DIY Network

Updating a Kitchen Countertop

This DIY Basic will provide tips on updating a kitchen countertop.

More in Kitchen

Step 1: Watch an Overview Video

Step 2: Gather Your Materials and Tools

Materials and Tools:

belt sander with coarse sandpaper
interior ceramic tiles including sink rail and outer corners
wet saw
tile chippers
wax pencil
mastic trowel
non-sanded grout
lint-free cloth
grout sealer
foam brush
safety goggles
ear protection

Step 3: Prep the Countertop

For an easy kitchen countertop upgrade, lay ceramic tile on top of laminate.

Start by thoroughly cleaning oils and dirt from old countertop.

With belt sander and coarse sandpaper, rough up surface of laminate.

Step 4: Install the Sink Rail

With mastic, glue sink rail to front edge of counter. Sink rail must dry thoroughly before surface tile is laid.

Tip: For a decorative effect, choose sink rail in a contrasting or companion color to tile.

Step 5: Mark and Cut the Tiles

Do dry run of surface tile, marking tiles to be cut.

Cut partial tiles with wet saw. Do not force tiles against saw blade. Use tile chippers to trim tile for interior corners.

Remove tiles from dry run, stacking them row by row so you’ll know where each goes.

Step 6: Lay the Tiles

Working in 2x2-feet areas, spread mastic with mastic trowel.

Lay tiles, using plastic tile spacers to keep grout joints consistent.

Let mastic dry overnight.

Step 7: Fill the Joints With Grout

Using hard rubber float, fill joints with grout.

Hold float at 45-degree angle to force grout into joints. Work in 2x2-foot sections and wipe off extra grout before it dries.

Tip: Cleaning in circular motion will keep grout from coming out of joints.

Step 8: Apply a Grout Sealer

Once grout is dry, buff tile with clean cloth to remove haze.

Apply grout sealer to protect grout from stains.