Whether you're expanding an existing outdoor space or you're building a new outdoor kitchen, tile is a durable option for covering an outdoor bar or countertop. Tile is easy-to-clean and holds up well amid outdoor elements, even in the coldest months, and it comes in a variety of styles, sizes and types, including stone and ceramic options.
Measure your existing bar or countertop surface. Score a piece of cement backer board to meet those measurements using a utility knife. Break the board along the scores. Place the backer board on your countertop surface and secure it to the surface with screws using a drill. Cut out any openings, such as a sink opening, out of the backer board using a reciprocating saw.
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Tape any joints between pieces of backer board with nylon mesh tape, if needed. Mix the mortar per the manufacturer's instructions. Use a mortar trowel to apply a thin layer of thinset mortar over each taped joint.
Apply mortar to the surface of the backer board. Place tiles in the desired pattern on top of the mortar. Push each tile gently into the mortar to set it. Use plastic or wooden spacers to space tiles if needed. Once you've laid all the tiles, let the surface dry and the mortar harden for at least 24 hours before applying the grout.
Follow the manufacturer's instructions and mix the grout. Fill-in the spaces between the tiles with grout. Pull a grout float diagonally across the surface of tiles to remove any excess. Let the grout dry until the surface is slightly hazy.
Clean off the surface of the tiles with a damp sponge to remove any grout. Apply trim, if desired, along the edge of your outdoor bar.
If your initial bar surface is concrete, you do not need to apply cement backer board before applying the mortar. Cement backer board is used to protect elements, like plywood, which can become easily damaged outdoors.