Do it Yourself Quartz Countertop

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Quartz is one of the hardest, most durable materials you can use as the surface of a countertop--more so even than granite. Quartz countertops, like granite, are often installed in one-piece slabs, which requires custom engineering of the quartz and professional installation. A do-it-yourself alternative is to buy quartz tiles, which can be laid by hand over your existing countertop to give you that hard, durable quartz surface. Make sure to buy pre-sealed tiles, and consult with your home improvement store about getting the right mortar and grout.

Prepare a Proper Base

  • Quartz tile, like all hard tiles, needs a solid underlayment for proper stabilization. Sheathe your countertop frame in 1/4-inch cement board, using carpenter's glue and sinking 1-inch drywall screws every 6 inches. The cement board can be laid right over an existing laminate countertop, as long as the laminate isn't coming loose and you first buff out the shine with a hand sander and 60-grit sandpaper. After all the cement board is laid, fill the seams with thinset mortar, sanding it smooth after it dries so you have a clean, unbroken surface to start with.

Install the Tiles

  • The tiles should be laid out starting from the center front of the countertop, working your way toward the back and sides. Keep 1/8-inch grout lines between them. The front row of tiles needs to hang out over the edge just enough to cover the thickness of the tiles that will be on the vertical front edge. Lay the tiles by spreading thinset mortar on the countertop surface with a notched trowel and pressing the tiles into place. Cut the edge tiles as necessary with a rented wetsaw.

Grout and Seal the Tiles

  • Mix your powdered grout with water as instructed, letting it sit in the bucket for 10 minutes before you apply it. Apply it with a grout float, which is rubber trowel. Push the grout into the spaces between the tiles and then wipe it off the tops of the tiles. Let it sit for a minute, then wipe it all down with a damp sponge. After the grout has been allowed to set for two to three days, apply a liquid grout sealer over the lines to ensure they don't stain or absorb moisture.

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