Tile countertops offer an economical choice for kitchen counters.There are hundreds of colors and styles to choose from, so it’s easy to find a good fit for your kitchen.There are several considerations to keep in mind before choosing tile countertops.First, be careful of mixing tile countertops with tile floors.Too much tile can be distracting, and the two surfaces can easily clash.Wood floors are a good choice when using tile countertops.Second, tile counters are not as flat as the other choices.Plates and dinnerware will not lay flat on tile, and many people cannot accept tile as a viable choice.Others do not mind this, and love the soft, charming feel of tile counters.
So many choices!
Tiles are available in different sizes, ranging from 1” squares all the way up to 18” squares. They are also available in various shapes, but be careful to not over do things.Your countertops should look beautiful, but simple in design. Consider using tile on the perimeter cabinets, and top the island off with a nice looking granite, quartz, or wood counter.
If using tile, a plywood underlayment must be installed on the top of the cabinets.Depending on the tile and application, sometimes it is also advisable to install a product called “concrete board” or “hardi-backer”.Check with the tile manufacturer on the preferred prepping required for your particular tile.This all must be determined early on, so that you can plan for the appropriate heights of the cabinets, backsplash, and counter edging.
Edge treatments 101 When incorporating tile countertops in your kitchen, there are different ways of handling the edge treatment.The first way is to have a wood molding that matches the cabinet finish installed to cover the edge of the tile.The molding is installed prior to the tile, and is installed higher than the decking to accommodate the thickness of the tile and mortar.Although I’ve seen this method used plenty of times, I do not recommend it.The wood molding’s finish does not hold up well for a counter edge.Counter edging takes a lot of abuse from people’s belt buckles, pots and pans, etc… The preferred way to achieve a nice durable edge is using the tile material itself.Some tile is available with a matching “bull nose” tile, and this edge is not only durable, but provides a really nice accent to the countertop.Often times you’ll find a tile that you really like, but a matching bull nose is not available.In this case, you can have your tile guy rip some small strips of the same tile, and install these tiles flat against the front edge.This application looks fine, but is not nearly as nice as the bull nose treatment.For this reason, try your best to find a tile that has a matching bull nose edge.
One more thing about tile!The grout between the tiles often gets dirty looking after a few years of use.For this reason, it is recommended to pick the darkest color grout that looks good with the tile, and then seal the grout with a grout sealer once the tile is installed.This will help keep the grout more resistant to moisture and dirt.