Tile has been used to surface countertops as long as anyone can remember. The Romans made extensive use of tile in their construction, and indeed, when many people think of tile, they still associate it with Italy. Of course today there are many different types of tile that are appropriate for countertops. Of course the best tile for countertops is a very broad question.
What Application are You Looking At?
Which type of tile you choose for your countertops depends on several things. First, what is your budget? Equally durable tile can be found very inexpensive to outrageously expensive, but unlike clothes, once it is laid there is no price tag hanging on it to indicate which you bought!
Next, what countertop are you working on? Usually this is the kitchen but tile is an excellent countertop choice for outdoor applications since it is weatherproof. Also, the serving counter in a dining room is a good choice. Tile is easily cleaned and being non-porous, is resistant to staining.
Are you looking for elegant or understated? This may drive your decision. Remember though that you can invest heavily in today’s “hot thing” and next year it might have cooled off. Let’s look at some of the choices.
Yes, everyone is busy installing solid granite countertops now – it is all the rage, and an expensive one at that. But to save money you can do it yourself using square-cut granite tile. The joints are almost imperceptible if installed correctly.
When having a solid countertop installed, labor is a big piece of the bill but the DIY’er can rent a wet saw for the borders and save big.
4” X 4” Ceramic Tile
This is arguably the most popular countertop tile. It can be installed in a straight pattern or a “diamond” shaped pattern. The area between the borders and the field are often enhanced by long rectangular shaped tiles which showcase and border the field. Most manufacturers make bull-nose tiles for counter edges and contoured ones for the intersection of the countertop and the splash board.
Plain white tile is probably the basic kitchen tile color because of its association with hygiene (think old hospitals). But over the course of time, certain color combinations have proven popular .
For example, lavender/peach, burgundy/yellow, and jadeite green/black. These are all complementary colors and may be associated with the colors of vegetables which makes it a nice kitchen touch.
These, of course, are very small tiles (1” X 1”) that may be used to form intricate patterns or to represent a picture. This is also a popular tile utilization from Roman and Greek times. The fact that many of those constructions are still with us are a testament to their durability.
Installation of Countertop Tile
When you get ready to lay tile on your countertop, remember to use a wet saw. This will give you clean, professional looking results. After installing the tile, let it sit for approximately twenty four hours before you grout it.
After grouting, one very important step remains: applying a mildew resistant grout sealer. This will keep liquids from penetrating the grout and will keep it much more sanitary.