Tile Countertop Review

Tiles might not be the first material you think of to use for a countertop but don't discount them until you have read my tile countertop review.  You may find that they'll be just perfect.

This page is part of the countertop designs series.

Tile countertop properties


Tiles are available all over the place.  When you're shopping for tiles for your countertop mention to your tile supplier how you're planning to use them.  Thin wall tiles may not be strong enough.

Aesthetic choice - Tiles are a mixture of clay, minerals, and water, appropriately shaped and fired at high temperatures. Glazed styles are then treated with a liquid glass coating and fired again, creating a hard glossy surface.  When it comes to countertop style there are lots of tile patterns to choose from.

Seams - A tiled countertop will have lots of seams with grout joints between the tiles.  The thickness of the grouting is part of the design choice and the seams are seen as part of the charm of the design.

You'll need to consider how to deal with the edges of the countertop.  A popular choice is to have a wood border to match the color of the cabinets.  An alternative would be to continue the tile using a corner tile, or a metal finishing strip (eg schluter strip)

Stain resistance - Similar to your floor or shower wall tiles, the grout can be hard to maintain because the grout mix is very porous.  The best grout choice for kitchen countertops is epoxy grout which is extremely durable, especially when properly sealed. 

Most of the tiles are stain resistant. The only concern would be grout lines. So making sure your entire countertop is properly sealed is crucial to avoid stains and discoloration of your grout.  It is recommended to reseal the countertop every 6-12 months depending on the type of grout and tile used.

Heat resistance - Tile countertops are heat-resistant which means you can put hot pans and pots on it without worrying to damage.

Scratch resistance - Tile can stand up to knives, though a cutting board is recommended, probably to save your knives!  Make enquiries about how scratch resistant the sealer you are planning to use is.

One of the problems that people have with ceramic tile countertops is the cracking of tiles or chipping caused by a direct hit by a hard object.  Keep some extra tiles in case this happens to you so that you can arrange for a repair.

Cleanliness - The grout joints in between the tiles also make it difficult to clean the countertop. If the countertop and especially the grout lines are not properly sealed, food particles and bacteria can get trapped inside the highly porous grout.  Otherwise a daily cleanup with warm water and mild soap will do the job.

Cost - Tile countertops usually range between $10 to $50 per square foot installed for ceramic tile and $30 to $70 per square foot installed for stone tile.

Tile countertop review - My experiences with a tile countertop

My in laws have a plain color tile countertop in their holiday home kitchen.  It really enhances the country vibe of their place.  I've cooked in the kitchen on several occasions and didn't run into any problems with staining.  One design feature I did like was that the tile installed at the edge of the countertop had a little raised 'nose' for want of a better description that prevented water from spilling over the edge of the countertop.

I have also been thinking about the big tiles that are now available.  It strikes me that it might be quite possible to use a large tile and have very few seams.

Tile countertop pros and cons

Tile countertop pros

Tiles have great heat and moisture resistance and the tiles themselves are easy to keep clean.  They’re also very easy to install.  Tile can be a very inexpensive way to create your countertop and also accommodates any creative urges you might have with patterns.

There are now some very large tiles available on the market which allow for a tile countertop to look much like a granite, marble or quartz countertop with a few joins.  The joins can be made irrelevant if you change material.

Tile countertop cons

Tiles aren’t as scratch resistant as some other surfaces.  The grout lines are hard to keep clean. The surface will by nature be a bit uneven.

Is a tile countertop right for your home?

We'll finish off this tile countertop review by going over some observations to help you decide whether or not this countertop is right for your home.

Tiles work very well if you’re trying to create a country or antique look in your home.  It’s harder to achieve a modern appearance through the use of tile.  They’re a great option if you’re on a budget as you can install the tiles yourself if you’re handy.

So that concludes my tile countertop review.  I hope you've found it useful.  See below for more countertop material reviews.

More Counterop Design

Countertop materials