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Many homeowners reserve tiles for backsplashes and floors, but tile countertops can be an affordable and excellent option. Although mostly used in the ‘70s and ‘80s, countertop tiles can still give your kitchen a classic vibe when picked right. Let’s check out tile kitchen countertops pros and cons.
Many homeowners reserve tiles for backsplashes and floors, but tile countertops can be an affordable and excellent option. Key points:
- Tiles are an affordable and excellent option for kitchen countertops.
- Tiles are durable material for a kitchen countertop, easy to maintain and replace. They can withstand heat and water during the food preparation.
- There are hundreds of patterns and designs available for tile countertops with endless creative possibilities.
- Ceramic tiles are the least expensive option, while granite and quartz tiles are more durable.
- Tile countertops require regular maintenance and cleaning, especially the grout joints.
- Damaged tiles need to be replaced, but the process is relatively easy with the right tools.
- Tile countertops are worth it if you want a modern and fresh look for your kitchen.
Tiles are easy to maintain and replace in case of damage, and they can withstand heat. Tiles are also impervious to water, and they do not stain easily.
Tiles come in hundreds of patterns and designs; therefore you have various choices when planning a kitchen remodel. There are ceramic, porcelain, and glass tiles that you can select to give your countertops a new look.
I will help to broaden your knowledge on the pros and cons of tile countertops and detail the various types of tiles ideal for countertops that you can choose from.
Tile Kitchen Countertops Pros
- Tile countertops are heat resistant, although you can still use a hot pad or trivet to place your hot pans on the countertop.
- Tiles come in various types, patterns, and designs; you can pick the one that creates a unique look in your kitchen. While mosaic gives colored textures and patterns, you can opt for other smooth, matte, printed, or hand painted finishes.
- Damaged tile countertops are easy to fix. You need to remove the broken tile and install its replacement.
- Tiles are cheaper to purchase and install compared to natural stone.
Tile Kitchen Countertops Cons
- Tiles, especially ceramics, can chip or crack easily when heavy objects are banged on their surfaces.
- Tiles require regular maintenance, like sealing, annually. The grout used to put tiles in place is porous, so it can absorb liquid spills that lead to the growth of bacteria. Spills can also stain grout lines.
- Tiles with grout are tough to clean since they stain easily.
- Tile countertops have an uneven surface even when you use large tiles.
- Tiles require precise measurements, the right tools, and the skills to install.
Types of Tile Countertops
Tiles come in different shapes, sizes, finishes, grout, and accents. You can get tiny mosaics to 48-inch squares of finishes like matte, glazed, smooth, printed, crackled, and hand painted. Tile countertops can also be seamlessly installed towards the wall to achieve a matching backsplash.
The most popular tiles for kitchen countertops are ceramic, porcelain, mosaic, granite, and quartz tiles. Glass and natural stone tiles are also available but not a common option.
- Ceramic tile is the least expensive option and the most readily available countertop material. Ceramic tiles are crafted from baked and pressed clays and finished with a glaze that protects the tile material from water and stains. It is available in various colors and designs, easy to install and maintain. However, if heavy objects are dropped on them, ceramic tiles can easily chip or crack.
- Porcelain tiles are made of clays and minerals exposed to high heat temperatures. Porcelain tiles have a durable surface. They are more expensive and more difficult to install compared to ceramic tiles.
- Granite tile is made from natural stone (granite), which gives your kitchen countertops the beauty of natural stone at a reduced cost. They have dotted surfaces that help mask dirt and stains and are strong and durable. Granite tiles should be sealed after installation. They also require annual resealing for the duration of their use.
- Mosaic tiles are small 1-inch square blocks sold in large sheets attached to a mesh board for easy installation. You can mix mosaic tiles to create unique patterns on your countertops. Since the entire surface of mosaic tiles is colored, cracks and chips on the countertop surface are not as visible as in ceramic tiles. Additionally, these tiles are durable.
- Quartz tile is made by crushing quartz crystals and pressing them with resin. Although they look similar to granite tiles, quartz tiles are more durable and come at a lesser cost. They have a uniformed and smooth surface that is nonporous with continuous grain. These tiles do not require sealing since their nonporous surface does not allow the growth of bacteria. The major downside of quartz tiles is that you cannot easily repair them.
Granite tiles are an excellent choice for kitchen countertops since they are less expensive than natural granite slabs. They are dense and strong, and so a durable countertop material frequently used in kitchens. You can use tinted grout to get a seamless look.
When installing granite countertop tiles, space them closely to reduce grout staining. Also, ensure the tile and grout is properly sealed annually. If you’re unsure of the installation process, it would be best if a professional assisted you to help achieve a seamless look. The major downside of granite tiles is that only limited trim options are available.
What is Ceramic?
Ceramic tile countertops have been used in kitchens and bathrooms since the 19th century and remain a timeless and popular option among many homeowners. Ceramic is made from pressed clay. Ceramic is porous, but its glazed finish protects the material from water and staining. Ceramic is also heat resistant, so you don’t have to worry about hot pans and pots destroying your countertop surface. Ceramic tiles are available in various colors, materials, shapes, and sizes. The wide variety of choices allows you to customize the look and design of your kitchen countertops. Ceramics are affordable at $1 to $15 per square foot.
Unfortunately, ceramic tile is not a durable option since it cracks and chips easily. Ceramic countertop surfaces are uneven due to the grout space between each tile. If the grout joints are not properly sealed, bacteria and germs can inhibit your countertop surface. Note that the damaged ceramic tile cannot be repaired; you need to replace it.
Tile Countertop Cost
Depending on the material and customization, tile can cost up to $3,000. Tile is cheaper than natural stone, costing between $2 and $30 per square foot. Ceramic is the more affordable option and can range between $.50 and $35 per square foot compared to porcelain tiles which can cost between $3 and $35 per square foot.
The cost of installing tile countertops also differs from material to material. Ceramic tile countertops are the cheapest to install, while glass tiles are the most expensive at about $100 per square foot. On average, the installation cost is $1,500, but it can cost you as low as $500 and a high of $3,000.
Ease of Replacement
Tile countertops are not entirely durable since they are prone to chips and cracks. Damaged tiles cannot be repaired; you can only replace a broken tile with a new one. Tiles are easy to replace with the aid of the right tools. However, having a countertop that requires constant replacement is not ideal. Tiles like ceramic are easy to chip, but their replacement can be a nightmare to find. Quartz is a better option since it is durable and easy to repair when cracked.
Grout Joints Need to Be Sealed When Required
It’s hard to maintain grout joints that get liquid spills often. Although spills are unavoidable in the kitchen, ensure you wipe them off the counters immediately to prevent the buildup of bacteria and germs. To avoid bacteria growth, you can seal grout joints on ceramic tile countertops yearly or as frequently as needed. Tiles like ceramic are nonporous, therefore hygienic and easy to clean.
Can You Put Hot Pans on Tile?
Most tiles are heat resistant, so you don’t have to worry about your tile countertop surface being damaged by hot pots and pans. Granite is the most heat-tolerant tile and cannot get stains or marks from hot pans. Quartz, ceramic, porcelain, and marble tiles are also resistant to heat. However, the sealant used to hold tiles together can be weakened by the heat from hot appliances placed on tile countertops. It’s therefore advisable to use a trivet underneath any hot appliances.
Granite Slab Countertops
Granite slab countertops are made from stone slabs quarried from the earth. Granite gives your kitchen a natural stone look that beats any synthetic material like tiles. Natural granite is heat resistant and does not scratch easily. This material is also resistant to stains when sealed regularly. Although granite countertops add to home value, they can be expensive to install.
Due to its versatile nature, marble remains one of the most popular countertop options among many homeowners. Marble is a natural material that can be customized to fit your style. Marble is durable and stain-resistant, especially if you choose white marble. Its major disadvantage is that marble reacts to acids; consequently acidic liquids like vinegar or lemon juice can etch your marble countertop surface.
Are Tile Kitchen Countertops Worth It?
Since tile is cheaper than other countertop materials, it’s a go-to option for most homeowners. Tile countertops can give your remodeled kitchen a modern and fresh look.