1902 Victorian

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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Countertop Debate: Part 7,426

I know we've been over and over this countertop issue, but now I have new evidence.

Last night I went to Home Depot to poke around the cabinet department. There I found two shades of black granite, one black Silestone and one charcoal Corian. They all looked nice, but they all cost $55-65 per foot, installed.

That didn't sound so bad until I got home and measured and added up how much that would cost: somewhere around $900.

$900 probably doesn't sound too bad to many of you. To others - like me - it sounds like a black hole. Especially for countertops that aren't my ideal choice.

But waiting for me in the mailbox at home was another idea. On the cover and inside the new Rejuvenation catalog, what should I see but a countertop tiled with 3-inch (I think) hexagon tiles and a black border. Look, it's even on top of white painted cabinets like ours (click on the pic for a larger version):

I don't know about you guys, but I think this countertop and subway tile backsplash look awesome!

Okay, we discussed tiled countertops before, and I got a lot of anti-tile advice. And I decided I didn't want to deal with grout. But for a $600 savings (seriously), I think it's worth it.

Darwin is going to talk to his tiling-expert friend today and find out just how well that grout sealer really works. And I'm thinking about a black or dark grout, so stains wouldn't show anyway, right?

Eeeeeeeee, I'm actually excited about this idea. A tiled countertop looks so vintage compared to sleek black granite (and isn't so darn heavy). Besides, anything we can install ourselves gets my vote.

And who wouldn't want a kitchen this gorgeous (click pic for larger version)?

Now you might be wondering, "What happened to the wood countertops idea?" I still love wood countertops, but there are more logistical things to figure out - how do we make them, for one - and, more importantly, there's the fact that I would like to have new countertops some time this century.

If I have to rely on Darwin, who doesn't really want wood countertops, to figure out how to make them and then actually do it, I might be heading to a nursing home before it's done.

He can wrap his mind around tiling. He has a plan to get it done.

So I think we will just do it.



Trissa said...

I think the tile looks great & it's always nice when you can save some serious cash. My vote is for the tile!

10:20 AM  
ben said...

I too was excited to see the Rejuvination catalog in the mail. My vote would be for wood countertops but I like the tile too. I don't think wood would be difficult to build, unless you want one solid piece which might be hard to find. But a tile one would be easier to repair rather than having to replace an entire piece.

10:34 AM  
halloweenlover said...

That kitchen is GORGEOUS. Geez. You just inspired me to sign up for the rejuvenation catalog too. I am so tempted to start working on our kitchen, but there is SO MUCH ELSE TO DO that is more pressing. I love the tile though, are you considering interspersing with those smaller black ones?

10:45 AM  
Becky said...

Tim called me at work to tell me that we had gotten a suprise catalog from Rejuvination. Flipping through it last night I was so sad that I didn't have this catalog before I did the kitchen work because they have some great looking kitchens in this catalog. Don't tell Tim, but it kind of makes me want to rip out the kitchen and start over :)

I agree the tile work is fantastic. I've never thought of hex tiles when tiling a countertop, just 12x12's which I don't reallly like the look of.

Here's an idea. If you are worried about how the tile cleans up make a prep area. Pick the area in your kitchen that gets the heaviest counter use (mine would be the 33 in. between the stove and fridge) and use a coordinating solid surface (or granite or I always love butcher block) and then tile the lesser-used areas. That way you get the best of both worlds.

10:52 AM  
Sean said...

The hex tile counter is a great idea.. (seeing as that's what I am installing in my kitchen). I am using the the 1" tiles. I have done all the tiling in my house and its not rocket science. I am going with a dark colored grout as well for the counter, as it really sets off the tile nicely. Once small piece of advice - make sure that the thinset (used to attach the tiles to the wall) is the same color as the grout you are using, as it squeezes between the tiles a bit. I used a white thinset and had to scrape out between all of the tiles before I grouted. if I would have used the same color, it would have blended in... Be sure to take a look at subwaytile.com, they also carry the larger hex tiles you are looking at.

11:02 AM  
Chris said...

I think it is very pretty. If you like it I would go for it.
We did a tile countertop ourselves in our old house and I didn't like it from a maintenance stand point, but it served us well for many years.

11:07 AM  
Jocelyn said...

If you are going tile (and it can look quite nice as we see) I heard there's a new grout that is super stain resistent. I read it in This Old House or something. It might be worth looking into. Google "stain resistent grout" maybe...and "new"

11:11 AM  
Jenne said...

Hey Kristin,
I got that catalog last night too! Flipped through it while eating dinner in my kitchen.

I really like the tile countertops too. My parent's had a kitchen like that when I was little...I only remember them talking about keeping the grout clean.
All I ever hear about is grout cleanliness. That's the only thing that scares me.
If you find a good resource for hex tiles [or any vintage looking tile] can you pass it along? I think I look in the wrong places.

11:27 AM  
deb said...

i totally agree with becky (so wise ;)). having a solid surface prep area is a fantastic idea. think about rolling out pie crust or sugar cookies on that tiled surface... o boy what a mess!
the rejuvination catalogues are a such a great source of inspiration! and who doesn't love a subway tiled backsplash???

12:54 PM  
Kristin said...

Thanks for the support and advice, guys. I like the idea of the solid surface prep area, though actually our counterspace is so broken up that I usually prepare on the kitchen table instead. I also have a marble pastry board I could set on top of the counter in one area.

Jenne, subwaytile.com, as mentioned by Sean above, sells the hex tiles. I believe American Olean does, too, though I haven't checked lately. I must go do some more research now! :)

2:41 PM  
halloweenlover said...

I was anxious to hear reviews on the tile countertops too, because they are so pretty, I think we should consider them also.

I was thinking last night that we barely use our countertops because we have a cute glass cutting board that is decorative with an old ad for tomatoes that looks vintage and we just cut and prepare stuff on that and barely anything touches the counter. I think you can totally do it!

8:58 AM  
Anonymous said...

I used the stain resistant grout on my backsplash in my kitchen (I have butcher's block countertops, which I LOVE!) and it's a pain to mix up (it basically has an epoxy component that you mix in with the grout stuff) and a little bit harder to apply than regular grout, but it seems to work well. (Keep in mind my only experience with this is on the backsplash, though.) It has repelled both coffee and red wine spills (splashes?), which I thought were pretty impressive. It looks just like the day that we put it in.
Good luck!

9:58 AM  
Anonymous said...

I rented a home built in the late 1930s that had tile countertops in the bathroom. It looked great, but the grout was icky. If you seal it, though, and with modern grouts, it might work better for you.

If you don't want to spring for actual wooden countertops, which are also expensive, you can replicate the butcher-block look using engineered wood flooring. The stuff is nearly indestructible, can be found cheaply and is easy to install.

– Texas T-bone

10:58 PM  
Anonymous said...

We recently bought a 1916 Craftsman home in wonderful condition, However the kitchen was remodeled in the 70"s and certainly stands out like a sore thumb. I too was pleased to see the same photo in the Rejuvenation catalogue. The yellow and black tile was identical to the house I grew up in. Have you had any success in finding the large hexagon tile? In all my internet searches I have not found any yet.



5:57 PM  

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