Tile counertops come in many different forms

Glazed Ceramic Tile

Tile is a favorite material because it comes in so many colors and designs. It’s colorful, heat resistant, and durable. However, it is harder to maintain than a plastic laminate surface because the grout spaces tend to collect dirt. Because of the grout’s tendency to collect dirt and the uneven nature of the tile surface, tile is not a satisfactory food preparation surface. However, many people are willing to tolerate the inconvenience in exchange for the added durability and rich appearance. Tile does chip. That being said, when you install tile tops leave a few extra tiles and edge pieces with the client.

Types of Tile

Glazed Tile

Glazed tile is made from a mixture of clays that are refined and pressed into shape. They then receive a coat of metallic oxides and ceramic stains called a “glaze.” The tile is fired in kilns as hot as 2,100° F. The firing process can take as long as 14 hours using traditional methods or as little as 1 hour with new “fast-fire” technology. Such glazed surfaces can be hazardous to pedestrian traffic if water stands on the surface. Glazed tiles are also available in a matte finish and in an abrasive slip-resistant texture.

Decorative Tile

Within the glazed family of ceramic tile, there is a sub-category often called “decos.” These attractive accent pieces may include a raised or recessed relief pattern or painted design. Generally, these decorative pieces are designed for vertical use only. The three-dimensional tiles may be difficult to clean on a counter surface or floor area. The hand-painted tiles may be so delicate that even general vanity-top or floor cleaning will destroy the patterns.

Courtesy of NARI CKBR education program