Choosing Countertop Materials
LESLIE: Sylvia in California needs some help with a kitchen counter project. What’s going on?SYLVIA: Hi, I’m calling because we’re interested in changing out our countertops and right now the counters that are there are ceramic tile. They’ve been there since the condo was built in 1983.TOM: OK.SYLVIA: And so the grout is kind of coming up and it just doesn’t look very good. And I heard you say, in a previous show, that you have to do the – refinish granite every year?TOM: Yeah, granite is beautiful but granite requires an awful lot of maintenance. Now, do you want to continue with a tile countertop or do you want to completely change?SYLVIA: Well, I do like the ceramic tile but I was wondering if there are any other options out there that are as durable or, you know – but we’d also like to do the installation ourselves.TOM: Well, certainly a ceramic tile countertop is one of the easiest ones to do as a do-it-yourself project.LESLIE: But there are also granite tiles. Now you can get remnants of granite at your local stone guy that could be 12×12. You can even find them at the local home centers and lay that as you would tile. You could either use a grout line or, I prefer – if you’re dealing with such a large granite tile – not to do a grout line and sort of butt everything together. And as you mentioned with granite, the only thing that you need to do annually is sort of reseal them. And you can kind of let it go to every two years but if you do let it go to every two years you’ll notice that in areas – when they cut the granite to make it for the countertop; when they sort of slice it into the thicknesses that’ll work for them, what happens is they get these little pocks and spaces that just the stone sort of pops out of and then they put – is it like a resin over it, Tom?TOM: To seal it?LESLIE: Yeah, they put some sort of like – it’s almost like a resin and it fills in those spaces.TOM: Mm-hmm.LESLIE: And over time, from your cleaning and your usage of the countertop, those spaces that were missing stone that filled in with resin kind of pop out. You’ll notice it on the edge that you cut into the granite. So you want to, if you’re doing granite, just every year or so make sure it’s resealed just so that it maintains it’s durability. I mean it can be a pain but it doesn’t have to be. So if you want to do something yourself, you’re not going to be able to do a solid granite but you can do these granite tiles and they’re beautiful.SYLVIA: Yeah. OK. Well, great. Thank you very much for the information.TOM: You’re welcome, Sylvia. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.