We've been busy the past couple weeks taking care of a number of projects for the owners of a new yoga studio, Namaste, and Sol, an organic sunless tan and spa studio in downtown Kirkwood, MO. One of those projects was a custom tile countertop for Sol's reception area.
Because the countertop is cantilevered on both sides and will probably be leaned on and bumped into from time to time, it needed to be built rock solid. To accomplish this, we glued and screwed 3/4" plywood to the existing metal framing, laminated a 1/2" sheet of plywood to that, and then screwed and thinset a sheet of 1/4" HardiBacker to that.
With a solid, 1.5" thick tile-ready surface constructed, we then installed the mosaic field tile and hefty bullnose border. Cutting the miters for the corner bullnose tile took some ingenuity and creative tile saw usage, but as always, we pulled it off.
Because the border tile was thicker than the field tile - and the clients wanted everything flush - we had to build up the thinset under the field tile, which always creates a challenge with mosaic tile installations as the thinset sometimes has a way of squeezing between the mosaic tiles and creating a giant mess. However, in these situations one must pick and choose their battles, and we chose to deal with the excess thinset later on, once all the tiles were installed and the thinset had set up for a while.
Once the thinset was cleaned up, which took some time given all the nooks and crannies in the field tile, we applied a simple white, non-sanded grout to complete the project and give the clients a simple, clean countertop that should be relatively indestructible.