Tiled kitchen worktops have made quite the comeback in recent times after enjoying a period of prominence in up to the 1990s when they suddenly fell out of favour with the emergence of affordable granite and marble tops. These days though, more and more people are opting for tiled countertops, possibly due to the developments in tile production meaning that there is a much wider choice of finishes and styles. But before you rip out your existing worktops and order a load of tiles though, read our handy guide on the pros and cons of tiled countertop to see if they’re right for you…
The most obvious plus point of having tiled worksurfaces is that of aesthetics. Properly installed tiles look great and the fact that there are so many designs, finishes and materials available means that you can customise until your heart’s content. Want to create a focal point or even include a personalised message? Mosaics are your friend! If accenting your existing interior design scheme by combining countertop tiles with aesthetically similar wall and floor tiles is more your thing then you can do that too.
The only limit really is your imagination – you can use decorative tiles to really stamp your own personal style on the project and tailor things such as surface texture and finish to your own personal needs
Another bonus of tiled countertops is the cost. Depending on which type of tiles you opt for (and whether you buy them from Tile Mountain – we’re 50% cheaper than the high street folks!) you can save a packet. Even the most expensive hardwearing porcelain tiles won’t set you back as much as granite or marble worktops, and unlike those materials, tiles won’t require as much maintenance. As such, you’ll make a saving on specialist cleaning products and other related ephemera required for keeping natural stone products in tip-top condition.
The great thing about tiled surfaces is their longevity, so you won’t have to replace them for years, meaning you’ll save money in the long run. If it is that you do want to replace them though then they’re easy enough to remove and cheap enough that you can change the tiles to match any new design scheme.
One of the most common complaints about tiled countertops is that they’re susceptible to cracking. This is true of ceramic tiles and they can be easily cracked by heavy iron cookware, dropped mugs, or even by people leaning too heavily on an unsupported corner. Once a tile is cracked then there’s no real way of repairing and they’ll have to be replaced. It’s for this reason that we’d always recommend using porcelain tiles to tile a worktop as they are more durable. Opt for vitrified porcelain where possible – this is a type of porcelain tile that has colour pigment all the way through and will make chipping less noticeable.
Grout joints can be very difficult to maintain and keep clean, even more so if they are part of a kitchen counter top that is subjected to spills on a daily basis. It’s advisable to reseal the grout joints every year or so and you’ll also need to remain vigilant and wipe up any liquids and spills straight away to avoid permanent staining. The number of grout lines you have will be dependant on the format of the tiles used on the countertop. Larger format tiles mean fewer grout lines, whereas mosaics will have a lot more to keep clean.
Tiled countertops with a lot of grout joints can be difficult to keep clean as bits of food and kitchen detritus can get stuck in grooves if the grout joints are uneven. You can combat this by ensuring that your grout is effectively installed or even option for a resin-based grout that is stain repellant and non-absorbent such as Mapei Kerapoxy Design Grout.
The key takeaway from this is that choosing the right counter top material for your needs is paramount. If your kitchen is a busy one and there’s a high chance that your workrtop will be subjected to an endless barrage of gloopy food mess, then tiles might not be the best option for you. However, if you really want to complete the look of a renovation project and instil design consistency between tiled walls and floors and the work surfaces then it can be done. Just ensure that you opt for hardwearing porcelain tiles, that they’re installed correctly, and that your grout is stain resistant. Get those three thing right and you’re onto a winner!