Grout lines may be quite aesthetic and symmetrical; however, they might also be quite inconvenient.
First of all, getting even grout lines is not a simple task. It may take you a lot longer to get it right.
Second, even though the traditional grout line is supposed to be resilient to the majority of splash-damage causes, this is not always the case. While granite tiles are generally a resilient and reliable material, there is a belief that they aren’t a perfect countertop solution.
Why? You’ve guessed it – because of grout lines. Fortunately, there are quite a few tricks to help you install a granite tile countertop without grout lines.
Here are some such tips.
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The first thing to do in these types of situations is to start with a good base. What you need is plywood, thick around ¾ of an inch. The reason for this thickness lies in the fact that the base needs to be capable of withstanding the weight of the tiles combined.
At the same time, it shouldn’t be too bulky or add to the weight on its own. Over the plywood, you should add a tile-backer. Choosing a lightweight option is always a great idea. This will prevent damage to the plywood by acting as a sealant.
Building a countertop base depends on the type of material that you want to use for the countertop. In order to further strengthen your ¾ plywood base, you can also go for a ¼ inch backer board. This way, you will make the foundation even better suited for the granite that is to lay on top.
Using materials other than plywood is always an option but you will probably have to invest some additional work into it. Primarily, you will have to work on the surface with sandpaper, which is a complex and gruesome task.
The next thing you need to do is try and visualize the countertop. You can start with the research and calculations all you like but you also need to find reliable tile suppliers online and check what they have to offer.
Here, examine different types and textures of granite tiles and try to figure out how this would fit your kitchen. More importantly, look at the edges and try to imagine a countertop without grout lines. How seamless will it appear?
If you’re interested in some physical properties of tiles other than the mere size of tiles (weight, etc.), make sure to contact the supplier and inquire about it.
The next ting worth considering is the importance of properly cutting tiles, as well as making a calculation for a countertop without grout lines.
First things first, all the tiles need to be cut at a 45-degrees miter. This will create a crisp line to the lip and provide the countertop with a seamless look.
In order to make the calculation, you need to start by multiplying the lineal footage of the countertop. You should multiply by 2.5 in order to get an accurate estimate because the majority of countertops have lineal footage that is 24 inches long.
One thing that a lot of people omit when making this calculation is the front lip of the countertop. Even with this in mind, it’s also vital that you subtract the sink or the stovetop, depending on the area that you’re covering with the countertop.
Joints are usually handled with a mortar and you should go with a thin-set option. A 25-pound bag should be more than enough to do the trick. Add a bit of unsanded grout to the mix and there you have it.
Lastly, when you have the base installed, all the tiles properly cut and at hand, you’re ready to finally install the countertop.
Now, you need to lay down the tiles so that their edges barely touch. Then, you need to grout the tiles.
In order to make it all seamless, you should probably use unsanded grout.
Second, you should use the notched float in a diagonal swipe in order to get the grout to slide between the 45-degrees tile joints.
Finally, you should use a damp sponge in order to drive out any leftover grout. The final ingredient is patience. You should let it all dry out overnight.
In the end, there are two lessons to be learned from this.
First, grout lines are optional and second, granite tiles can be a perfect option for a countertop. The thing is that it may take a bit more patience in order to make this solution work but the end result is definitely worth it, there’s no question about it.
Also, you could always hire a professional to do this no-grout-lines installation in your stead. The world is your oyster.
Allan Wickerson is a passionate home improvement blogger. Lately he has had some issues with his house tiles as well, and by finding great tile suppliers he has managed to fix his interior design. For this, he is trying to share his experience with others through this article. You can follow him on twitter.