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Old 30-08-2009, 20:00   #1
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Tile on a Galley Countertop ?

I just spent a couple hours tearing up 50 year old formica from Espies galley counter. Two things about it. Its hard as diamonds and will cut your fingers off if you mess with it, and two, its 1/8 inch thick stuff which is more than double the cheap stuff they sell today. So, the question is, has anyone ever put tile down on their counter top?

My base structure is framed with 2x2s and 2x4s, and topped off with 3/4 marine ply, so movement is very unlikely. Otherwise its a C shaped counter, with 3x4 foot work spaces on port and starboard sides, and an 18 inch section running athwartship under the bridge deck and behind the companion way steps.

Comments? Am I nuts or what?

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Old 30-08-2009, 20:42   #2
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I have also just removed 30 year old Formica tops but after some consideration I am refitting with new Formica; however I can't see any reason not to use tiles if that is what you like.

I would make sure the ply is FULLY coated (all 6 sides) with epoxy first to seal and therefore stabilize the moisture content otherwise you might get some movement.

Have you considered either composite quartz or Corian type tops.
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Old 30-08-2009, 22:02   #3
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My personal opinion about tile is: 1) It looks great, however, it has no mercy for fragile items dropped on it. I know most boaters (with boats under 40ft.) probably don't have much real glass on board so that may not be a problem but it is something to consider if you have stemware. 2) Also there is the cleaning aspect, unless you have some of the new wiz bang epoxy grouts mold and mildew occure between the tiles eventually. 3) It tends to be an uneven surface and slipery at that so items (like glasses and such) will rock and slide. This may not bother most normal people but it drives me nuts. I have a power boat pal who put down tile in his gally recently. He has lost at least 3 wine glasses to the tile God in about 2.5 mo. Not to say some of them may not have broken anyway if it were on Formica but I'm pretty sure it's a gurantee with tile. I had a tile countertop in my kitchen at one time and it claimed more glasses than any plastic top I've had. Just my $.02.
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Old 31-08-2009, 05:52   #4
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totally agree about the un-even surface and the mildew in the grout problem. Also the weight would be an issue. I would look at the corian option myself
Denny and Diane
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Old 31-08-2009, 05:57   #5

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I just went through this process and after agonizing for months and evaluating all options I ended up back with Formica again. I agree the new stuff is thinner, but it comes in terrific design colors these days.

I love the look of the new Formica, it was easy to install and it's cheap, durable and light.
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Old 31-08-2009, 07:06   #6
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We are still contemplating our counters. I would NEVER go with tile - the Admiral would kill me because of grout maintenance.

I'm about to buy some pieces from these folks, to do our forward head counters/sink:

If that works out, I'll do the galley countertops.
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Old 31-08-2009, 07:36   #7
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Here's a couple pix tha you can see some countertop tilework from an Irwin 41. It actually was my favorite. If you do tile, seal your grout well against spillage staining and mildew, it's quick and easy. Weight? Please. What, 6-10 sq. Your sail bags weigh more.
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Old 31-08-2009, 08:36   #8
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Here are some pics of granite tiles we put on a cat for a client
Picasa Web Albums - Just Catamarans, Inc - Palometa_Gall...#
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Old 31-08-2009, 08:55   #9
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I had the entire counter on my Tanton 44 tiled and it was great. I used the small traditional little hex tiles in blue and white. (they are about an inch) A friend of a friend tiled it and used flexible mastic to stick it. We sealed the grout before use and never had a mildew issue. I also tiled part of a bulkhead behind the heater and it worked fine also. The hard part though is that I had to make new wood trim around 2 ice box doors and one storage door. Tile looks amazing, is durable, you can put a hot pan on it, and is really economical. (tile layers usully do it by the sq foot!) Everyone commented on our tile. It makes a real classy looking refit. FYI: Corian will break if you dont use thick enough stuff, not that I would worry about that either als long as you use thick product..
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Old 31-08-2009, 09:44   #10
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Just went to home depot last night to look at a few things, and one of them is countertop material.
I have tiled countertops before in homes and it works ok. Currently have stainless steel at home, but would not have that onboard.
I love the look of corien, but at 55 bucks a sq ft, is very expensive. Granite is to heavy in my opinion but looks great.
I dismissed time outright, but after reading this thread will revisit it. Would save a few bucks thats for sure.
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Old 31-08-2009, 10:27   #11
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Originally Posted by bobfnbw View Post
. Granite is to heavy in my opinion but looks great.
I dismissed time outright, but after reading this thread will revisit it.
You would normally use a honeycomb with granite veneer. Here is an example


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Old 31-08-2009, 10:36   #12
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The other nice thing is tile can be layed inside your fiddles , so they dont have to come off if you are risking damaging them. That's the main reason we did it. I dont think if it is supported and layed properly it would be any more crack prone than corian. Corian providers will tell you not to use it in any situation like a moving boat where any flex might be possible.... at least they did us... I would imagine corian will weigh at least as much as the tile?... unless you dont have any support under it... which will be a problem... I like corian, but it is expensive and needs to be supported well, not sure about attaching fiddles to it and if you crack it, it's a lot bigger problem than one small cracked tile (which can be replaced) Maybe if you could make a real accurate pattern and bond corian on top of your existing counter... that would work fine...? My wife watches those Home Restoration things all the time on TV. The contractor broke a custom Corian counter trying to get it into position the other day... so It does happen!
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Old 31-08-2009, 11:07   #13
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Hmmmm, aluminum/granite composite, wonder what that costs. Expect you have to have a multihull to justify the need and expense. Actually really liked the idea of a titanium composite, that would make for a nice golden hued counter top.

We've had tile countertops in our houses for many many years. Never had an issue with the grout. Maybe some people are a bit anal about it and can't take natural weathering. One idea, if the grout is an issue, is to use a light colored tile with a dark grout, hides discoloration. New epoxy grouts are much less porous than the old grouts and stick better. They are not as easy to work with but not all that difficult, either. Tile is very easy to lay down, even for the complete novice. Definitely get a much more finished product if you rent a tile saw to make the cuts. The score and break cutters will work okay but won't give you a real nice finished exposed edge like around a fridge lid.

The concrete underlayment board (Hardy(sp) Board) is a really nice water proof surface to set the tile on. It solves the problem with the substrate rotting as long as it's caulked properly when set in place. Not all that heavy, either. Probably could just lay it on top of 5200 and not need any fasteners or other pukas in it. I used epoxy painted on the plywood underlayment to seal around a sink on one job. Has held up fine for 20 years in a rental. Only problem is mastic adhesive didn't have much 'stick' to the epoxy surface. By stick, I mean the tile seemed to be very easy to move around in the mastic and wasn't a lot better after a day of curing. Had to be careful of the tiles shifting in grouting it. Had real concerns about it lasting but it has survived. Definitely wouldn't do it if the counter top is also a step in the companionway as it often is.

Other than the cost, one problem with Corian is it is quite brittle. If there is a bit of flex, it can crack. Corian is also quite easy to scratch. Something to consider if it's going to be stepped on.

Peter O.
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Old 31-08-2009, 11:10   #14
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I cant remember what kind of mastic my guy used but it held really firm.... I think I wrote it down somewhere...... I just put my tile on top of my old scratched up formica...
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Old 31-08-2009, 12:23   #15
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we have had several tables that had tile inserts and used silicone for the grout. one of them had the tiles placed very close to each other with a very fine line of silicone. This one. also used black silicone and it looked awesome.

I love being able to put hot things directly on it.
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