Ceramic tile counters, an elegant and affordable option

Ceramic tile counters, an elegant and affordable option

By definition, home counters are first and foremost utilitarian. It doesn’t mean that they can’t be beautiful! Counters are found basically in bathrooms and kitchens, but it is the kitchen one that will see hard use of course. Not only that, but it’s the one that we see most often on daily basis. It is even truer in Quebec homes where the kitchen is a natural gathering place, if only before meal is served!

Given its important role, the kitchen countertop has to be resistant and long-lasting as well as good-looking. In the kitchen, it should also be impervious to heat, such as the one from a hot pan that you would want to put on the countertop. You want to do that without risk of damage to the surface or, worse, a fire. For that reason alone – in a new construction or for a renovation project – good old Formica is best forgotten!

What other materials are available? There is granite and some natural stones that are suited to the task. There are also ceramic tiles which come in a wide variety of textures and colours. Even better, these cost less than granite – which needs to be cut to order – or natural stones. Another valid consideration is that a handyman will have no problem tackling such a project successfully. Making a ceramic kitchen countertop requires some basic tools and a bit of… time. The task at hand is even made simpler by manufacturers providing materials that meet precisely the needs of the homeowner who wishes to do the work himself. We are very fond of the German company Schlüter since it offers a complete line of products – in this case our countertop project – from the waterproofing assembly below the tiles to elegant finishing profiles for countertop edges. It is great way to make sure that you’ll end with a countertop that will not only be waterproof but will have the finishing touches giving it a clean and professional look.

The Schlüter “recipe”

As in any home renovation project, we’ll start by making a list of the required materials. Other than tools like trowels, precision cutters, hammer and other everyday tools, all the supplies required to build a countertop are easily identified when you opt for Schlüter products since they are part of complete and comprehensive systems. And don’t forget that you can make your shopping a one-stop affair, ceramic tiles included, when coming at La Tuilerie!

You’ll start with Schlüter Kerdi-Board panels. These synthetic boards don’t rot and are virtually impervious to deterioration and they are used as substrates to support the tiles. You’ll then get Rondec-Step profiles which are used for finishing and edging countertops. These aluminium profiles are specifically designed for tiles. They are offered in different finishes for a variety of decorative purposes. Other edging profiles are available for various applications (outside corners, cove shaped profiles for countertop to backsplash transition, etc.). Next on the list will be some Kerdi-Fix, a single-component and bounding adhesive which is used on the counter structure when it is time to put in place the Kerdi-Board panels. Speaking of these panels, they are light and a simple cutter is all you need to cut them to size!

Once the Kerdi-Board panels are in place, it is time to spread them over with an appropriate adhesive or mortar for the placement of the ceramic tiles. We recommend 24 X 24 inches ceramic tiles for countertops as these large tiles are more stable and also lessen the number of joints on the countertop. The last step will be the application of grout. “You should use epoxy based grout at this stage since it will make future maintenance easier”, says Marc-André Millette of La Tuilerie. “It not only has superior waterproofing properties, it is also anti-bacterial which makes it ideal for kitchen applications where hygiene is a concern”.

Endless design options

Beside their inherent characteristics, ceramic tiles come in a great variety of styles and they can be laid out in various ways, opening up almost limitless design possibilities. When choosing Schlüter Systems products, you have the benefit of getting all the supplies required to create a professional looking countertop, from the underlayment membrane for waterproofing the assembly to finishing profiles for countertop edges. For example, cove-shaped profiles provide beautiful and maintenance free countertop to backsplash transitions.

Another point worthy of consideration is the Schlüter documentation that is the most comprehensive you’ll find in the business. It offers step by step and detailed instructions for numerous home projects whether in print or in professionaly made videos.

As an additional note, let’s not forget that it is a well-documented fact that the investment made in bathrooms and kitchens renovations is the one that brings the most money at resale time of a house. In other words, it is money well spent.

Finally, qualified and knowledgeable personal is always there to assist you at La Tuilerie. A ceramic countertop is a wise choice as it will be your pride and joy for many years to come.