Has Familiarity Bred Contempt (For Tile Counters)?
Like some others here - you don't have to identify yourselves - I've been spending more time thinking about counter materials than I really should. (You know, about 10,000X more time than I spend thinking about world peace, global warming, or my fellow man.)
The list of desirable attributes for a counter material seems fairly straightforward. In no particular order:
1 - Impervious to heat.
2 - Won't chip, ding, or scratch.
3 - Won't stain, etch, or blotch.
4 - Resists water damage.
5 - Affordable.
6 - Easy to install, easy to repair.
7 - Expressive of your style and color sense.
8 - Easy to maintain and clean.
9 - Accomodates desired shape and cut-out.
In this forum, we are constantly discussing whether material X or material Y meet enough of these criteria to be workable. Please Tell Me About Soapstone Scratches. Should I Seal Granite? Help With Marble Counters Staining. Anyone Do Copper Counters? Wood Counters Around Sink? There's usually one or two of these threads on each page. And, boy, they all have their problems, so we oil the soapstone, have this guy from Florida hone our granite, inhale gallons of Waterlox fumes, tell ourselves how much we love the ''patina'' of our marble.
Meanwhile, in a few months of reading GW, I can recall only one thread devoted to tile countertops - and that was on pillog's amazing counters, which might as well be frescos in the Sistine Chapel, I mean they are Art, not mere counters.
Yet, the invisible material called ''tile'' arguably meets all of the criteria I listed above.
1 - Impervious to heat? Sure, ceramic tiles are fired at 2000F.
2 - Won't chip, ding, or scratch. A hammer will mark them, I guess, but even heavy ''normal'' use won't leave a mark.
3 - Won't stain, etch, or blotch. Glossy ceramic tile laughs at your red wine-ketchup-oil spot-whatever tests.
4 - Resists water damage. If it can be used in a showers and swimming pools, tile can certainly deal with sink splash.
5 - Affordable. Last time I checked, yes.
6 - Easy to install, easy to repair. I don't know how much tile-setters charge, but tiling is a classic DIY project.
7 - Expressive of your style and color sense. I would argue the infinite variety in tile leaves any other counter material in the dust.
8 - Easy to maintain and clean. No oiling, sealing, sanding. Wipe when dirty. Okay, you might have to fuss over the grout - but not if you've used a darker grout color, or very tight grout lines. (I'm never had epoxy grout, maybe that's different?)
9 - Accomodates desired shape and cut-outs. Sure. Hubby wants a sink shaped like a convulsing starfish? - no problem, you can tile around it.
Given all this, why are we so thoroughly dis-interested in tile countertops?
Yes, I did say ''we''. I hadn't even considered tile, until last week when I was struck by the deep, intense color of a friend's marine blue tile counter. Wow! What is this material? Then I realized, its tile. Like the tile that I installed in my first kitchen counter. Like the tile that I thinset in my shower. Like the tile that I installed, on hands and knees in my first kitchen's floor. Like the tile that is in my kitchen right now, unknown and unnoticed, like Tne Invisible Man.
Did I just get burned out on tile, back in the '90s?
Did we all just get burned out on tile?
Is tile today suffering the fate that (maybe!) awaits granite in the 2020's? How long will this expressive, durable, flexible, and affordable material languish in the winter of our neglect?
Everything old becomes new again - but when?