Ceramic Tile and Kitchen Remodeling

by J on September 25, 2009

As we have been discussing kitchen remodeling and how choosing a kitchen countertop fits into that process, perhaps you have been a bit discouraged at the price tag of some of our options. Maybe you’ve even resigned yourself to sacrificing beauty for budget. Well, this blog is for the price conscious, yet artsy remodeler. You can have a stunning countertop and stick to your budget when you choose the following option:  ceramic tile.

In ancient times, ceramic tiles were works of art, being formed and painted entirely by hand. While a few artisans still hand make tiles today, most are made from clays in a process called either dry pressing or dust pressing. A clay tile is formed under enormous pressure, glaze is applied (usually) and then the tile is baked in a kiln. A multicolored or patterned tile is achieved by adding different colors of glaze, requiring each color to be fired separately. Some ceramic tiles are unglazed; if you choose this option, they must be sealed for kitchen use.

This whole process gives ceramic tile strength, which makes it both heat resistant and scratch resistant—good news for cooks in the kitchen. Tile also holds up well against stains, water and mildew. This countertop option is much easier on your budget; you will have a wide variety of choices in the $11 to $30 per square foot range.

And now for the fun part. As any kitchen remodeling expert will tell you, ceramic tiles can be the focal point of your kitchen because the design possibilities are endless. First of all, the glaze finish on a tile can be matte or high gloss; the method of glaze application will also give the tiles different looks and textures. Tiles come in solid colors or beautiful patterns and mosaics. Rather than sticking with just one color, try mixing and matching solid colors to make a pattern. Or, use multicolored tiles for a striking design. Another option is to create a mosaic and then surround it with plainer tiles in a coordinating color. To further demonstrate their versatility, tiles can also be cut to almost any shape with the proper tile cutting tools.

Consult your kitchen remodel expert for help in installing the tiles. Several issues are important during installation. The surface must be level and absolutely stable, otherwise tiles will crack with any movement. Tiling around a sink can be a bit tricky; you must decide whether you are going to do a “tile in” or a “self rimming” installation. You also must consider how you will edge the tile. Finally, you must grout the spaces between the tiles.

With a little research and creative planning on your part, you’ll soon have a show-stopping countertop at a budget-pleasing price.

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