Make sure the cabinets and tops are all level before learning how to tile a countertop. If this first step is not taken, ceramic tile will be uneven and unattractive, no matter how well it is laid. You can remedy uneven countertops yourself or hire a professional to do it and save a huge amount of time, although it will cost more.
Carefully plan the layout of your tile since grouting and tiles that have to be cut will be very visible. Ideally, you will want to use full tiles and hide the cut ceramic tile as much as possible.
Find the center point of your countertop edge, drawing a line down the middle at a 90-degree angle to the front of the edge. That line will be used for your center grouting line, and you will lay out your edge tile in both directions using that as a guide. Lay the tiles out, adjusting your center grout line as needed to accommodate using as many full, uncut tiles as possible.
To avoid ceramic tile adhesive from drying out too quickly, prepare only as much as you can use in half an hour. Set full edge tiles first, applying adhesive and twisting them slightly to ensure good contact. Leave the ends for the time being. Now set the field tiles on the counterÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s top after applying an even coat of adhesive with a notched trowel. As with the edge tiles, leave the ends for cut tiles for later. Clean up any oozed-up mortar from between the tiles and then cut, fit, and lay any tiles needed for the ends and edges.
Use a non-sanded grouting mix combined with a latex additive. Mix according to package directions and spread diagonally across the tile with a padded grout float, pressing down to ensure you get the grout into the joints adequately. Work in small areas as quickly as possible, wiping off excess as you go.
When finished, use a damp sponge to clean off any remaining grouting from the surface of the ceramic tile. Seal the grout lines with silicone-based sealer, cleaning off excess from the tile before it has a chance to dry.
Congratulations! You just saved yourself a bucket of money and have a great, new tiled countertop ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ that you installed all by yourself!