fill the space between the backsplash and counter top with caulk. Allow the grout and caulk to dry and cure according to the manufacturer's instructions.

  • Protect the counter top from the elements for two weeks while the grout fully cures. After this time interval, apply silicone grout sealant to the grout directly from the bottle. This makes the counter top fully waterproof.

References

  • "Tiling: Step-by-Step"; Better Homes and Gardens; 2004
  • "Tiling"; Editors of Sunset Books; 2009
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