By Gene and Katie Hamilton
A worn and weary laminate kitchen countertop can be covered up with a new one made of ceramic tiles, with the old countertop as a base to build on. This project saves time, money and the hassle of removing the old countertop, a messy and time consuming job. Building on a laminate countertop works if the edges are not postformed or rounded with the countertop as part of the backsplash. A substrate is needed below the laminate to provide a sound surface to install the new tiles on.
To install new ceramic tiles on 20 square feet of countertop (enough to cover a 10 foot counter with a sink) a tile installer will charge $600, which includes the labor and material. A handy homeowner with carpentry experience and tools can do the job for $225, the cost of the materials, and save 66 percent. Choosing 13-inch square floor tiles is a good choice since a typical countertop is 25 1/2-inch deep, which means there will be only one grout line. Floor tiles have a flat surface, so they won't be slippery when they get wet. If the countertop surrounds a range or sink, you'll have to make adjustments to accommodate the additional height added by the substrate and tile that raises the level of the countertop.
To get an idea of how different colored tiles will look, use inexpensive construction paper the color of tiles you’re considering. Cut some ''make believe'' tiles out of the construction paper and put them in place and you’ll get a good idea of how the color will look in your kitchen.
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For more information go to DIY DIVA How to Build Tile Counters.
Now you know the average cost to build a tile countertop, which includes the labor and material, and what’s involved, so you can decide to do it yourself or hire a contractor. Don’t forget to adjust the cost to where you live by adding your ZIP Code.
Improvement and Repair Cost Updated 2020