How To Sand A Tile Counter

by Grace Motley

Even when you are expanding or remodeling your kitchen, there are very few circumstances where you would want to consider sanding a ceramic tile counter. It's a very delicate job, since you want to avoid removing the tile finish. One situation where you might want to consider sanding your tile is if you're thinking about painting. Sanding the surface lightly will roughen it and help the paint to adhere. If this is what you're planning to do, the steps below will help you prepare your tile.

Step 1. It's essential to get your ceramic tiles perfectly clean before you start sanding them. Use a tile cleaner with a soft scrubber brush to remove any marks that won't come off easily. If it's been a while since the tiles were thoroughly clean, this could take a lot of elbow grease on your part. After you have cleaned all the tiles, wash them down with soapy water and allow them to completely dry.

Step 2. Before you start sanding, make sure that you cover up any areas you don't want to sand. Use either masking tape or cardboard held down by masking tape. In particular, you should make sure you have taped down wherever the tile meets a wall, sink or other surface.

Step 3. Lay a painter's drop cloth underneath the counter that you'll be sanding. This will make the cleanup process a lot easier when you're done.

Step 4. Put a 220 grit sandpaper disc in an orbital sander. Put on eye protection and a dust mask. Turn on the orbital sander and carefully use it to start sanding the tiles. You want to remove the glaze but leave the surface smooth and otherwise intact. Keep in mind that you don't want to remove any of the finish, just the glaze. The trick to doing this is to not push with the sander. Instead, let it do all the work.

Step 5. Ensure a quality result by changing out the discs several times as you're sanding. Keep track of how much you are removing by constantly stopping and checking your progress. You will have to dust off the tiles with a tack cloth when you do this.

Step 6. Once you have the ceramic tiles sanded, you're going to want to wash them to remove all of the dust. All you need for this is warm soapy water and a sponge. Don't forget to clean the grout out as well, since this is where much of the dust will have collected.

Step 7. After the tiles have completely dried, closely examine them and look for any bits of glaze that you might have missed. To remove these remaining bits, sandpaper them by hand (again remembering not to go too far and remove the finish).

Hiring a company like Bob Carroll Building Contractor to do the work for you is a good alternative if you want to be sure the job gets done right.