Countertop: Laminate or Granite Tile?

tomatofreakAugust 6, 2014

This reno is going to be the death of me, I just know. (http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/decor/msg051651554233.html?105)

We made a decision to go with a granite tile countertop and now Mr. DIY is aquiver with questions and doubts about preparing the surface for tiling. We've had three bids and all want the prep work done first as they're just "tile guys".

I have already bought the tile and decided on an installer (if I can get a call back to hire him!) Now, I'm about ready to go to a big countertop place, give them all the measurements and just go with laminate.

Have you done a granite tile CT? Would you do it again? What were the biggest problems you had? Should I go to Plan B? Appreciate all advice.

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greenhaven

If you are going to do a tile there does not seem to be any advantage to the extra cost of granite. You will still have grout lines and porcelain can be just as durable and significantly cheaper. If you find a granite pattern you like you will still not get the full effect because the tiles will still create additional pattern and break up any visual flow.

If you choose a light grout it will be a bear to keep clean.

If it were me I would choose the laminate over granite tile, hands down. But that is just me.

P.S., how will you be edging your counters?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 3:39PM
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Errant_gw

I would also rather go with laminate than granite tile.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 3:48PM
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publickman

I had granite tile when we bought the house (the thing I hated most), and we got rid of it as soon as we could afford to replace it with quartz.

Grout is horrible to have on a countertop, and I would choose laminate over anything with grout. There are some Italian laminates (designed by Ettore Sottsass) that are still available. Sottsass is my favorite designer.

Lars

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 3:55PM
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PhoneLady

From other threads, this is the house you are selling "as is", right? And you are just getting it all pulled together so it appraises to what you need it to be? Is that all correct? I'm asking because without knowing the LONG history of this renovation, I think you are going to get all sorts of well meaning responses about why you shouldn't use granite tile - even though you said you already bought it.

So, I would advise doing whichever one will get it done the most quickly, balanced with cost, without driving you and hubby nuts. Or any MORE nuts at this point. So you can just check it off the list.

If you go with the laminate, I am pretty sure you will find a place for that tile that you say you already purchased. Or sell it or barter it.

p.s. You may recall I am local to you. If you do go with the tile and your guy does not call you back, I might have someone for you. Just had a guy with 40 years tile experience do my backsplash for $250. Yes it was a small area, but his attention to detail was impressive and he and his helpers were here an entire day. Even to the point of hand beveling cut tiles so all sides matched.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 4:07PM
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tuesday_2008

I would choose laminate....could not deal with grout in a kitchen flat surface.

There are so many beautiful laminate choices now.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 4:09PM
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needinfo1

Return the tile and go nice-looking laminate.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 4:11PM
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brightm

What PhoneLady said.

If it was a kitchen I was going to work in, then laminate. If it's to get it on the market, whatever keeps the peace best in the household.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 4:37PM
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tomatofreak

Groannnnn.... I just knew you were all - mostly - going to say that! I hate, hate, hate grout, but the lines I've seen are so thin as to almost disappear. Also, I picked a tile with a speckled pattern so there's no 'pattern' to worry about. My only fear is that this is going to be more sturm and drang than I can deal with.

greenhaven, the plan was to self-edge with the granite. Bad idea or OK? One bidder suggested a wood edge, but I thought that would look horrible.

I am going to the laminate store today. PhoneLady, do e-mail me the contact info for your guy.

I won't be out of pocket for the tile as I haven't picked it up and they have a return policy if within 2 weeks.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 4:38PM
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nosoccermom

Whatever gets the job done the fastest.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 4:46PM
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Trebruchet

"greenhaven, the plan was to self-edge with the granite. Bad idea or OK? One bidder suggested a wood edge, but I thought that would look horrible."

I've seen lots of self-edged tile failures. I've yet to see a wood edge tile failure. If you don't like wood, have a complimentary solid surface ripped, profiled and finished.

You really need to figure your appliance edge details if you're doing the tile substrate and you need to determine your edge before that.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 5:04PM
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greenhaven

Yeah, I cannot speak for the edge. I just wanted to know if you had thought it through!

The fact that this is the house getting fixed to be sold changes things a little. I am inclined to agree with 'whatever is cheapest and fastest" but I can personally attest that when we looked at a house with marble tiles on the counter, I immediately knew that if we got that house I would be ripping it out as fast as humanly possible even though the guy had just done it.

That said, I am one to overlook some of those details in favor of The Big Picture when buying a house. It would not have stopped me had the rest of the house had any redeeming qualities at all. Which it did not. Blech!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 6:59PM
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ardcp

since you are selling the house, i vote laminate. lots of people hate tile counters but most would be at least ok with laminate. also replacing laminate has to be a heck of a lot easier than replacing tile to a potential buyer.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 7:13PM
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publickman

Wood edge with tile is horrible - that's what I had, and it was painted black to match the tile, but the paint quickly wore off. If your wood is not painted, it might be okay.

I also agree that laminate is probably easier to replace than tile, and that way the new owner can pick what they want. I have no plans to sell my house, but I'm thinking that if I did, there would be those who do not like my choice of quartz. I love it, but someone else may hate it, and it was not cheap.

Lars

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 7:27PM
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tomatofreak

The die is cast. It will be the granite tile. I'm so frustrated, though. I listened to DH and the realtor who both said, "Tile will be much cheaper and faster than laminate." Today I learned that they're both wrong on the price, but since I waited so long to investigate the laminate, now I can't get it in time! Why, oh why, do I listen to men?! The tile guy will start with the floor on Friday and finish the countertop on Monday. I can only hope it turns out beautiful.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 1:52AM
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greenhaven

Well, hopefully it will be all over soon. No crying over spilt milk, keep on truckin'!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 8:44AM
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tomatofreak

greenhaven, "don't cry over spilt milk" was one of my father's most used adages. Not many people use that term; thanks for the nice reminder. It will be over soon. And none too soon, either!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 12:59PM
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mdln

Laminate, without a doubt, do not want grout lines to clean on my countertop.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 1:06PM
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annaship1

Best of luck! You can't predict what people will like when house hunting, but you can make things look clean, fresh, and well-cared for. That is what you will hopefully end up with, even if it doesn't suit everyone's taste.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 1:09PM
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PhoneLady

You are in a unique position. In your case, wasn't what you tore out just awful, but the potential buyers had memory of that old kitchen and wanted the house anyway? Possibly the granite tile might be a major upgrade in their eyes. Spiff it up for the appraisal and get outta Dodge.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 2:10PM
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greenhaven

"Best of luck! You can't predict what people will like when house hunting, but you can make things look clean, fresh, and well-cared for. That is what you will hopefully end up with, even if it doesn't suit everyone's taste."

Extremely well-said!

And I guess I showed my age! lol

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 2:30PM
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tomatofreak

PhoneLady, yes it was god-awful - worn out, filthy, cramped and dark. Even though we're on a shoestring budget, it looks a thousand percent better. We took a one-butt kitchen and opened it up into a big L that flows into the family room.

cstr, so far we're doing OK with our choices. To my huge surprise, the daughter/buyer dropped in while we were working earlier this week. She wanted to walk through the house! I almost said 'no' but reconsidered and took her through. She almost had tears in her eyes and hugged me as she left. Hooray, some validation!

It's Friday, I'm exhausted and have a big headache, so I'm going to shamelessly seek a bit more validation. Here's the tile that's going on c/t. And since I've gotten to know this lady a little bit, I chose a porcelain in a carrara marble look - which is mostly white with 'marbling' running through for the floor. The walls are SW Perfect Greige. I wanted a crisp, clean look and I think it's beginning to look that way.

Here is a link that might be useful: countertop tile

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 12:39PM
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marcojohnson

That's the granite we have in our bathroom - the previous owners LOVED it so much they put it everywhere ... counter, floor, walls, shower ... and you know what? Even with so much of it, we've grown to really like it too. It goes with *EVERYTHING* -- we did a grey/blue accent and it's spectacular (will post pix when we finish painting). Nice choice!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 1:17PM
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Nicole6

I guess I will be on the minority side, but we have granite tile we DIYed and I love it. I'm not sure which is better for your situation, but I'll just post a couple pics of our finished kitchen. It's been 2 years since it's been done and we've had no issues. The pics are from before the floors were done. We've since put hardwood down.

For us, we live in a very low cost of living area and a solid granite or other surface would never be cost effective. Heck, around here an oak edged laminate is considered "fancy". We have plywood and durock for the backing and cut granite strips for the edge/overhang. Our fridge and stove fit snug enough into the openings that there is no edging there (IIRC, we sharpied the backerboard and plywood to blend in). We did our entire reno, which included removing a load baring wall and foam insulation and entirely new electrical and plumbing for far less than $10k.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 1:54PM
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snookums2

Pretty kitchen Nicole. I remember when Lynnette Jennings showed people they could do that.

I love tile but am not comfortable with grout joints on food prep counters. The larger the tile size the better.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 2:41PM
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tomatofreak

marcojohnson, thanks for your comments! I feel better already. I was amazed when I got the tile home to discover how well it went with the paint color, the cabinets, the black appliances.

Nicole6, I saw your sink picture before and just love it! When I redo my own kitchen, I want one just like yours. I did find a double bowl black composite sink for the reno house.

Now, I am dithering about a backsplash. My plan has been to do just a 4" of the same tile. The installer suggests a half-tile, 6"; however Mr. DIY electrician has overdone the outlets on the walls and - true to his form - they are not LEVEL!! (Pardon my murderous thoughts right now, but in 30+ years, he has *never* managed to center or level anything!) I'm about to abandon all thoughts of a BS. What would you do?

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 10:17PM
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PhoneLady

Paint and move on to the next thing on the list.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 10:47PM
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greenhaven

^^ditto

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 11:30PM
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nosoccermom

Paint!
It's not your house anymore :)

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 8:42AM
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tomatofreak

Well, thanks for the cold splash of reality. I seem to have gone through stages in this adventure, from "Oh, no; what have I done!" to this present Frantic stage with a lot of other emotions in between. I'm guessing Panic will be next. On to the paint! Thank you.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 11:49AM
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tomatofreak

Just shoot me now! Before I shoot everyone who told me to do this AND the installer! Grrrr.r.r...... I expected a completely smooth surface. Not. Tile edges stick up everywhere, the cut pieces in front of the sink have no grout (!!!!!) and the pieces cut to make the front edge are not even across the front, some are an 1/8" different. The 'honed' edge is anything but and is rough to the touch. Are there any remedies for any of this? Can you use a sander on the cut edges? Any way to even up the uneven pieces?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 1:34PM
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PhoneLady

Oh mercy. I hope this wasn't done by the tile guy I recommended.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 6:04PM
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lam702

Oh so sorry to hear that. My sister did a DIY granite tile counter in one of her previous homes, she did say it was very tricky getting the tiles even, but she did a great job. Not sure that there is anything you can do about it now, except get that tile installer back in to replace it if its that bad. Hopefully he won't give you a big hassle over it. Good luck.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 6:33PM
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nosoccermom

OMG, I'm so sorry to hear this. Hope someone can suggest what to do other than ripping it out.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 7:51PM
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greenhaven

Oh, MAN!!! That SUCKS! :o(

Can you post a picture? Maybe there is something that can still be done, or an edging added?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 9:18PM
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tomatofreak

greenhaven, you may have the solution. I never thought about that, but the BS has a metal edge. I think I'll see if it fits upside down, although I'm pretty sure the 'lip' isn't deep enough to cover those mistakes.

PhoneLady, I totally spaced out your recommendation. Bad, bad of me. I used a craigslist guy who certainly ran a good sales game. I am so mad, I will do my best to put him out of business. Not only did he do a rotten job, he took 2 boxes of tile that I bought - and DH's bluetooth speaker. He will live to regret it.

We can't fix the range hood, but I did find a new GE Adora micro at a liquidation center for a mere hundred bucks. Still, it's money I didn't need to spend.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 3:49AM
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tomatofreak

I remember someone saying she discovered Xanax during a reno. My doctor prescribed Zoloft. It is not helping. I'm thinking vodka martinis? Stirred, not shaken....

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 3:52AM
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greenhaven

Take a few good pics and stick 'em in a new thread, and specifically get Trebuchet's attention. he may have a trick of the trade or two up his sleeve.

I am SO gun-shy about tilers, one of the reasons I put off my tile backsplash so long. Just didn't want to shell out the cash and get a crappy job AND ruined tile.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 8:05AM
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mdln

Xanax is good for anxiety, works quickly in minutes to hours. Causes sedation & drowsiness, can be addicting.

Zoloft affects seratonin levels in your brain and treats depression, but can take 4-6 weeks to work. If not working, tell your doc. If you don't, s/he will think it is working for you. Some drugs work better for some people and you don't know until you try them out. Switching drugs is commonly done.

Xanax & Zoloft are often used in combination.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 11:58AM
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greenhaven

Oh, I missed/forgot that part. Yes, give Zoloft a solid six weeks to work.

I recently got off anti-depressants, but take Prozac as needed for severe PMS symptoms. It works quickly and has a 96 hour half-life so two or three days will give lasting effects and no "weaning" needed. You might consider talking to your doctor again, particularly if your symptoms were triggered by the stress of the reno and sale and may not be long-term.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 12:29PM
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PhoneLady

Bummer!! Try the John Bridge tile forum?

With actual theft involved, it also sounds like a police matter at this point. I think I'd let my rage fuel my retribution and THEN medicate.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 12:35PM
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tomatofreak

mdln, thanks for that explanation. I've only been on the Zoloft for about 3 weeks. Perhaps I should have made my situation more clear to the doc. Next week I'll see if he has another suggestion. Maybe Prozac is a better choice as this should all be over by mid September.

greenhaven, I took some pics so I'll see if I can enlarge them enough to show the poor workmanship. I don't think I'll ever tile anything else.

Did I mention that he used the wrong grout on the floor??!!!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 12:53PM
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greenhaven

Ugh! No, you didn't mention the wrong floor grout. :o( That dude SUCKS! And I took some of my husband's Xanax during our move to Michigan, it was an awful, stressful time. hardest thing I have ever done, hands down, which is probably a testament to how easy my life has been. ;o) But that can also be a good option. But def. talk to your doc. Feel free to email me if you would like to talk about this more privately.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 1:48PM
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mdln

Both Zoloft and Prozac are SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), almost identical drugs, Zoloft being the newer drug.

Because anxiety and depression are often present together, it frequently becomes an issue of the chicken vs. the egg - which came first. Many docs feel more comfortable prescribing antidepressants like SSRI's because they have less side effects and less risk for abuse/dependence (than anti-anxiety drugs like Xanax or Valium).

The attached link has a quick screening tool for anxiety vs depression. You may want to complete it and bring a copy when you see your doc.

Good luck.

Here is a link that might be useful: Anxiety vs depression screening test

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 7:30PM
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