While many homeowners reserve tile for floors and backsplashes, tile countertops can be an excellent—and affordable—option. Ceramic tile is impervious to heat and water, and when properly glazed, it won`t stain. Proper sealant helps ensure grout won`t discolor or stain, and large-format tiles cover a lot of area with minimal grout lines. Still most popular out west, ceramic tile is a solid option worth a second look.
Manufacturing concrete countertops requires a lot of energy, and cement production pollutes more than most processes. Some redeeming environmental qualities of concrete, however, are that recycled materials such as fly ash and glass can be included in the concrete mix for texture and variety, and concrete can be recycled into aggregate at the end of its usable life. When coloring concrete for countertops, be sure nontoxic, natural pigments are mixed into the concrete rather than applying surface stains. Concrete looks exotic and unusual, it`s heat- and scratch-resistant, and new treatments help eliminate cracking and diminish porosity.
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