While many homeowners reserve tile for floors and backsplashes, tile countertops can be an excellentand affordableoption. Ceramic tile is impervious to heat and water, and when properly glazed, it won't stain. Proper sealant helps ensure grout won't discolor or stain, and large-format tiles cover a lot of area with minimal grout lines. Still most popular out west, ceramic tile is a solid option worth a second look.
What Is It? Tile is a hard surface formed from firing clays and minerals.
Hardness and Thickness. Tile for countertops should be a Class 3 hardness rating on the Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) scale. Standard countertop tile thickness is 5/16 inch, though a quarter inch is also used.
Tile Types. Two types of tile are most popular.
Design Details. Consider the following elements when choosing a tile countertop.
Maintenance. Wipe the countertop with a soft cloth and warm water daily. Non-oil-based household cleansers are suitable. Avoid using ammonia, as it can discolor grout.
The Bottom Line. Tile complements a variety of styles, whether traditional, contemporary or Southwestern. The heat-resistant material is ideal around ranges and cooktops, but its uneven surface isn't ideal for baking centers.
A relative newcomer, composite countertop is a stylish, durable, eco-friendly alternative.
Wood counters give a kitchen warmth and natural beauty.