Your Guide to Tile Countertops

Tile countertops are a great cost-saving alternative to slab granite or quartz countertops. You can install them yourself to reduce costs or hire a tile installer.


Set up a free in-store consultation with one of our designers to pick the perfect countertop for your space!

Large Format Porcelain Tile Countertops

There are an increasing number of highly durable porcelain tile lines with large-format options: 18x18", 12x24", 24x24", 12x48", 16x32", 20x40", 24x48", and beyond. As a strong, dense material that never needs to be sealed, porcelain is a great product for countertops.


Large format tiles are desirable for the reduced number of total grout joints in your installation. They tend to cost a little more per square foot than smaller tiles, but far less than a solid surface countertop. 

Ceramic Tile Countertops

Ceramic tiles come in a wide range of levels of durability, from high-density commercial grade ceramic tiles to glazed ceramic wall tiles. Which type you can use on your countertop depends upon the expected wear you'll put it through. A well-used kitchen countertop with hot, heavy pots and pans requires a more durable tile, while a master bathroom countertop can have more delicate ceramic tiles.


Porcelain and ceramic tiles are easy to clean and maintain. You don't have to seal most porcelain and ceramic tiles, with the exception of some unglazed porcelains, ceramics with a crackle glaze, or tiles that are going to be grouted with a contrasting grout color (for example, a white ceramic tile with a dark charcoal gray grout). Porcelains and ceramics can range in price from $2 to $12 per square foot depending upon quality, durability, and style, with some hand-made ceramic tiles exceeding $20/sqft. They are on average less expensive than natural stone tiles.

Natural Stone Tile Countertops

Natural stone's natural beauty makes it very desirable for creating high-impact countertops. However, the durability of the different types of natural stone affects where they can be used.


Remember: use a stone-friendly cleaner on your natural stone countertops.

Green granite countertops
Granite is a classic choice for kitchen countertops.

Granite is one of the most durable natural stones, and is one of the most popular countertop materials. There are hundreds of colors of granite available in 12x12" tiles, and they are very easy to install and cut.


Seal them well and use a granite-specific cleaner such as Stone Clean & Shine, and your granite tiles will last a very long time.

Travertine countertop tiles and matching backsplash mosaic.
Tumbled travertine lends itself to an Italian countryside style.

Calcium-based natural stone such as marblelimestone, and travertine are susceptible to acidic materials (fruit juice, vinegar, etc.), and as such aren't recommended for kitchen counters.


However, these materials are available in a wide range of sizes, colors, and finishes, and are a beautiful option for low-wear areas such as bathroom vanities. We always recommend sealing natural stone to protect it from staining.

Slate tile countertop
This kitchen features rustic slate countertop and matching tiled wall.

Slate and quartzite tiles are highly variegated with a vast selection of colors. While not as susceptible to acid damage as marble or limestone, slate is still softer and easier to scratch than granite.


Most slate and quartzite tiles have a natural, clefted finish and can vary in depth. This variation makes it hard to create a level surface, which can be problematic if you plan to set things on your counter (and who doesn't?).


We recommend a honed or polished slate or quartzite for a smooth, level surface. And don't forget a good sealer!

Alternative Materials - Glass, Metal, Mosaics

Glass tilesmetallic tiles, and mosaics are not commonly used on countertops, but can be very dramatic and unique when done well.


Think of the daily use that your countertop will receive when selecting your material. Certain glass tiles and mosaics are very easy to scratch, and should only be used on low-wear countertops. Some metallic tiles will patina when wet or show smudges and fingerprints. With mosaics, you'll have a lot of grout, which can be hard to keep clean.


While generally more expensive than other tile options, using glass, metal, or mosaics on your countertop creates a beautiful, custom look.

Not sure what countertop material is right for you? We can help!

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