Wood-look tile on counters?

Ashe42July 1, 2013

I'm havering over tile choices for my kitchen counters--I'm vaguely intrigued by all the wood-plank look tiles I see, but I have absolutely no design sense and DH reckons they'd just look tacky. Has anyone ever done this? He's probably right!

We'd originally planned butcher block counters but chickened out on account of our (his) messiness, so maybe that's why I'm intrigued. Our floors are maple, cabinets white, and walls moss green at this point. I like dark grey tiles but DH isn't keen. I would like a design fairy to come in and magically make everything right, but stardust is not in the budget. Any thoughts much appreciated,

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GreenDesigns

Wood look tile still has grout. Not a fan on a food prep surface. Too much work to keep looking nice. Actual butcherblock would be easier to maintain.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 7:40AM
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EAM44

Butcher block is also bacteriostatic, meaning it doesn't allow bacteria to multiply. You still have to decontaminate it, but you can bleach it.

I've used wood-look porcelain tile on the floor where it looks gorgeous. I haven't used it on any other surface, but I find it hard to imagine it looking good on a counter. I also don't know that every type of tile is food safe, so check that out before proceeding. Laminate (wood-look, or white, black, or grey) would be a better choice than floor tile, I think - and probably last longer with less maintenance than abused butcher block. It might be more expensive than tile, but for re-sale value it would be a much better choice.

Formica Planked Pear laminate

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 9:23AM
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EAM44

Butcher block is also bacteriostatic, meaning it doesn't allow bacteria to multiply. You still have to decontaminate it, but you can bleach it.

I've used wood-look porcelain tile on the floor where it looks gorgeous. I haven't used it on any other surface, but I find it hard to imagine it looking good on a counter. I also don't know that every type of tile is food safe, so check that out before proceeding. Laminate (wood-look, or white, black, or grey) would be a better choice than floor tile, I think - and probably last longer with less maintenance than abused butcher block. It might be more expensive than tile, but for re-sale value it would be a much better choice.

Formica Planked Pear laminate

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 9:25AM
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dilly_ny

Standard tiles don't have bullnose and corner pieces, so you'd need to be an experienced tile cutter to get the ends right. As an alternative, you might want to look at granite tile. The tile shop (and other place, I'm sure) have some granite tiles where they sell all the matching pieces to give it a finished look. I'll link to the product.

Ikea makes some nice wood and laminate counters at great prices compared to custom ordered laminates at other big box stores.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 9:47AM
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pricklypearcactus

Honestly, I think wood look tile on the counters would look bad. And I'm not saying all tile counters look bad. I just don't think wood look tile is the right choice. Wood look tile can look nice on a floor (in my opinion) partially because it's not right up close to your face. You see it from a bit of a distance and it gives an overall look much closer to wood. On the countertop, it's much closer to your eyes and you're working directly on the surface. The grout lines, the density, the sheen, etc all are more in focus and I just think that would be a bad look. If you're looking for a budget option and/or DIY option, I think actual wood counters would work nicely. Otherwise, consider some other tile. (Side note: I'm also not a big fan of granite tile counters. I prefer ceramic or porcelain tile on the counter or solid granite slabs.)

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 11:14AM
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nosoccermom

I've seen these tiles as a backsplash.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 11:38AM
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Ashe42

Ah, but the new grouts are fantastic. I've had several friends put in tile and love it...whereas the feedback on butcher block is 'not around the sink--you'll regret it.'

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 12:21PM
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Ashe42

Whoa, delayed posting. Yes, I think you're all absolutely right and wood grain would look bad--I prefer porcelain tile to granite tile though. The wonderful tile place in Asheville says they put in tons of tile countertops, but there are surprisingly few in design magazines etc unless the kitchen is retro, which is lovely, but not the look we're going for and not right for our house. I need to be able to point to a picture and say 'that's what I want!' as I have the style sense of a rock.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 12:28PM
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Sophie Wheeler

I'd MUCH rather have laminate than tile. Laminate gets a bad rap, IMHO. It's come a long way, and is more cutting edge than ever. If people can just get past their notion of it being only something that a builder would put in a home.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 1:02PM
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Holly- Kay

I have to agree with hollysprings. Counter laminates are lovely. I was at Lowe's and saw a beautiful counter from a distance. I had to go over and take a closer look and it was laminate.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 4:11PM
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ivaniphone

Wow, that laminate table above looks great!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 2:08PM
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EAM44

Thanks Mare. It's from the Formica web site. Below are images from a blog in which they were used in an actual home. I think they look pretty great too with the 'mitered' seam and the semi bullnose edge. Blog link with more info is below.


Here is a link that might be useful: Blog

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 7:30AM
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ideagirl2

Butcherblock counters apparently work around the sink if you treat the surface properly (Waterlox or something else with an oil base) and use an appropriate kind of sink. We just put butcherblock counters into a rental kitchen on each side of an Ikea Domsjo sink (see link for sink). The advantage of the Domsjo is that it goes all the way back to the wall (no counter between back of sink and wall) and has "lips" on each side that sit on the counter. This greatly minimizes the risk of water pooling on the wood or getting anywhere that you can't immediately see it and wipe it up.

We slathered the cut edges of the counters that face the sink with Howard's Butcherblock Conditioner (mineral oil + beeswax and carnauba wax), then put silicone caulk on the underside of the sink lips to create a seal with the counter, and then once the sink was in place we ran thin beads of silicone caulk along the edges of the lips where they meet the counter, to create a total seal along the entire sink. Once the silicone caulk had cured, we slathered the Butcherblock Conditioner all over the rest of the counter (had to wait until silicone cured because if we'd done the conditioner earlier it could've made the silicone not stick to the counter). So far so good, and it looks fantastic.

Using wood-look tile is an intriguing idea but I do think it would look weird on a counter. The grout is an issue, and I suspect that since those tiles are made for floors they may not really be suitable for super-thin groutlines, so you'd have larger groutlines kind of in your face.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ikea Domsjo sink - works well with butcherblock

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 4:27PM
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