Kitchen Island Countertop using Daltile

Since Liz has been spending the last couple of days at the Evo Conference I’ve been able to put the finishing touches on her Kitchen Island I’ve been working on for the past month. Have you ever wondered who or why we call it a project? I’ll have to say the building of this item took longer than I anticipated.

The actual work only took hours but redesigning and other decisions were the biggest hold up. We knew from the start that we wanted to use these plans from Ana White but for the island to fit into our kitchen and allow for traffic flow I needed to change the dimensions rather drastically. Once that was done and we were confident that it would work it took less than a day to build the base.

Then I moved on to the top… this is where it gets interesting. One thing I should tell you about myself, I’m not one to shy away from a project. I may never have tried to build an item before like a counter top but give me time and I’ll get it done. That’s what I did for this project. Using tile as a surface for a counter is really pretty easy, but in hindsight I think that if it is your first time expect some delays and redesigns. So let’s get started…

First decide on the tile and pattern design. The single best advice I received from the tiling expert at The Home Depot was to make the kitchen island top to a size that I needed to cut as few of tiles as possible. Lay out your design and figure the final dimension, remember to take into account the spacing between the tiles for grouting. I forgot this at first and had to redo this several times before I got it right.

After you’ve built the base of your counter top it’s time to get tiling, this was easy. The hardest part is waiting in between steps.

Attach the Hardiebacker board to give the tile a good foundation.

Next I dry fitted the daltile and made sure everything fit how I wanted and made sure I had spacers at the corner of every tile.

Starting in the center remove a few tiles at a time and lay down a bed of mortar… re-lay the tile making sure everything fits. Continue for the rest of the top. Let everything cure for 24 hours.

Now comes the grouting. This was actually the step I was worried about the most for some reason and it was the quickest and the easiest. I’ve heard horror stories about grouting but I guess I picked the best grout to use. The epoxy grout worked great, my advice, work fast, have all the supplies ready when you start and you’ll be fine.

Work the grout in between the tiles at a 45 degree angle, go several directions and float off as much excess as you can.

Immediately take a wet sponge that you have wrung the water out of and wash of the tiles using a circular motion. Change your water regularly, I went through six buckets just for this small project. After you have washed the top three times take a wet chamois over it.

Let the top cure for 24 hours before handling.

Catch up on how we built the Kitchen Island…

Visit The Home Depot to see all their new line of Daltile or if you need some tips on any flooring project check out The Home Depot video library.

Disclosure: This is a compensated post. The Home Depot has provided me with materials to build a kitchen island.

Linking to…Saturday Night SpecialShow & Tell Friday


  1. This is beautiful! You just gave me my idea for my backsplash behind my stove in our kitchen reno. We put the large Sandy Beach tiles on the floor. We have subway tiles for the wall backsplashes, but wanted something “special” to break it up behind the stove. LOVE this! But what exactly is the accent tile you used? I don’t see it in the Folkstone Sandy Beach line up on the Home Depot website. Thanks.

    1. Hi Mar, Here’s the info on the accent tile –
      Daltile Stone Decorative Accents Crackle Fantasy 2 in. x 12 in. Glass Decorative Accent Wall Tile
      Model # ST67212DCOCC1L

  2. Now that you are experienced you can take a working vacation and come out West and re-do my kitchen counters LOL Nice island, I love that tile you used!

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