A reinforced mortar-bed substrate is key to success
A reinforced mortar-bed substrate is key to success

After a steady diet of floor and wall installations, countertops are a relief to work on, because they don’t require kneepads and everything is within easy reach. The work becomes downright enjoyable, though, when it happens to be the top for a beautiful backyard grill. Friends who run a nearby vineyard and winery wanted something special; my wife and I wanted some of their world-renowned pinot noir; and so a deal was struck, tiles were selected, and I began to set up the top.

The base was made of formed concrete covered with river rock, and it featured a lower section that would serve as a serving or seating area. I decided to bond a reinforced mortar bed to the base and size it to overhang the base by a few inches; this — in lieu of a toekick — would make the top more comfortable to use. I also wanted the top’s edge...

or Register to read the full article.