Compared to other countertop options, tile can be considered extremely versatile. It’s reasonably affordable and not particularly difficult to install. Tile is crafted from durable materials such as stone and ceramic. There’s plenty of variety in terms of shapes and sizes so tile can be used for countertops that stand out over the usual designs. Some people see tile countertops as too old-fashioned but the recent popularity rebound is because they’re inexpensive and attractive.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the advantages and drawbacks of tile countertops to figure out whether this is the right countertop style for you. You’ll also find some inspirational ideas to help you choose an attractive tile countertop design but first, we’ll examine the most popular types of tile countertops out there.
Types of Tile Countertops
The industrial manufacture of ceramic began a long time ago in the latest part of the 19th century. However, the material didn’t become very popular until the middle of the 20th century when kitchens started to be built in a more sophisticated style. Ceramic tile used to be extremely popular until around the 1970s and 1980s. That’s when other options such as natural stone slabs increased in availability.
Ceramic tile is still popular today mainly due to its affordability and more hassle-free installation. The material is obtained from natural clay treated at high temperatures. Tiles have grout lines that are vulnerable to bacteria. For that reason, it’s important to ensure that your ceramic tile countertop is correctly sealed to maximize durability against the usual wear and tear in the kitchen.
Porcelain can be considered a type of ceramic tile. It’s crafted at even higher temperatures so it’s generally more reliable in terms of resistance to stains and scratches. As opposed to ceramic tiles, porcelain ones require professional installation. It’s much harder for a DIYer to get the job done. The material is fairly popular for kitchen countertop remodels thanks to its diverse range of colors and styles. Porcelain tiles are not as affordable as ceramic but are still less expensive than granite or marble.
A granite slab countertop feels incredibly luxurious but it’s too expensive for many homeowners. This type of natural stone is also available in tiles. Installed in this way, granite becomes a more viable option for those on a budget. You hardly sacrifice the beauty of the stone or its characteristic texture if you opt for granite tiles instead of slabs. With the help of adequate sealing, granite promises superior durability to ceramic and porcelain. It’s porous and requires professional sealing as well as periodic resealing to maintain its qualities.
Advantages of Tile Countertops
Are tile countertops worth the money? There are lots of reasons to consider them so we’ll start exploring the advantages of this style to figure out whether it matches your needs. Tile countertops outperform other solutions when it comes to variety. You will find more interesting colors and shapes to give a unique personality to your kitchen. This is particularly the case for ceramic tiles.
We’ve already mentioned affordability but that’s not just due to the low cost of the material. Tile countertops are also practical because they incur lower expenses to maintain as new. Just a solid sealing job is all that’s required. DIYers might skip the labor costs and try their hand at a tile countertop installation project. It’s not as complicated to install compared to other countertop styles. Another great advantage is that you can easily replace single broken tiles instead of changing an entire stone slab for a new one.
Drawbacks of Tile Countertops
Tile countertops are heat resistant and provide decent overall durability. However, their surface isn’t as resistant to stains or bacteria. The weak point is the grout which needs to be carefully sealed to avoid damage and problems in the long run. Keep in mind that even if you use professional sealing services, that might still be insufficient to protect from some stains. Ceramic tile countertops are susceptible to chipping so that’s another drawback to consider.
The need to have your tile countertops professionally resealed annually can make some homeowners less excited about this type of counter. It’s true that it takes some effort to maintain the durability of ceramic tile but it’s worth the investment when you consider the stylish visual impact. Another small drawback is the lack of an even work surface. That’s just the nature of tile countertops. Rolling out dough, for example, can be made a little more inconvenient.
If you wish to bring the style of tile countertops into your kitchen, get inspired with the help of the following design ideas.
Tile Countertop Design Ideas
1. Green Porcelain Tile
Considering the reliable level of durability, porcelain tile represents an excellent material choice for many kitchen countertops. It’s among the best solutions if you value practicality but you don’t need to make compromises in terms of aesthetics. Check out the elegant look of this green porcelain tile countertop that elevates this traditionally-designed kitchen.
Aside from the generous countertop space, the same material is used for the kitchen backsplash to form a cohesive look. The chosen shade of green seems fitting when combined with the copper accents on the range hood and gold elements of the lighting fixtures. The porcelain tile brings some fresh style to this otherwise neutral-looking kitchen.
2. Large Tiles
The addition of multiple seams on the counter can be considered one aspect that makes tile countertops less appealing for many homeowners. If you find this an issue, it’s worth knowing that countertop styles with large tiles are available. They don’t have as many seams compared to regular designs. This means you can take advantage of fewer cleanup hassles.
Consider choosing a neutral color scheme if you prefer a timeless look for the kitchen. The large beige tiles on this countertop contribute to the overall Old World vibe. Notice how other details of the kitchen provide a similar visual effect through architectural elements or the traditional kitchen backsplash. Keep in mind that natural stone tiles require proper sealing to avoid durability problems.
3. Stark White Design
Dark or vibrant color shades can be considered quite bold for a tile countertop. However, you can also achieve an eye-catching look by going for an unusual visual effect such as using stark white tiles in the kitchen. The material is not only found on the countertop but it dominates the whole area to elevate its minimalist aesthetic.
This kind of look may not suit everyone’s tastes but if you prefer understated designs, it can have a lot of visual appeal for you. The grid pattern formed by the seams works amazingly well with stainless steel accessories. You can also use this kind of countertop idea to act as a neutral background for more colorful elements.
4. Vintage Elegance
Blending new and old kitchen design elements can be quite challenging unless you pay close attention to materials and decor pieces. Tile countertops are recommended for kitchens with a focus on aesthetics rather than pure utility. They can add vintage flair in a modern space that’s richly decorated. This kitchen combines antique accents and modern accessories in a stunning neutral-green color palette.
5. Hexagon Tile
When it comes to tile shapes, you don’t need to settle for a typical square style. Take a look at this beautiful countertop where hexagon tiles are arranged in honeycomb patterns to create a unique appearance. This aesthetic is suitable for a modern kitchen if you wish to add a luxurious touch considering the marble tile used. It can also work together with more traditional accessories and kitchen accents.
6. Cozy Terracotta Tile
If you’re looking to create a more welcoming vibe in the kitchen, terracotta tile represents a stunning option. This is a recommended choice for rustic aesthetics where it’s important to select earthy materials that help to stay in touch with the natural world. You don’t necessarily have to remodel the entire kitchen – floor and backsplash included. Just a touch of terracotta tile used for the countertops will easily warm your cooking space.
7. Broken Tile Mosaic
Bringing a splash of fun color to the countertop can be done with the help of many materials and designs. If basic tiles aren’t that exciting to you, there’s also the possibility to opt for a more innovative blend of patterns and textures through a broken tile mosaic style. This look can appear a little too bold for functional areas such as kitchens. It’s recommended to temper the aesthetic using more neutral-toned accessories and minimalist elements. Simple white tiles for the backsplash offer the right contrast to this dazzling countertop.
8. Glossy Black Tiles
Anyone who wants to design a luxurious kitchen needs to consider this kind of glossy tile countertop. Black kitchens can feel elegant but may appear too dark for some people. Thanks to the reflective sheen of these tiles, you can take advantage of striking glossiness that enhances the premium aesthetic of the entire kitchen. This countertop manages to look both futuristic and retro at the same time.
9. Mix of Tiles
It’s a standard design practice to use a single style of tile for countertops and other elements of the kitchen such as the backsplash. The idea is to maintain visual consistency. If you’re looking to create a more daring look, however, consider mixing different tiles for the countertops and the backsplash. The result can be surprisingly attractive and certainly unique.
This charming kitchen relies on a minimalistic white color palette infused with touches of seafoam green. The neutral color scheme will intentionally draw more attention to shapes and textures found in the room. That’s where the mix of hexagonal tiles on the countertops and rectangular ones on the backsplash will stand out. Combining different tile styles can be challenging but it’s worth trying if you want a one-of-a-kind kitchen.
10. Handmade Tiles
Fans of rustic interior design styles will definitely appreciate this welcoming kitchen. The main element that stands out is the yellow countertop that’s built using handmade square tiles. The little irregularities in the craftsmanship contribute to a charming aesthetic in this rustic kitchen. It’s worth mentioning that you should only install such delicate tiles in kitchens that don’t see heavy-duty use.
The bright yellow color scheme makes the perfect bold pairing with the prominent textures in this cooking area. The stunning kitchen island centerpiece together with all the other elements and accessories in the room can easily evoke Moroccan aesthetic vibes. Especially when you take into account the beauty of the handmade tiles.
11. Modern Curves
Straight lines are usually unavoidable when you’re selecting a classic tile countertop design. Some interior designers tried to reduce the sharpness of the angles through the use of curved tiles. The visual impact is considerable, especially when you take into account the harmonious blend of the countertop with the backsplash and the shelf. It results in a unique floor-to-ceiling tile pattern that will easily draw the eye without the need for vibrant colors and glitzy decorations.
12. Retro Theme
If you like the idea of making a retro remodel of the kitchen, tile countertops could be among the best elements to include. There’s something about the glossy effect of tiles and simple grid pattern that takes your mind to an older time. As evidenced by this kitchen, the color scheme plays quite an important role to ensure a proper retro theme.
The mix of white and yellow appears to be a good option to balance out the overall aesthetic. There’s just enough fun provided through the checkered patterns on the floor and the glossy effect of the tile countertop that runs up to the cabinets for the backsplash as well. You might get the impression that all the items in this kitchen are old even though everything is brand new.
13. Farmhouse Tile Countertop
Tile countertops are fairly versatile and can be neatly integrated with a wide range of design styles. Vintage farmhouse aesthetics are always trendy when it comes to the look of the kitchen. A diamond-patterned tile countertop is a charming element that can be included alongside shaker-style cabinets and the antique faucet. With plenty of greenery and some utilitarian accessories like a cart, you can easily finish off your farmhouse cooking space.
14. Colored Grout
There’s nothing wrong with plain white tiles yet sometimes they can appear a little too bland. If you’re bored with the look of this kind of minimalist tile countertop, there are a few tricks to try for a swift visual enhancement. A great example is coloring the grout to match other elements or accessories in the kitchen. The tiles remain white to ensure only a subtle visual change provided by the reddish grout.
15. Small Tiles
While larger tiles seem trendier when it comes to this countertop style, sometimes you can make a bolder impression with smaller squares. Check out this kitchen island whose countertop relies on mosaic tiles on a small scale. The jewel-like qualities of the countertop help to elevate the look of the entire island to become the centerpiece of the kitchen. It’s very elegantly integrated into the room’s color palette that emphasizes an eye-catching mix of chocolate brown with dark green.