Tiling a Mortar-Bed Counter
How one tile setter builds the classic kitchen work surface.
Synopsis: Despite the availability of cement board, a mortar bed is still the traditional substrate for tile countertops in some parts of the country. This article explains how to mix mortar to the proper consistency, apply it to the countertop, and then add the tile.
I think the best part of being a tile setter is that my work doesn’t get covered up by someone else’s labors. On the other hand, setting tile is tough, physical work — especially large floors, where my knees cry out for a desk job and my back creaks from all the bending. So it’s no wonder that I enjoy tiling countertops.
Ceramic tile offers many advantages as a finish material in the kitchen. A hot pot won’t damage a tile surface, and a properly waterproofed installation can stand up to all of the splashes and spills that cooks can dish out.