Has Familiarity Bred Contempt (For Tile Counters)?

John Liu
March 11, 2010

Like some others here - you don't have to identify yourselves - I've been spending more time thinking about counter materials than I really should. (You know, about 10,000X more time than I spend thinking about world peace, global warming, or my fellow man.)

The list of desirable attributes for a counter material seems fairly straightforward. In no particular order:

1 - Impervious to heat.

2 - Won't chip, ding, or scratch.

3 - Won't stain, etch, or blotch.

4 - Resists water damage.

5 - Affordable.

6 - Easy to install, easy to repair.

7 - Expressive of your style and color sense.

8 - Easy to maintain and clean.

9 - Accomodates desired shape and cut-out.

In this forum, we are constantly discussing whether material X or material Y meet enough of these criteria to be workable. Please Tell Me About Soapstone Scratches. Should I Seal Granite? Help With Marble Counters Staining. Anyone Do Copper Counters? Wood Counters Around Sink? There's usually one or two of these threads on each page. And, boy, they all have their problems, so we oil the soapstone, have this guy from Florida hone our granite, inhale gallons of Waterlox fumes, tell ourselves how much we love the ''patina'' of our marble.

Meanwhile, in a few months of reading GW, I can recall only one thread devoted to tile countertops - and that was on pillog's amazing counters, which might as well be frescos in the Sistine Chapel, I mean they are Art, not mere counters.

Yet, the invisible material called ''tile'' arguably meets all of the criteria I listed above.

1 - Impervious to heat? Sure, ceramic tiles are fired at 2000F.

2 - Won't chip, ding, or scratch. A hammer will mark them, I guess, but even heavy ''normal'' use won't leave a mark.

3 - Won't stain, etch, or blotch. Glossy ceramic tile laughs at your red wine-ketchup-oil spot-whatever tests.

4 - Resists water damage. If it can be used in a showers and swimming pools, tile can certainly deal with sink splash.

5 - Affordable. Last time I checked, yes.

6 - Easy to install, easy to repair. I don't know how much tile-setters charge, but tiling is a classic DIY project.

7 - Expressive of your style and color sense. I would argue the infinite variety in tile leaves any other counter material in the dust.

8 - Easy to maintain and clean. No oiling, sealing, sanding. Wipe when dirty. Okay, you might have to fuss over the grout - but not if you've used a darker grout color, or very tight grout lines. (I'm never had epoxy grout, maybe that's different?)

9 - Accomodates desired shape and cut-outs. Sure. Hubby wants a sink shaped like a convulsing starfish? - no problem, you can tile around it.

Given all this, why are we so thoroughly dis-interested in tile countertops?

Yes, I did say ''we''. I hadn't even considered tile, until last week when I was struck by the deep, intense color of a friend's marine blue tile counter. Wow! What is this material? Then I realized, its tile. Like the tile that I installed in my first kitchen counter. Like the tile that I thinset in my shower. Like the tile that I installed, on hands and knees in my first kitchen's floor. Like the tile that is in my kitchen right now, unknown and unnoticed, like Tne Invisible Man.

Did I just get burned out on tile, back in the '90s?

Did we all just get burned out on tile?

Is tile today suffering the fate that (maybe!) awaits granite in the 2020's? How long will this expressive, durable, flexible, and affordable material languish in the winter of our neglect?

Everything old becomes new again - but when?

Comments (52)

  • alabamanicole

    Yep... it's the grout. And I have seen MANY cracked and chipped ceramic tile counters and walls.

    Aside from the Achilles heel that is grout, the current aesthetic is also for clean, unbroken lines to enhance the perception of length and space. You can have cabinets dripping with moulding and detail but a seamless slab of granite will work. Grout lines break the line vision. It's why even granite tile will read as tile, not granite.

    You could accomplish the same aesthetic with a seamless floor (or one with long seams) and cabinets on feet, or, to a lesser extent, with a smooth well-lit ceiling and shorter upper cabinets, but neither is very popular right now, at least not in the US.

  • doonie

    Yes. It's hard to knead bread on grouted counters and hard to roll out pastry. Plus I would have tea stains in my grout! That's why I am going with quartz.

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  • pharaoh

    All those are great positives but grout is the negative that negates all of them!

    So we start looking for single slab surfaces - natural stone has a lot of positives.

    When they figure out how to make slab sized ceramic surfaces, I will definitely use them.

    As i have said before, you can see large stone slab floors in asia. In hotels, airports, malls, slabs of granite or marble are used with no visible grout line. They are butted tight against each other and then ground down level and polished on site. Just gorgeous...

  • marcolo

    If I ever meet the person that installed unsealed quarry tile with dark but wide grout lines on the countertops of my last kitchen, I will strangle him or her with my own bare hands.

    That said, I think the aesthetic of tile is great. Sleek has been done to death, "movement" has been done to death, pattern and complexity and artistry are ready for a comeback.

    It's just that damn grout.

    Which you can ameliorate, if you're not as ridiculous as the now-doomed prior owner of my last place and use thin lines and proper sealer and such. But "ameliorate" is not the same as "never have to deal with."

  • Buehl

    Grout, grout, grout! Cleaning counters as the crumbs, etc. settle into the grout lines while you're wiping. Staining and wearing away of grout. Broken/cracked/chipped tiles...we had a tile table and yes, we had cracked tiles. I really wanted one, but after wiping it off after a couple of meals and living with broken tiles after a couple of years, I couldn't get rid of that table fast enough! I was almost willing to pay someone to take it! (But, being the "sensible" person I was, I kept it almost 13 years b/c it still functioned well as a table...and hating it for 12 of those years!)

    Can you tell I'm not a fan of tile on counters or tables. I would even prefer wood on our floor, but b/c of the dogs we have tile.

  • writersblock (9b/10a)

    What everyone else said about grout, plus all the bumpita, bumpita, bumpita.

  • kimkitchy

    Yes, there is contempt, but not from me. I know you are waxing poetic about ceramic and/or porcelain tile... but FWIW... we installed 12 inch granite tile counters in our 2006 remodel for all of the reasons you stated above plus a few more:
    1) We weren't sure the joists in our 1913 floor would hold up to the weight of huge granite slabs (probably an unneccessary concern since lumber back then was old growth and full dimensional, but DH is always worried about such structural matters).
    2) We live in a rural mountain town where granite slab prices were just too expensive (at least 3 years ago). Say $5-7,000 for our medium sized kitchen. The granite tile was maybe 10% of that cost.
    3) We wanted an old fashioned uniform gray granite because there was a granite quarry a few miles from our town that was in production back in 1913, when our house was built. If they'd have been doing granite counters back then, that's the granite they'd have used, and it was that gray. Can you find the "dull, boring" fine grained gray granite at a slab yard? Heck no, unless it is for cemetary monuments! But, we did find that color in granite tile.
    4) We did use a silver gray colored epoxy grout and very small grout lines. The color blends really well and I don't think it is difficult to clean.

    I like the fact that the fine grained, uniform, old fashioned, gray granite with gray grout does give the look of a slab (from a small distance) - no broken veining lines. My friends, who aren't sophisticates or TKO, just say "oooh granite" and dont' even think about it being tile.

    When I roll out dough, I use a big beautiful marble baking slab. I'm still strong enough to haul it out when I need it. :-)

    So, there's a little more food for thought for anyone reading who might like to hear from someone who embraced the tile! Cheers.

  • debrak_2008

    Kimkitchy please post photos! I tried to search under your name for photos but couldn't find any. I love the look of porcelain or granite tile countertops.

    There are so many different tile options now. Many that are completely flat with straight cut edges called rectified in this area. You can use razor thin grout lines. With grout you have options too. I think the installation has alot to do with it.

    Someone recently posted a beautiful tile counter top.

  • kristine_2009

    I had a thread asking about granite tile countertops a while back. Our old kitchen had ceramic tile countertops. I really liked it. Granted, if I were to do it again I would do smaller grout lines and a dark grout. But really my grout wasn't all that hard to clean. We just had our granite slab countertops installed today. Like I said, we considered granite tile countertop but it was only 1K difference between the tile and the slab, so we went with the slab. I was told you can do 1/16th grout lines with the granite tile. I wouldn't think that would be all that hard to clean, especially if you use a dark grout.

  • rhome410

    I plop everything on my counters to take care of it and don't want to worry about hauling out a separate slab...Grout lines kill the idea of tile for me. I really, seriously considered large format rectified tile with its tight, hopefully level grout lines as a DIY alternative to slab stone we couldn't afford...but I would have insisted on having a smooth island to work on. But why limit our workspace to the island? So, no tile for us, and we have our combo of laminate, stainless, and wood instead.

  • warmfridge

    Has anyone mentioned grout yet?

  • bill_vincent

    What about grout? :-) Actually, this is one of the few places in a home where I advocate the use of epoxy grout. That way you don't have to worry about starting a biological garden in your grout joints every time you have raw meat out on the counter.

    The one detriment that grout joints cause and can't overcome is if you're into baking from scratch and roll your own dough. There's just no way in hell you'll ever be happy with a tile countertop..... unless you want to spend 40.00 a foot for 48x48 porcelain "tile" (and that doesn't include installation labor). At that point you might as well splurge for top quality granite.

  • davidro1

    johnliu, you are right. We need more people saying more things about tile countertops. I have two. We're happy.

    We had a thread on epoxy grout last month, in which the industry experts said they were ALL FOR epoxy grout on a tiled countertop.

    Then, a batch of people all mentioned grout as a problem.
    Epoxy grout solves all the problems these people mention.
    billvincent just said so too.

  • lizziebethtx

    I"m going with tile. *gasp* I've had granite & I could pay for it again if I wanted to, but I don't. It just seems absurd to pay $3500 for a 10x10 kitchen. There is so much more I'd rather do with the money. I'm going with 24" rectified color-body porcelain tile. The grout lines will be seriously minimal and only every 24 inches. I can live with that. I considered soapstone-look laminate but my DH is a serious cook and he was afraid of scorches or other problems.

  • plllog

    What the heck is wrong with grout? I have never had any trouble cleaning even old fashioned grout. I can't stand the feel of sanded grout and my tile setters figured out a whizbang way to give me smooth in the wider grout lines that the handmade tile required. (BTW, granite would have cost a lot less than the tile.)

    Baking is no trouble. Use a board (wood or marble) or a pastry cloth. I know there are people who even cut right on their counters (bad for knives if it's not wood) but I I've always used a pastry cloth. It holds the flour and keeps the dough from sticking. I have always baked and never had any trouble on a tile counter.

    An attribute not on John's list is that tile isn't nearly as cold as stone. I am so glad I held out for making the tile work rather than giving in and getting more soapstone for the perimeter. I love my soapstone island, but the tile is soooo much nicer, and warmer.

    Those of you who hate tile have to understand that there's a big difference between high quality tile, properly installed on a good mortar bed, leveled and properly grouted, and cheapie, unskilled labor installed, cracked and yucky grout and tile. Huge difference.

    Even though you can etch ordinary grout (non-epoxy) with acid, the way you can concrete, it doesn't dissolve it. The grout isn't ruined if you spill a little vinegar. You do have to clean. If you're the kind of person who wants a counter that hides dirt tile isn't for you. If you clean your counters because they're kitchen counters and they need cleaning daily, there's really no problem keeping well installed tile and grout clean!

    I get it that you all don't like grout, but I'll never really understand it. The advantages of high quality tile far outweigh any disadvantages to grout.

  • marcolo

    Epoxy grout stains, too. I've seen it.

    Plus, how easy it to use gooey, sticky, get-it-all-off-the-tile-fast-or-you're-hosed e*poxy grout in an old-fashioned tile counter, meaning, with tile mosaics?

  • rhome410

    Davidro1: "Epoxy grout solves all the problems these people mention.
    billvincent just said so too."

    But Bill actually said: "The one detriment that grout joints cause and can't overcome is if you're into baking from scratch and roll your own dough. There's just no way in hell you'll ever be happy with a tile countertop..... unless you want to spend 40.00 a foot for 48x48 porcelain "tile" (and that doesn't include installation labor)"

    That's THE problem in a nutshell for me...the one I mentioned and the one not solved with epoxy grout. I don't like having to keep extra boards hanging around when I can use a nice, wide, stable counter. I might for art masterpieces like Plllog's, but that's about it.

  • doonie

    I felt the need to clarify...I love tile! Plllog, your counter is a work of love and art! It's just for me it's a lot less maintenance to have a solid surface. My love of tile is carrying over into a beautiful handmade tile backsplash that I can hardly wait for! (Just not my prep areas!)

  • lascatx

    Don't have a problem with tile -- it's the grout and the bumps that make it not work for a counter top or any food prep area for me.

  • alabamanicole

    One more positive thing about tile is that it has stood the test of time. Very few people will walk into a home and go "eww... tile!"

    I LIKE tile -- just not for countertops (been there, done that, I'd rather have laminate). And not for floors except in limited spaces: it's too hard on my knees.

  • sayde

    My counters are a combination of tile and butcher block. Don't love the grout but never really minded. The place where the grout has become a problem is the tile backsplash behind the stove. It is really hard to keep it clean and over the years has become more and more -- awful. No one seems to be writing about problems with tile in this location though many have tile there. Am I the only one with this situation? As pretty as tile is, my next backsplash is going to be stainless steel.

  • intnagain

    I've walked into plenty of houses and said, "Eww, tile countertops." We had tile countertops a couple of kitchens ago, and they were the primary reason for re-doing that kitchen. They had the wide grout lines that collected every crumb in the kitchen, and they were, as previously mentioned, impossible for rolling out pastry.

    That said, we re-did our last kitchen's countertops with large granite tiles with miniscule grout lines, and they worked pretty well.

  • Buehl

    Epoxy grout does stain...ask me how I know... *sigh*

    No, spaghetti sauce and similar don't stain it, but it has still turned dark and I don't know why... I tried oxyclean on it and it lightned it very slightly, but not that much.

  • skyedog

    Count me in with the minority that appreciates a tile countertop. We put one in our vacation home over a decade ago and it works and looks great! I don't have any problem keeping grout clean and it has never stained. I don't know why because we didn't do anything special and it gets plenty of use. It has seen everything from filleting fish to Bloody Mary's to intoxicated cooks and still looks like the day we put it in.

    As for baking, if I have to roll anything out I use my dining table, which is easier because of the lower height anyway.

    Of course, I think I have counted 8 or 9 elements in my home kitchen that have been tagged on this forum as "hated" items by a critical mass of posters so apply my opinions with caution.

  • chesters_house_gw

    In my experience it's become sadly familiar, but that's not the reason for contempt. Yep, it's the grout. I curse the countertop every morning, as strays from the fine ground coffee making its way from the grinder to the melita cone gravitates to the grout lines. I have a special gripe with the previous owner of the house who put the tile in, since he also built the countertop up to about two inches, with sharp corners (in small tiles) right below my hip. Tile may be impervious to scratches, but my leg isn't.

    We're looking to replace, and heat is our top consideration. That will mean soapstone or stainless, I think.

  • azstoneconsulting

    I started out in the trades 32 years ago as a Tile Setter... doing TILE countertops.

    Since getting into Granite Fabrication in 1985 - I have not installed one tile
    countertop since...

    Like pretty much everyone else on this thread - I think that the biggest "negative"
    to ding a tiled countertop is the grout lines - you can not escape them, and they
    are a pain to keep looking clean...

    Buehl - I would have suggested that you should have used a grout color -
    closer to the natural color of dirt to help hide stains - even with an epoxy
    grout system. I have had really good luck using "Light Smoke" as THE color
    of choice to hide staining effects...

    maybe on the next one that you do..huh?



  • growlery

    Say "tile counters" and I have 2 sense memories of the tile counter I had in a rental once (fattish grout lines):

    1) grit: sugar, crumbs etc. always fell into the grout lines, and even after you wiped down the counter carefully, they'd wander back out

    2) the nails-on-a-chalkboard sound of crockery being dragged across the tile surface

    Perhaps some of these problems could be ameliorated by very tight grout lines and very smooth tile.

    And I, too, am a person who loves tile!

  • plllog

    So in the shower it occurred to me that it's a cultural thing. Not only is tile traditional and normal where I live, but, after some talk about keeping kosher over in Cooking, I realized that there's also some holdover from that. I wasn't raised in a kosher home, but there are always artifacts of "the way things are done". Countertops are never kosher. You can make some kinds of counters temporarily kosher, but basically they're not. So one would never put food directly down on the counter. Ever. And even though we didn't actually keep kosher, I was brought up with not putting food right on the counters, and washing the counters before starting to work.

    I'm wondering if it's the very straight sided tiles with very small grout lines that aren't the problem? They'd be harder to clean than normal. Also, sanded grout is harder to clean than normal, 1/8" grout.

    The only food I put down right on any kind of counter is raw, unwashed vegetables.

  • kitchendetective

    I am a true tile lover and have used and will continue to use brightly colored ceramic tile in my homes. But I dislike grout on counter tops. I have it on my laundry room counter surfaces. Have been unable to train DH not to do projects directly on the counter surfaces--shellac, varnish, unidentifiable substances with spectacular adhesive properties in which the Pentagon would probably be interested. Also, I like tile with texture and irregularities. Again, not so great for counters. You're doing a very work-oriented kitchen. Sometimes guest chefs (of varying degrees of professionalism) work in my kitchen and a lot of banging around goes on. I don't think tile is the best choice for the horizontal surfaces. Also, spectacular tile is veeeeery expensive. I'd freak if any of any of my ceramic back splashes were chipped or damaged. That said, here's a source you may want to peruse.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Dunis

  • John Liu

    So, its (almost) all about the grout.

    Like pillog, the only food that goes directly on my counters is unprepped fruit/veg - and the occasional bagel or bread roll, I guess. Everything else gets prepped on butcher blocks and held in/on bowls/plates/boards until it is cooked or plated. So any petri-dish tendencies of grout don't matter to me.

    Visually, I kind of like the texture, pattern, and organic look of tile - grout and all. I'm not looking for long uniform seamless surfaces. As it is, I'm already going to deliberately break my counter up into different sections.

    I agree that white grout looks bad if it gets dingy, and I have no tolerance for toothbrushing grout lines. So if I were to do tile counters again, I'd try epoxy grout in thin lines and darker colors.

    Tile can get chipped and cracked by a hard enough blow, that's true. But seems to me that such abuse would also crease steel, chip granite, gouge marble, dent wood, etc.

    It is interesting to see the range of reactions to tile. I confess that I'm not planning tile counters in my next kitchen, partly because the unfitted pieces will be easily covered with whatever material I decide on (no fancy templating needed), and partly because I've been there and done that (the BTDT factor). I just wonder when and if tile will make a comeback.

  • momof3kids_pa

    I think part of the reason people may not be doing them is because of the pretty much "standard" tile backsplash. It seems people think it's practically necessary to do a tile backsplash so it would be nice to not have tile countertop against tile backsplash!

    but i should probably stay out of this because I CAN'T STAND tile ANYWHERE and am working on living in a completely tile free house.

  • lascatx

    Count me among those who have walked in and said Eeeww or Yuk to tile counters. They were the first thing we knew would go in this kitchen -- for the tile itself, the loose and broken pieces and for the teal liner that matched the chunky teal knobs and pulls on our white cabinets.

    But I'd rather have tile than the granite on of our neighbors put in. So there are no absolutes. LOL

  • morgne

    Ugh. I too am anti-tile for the most part. I don't have a lot to add to the conversation other than just saying that. The bumpiness is primarily my issue, then the grout, noise, etc.

    I SERIOUSLY considered it.... the tile is now sitting in my backyard. In the end despite the fact that it was way, way, way more to do any other type I couldn't make the jump.

  • bill_vincent

    Epoxy grout does stain...ask me how I know...

    I never said epoxy won't stain. In fact, I've argued that point more than once in here when people have tried to claim that their cream colored epoxy grout on their floors would stay pristine into the next millenium. What I DID say is that it'll keep animal juices from getting into the grout and causing a health hazard, and THAT'S why I advocate using epoxy grout on countertops. This is the last one I did, and this was last winter:

  • marcolo

    Looking at that tile job_ (beautiful as always, Bill_V), I got to wondering. I've always loved the look of vintage '20s and '30s tile countertops, and some kitchens really do want to have the black A*rt Deco outlines around the edges. I wonder if it's possible to inset something solid-granite, quartz, whatever--into the middle of a countertop, where Bill's big tiles are, but leave a border space for beautiful tile? Or does that way lie madness?

  • bill_vincent

    Not at all. In fact, I HAVE done one countertop where the tile was Absolute Black 12x12, and the trim was American Olean V-cap ceramic countertop trim:

  • reyesuela

    >The only food I put down right on any kind of counter is raw, unwashed vegetables.

    Me, too, and I'm not Jewish! Everything else goes in bowls or on cutting boards. But meat still drips...

  • sandraldoss

    People on this forum have contempt for everything!
    Good luck 2 u!!

  • marcolo

    OMG the precision of your installations! You should've gone into plastic surgery.

    bill, do you think there's any reason why that couldn't be done with, say, a quartz countertop, a granite or marble slab, or something like that, rather than a granite tile? Are thicknesses an issue?

    Because that way, obviously, you'd still have to deal with some grout, but you'd get a large central portion of smooth surface for rolling out, cleanup, etc.

  • bill_vincent

    Tile can always be built up. That's not a problem. In fact, even with the granite, I had to lift those ceramic pieces each about 1/8" to come flush to the granite. Also, they can be used in either direction-- with the side hanging down that you see now, which is about 1 1/2", or the other side, which is about 2". There are also 90 degree outcorners made for that series.

    Oh, and thank you for the compliment. :-)

  • momj47

    I've never had tile counters, except in a couple of vacation rentals, and I didn't like them. Small things were always falling over. The tile in the last place was bright blue, with white grout, it must have been hard to keep clean.

    I've seen some wonderful granite tile installations, like Bill's, and that seems to be a whole different product - the tiles are perfectly flat and the grout lines are very thin. My son, after looking at some of Bill's installations, is going to try and install granite tile on the bar in my basement.

  • bill_vincent

    COOL!! I wanna see PICHERS when he's done!!

  • cocontom

    It's two fold for me- both grout and cost. One of our friends has baltic brown (I think- the common blackish with pink circles) 24" tiles and edging, and he paid within a few hundred dollars of the cost of a slab just for tile, doing the work himself.

  • sreeb

    As I plan my remodel, I'm leaning toward DIY tile with cost being a big driver. From a cost perspective, I don't think anything but laminate comes close and I like some of the visual options you can get with tile.

    Tile is fairly labor intensive so I think professionally installed tile doesn't have a big cost advantage over other options.

  • jterrilynn

    While Im not big on tile countertops, I did do a colorful hand cut artist mosaic tile job on the tea/ coffee counter section a few houses ago. It worked wonderfully with hiding the endless mess of stains and such. The lady I sold the house to loved it. Just though I would bring that up if some are thinking of tile countertops in certain areas of the kitchenÂthere is more than one way to go with tile.

  • honeysucklevine

    I adore tile countertops especially colorful as a focal point.

  • peggyanncatherine

    I love my pure white, smooth tiled kit hen counters. Have white grout, too. I used a deep but brilliant blue linear tile around all of the edges (I have several long counters and a peninsula.). I have the grout resealed every two years-- takes a few hours--and have no staining or grungy looks. I love to cook and wanted to be able to set boiling pans down anywhere, not worry about hot oil or about sugar melted to hard crack stage spilling and ruining it anywhere. I used to have custom made stainless steel but although it worked the same for hot or cold items or accidents, it looked horrible when water droplets dried on it; I spent way too much time all day long drying all of the counters to keep them looking polished! Wouldn't trade my tiled kitchen for any other, and they are now 12 years old. I have changed back splashes and painted walls in the room to get a new look, but tiles are still exactly the look I like. I used granite in the bathrooms, so nothing against stone: just did not want it in the kitchen.

  • Elraes Miller

    Sometimes tile has a good reason to be used in respect of the home. I have a 50's ranch and can't visualize anything else but tile. So my counter is white 8" with black trim...and epoxy grout. The POs upgraded cabinets and wished they hadn't (too good to remove). I am trying to honor the time period as much as possible and keeping it simple. A large wood block island is my workstation, the kitchen is small enough to allow ease of use. Large enough to have many options.

    Bill, this probably isn't install right, but I overlaid epoxy grout on sanded grout in my tub/shower surround. It has been 10 years without any issues. I wish I knew the name of it to use again in other areas.

  • jakkom

    Not a tile fan. Beautiful (especially Bill V's work! Gorgeous!) but not for me. I might put down stone tile on a floor but never a countertop. Just don't care for the look atop a cabinet, whereas we have several floors with vinyl slate-look tile or sheet, LOL.

    Had laminate kitchen counters (which replaced old worn tile; but we ran out of $$$), eventually replaced in 2003 with Swanstone which is similar to Corian. It's a neutral beige granite-look - more like beach sand color, actually - and love it. Two big corner seams in our U-shaped kitchen are INVISIBLE. The installers spent over 1/2 hour sanding on each one.

    Every once in a while I'm rolling out pre-purchased dough. Love being able to sprinkle flour all over the countertop and then scrape 98% off with a stainless hand scraper! So easy.

    Heatproof to 375 degrees. Being used to laminate, I toss a double-thick potholder down if I'm putting anything down that's over that temp.

    I love and needed the quiet of solid surface. Our kitchen is right above our MBR suite and I'm often in the kitchen in the early a.m. when DH is still asleep.

  • mrspete

    My mom has a tile countertop, and it's a workhorse: Set pans right on it, etc. It's really hard to hurt tile. Sure, you can chip a tile by dropping a cast iron pan on it, but if you're smart enough to save a few tiles, you can always "do surgery" and replace that bit of the countertop -- something that's impossible with other countertops.

    I'm in the camp of, Grout? So what? My mom's no obsessive cleaner, but her grout looks fine to me.

    From a practical, functional standpoint, tile is a home run. Why don't we see more of it? Just as someone else said: Today's style is a long, clean line -- and that's not what you get from tile.

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