Installing Tile Countertops

Complete how-to for laying a tile countertop and backsplash, from preparing the surface to cutting and placing the tile in mortar, grouting, sealing and maintenance.

Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Hammer
  • Clamps
  • Cordless drill
  • Tape measure
  • Circular saw
  • Caulk gun
  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Bucket
  • Chalk line
  • Nippers
  • Level
  • Drill bit set
  • Framing square
  • Grout float
  • Jigsaw
  • Notched trowel
  • Straightedge
  • Utility knife
  • Taping knife

Tile saw (rental)

A pneumatic stapler will make installing the plywood countertops faster, but it’s not necessary.

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

  • Tile
  • Cement board
  • Thin-set mortar
  • Grout
  • Grout sealer
  • 1-5/8 in. screws
  • 1-1/4 in. galvanized nails
  • Construction adhesive
  • Fiberglass tape

You may need a sealer, depending on your type of tile.