Tile Countertop Buying Guide

A staple of stylish baths, tile is ideal for virtually any surface — including countertops.
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By: Kim Hildenbrand

Fewer surfaces exceed ceramic tile at instantly lending color, pattern and texture. Ideal for busy baths, tile is resistant to heat, impervious to water and easy to clean, and it should not stain or discolor. Many homeowners choose large-format tiles for countertops to minimize grout lines.

Tile offers unmatched versatility in design options. Choose from tiny mosaics or large format tiles, incorporate accents and edges, and even mix and match. Consider these factors when choosing tile:

  • Types: Ceramic tile, made from fired clays, is the least expensive and most common type of tile. Porcelain tile, crafted from clays and fired at higher temperatures, is more durable but also more expensive. Stone tile, an alternative to slab, is timeless and beautiful, but the highest-priced tile.
  • Finish: Choose from two basic finishes. Unglazed tiles, which come in a matte finish, require a sealant. They are not ideal for extremely wet surfaces. Glazed tiles, which have been sealed during manufacturing, are impervious to water.
  • Grout: For a subtler, more seamless look, choose a grout color that coordinates closely with the tiles.
  • Practicality: Tile is a durable, water resistant, easy-to-clean countertop choice. Today's grout is stronger and more stain-resistant than ever.
  • Sink Types: Options include drop-in and vessel styles.

DIY Tilework

Planning to tile your own countertop? Consider these tips.

  • Check with the dealer or manufacturer to ensure the tile you choose is rated for countertops.
  • Don't be afraid to combine different shapes and get creative with patterns.
  • Research the latest installation products. For added water resistance and durability, consider such options as waterproofing strips, sealing compounds and protective edging profiles.

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