We use the wood counter edge detail shown in the drawing in our custom home kitchens. We like this edging because it eliminates the need for trim tiles, which can be very expensive and hard to find. In addition, it makes a pleasing accent in a kitchen with painted cabinets. We prefer to use rock maple for this trim because it’s stable and hard enough to stand up to daily use.
To make the edging, we start with a 1-5/8-in. by 2-in. length of maple, and we rout in a 5/18-in. wide groove to accept the plywood substrate of the counter. The face of the molding can have any profile, but we like to give it a simple roundover — it’s nice to lean against and easy to clean. The top of the trim should be at least 1 in. higher than the surface of the rough counter for the mortar base and the tile finish. We bond the molding to the plywood with waterproof epoxy and hold it in place while it sets up with recessed drywall screws.
Before the tile-setter arrives, we stain the trim with a coat of Minwax stain, and rub in a coat of 75% urethane and 25% mineral spirits with steel wool. The trim is masked off during the tile setting and grouting. Then we give the trim a final rubdown of the urethane solution to touch up any blemishes.
Patrick Miller, Del Mar, CA