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Posted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 7:29 pm
by ozwrightfan
I have always wondered about the fascination with tiled counter tops in American Kitchens. They seem so old fashioned and it must be a bugger to clean the grout between them.

Posted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 9:06 pm
by jlesshafft
Tile - breakable if something dropped on it. Any grout other than black will get stained.

Corian - will scorch/burn it you set a hot pan on it. Can get scratched easily, but can usually buff the scratches out. Can also chip on the edges. Not the "in" surface any more.

Granite - needs to be sealed every six months or so. Can stain depending on granite. Can chip if you really try hard enough. Generally very sanitary. The most natural of surfaces

Synthetic granite - not as "pretty" as real granite, but all the same characteristics, except does not need to be sealed and will not stain. Probably the most sanitary of the surfaces after stainless steel

Wood - the most unsanitary of the surfaces. Will burn/scorch and also scratch and gouge.

Formica - will scratch and burn. Will chip. Can also be stained by some foods depending on color. The cheapest of the syrfaces

Concrete - HEAVY. Must be fabricated in place. Can also stain and must be sealed

Stainless steel - most sanitary. Will not burn or chip. Can be dented and scratched. Tends to look very institutional. Popular in very modern designs

Posted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 9:19 pm
by SDR
Cabinetmakers see it all: butcher block tops that the owner (clerk at the cabinet shop) WANTS to see burnt and chopped; another installation of butcher block that the owner quickly covered with cling wrap to protect it.


Posted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 6:57 pm
by Roderick Grant
jlesshafft, I don't know what you do in your kitchen, but as old as my tiles are, they have never chipped. Keeping the grout clean is easy, although with the new ready-made grout, I don't know if that's true anymore. Easy-to-use products are often lousy, like Reddi-Whip. Nor does it look any more old fashioned than the Davenport House. Also, there is a new light-weight concrete lighter by far than any stone, yet very hard. I don't know if it is stainable. That's another thing about tile: not a single stain on or between the tiles.

Posted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 7:04 pm
by jlesshafft
Try dropping a cast iron skillet (accidently) from a couple of feet and see what happens to your tile.

Spill grape juice on your grout and leave it there until it dries and see if your grout is stained.

I'd be willing to bet you a large sum of money your grout is stained and you just don't realize it. Try looking in a corner, or where you microwave has sat for years and see if the grout is a different color.

Posted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 8:48 pm
by SDR
Apparently, different households have different standards of care in housekeeping. . .! :D


Posted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 8:59 pm
by dkottum
But Mrs. Harding wants granite. How can we make it work for them?

Posted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 10:05 pm
by jlesshafft
My suggestion would be a synthetic granite

Posted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 10:15 pm
by dkottum
How about granite with enough wood edge to suggest other wood components of the house? The granite in a color to match the walls.

Doug Kottum, Battle Lake

Posted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 10:51 pm
by SDR
I guess that's what's been at the back of my mind, too. Not an ideal solution technically, perhaps, but aesthetically persuasive ?


Posted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 12:20 am
by ozwrightfan
You would have a bacteria trap where the timber butts up to the granite and as well the timber edge would wear over time. Surely if you go with the granite option you would leave the edge as finished granite. The edge could be profiled to pick up some repedative architectual feature in the home. In the era that the house was built, if stone was used, it would more likely have been marble. However I wouldn't recommend marble as it is quite porous and stains easily.

Posted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 9:03 pm
by JimM
I have white tiles and a tinted grout. I'm not a neat freak, have no trouble keeping things clean, and have yet to send anyone to the hospital-but it is true some people can't have things sterile enough (if they only knew what they come in contact with on a daily basis!).

Also, I edged the tile with an alder trim which looks very nice. Wood trim would enhance any surface and only looks 70's/Formica-like if you use Formica.

Of course, you might not want all that nasty bacteria finding its way through the grout, sealer, etc.... :wink: