Updated Nov 15, 2011 This is a step-by step tutorial including pictures.Â The minute I discovered Bondera Tile Mat at Lowe's, I knew it was the answer to my bathroom-update dilemma. Removing the existingÂ formica countertop was not an option, but I was desperate to renew the bathroom vanity countertop and install a new sink and faucet,Â as inexpensively and as quickly as possible.
You can tile over your old laminate and formica countertops using Bondera. Really, it's that easy!Â Just peel, stick, and grout--no mortar required.
I was a bit nervous to useÂ the Bondera Tile MatÂ over laminate, but the product information claimed it would be a suitable surface.Â I completed this project by myselfÂ and took pictures along the way - we love the results!Â
UPDATE - NOV 15, 2011: It's been almost two years and it isÂ still looking beautiful, no signs of the mat or tiles coming up or shifting in any way - you gotta love products like that.
Bondera is a peel-and-stickÂ mat that comesÂ on a roll.Â There's no mess because you don't useÂ mortar to set the tile.Â YouÂ simply pressÂ the tile onto the super sticky surface, a cut-to-fit mat. The best part is that you can immediately grout - no waiting for the tiles to set -Â like you would have to with mortar! Talk about saving time!
TIP: You will definitely have a lot less mess and practically no messÂ at all, if you decide to go with a pre-mixed grout. I opted for the regular grout to keep the projectÂ cost down, but for a really small project you might only add ten or twenty bucks to the overall cost.
About the product: The manufacturer of BonderaÂ has been around forever and is wellÂ known for their commercial tiling product supplies.Â It shows in the heavy duty, quality tile mat material.
Their Web siteÂ provides more detailed information andÂ on their Facebook page, a real person answers your questions about your project.Â
Lowe's is theÂ sole distributor of this product. ReassuredÂ by the Lowe'sÂ specialist who also happened to beÂ a tiling contractor,Â I forged ahead.
RESULT: My bathroom countertop -Â tile project,Â held up wellÂ to the rigors of daily use and the humidity of a bathroom environment.
Bondera delivered, and I give this product a ten out of ten for performance.Â
Here isÂ your step-by-step project guide:
Step One: Remove Sink and Clean Surface
The Old Laminate Countertop
Step Two: Gather Supplies
- Scissors (Don't laugh at the champagne glass. I used household scissors dipped in oil because the mat is so sticky that you get pieces of glue on your scissors, which makes it hard to cut.)
- A utility knife to cut the mat to the exact size you need (in case the scissors don't work).
- A rubber float to help flatten and positionÂ the cutÂ mat.
- A box containing the Bondera Tile Mat--the countertop variety.
- A box of Bondera Seam Tape forÂ wet areas.
There is also a vertical tape and wall mat for backsplashes, so read the box before you buy your materials.Â
Step Three: The tile mat comes in a roll. Unroll it,Â and cut it to fit your surface. It has cutting guidelines on the back. Below, you can see where I used an orange marker.
Follow the instructions on the product and press down, starting in one corner while slowly peeling away the bottom liner only. Place your sections as close together as possible. You should have no gaps at all. You will need seam tape to cover over where the two sections meet to create a moisture barrier.
I didn't understand how and why to use the seam tape so I looked online. You need the tape for any application where moisture is a problem. Basically, it's double-sided tape, and you place it over the area where the two sections meet.Â
StepsÂ FourÂ andÂ Five: Apply seam tape where neededÂ thenÂ peel offÂ theÂ top layer of your mat. It's super sticky--be ready toÂ lay downÂ your tile right away.Â
The little white stickers help you peel off the layers. They come separate in your box, and you just place them in a corner so you can pull off the layer without using your fingers. You pull on the tag instead.Â
- TIP:Â If you have see-through orÂ translucent glass tiles, I wouldn't recommend using Bondera because you can see the mat underneath.Â
- Â I did a trial layout to see what it looked like and to pre-cut my tile.
- That's when I realized that I needed a couple of corner tiles cut. For this, I went toÂ Lowe's to see my friendly tileÂ specialist again, who masterfully cut the tile for free.Â
If you lay down the tile matÂ lightly, you can still pullÂ it away from the sticky surface and reposition it if you have to. After a few moments, once you've pressed on the tile, it's on there for good. Take your time and do it right the first time because you don't get a second chance.
Here are the tiles already placed and pressed onto the tile mat. My tiles had self spacers, and except for the single border tiles, they came on a net, ready to cut into the pieces I needed.Â
- Â The Bondera tile mat instructionsÂ were adamant about groutingÂ no laterÂ than eight hours after you pressed on your tile. I groutedÂ three hours after placing the tiles.
- The beauty of this product is that you can tile immediately. Once your tile is down, you are ready to grout. No waiting!
The picture below shows the same corner butÂ grouted. You grout your project just like you would traditionally--you can't tell thatÂ this isn't a traditional tile job.Â
Â We are happy with theÂ result and love our updated bathroom!
Miscellaneous Project Info - Time and Cost
I completed the project all by myself, except for cutting the mat. For me, that was the hardest part. I can't cut straight to save my life. Richard came to the rescue after I wastedÂ a whole roll fighting with a vanity top that was not straight. They had all of these lovely lines for guidance, but our countertop was totally out of whack. So much for custom cabinets!
I had to go out and buy another roll, which left me with enough material to also do a small mosaic table top to match the countertop.
CLICK HERE FOR A PICTORIAL OF THE
The quickest project ever - perfect for any old table!
This table top took onlyÂ 30 minutes total and looks fabulous!
TIME:Â The actual time spentÂ workingÂ on the bathroom countertop projectÂ -Â six hours. If you are a seasoned do-it-yourselfer, itÂ may only take you aboutÂ four hours.
TROUBLES: Of course, like projects go, I wasted a day and a roll of BonderaÂ trying to cut it straight and was a freaked-out wreck by the time RichardÂ arrived home, because there was no sink in our only bathroom. AnotherÂ hour was wasted to go back to Lowe's to have the corner tiles cut. All in all, it took two daysÂ becauseÂ you also need to let the grouted area set overnight just as you wouldÂ any tile job.Â
PROJECT COST: It costs around $30 for a roll of Bondera Tile Mat and $6 for the Bondera seam tape, plus the cost of tile and grout.Â
- This project was well worth it in the end.
- No muss, no fuss, andÂ no contractor.
Also,Â no demolitionÂ and no damage to the existing tilesÂ that I could no longer match!Â We could keep our existing vanity, which is still in good condition.
I can't wait to do something fun with my next roll of Bondera.Â I'm thinking of an artistic tile wall mural as a backsplash in the kitchen.
All images Â© Rose Hill
Â© Rose Hill All Rights Reserved
UPDATED: Nov 15, 2011Â