Tiles are a classic material used for countertops. You can add patterns and designs to your countertops by mixing different tiles, allowing you to add your own individuality to your kitchen. Tile countertops have been popular since the 1970s, with the most common option at the time being granite tiles.
These types of countertops have remained popular since then due to the affordability and versatility of most tiles.
Tiles can come in many types, such as fired, travertine, slate, and granite tiles. Stone tiles are often preferred as the material will not show imperfections as clearly as other materials. These tiles require regular sealing, however, compared to porcelain tiles.
Ceramic tiles can easily be cleaned, fitted, and are easy to maintain in the long run. Glass tiles are used extensively for creating colorful designs in one’s home. Glass reflects light, making it ideal for smaller rooms as the increased light can make a room appear larger than it is.
Due to the popularity of tile countertops, there has been great discussion over the years of the various pros & cons of tile countertops. Below we will closely examine both sides of the argument.
The Pros of Tile Countertops
There are many advantages to be found in tile countertops. Tile countertops are loved by many due to the affordability of most tiles, as well as the timeless look that one can achieve with them.
An array of designs and possibilities
The versatility and multitude of designs in tiles, allow one to create designs to achieve an entirely unique look to one’s kitchen. Tiles come in many types, patterns, and finishes, adding even more variety to one’s options.
Mosaic and glass tiles can be used to create interesting and intricate designs. Playing around with textures such as smooth glazed, matte, hand painted and crackled can add additional depth to one’s kitchen.
By utilizing the various types of tiles, you have an endless array of designs available to you, ensuring that your kitchen is unique and truly fitted to what you want out of it.
Tiles are heat resistant
Different types of tiles can be more or less heat resistant than others. The general consensus is that most tiles will be fine with high heat, however, you should always aim to keep some sort of protective mat between the tiles and whatever hot item you are placing on it.
The most heat-resistant tile is ceramic tiles, which are glazed with a coating in order to keep them strong and fairly unbreakable.
Tile tends to be cheaper compared to other materials used for countertops such as natural stone. There is a wide range of tile options, hence there is a wide range of tile prices. Some tiles can cost roughly $1 per square foot, while others can cost $15 per square foot.
However, the cost shows more in the installation of your countertops, which is something you will need to consider carefully.
The average cost to install tiles is approximately $1 500, however, installation costs can be from as little as $540 to $2000 depending on the tiles and the complexity of installation.
Tiles are fairly easy to fix and replace
Routine wear and tear can cause cracks, scratches, and chips in your tiles. However, having tiles as opposed to other materials for countertops is advantageous in this instance.
All you would need to do to repair your countertop is remove and replace the damaged tile/s.
The Cons of Tile Countertops
There can be a slight drawback to tile countertops, as with any other material. Maintaining your tiles is vital to ensure it lasts a long time and is kept in good condition. This adds an additional thing to consider when choosing to tile your countertops.
They are susceptible to bacteria and stains
Tiles are installed using grout. Grout is a porous material, making it prone to absorbing liquids that can cause bacteria growth.
Depending on the substance spilled on the grout, the sealant may not prevent the substance from being absorbed. In order to avoid this, regular resealing can prevent the grout from absorbing anything.
They are not the most durable material
Some tiles, particularly ceramic tiles, can chip easily. These chips can be caused by dishes being banged against the tile; others can be caused by someone leaning too hard on the countertop.
The tile that is the least likely to crack or chip is porcelain tile. Ceramic tile is not as durable as porcelain and is more likely to stain due to its porous nature.
Certain tiles require frequent sealing and grouting
The surface of ceramic and porcelain tiles does not need to be sealed however a light coating of a penetrating sealer should be used to fill the micro pores that may appear. This resealing needs to be redone on an annual basis at the least, in order to ensure you are protecting your tiles.
Grout needs to be reapplied as and when it is required, as it is highly porous. Wiping and washing the tile surfaces only picks up surface dirt, however, most of the dirt and bacteria actually sit deep within the grout. Therefore, you need to apply a sealant layer over the tiles and grout to absorb moisture and dirt being absorbed frequently.
Some tiles can be tough to clean
Tiles are fitted with grout, which tends to stain over time. Removing these stains can be quite an effort, however with a stiff-bristled brush and a mixture of water and vinegar, you should be able to remove these stains.
Other cleaning materials can be used as well, such as baking soda paste and vinegar, oxygen bleach, or hydrogen peroxide.
Regular resealing can also help decrease the chances of staining. If you notice the stains appearing too often, you may need to consider resealing more than just once a year.
Check out this YouTube video to see the process of replacing your countertop with tile.
Pros & Cons of Tile Countertops – Conclusion
So, tiling your countertops can be incredibly beneficial to your home. They can add a pop of color or design, can last a long time, and are fairly easy to maintain.
That maintenance, however, can seem like a chore. Maintaining your tiles though will ensure less bacteria in your home and can ensure you will have a unique countertop for a long time.
Tiles are sustainable due to the natural materials used in their production and are hardy enough to last in a home for a long time, whether it is just you who lives there or a family of 6 that could cause some messes. Tiles are fairly easy to clean on a day-to-day basis, and most of the maintenance that goes into them is an annual chore.
You will need to do thorough research and a lot of thinking to consider the best tiling options for your home, however, given the wide array of options, you will most likely find something that suits your needs.
please feel free to comment what your opinions are: are you for or against tiling your countertops, and why?