Base Cabinet Heights for a Tiled Countertop

Cabinetmakers discuss proper cabinet dimensions to support a tiled countertop. August 29, 2006

I am installing some cabinets for a friend who is going to tile his countertop. I was planning on having the bases net out at 34-1/4 to account for 3/4 sub top, 1/8 thin set, 1/2 durarock, 1/8 mortar, and 1/4 tile. Does this sound ok?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor A:
It really depends on the thickness of the tile and how much of a thinset bed is needed to keep everything straight and level. Also bear in mind that the screws used for durarock (or hardibacker, etc.) don't countersink as well as might be hoped, and this will raise your tile a bit. That said, your install height will keep you in the realm of 36" when you’re done.

From contributor B:I'm sitting in a kitchen I just finished and base are 34.5, sub ply 3/4, hardi ˝ - I used 1/4" tile and only thin set, and measuring full height is 36". Seems thin set added little to nothing in height. I had no trouble sinking recommend screws into backer. Bottom line 1-1/2 to 1-9/16 should be perfect unless you use heavy thinset and mortar – then you might consider 1-5/8".

From contributor C:Build them standard, and the customer can get his tile top to 36''. Thinset and backerboard on a counter top is crazy. Just 3/4'' CDX plywood and premixed type 2 mastic is warranteed to walk on, although I rarely walk on my countertops. Type 2 mastic directly on plywood works fine on a bathroom floor if the grout is sealed with cheap old Thompsons water seal for $10.00 a gallon.

From contributor A:You use mastic on plywood? In my neck of the woods, most jobs that call for tile have a 3/4" ply base which is then wired to anchor a .5" - .75" mud base for the tile. There are no seams, no leveling problems and the bullnose has something that is strong to be attached to. Most everyone these days uses granite for countertops. If your floor is not level, all this becomes moot. 34.25" sounds good.