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 ceramic tile requires large amounts of energy because the tiles are fired twice. Installing ceramic tile can affect indoor air quality (IAQ). To protect air quality, install tiles with solvent-free mastic on a durable, rot-proof surface such as cement backer board. Also choose grout sealers free of formaldehyde and low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Ceramic tile is easy to clean, heatproof and available in a wide range of colors, textures and designs. It`s also durable and can contain recycled content such as glass, porcelain, salvaged ceramic scrap or feldspar tailings. Using ceramic tile does create an uneven counter surface, however. Individual tiles can easily chip or crack, and grout can stain. Costs vary widely based on the tile choice and difficulty of installation.
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