Repairing Tile topped Kitchen Counter

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Forum topic by 1voyager1 posted 01-15-2015 12:50 AM 1002 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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74 posts in 1699 days

01-15-2015 12:50 AM

M’Lady has been finding ants around her kitchen. I’ve been battling LFA’s [little fire ants] around the property and have them much more under control now. But, we seem to have occasional small outbreaks in the kitchen. They seem to be centered in breaks in the tile grouting.

The corner between the counter top and the splashback have many broken and cracked areas. I’m pretty sure these can be fixed by simply re-grouting the joints between the counter and the wall.
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Of a more serious nature is the area between the tiles and the oak counter edging in the vicinity of the sink. The oak edging is showing definite signs of rot. I think it needs to be removed in order to see if, what and how much damage there is to the wood materials underneath the tiles.
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The edging appears to have small rectangular spots of wood putty along its face. I assume this means it has been nailed on. I’m very leery of doing damage while disassembling the counter that would turn a relatively minor replace edging and re-grout job into a major rebuild.

I’m thinking that the sink will need to be removed.
That looks to be pretty straightforward.
I’m afraid that more than just nails are holding the edging on.
The edging along the sink is mitered in by the edging on the two adjacent counter legs.
They will need to be removed to get the bad one out.

How to feel out the best way to remove those three edging pieces?

-- Every mighty oak is nothing more than a nut that has stood it's ground.

4 replies so far

View Imakenicefirewood's profile


77 posts in 1624 days

#1 posted 01-15-2015 01:18 AM

The line where the countertop and the backsplash meet will continue to crack out if grout is used. There are several companies that make a sanded caulking (to match the color) that is used for these areas and it works very well.
If you can get a thin blade behind the edge pieces, one of those oscillating tools may work. They have blade for cutting metal…I used one to get my old countertops separated from the cabinet structures. I burned up several blades, but I was cutting galvanized ring shanks too. Just an idea.

View ShaneA's profile


7066 posts in 2866 days

#2 posted 01-15-2015 01:32 AM

You will want to use a colored grout or silicone between the new wood edging and the counter tile, also between the counter top and backsplash. Grout can not withstand the movement in the two areas.

I would carefully see if you can pry the edging away from the underside. You will know how good it is adhered pretty quickly. I can’t see a reason to remove the sink from the picture.

View 1voyager1's profile


74 posts in 1699 days

#3 posted 01-15-2015 11:37 PM

Thanks for your input so far.
I picked up a 7# box of sanded grout to match yesterday, before I began this thread.
I just checked and they do have the sanded caulk in the color I need.

Now, I’ve got the edging in front of the sink removed.
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The rot does penetrate the wood under the tiles and there is a LFA nest in that wood.
I need to check the entire area around the sink for more nests.
I will need to remove the sink.
The ants, they’ve all gotta go.
This is just as much, if not more, of an ant hunt as a counter-top repair.
Making M’Lady happy will make my life so much easier.

I’m thinking that the tile under-layment in this area should be replaced.
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I do have 14 spare tiles to match [thank you previous owner].
But if I can, I’d like to save the existing installed tiles and reuse them.
Is that possible or advisable?

Any thoughts or advices?

-- Every mighty oak is nothing more than a nut that has stood it's ground.

View Hammerthumb's profile


2919 posts in 2242 days

#4 posted 01-16-2015 12:10 AM

Seriously doubt that you can save the tiles. I would recommend that after the repair, use colored caulking at the counter to backsplash joint, as well as the joint from tile to wood. Grout manufacturers make colored caulking that match the colors of their grout.

-- Paul, Duvall, WA

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