Are your kitchen countertops worn out? Do your countertops have stains that you just can't remove? Do your countertops have more grooves than smoothes and need repair? Eliminate those OLD, UGLY problem countertops, and replace them for less than you think. Rebuild that countertop area into something your friends and neighbors will envy. Yes you can do it yourself and save thousands in the same process. Here are some quick do it yourself tips to accomplish this.
First off you will need to decide if you want a solid one piece top, or you can go with smaller tiles to create a unique look. Also the type of backsplash you want will be critical in your choice. The cheapest way to go on your countertops may put you right back where you are now as the material will in all likelihood be Formica, and that material has a tendency to scratch and stain. My recommendation would be to choose either a solid surface such as granite or ceramic, which is of course a stronger or much tougher solution and will last a long time. If cost is a problem, then I would go with the ceramic, as you can buy tile at a fraction of the cost. I replaced my countertops about a year ago and with a surface are of approximately 30 square feet, it only cost me about $14.00 per box or about $50 for the tile. The granite countertops are about $10.00 per square foot for a comparison. The adhesive or tile glue runs about $30 per bucket, and finally the grout, which will be about $15-20 per container. My cost for the materials ran about $120, excluding the tile for my backsplash.
On top of the materials, you are also going to need a Tile saw, (a simple table model works just great) which you can buy at a bargain price of approximately $80-100 at your neighborhood Lowes or Home Depot. If you consider the price to just rent one at either of these places (about $50 per day), you would have to be a fool not to buy one, especially if you will be doing other projects where one might come in handy. You will also need a rafter square, a notched trowel or spreader, a level and a sponge. Grout float, tape measure and rubber hammer, grout sealer (you can buy grout with this already mixed in), and tile spacers if needed. Are we tired or ready to quit yet? I hope not, as the fun is about ready to start.
In all honesty, the hardest part of this project is actually removing the old countertop, mainly because you need to be careful so that you can re-use the existing base, otherwise you would be looking at an additional cost to buy the wood for that. Once you have removed the old top, you will need to sand down the area so that the adhesive can be spread smoothly and evenly on the surface. Next you will lay each piece of tile onto the adhesive making sure that it is square and even to the previous piece. If you are leaving a space between each piece of tile, this is where you will use your tile spacers to make sure each piece of tile is straight and aligned with the other. If you have done this project several times, you may be good enough to do it without the spacers, but not on your first few attempts. If you are replacing tile that has a sink, you will of course need to have some caulk to put down around the sink so that you form a water tight seal and don't have a leak under the sink. Remember you can not install the sink until the entire tile and grout is completely dry.
After the tile has been installed, you will need to wait approximately 2-3 hours for the adhesive to dry, then you can add your grout between the tile pieces using your putty knife or spreader to apply it. I recommend adding your grout in sections of 4 to 6 feet at a time, because the grout does dry rather quickly and you will need to make sure that the grout is uniform and even around each piece of tile. A secret that I use is that my finger is perfect for about a quarter inch width. Make sure that your grout is as even with the tile as possible and keep your sponge damp in order to wipe up the excess grout as you apply it.
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