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Slab vs. Tile

Host Joan Kohn explores the options of stone, either as a slab or tile, with experts April Gianelli and Donna Sigal.

The natural beauty of stone is best appreciated in large slabs. Since the cost of a slab can be prohibitive, another way to bring stone into the kitchen for a quarter of the cost is with stone tiles. Host Joan Kohn explores the options of stone, either as a slab or tile, with experts April Gianelli and Donna Sigal.

Twelve-inch granite tiles are a cost-effective way to bring the look of granite to a kitchen counter.
Metal tiles offer intriguing design possibilities especially appropriate for a contemporary kitchen.
English country style demands an ornate use of tile.

  • Stone tiles cost one-fourth what a slab will typically cost. When used with matching grout to minimize the visual breaks, the look can be handsome and quite similar to slab, without the expense.
  • Slabs work well in smaller kitchens, where fewer grout lines make the room look larger. Slabs are also good used in contemporary kitchens, where their smooth, clean lines look streamlined.

  • For a traditional look, try mixing slab with tile. Use slab for countertops and tile for the backsplash and flooring, for example.

  • Tiles have design benefits that a slab doesn’t: a variety of materials like glass, metal and ceramic; a wider range of colors that can be customized; multiple border options; dimension, especially in border tiles; the possibility of being used as part of a picturesque mural. Tiles can be used to create a border, an accent or to frame an area.
  • For countertops, try using 12" x 12" tiles, which minimizes grout lines.
  • Consider your kitchen’s style when choosing tiles. If you want to emphasize the cabinets, choose a plain tile for the splash or other surfaces.
  • Floor tiles can be used to help define areas in larger kitchens.

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