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Ceramic tile installation

Do I have to use backer board when installing ceramic tile for a counter top.The motar I used before was pre-mixed and was a white stcky material.And I used it over 3/4 plywood,a good grade if that makes any difference.

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Posted 2013-12-10T23:22:22+0000  by hollow hollow

Bashsplashes aren't nearly as demanding as, say, a shower wall where you have to worry about moisture or floor when you have to worry about deflection so you don't have to use a backerboard.  Plenty of people install the backsplash right over drywall.  The thinset manufacturer, as part of their technical documents, will have a list of acceptable substrates.  The manufacturer will know more about their product than anyone, so read the support documents. :smileywink:

Posted 2013-12-10T23:52:49+0000  by Adam444

Hey hollow,


Thanks for your question and welcome to the community!


It's always recommended to use tile backerboard over horizontal surfaces like a countertop. Adam444's response was more regarding backsplashes, which don't come into much contact with water as he stated.


However, for countertops I always recommend to use backerboard or another material we carry in our stores, SimpleMat. Both options work great for keeping moisture out of the plywood base. No mortar or sealant can effectively block moisture like these two options mentioned.


In fact, you can use SimpleMat now if you already used a plywood base, since it's much thinner than backerboard. Click on the image of SimpleMat being used in action on a backsplash for more information.

Since SimpleMat is a double-sided adhesive, you don't have to use your pre-mixed mastic that you used before.....SimpleMat sticks directly to the tiles!

WIth skipping the step of adhering the tiles via mastic, you save almost a days work since you don't have to worry about the mastic/tile adhesive drying. You'd still need to space out your tiles accordingly and grout, so as to give the tiles a professional look.


Lastly, always seal your grout and tile with a sealer so as to protect what you just installed. It gives more moisture and soil resistance to your countertops and will need to be periodically done so as to protect it.


If you do decide to use backerboard, you can use the same tile mastic/adhesive you used, but SimpleMat really is a better and less time-consuming choice to use as a base for your tiles. In either case, still use some form of high-quality plywood, but I'd opt for no thicker than 1/2".


Please let me know if you have any further questions,


Posted 2013-12-11T15:06:14+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL



Thanks for catching that, I thought she was asking about a backsplash (maybe I confused another thread).


Yup, 1/4" backerboard.



Posted 2013-12-11T15:36:36+0000  by Adam444
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