Thursday, January 27, 2011

When Trends Attack! Granite Tile Counters

I don't want to sound cranky so soon after my post o' disdain pointed at chalkboards in the kitchen, but another common(and surprisingly popular) project in the kitchen has recently had me wound up. Maybe it's wrong of me, but this is a design blog of sorts and I never expect everyone to have the same taste as I do. So if you think I'm being harsh, it's okay- change my mind down in the comments section.

*sigh*
Where to begin(or in the back splashes case, where to end)?

Maybe that's Baltic Brown?
"Could we just go ahead and tile the exterior of the house, too?"
I've run out of witty anecdotes.
I may have nightmares over some of those pictures... 

There is no convincing me of the merits of putting a 12" floor tile on a kitchen counter. There's a big reason why the granite tile is in the flooring department of major home improvements stores, it's not a good counter top material. 

Granite is a natural material. Movement in a slab is often desirable and color can vary from one side of a slab to another. Same with the tile- the color differences in the second picture up there would drive me absolutely bonkers. 

I am a big fan of tile back splashes, bathrooms, floors, on and on... Tile counter tops in general are a fad that went away with the 90's, and if you've ever lived a house or known someone who did live in a house with tile tops, you know that the grout lines are magnets for any cooking, crafting or debauchery you're doing in your kitchen. If you thought that sealing standard granite was daunting(which it isn't), think about having to deal with all those grout lines!

The most common reason(excuse) for using 12" granite tile for a counter is cost- the theory behind "I can have a granite counter for less than having the actual slab granite" is just about always true, but sometimes cheap looks just that... cheap.

Not every customer that comes through our door can afford a solid surface counter top- not every customer we have wants a solid surface kitchen counter. However, the one thing you will NEVER hear me suggest at our showroom is that a granite tile counter is a good alternative to a traditional granite top.

Fortunately, there is a good alternative. 

Kitchens by Formica Group  
Blue Storm

Most homeowners first reaction: "I just got through telling you that we can't afford granite!"

Nick's reply: "You don't have to afford granite... Just promise me that you'll never say 'granite tile counters' again. 

These are a few of the colors from the Formica 180fx Collection. If it's not completely obvious after looking at the pictures that Formica has re energized the laminate counter world, you might need more help than a designer can give you.

Kitchens by Formica Group  
Calacatta Marble

Kitchens by Formica Group  
Antique Mascarello

Kitchens by Formica Group  
Slate Sequoia

Kitchens by Formica Group  
Golden Mascarello

Kitchens by Formica Group  
Blue Storm


So what do you think? 

There's no reason to think about granite tile on your counters any more.

89 comments:

  1. Picture #3 makes me hear an endlessly skipping vinyl record in my head an endlessly skipping endlessly skipping record record in my head.

    That Blue Storm pic is gorgeous. Way to shake it up, Formica.

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  2. Becky- I knew that picture would get some good comments! Love the Formica 180fx stuff- have some in the showroom and it's a show-stopper. Have you used it?

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  3. You are so right, the counters in the first pictures are hideous. "Granite Tile" is not and should never be confused with a countertop material. It's like hanging a sign which says, "I can't afford real granite countertops."

    Many laminate companies offer appropriate options which are a beautiful substitute. There is nothing wrong with using a laminate. Often it is the more appropriate option: if your countertops cost more than 1% of your home value... they are the wrong selection.

    Thanks for the pictures.

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  4. Decor Girl- Thanks for the comments. Glad to see I've got some support in the anti-tile crusade.

    As far as the 1% of home value goes, there's no rule to me. If you want to have trazillion dollar, rare tops go for it. Key is doing it tastefully and practically. Granite tile tops are neither.

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  5. I just had a flashback - one of the reasons I dumped Company 1 as my contractor was because they suggested granite tile for my counter since I was trying to save money. I think I vomited in my mouth.

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  6. ModSauce- Seriously? Well, the wonders of the world never cease to amaze me. Trainwreckery.

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  7. Outside of thinking they're ugly, the grout lines alone scare me off from any kind of tile countertop for the reasons you mentioned - how do you keep them clean? Also agree that if you can't afford or don't think your house can benefit from an actual stone slab, laminates have definitely come a long way. Hope my awful red, late 70s, oak-trimmed laminate countertop doesn't read this and think I had a change of heart though - you're gone as soon as we start demoing the kitchen!

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  8. Ha, Nick. Thanks for this post. The finish combinations with those counters aren't doing anyone any favors, are they? I think my eyes crossed on the third photo.

    Much as I agree with you, can I bring something else to the table? What we're really talking about is looks vs. function in a certain budget range. How careful the clients will be and what their lifestyle is makes a big difference to the choice.

    For the person who really can't afford granite and refuses to use trivets, one of the pluses of granite tile (or any tile counter) is that the tile handles thermal shock well. The heat or cold shock from a boiling pot or a bag of ice harmlessly flashes off to the grout joints, preventing the stone or tile from cracking.

    I'm not saying I like it (yes, grout is an issue; yes, rolling dough on it is scary), but if a client refuses to use trivets, they need to understand what the pros and cons will be.

    At this budget range, the only choices available are tiles, the laminates, and the cheap granites -- and many of the cheap granites should never make it to market because they're so flawed with fissures and inclusions.

    Laminate counters like Formica, still have properties that people need to educate themselves on, like the use of trivets and what non-abrasive cleaners to use.

    I'm happy they're making a comeback and better than before. And something you didn't point out -- they are much less expensive than the tile and installation.

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  9. Salty- Keep us informed when you decide to take the plunge!

    Kelly- Thanks for the AWESOME comment. While I agree that the granite tile does help with heat/cold issues, I encourage ALL homeowners to use trivets ALWAYS. I know that doesn't always happen(even my Mom sits pots right on her granite tops).

    Each counter material has its unique personality and properties. Up to good kitchen folks to make sure that clients are choosing wisely.

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  10. I probably would have never thought about that, but now that you mention it... and show pictures... Bleah! Thankfully, I've never seen that before. LOL
    I do love that marble look in the Formica.

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  11. Wanda- It's a sad sight! The Calacatta 180fx is awesome looking!

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  12. My theory is that granite tile lets you say "granite counters" in the real estate ad without actually lying, and we still need a lot of re-education before "laminate counters" has the same effect, don't we?
    The new formica finishes look great - I hope they really do signal a move back to practical laminate counters instead of nasty cheap tile. With just a modicum of care, laminate can last a very long time and stand up to a lot of abuse.

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  13. Thanks Nick - will do! I'm ready to take some power tools to our kitchen right now, but love cooking/functionality too much to not wait until I have the resources to do exactly what I want. Happy to find your site and looking forward to future posts!

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  14. First off, I had to google trivets. Phfeew. I use trivets. I'm really interested to see the new laminates -- my mind races back to the early 90s and my parents' house (laminate flooring, laminate countertops, enough to make one queasy) but the ones you showed look mightily impressive.

    Certainly never an issue (granite tiles) that I've thought of before, but as I continue to inch closer to buying my first home, it's something I'll definitely take note of now. Thanks Nick.

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  15. Very impressive post. I can appreciate the amount of effort that went into it. You have a very good feel for getting the right information out to the people. I am also very impressed with the website as a whole. Keep up the good work

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  16. Hi Nick! I'm with you- nothing says cheap & tasteless like granite tile countertops. Laminate has come a LONG way- there are some really super-looking laminates out there and they perform really well. LOVE the new 180fx collection! Yay Formica! They look great- very convincing.

    My only issue with laminate countertops is that the edge profile is very important. Waterfall edges and full bullnose edges are outdated and ugly (in my professional opinion), and if you're using a light-colored laminate you will see a dark line at the corners where the edges meet.

    Solutions: 1) keep the laminate dark- that way the edges won't be so noticeable. 2) use a laminate that is colored through the body- they're more expensive, but will look better if you're using a light color. 3)use an edge profile like an ogee edge, a chamfered edge, or a double waterfall (like they're showing in some of the pictures above) (good for transitional & traditional styled homes). Those types of edges help laminate mimic natural stone much better.

    I've got to order some samples of that Formica 180fx. I like I'm in love with the Silver Travertine and the Blue Storm.

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  17. Jamey- Forget all that you know about laminates from the past and if you're ever in a situation to need new tops and don't have budget to get solid surface, do look at laminates(and consult some of your good designer friends).

    DG- VERY kind words! Just trying to share!

    Tammy- Agree 100% on edges for laminate- the newer rolled ogees have me smitten.

    Here at the shop we have a little laundry/mudroom space done with white cabinets, yellowish walls and the Golden Mascarello tops(ogee edge) and it's nothing short of stunning. Gets all the oohs and ahhs and is easily the least expensive display we show.

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  18. Granite tile countertops are the work of the Devil.

    You may quote me.

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  19. Raina- That's pure genius... and yes I'll quote you.

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  20. Who care if someone wants to do granite tile counters, it is their house. I cant believe you wasted your time writing an article about Formica. Why does Google send me to sites like this.....

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  21. Anon- Well, I care if someone(especially one of my customers) wants to do granite tile counters. After all, people hire me to help them make the best decision for their homes.

    As far as wasting my time writing about Formica, you should REALLY read up on it before you dismiss it. I would take ANY of these Formica 180fx colors over granite tile. ANY of them.

    I'm sorry that you searched for "granite tile counter" and google fantastically brought you to my site, but it's there for a reason. I write this blog to educate consumers and prevent good folks from DIY-ing their houses to death and then having to re-do once they try to market it.

    Thanks for reading, though!

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  22. Your formica pics are nice and I am also no big fan of granite tile counters, but I really do like tile counters. Not ones that pretend to be granite slabs, but ones celebrate it's tileness:)

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  23. I just stumbled upon your blog after googling for pics of some of the Formica 180fx. Thank you for posting these great pictures!

    I am seriously considering Formica 180fx as an option for my new kitchen after hearing the staggering estimates for Caesarstone. I'm awaiting some of the Formica samples to come in the mail.

    I was particularly interested in either the Calacutta Marble and the Travertine Silver. My only concern with these lighter colors are the edge seams. The pictures look great, but you know how with the lighter colors you have the dark seams but I don't notice them in your pictures. Has Formica worked the color all the way through the goods so now there are no dark seams?

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  24. The granite tile counters you've featured do indeed look ugly. And cheap. And tacky...agreed.

    But I have seen granite tile counters done well, and they only look good with specific granites, and when set at a 45 degree angle. Yes it's more cutting, but the look is far nicer and more purposeful...not like you are trying to fake a granite slab. It's also only appropriate in small houses and cottages IMHO.

    I don't care how good laminate counters look in still photos--they will never take the beating (or hot pots) of granite or granite tile in real-life.

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  25. Anon- I'm sure there are some granite tile counters that look better than the ones shown. They are still however, tile counters. Grout is half of my issue with tile counters.

    Any granite fabricator that is worth using will tell you to use extreme caution with hot pots on granite tops. Sure, if you're boiling over and you sit a pot on the counter it's unlikely that you'll damage it, but over time, you can and will dull the surface to a point that can't be repaired(I've seen it more than I'd like to admit).

    Even worse than putting a hot pot on a granite slab is putting them on granite tile. Granite tile is never as thick as a slab top and the expansion and contraction of heat on the stone will cause it to crack.

    New laminates are far and beyond better looking than any tile top I've seen- and more durable than you'd expect!

    Thanks for the comment!

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  26. I've had granite tile countertops in both my homes and when I sold my first home the counters looked as good as the day they were installed 12 years earlier. I had Black Onyx granite installed with black wall grout, that we sealed about once a year (which literately took about 10 minutes tops). NEVER had a problem with grout lines getting stained. In my new home, we choose a granite with tile similar to the second picture above and paid $1200 total installed, as apposed to $3600 for the same material in slab. If you don't like the look, that's one thing, but to say granite tiles don't make a good counter top is simply an opinion. I would NEVER consider Formica counter tops that are designed to look like granite and marble.. but still look cheezy and cheap, over 12x12 real granite counter tops.

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    1. Amen! Thanks for the comment. Some of us out here like Granite Tile and nothing is wrong with that. I don't like how opinions of a Formica sales man should be seen as truth. It's your opinion Nick. Have you ever had a granite tile counter in your home? Perhaps you should live with a nice one before you compare.

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    2. Just a reminder: I'm not a Formica salesman. I spec laminates just like I spec tile.

      I am 100% in agreement that it's my opinion. What makes my opinion unique though, is that I'm a professional with lots of experience in projects with budgets of all shapes and sizes(from massive, magazine published homes to housing authority apartments).

      As I've stated over and over, there has yet to be a single kitchen professional tell me that granite floor tile is a good solution as a counter material. The laminate suggestion I made was merely in reaction to the common argument that budget is a reason to do granite tile. No one has given me a legit "pro" about a granite tile counter, though I see plenty of "cons".

      Thanks for the comment though!

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  27. Nick, I've been putting hot pots and pans on my granite tile counter tops for the last 15 years (in two houses) and never had a problem.

    "Granite is ideal for kitchens because under normal conditions it will not burn. Granite will not be harmed by hot pots, pans or open flames."

    http://www.supremesurface.com/granite/granitefaq.html#Quartz_countertops_and_Heat

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  28. Anon- I'm not really sure where to start. Obviously, what is contained above is my opinion. What gives my opinion weight is that I am a professional in the industry and have a long list of experiences to back up any claims I make.

    I have no doubt that people have had good experiences with granite tile tops. What I can bet though, is that no reputable designer told you it would be a good idea. When a client comes to my showroom, I provide for them a product that meets both function AND form.

    Granite tile(in my opinion) are just ugly. Will it make a good counter? Sure, but so would an old refrigerator door.

    As far as burning goes, the key phrase in your quote is "normal conditions". Frankly, no one knows what that means. I firmly believe that granite is strongly heat resistant. BUT, it's not always the integrity of the stone that will be damaged, but the finish.

    I really don't mean to sound crass, but Formica's new 180fx will ALWAYS get my vote over granite tile.

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  29. Darn it... wrote a diatribe and my computer ate it.

    I'm siding with Nick. I too come from professional experience and will say just a few words (which is never normal for me).

    Granite -

    1. Granite is called solid surface for a reason. And that was not so it would be cut into pieces and laid on a kitchen counter.

    2. Granite (and other marble materials) is meant to denote a luxury/exclusive material (though every builder flip in So. California has it) and as such, to add a valuable selling point to a home. A smart buyer sees tile as a negative point, be it granite or ceramic and it can negatively affect the sales price of a house. Use of it as a tile = cutting corners.

    3. Granite slab is not only more functional but also more sanitary than granite tile. Think: 2 to 3 cm (slab) vs. a 1/4 or 3/8" (tile) thick material. What will stand up to beating more? From a sanitary standpoint, grout provides a place for "stuff" and bacteria to be trapped. Unless you're scrubbing your grout lines daily with a toothbrush and 409 you ALWAYS run the risk of transference. I don't care if your grout has never stained. Think of grout like your teeth - what you don't see is most important.

    4. Tile is not always cheaper. Many fabricators have remnants of slabs from prior jobs that are often times sold at discounted prices. I personally have a fabricator that does vanities for me at next to nothing so long as he has a piece on his floor. Price is a result of homework.

    Formica

    1. Don't knock a product that has been around 60+ years and is used not only residentially but commerically as a finish material of choice.

    2. Formica's colors/patters (especially those of the 180fx) have come a long way. Even I was surprised in seeing the jumbo sheets at this year's KBIS in Las Vegas. They certainly have my vote.

    3. Formica can withstand temperatures up to 356F for a short period of time without destroying its color. You may lose a little sheen but this is true of the most commonly used sealers on granite and stone counters as well.

    4. In this day and age of great millworkers, the idea of a standard waterfall or bullnose edge is like watching the Flintstones. It's from the stone age. There are some amazing things these guys can do if you give them credit.

    The thing is that both Nick and I do this for a living. There is a considerable effort put into finding the right solutions for clients. Knocking Nick for actually doing his homework and providing a professional opinion (free of charge no less!) is no way to make friends (or be educated for that matter).

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  30. Thanks for the kind words, Brandon- Couldn't agree more!

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  31. Wow. Tile countertops have been around for hundreds of years. They, along with todays current trends, will go in and out of fashion. Todays look of granite, stainless steel and brushed aluminum, regardless of what HGTV tells you is not the only look and won't be around forever. 10 years ago, everything was done in brass, 20 years ago, tile. Remember avocado green? Tiling your counter is a good alternative, if you like the granite then so be it.

    As for as the horrible unsanitary conditions you are creating for your family when choosing tiles, thats just a bunch of baloney. How many of you work raw meat on your counters? Anything that is a food safety risk is usually done in sinks, cutting boards and pans. Wiping your counters after cooking with a mild sanitizer is more than enough to leave any surface safe, regardless of grout.

    As for formica, yes, there are some nice ones available out there. I researched them heavily when doing my kitchen and I found that they are all trying to hard to be granite, and totally failing to look like it upon closer inspection. from far away, ok, but the patterns were obvious. Formica and its counterparts are cheap and easy to install. Just like any other surface you will want to clean and sanitize.

    As for granite, I think it will fade out soon to be replaced by more enviromentally responsible products. I also think that in todays real estate market to spend huge amounts on any particular project is silly. By the time markets change, so will tastes so why bother?

    For me, I wanted a unique look for my first home. I looked at every possible product, and didn't want to spend the money. I really liked the look of the glass and recycled glass countertops, but it was expensive. I found a white marble tile with bits of crystals in it that reflect wonderfully and make me happy. Yes, I have grout, but being trained in food safety, I know that the time I spend wiping down after cooking to make my surfaces safe are the same as I would do on any surface. And, costing about the same as formica, I have a surface that will last longer and better than any laminate would.

    So, for those wondering what to put in their homes, do what makes you happy. Granite is what all the people want so if you want to sell soon then do it if you can. Go for the tile if you can't afford a slab. Formica is not a selling point on a house. If you are going to stay a couple of years, its a fine way to have something decent in your kitchen.

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  32. It's obvious that Nick@cupboards is selling formica countertops... how else could he place a man made plastic resin material over real granite, tile or not.... and who exactly has he worked for. If we are talking about your average joe, we all have different tastes. Not everyones home can look like a mansion. Nor would every home look right. So maybe his formica would look awesome in the right environment. All I can tell you is that you need to buy what you can afford and what looks right in your own space. Having someone tell you that granite tile is cheesy/cheap is wrong. We would need to go to thousands of houses throughout the modern world and start ripping out the granite tile used in every type of application, including gorgeous kitchens. It would be better for you to just honestly push your product without bashing others.....

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  33. Anon- Wow...

    Actually, I do spec(not sell) Formica when the job calls for it. I also spec every other imaginable kind of surface one could have in their kitchen(from wood to stone to concrete). The one thing I have never and will never do is tell someone to put sheet laminate OVER any existing top. You didn't read the post well. It'd be like putting lipstick on a pig.

    I've never worked for Formica or any other laminate supplier but I have worked for a stone fabricator. Weird how that works, right?

    You are also correct that everyone is entitled to their opinion. However, telling someone that granite tile is cheap and cheesy IS what this blog is about. It's not wrong, it's just the professional opinion of me and virtually every reputable kitchen designer in the marketplace.

    The biggest mistake of the granite tile user is that they rarely hire a designer to help them properly budget and wisely choose materials. When that happens, homeowners end up with potentially good products in all the wrong places(like granite floor tile on a counter).

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  34. Talk about putting lipstick on a pig. Formica? Seriously? Is this 1970?? lol It's builder-grade garbage and everyone that I know or have ever met who has expressed an opinion would consistently pick the tile counter over formica. Yes, we're not 'experts' but we're also not stupid. When you call a tile a "floor tile" it's obvious you want to draw on the connotation of footwear and filth. Call it what you will, and obviously you're entitled to your opinion as am I, but I have a feeling the number of homeowners with access and ability to the materials and tools to DIY with tile (as compared to formica or solid granite) has put a dent in the 'professional' business. So feel free to keep looking down your nose at us silly homeowners, we know a shameless shill when we hear one.

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  35. I get to comment again :D Woohoo!

    Anyway, anonymous... Let's start by saying the premise behind Nick's post was not all tile countertops in general but as it related to GRANITE tile countertops. Please make sure you make that distinction in your posts.

    Now, let's get on to the "me being mean" part. If you've ever read my blog (probably not) you'll know that I like to cross lines. A lot. Of course, being a professional I try to be nice but it doesn't always happen.

    SO... I want you to take a look at every builder spec home, developer's home, multi-family high rise, fill the blank million dollar mcMansion. Tell me, friend, when was the last time you saw a tile counter of any kind in any of these homes? Sure you see them in the odd builder flip where someone obviously ran out of money and skimped somewhere and threw in some granite tile that fell off the back of a truck somewhere. But honestly, every person who's looking to make a buck from their homes (and this applies to office properties too) sticks to good old solid surface.

    As for looking down my nose at any homeowner I will tell you this. My job, as a designer, is to encourage homeowners to choose materials which provide a quality end result within their budgets. The goal is to always provide something which will last, which will look good, and which will give the homeowner the largest return on their investment. It has been my experience with working on nearly a million square feet of projects, that tile counters of any kind are just not those kinda of materials that get a big ROI. Believe me, I work with enough real estate professionals, developers and builders to know what the h-e-double hockey sticks I'm talking about.

    Now let's talk about Formica for a moment. Let's stop bashing a product you obviously know nothing about. Firstly, Formica was invented in 1913. That's right kids, 1913. Around the mid-century you were de rigeur if you had it and passe if you didn't. Sure the Brady Bunch made the colors orange and avo. green look so hideous that Formica was given a bad reputation but when applied correctly, it stands up to some serious wear and tear and actually looks decent. What I'm thinking is that you've seen one too many bad installs where it was done improperly with someone who just didn't have the skill set to do it right. They were probably a weekend DIYer with a saw and a credit card. Seriously.

    Was that mean? It was meant to be. Sometimes people need a serious wake up call. Anonymous, Nick is a professional and you most likely are not. Please let Nick do his job and let him peddle his "builder grade garbage" with peace. Actually let us all have a little peace.

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  36. My reaction to this post continues to be the same today as when I first read it almost a year ago. I completely agree with the professional opinion that there are other superior countertop options in lieu of granite tile. As a builder/ remodeler, I have the good fortune to work with several designers and decorators on a consistent basis. Not once in the last 14 years that I have been working in the building industry has a professional colleague made a reccomendation to use tile countertops of any sort. I must say, if they did, I wouldn't have it anyway.

    There is a reason that commercial kitchens use stainless steel. Bacteria and contaminants do exist in cooking environments, and our homes are no exception. Case in point: A pourous material such as grout does not belong on a countertop.. don't use a piece of wood for a cutting board.. don't throw prep foods directly into your sink while washing.. don't cut veg with the knife you just cut the meat with.. and so on.

    If given the choice between granite tile and laminate, my choice is laminate every time. I am a fan of Wilsonart HD, but Formica 180fx takes it a step further. To call laminate outdated after taking a hard look at the available choices is simply absurd.

    Anyone who believes the author here to be shill should simply look at the rest of this site. It is clear that there are 7 countertop manufactures listed as "what we use", including Wilsonart (Formica's competetion). In addition, there are posts which highlight other great materials, such as Silestone.

    I would say the point here is to peruse all the options before investing time and energy into a project. Make your own choice. It may not be the same as mine. That is perfectly ok.

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  37. Thanks Paul and Brandon! You guys nailed it on the head!

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  38. Ok, Good reading everyone.
    I think I have something new to add/ask!
    I understand both sides to this now, but have a question about granite that lies outside all the previous posts about 12x12 tiles vs. solid surface.

    Have you seen the 18x31 granite tiles? They are finished on all edges, and you cut a back splash piece, a front edge piece, and then you are left with a piece that is the full depth of your counter. So basically, it would give you a granite counter top with grout lines only every 18in per linear ft of your counter.
    The pricing comes out to the same or less than the nice 180fx counters.
    To my wife and I it seems like the best "I cant afford full slab, but don't want to look cheap" solution!
    Here's some details: http://www.pdtm.com/servlet/the-Granite-18x31-%22Mini-dsh-Slabs%22/Categories

    Let me know if this still gives you the same feeling as 12x12 tiles, I value your responses!

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  39. In response to Nathan's question (and to make sure this blog post NEVER dies!) I think the real issue is not so much the actual granite tile - it's the fact that when you use a product to try to LOOK like you're not being cheap, it actually looks MORE cheap than using a less expensive option. And I say that as someone who IS cheap and just remodeled their kitchen. Don't fake it - people can always tell. ; )

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    1. Really people...world hunger, massive debt, war in the middle east and you are stressing over what people may say about a grout line in your kitchen counter? Buy what you like and what you can afford...applies to your roof, your clothing, your car. This "professional" designer is a legend in her own mind.

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    2. Anonymous,
      I am a humble 50+ year old professional designer with a degree in interior architecture. I agree with you 100%. Tile counter tops have been around since sliced bread, lol, and I and many others love them. As you said, not everyone can afford granite slabs - as a matter of fact, most cannot afford them. I, personally, would much rather see porcelain or granite tiles used in a kitchen than artificial materials like laminates (I also don't like laminate flooring, which is a picture of wood, not real wood). Porcelain and granite tiles are more durable and heat resistant choices and if the homeowner can install them, very affordable. If grout is a concern, use an epoxy grout and sealer with narrow joints. As far as cleanliness is concerned, you are again correct (I actually have taken microbiology and chemistry in college as well as interior architecture). Vinegar or any antibacterial solution can be used to clean tile counters (vinegar is acidic and kills bacteria). I'm not saying that you should be stupid about handling raw meat; however most people don't cut raw meat on their countertops anyway, lol. They use a cutting board. Myths about wooden cutting boards being unsanitary are just that - myths. There are natural antibacterial properties in wood and plastics retain more bacteria for longer periods than wood. I would not recommend that anyone cut raw meat on their laminate countertops. Anyone can search "wood vs. plastic cutting boards" and get numerous results (including a study at U.C. Davis), that back this statement up. There is nothing cheap or tacky about tiled surfaces - they are beautiful to many of us. Granite slabs look best with wood floors or plain floor tiles, imho, and they often make selecting a floor tile that doesn't fight with the pattern in the slab a real challenge. To those who disagree, I would say that opinions are like noses - everyone has one and doesn't need to be attacked for theirs ;). "Peace out".

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  40. I went to the site and looked at the photos. That's still a lot of seams, especially on an island. Another concern to me would be the 1/2" thickness. Could be a good solution for a super small kitchen, but otherwise still doesn't work for me.

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  41. Nathan- Have to agree with both ModernSauce and Debbie above. The 1/2" thickness does concern me and some of the pictures appear to have a laminated edge on them(that creates yet another seam- the front attachment you mentioned).

    I can't argue with the statement that trying to do something on the cheap often looks worse than a less expensive option up front, especially to design conscious folks. I liken it to fake handbags... if you know some girls that are big in to purses, nothing sets them off worse than seeing a fake one in public with someone trying to pass it off as the real deal. It's an odd comparison, but if the thought is merely design related, it's a good one.

    Depending on your layout, a local fabricator may be able to use some remnants and put the real thing in for less than normal, but it all depends on your situation.

    I really just don't see any way that I'd use the mini-slabs... I'm always available to answer any questions and help any way I can. Good luck!

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  42. We have always been fond of the solid granite countertop look, but were not keen on its associated price - so when we saw the Blue Storm laminate, we fell in love with it, and have subsequently ordered it to refinished our kitchen counters. As Blue Storm tends to be a bit on the busy side and will be sort of the main feature in the kitchen, we are undecided what to do for a backsplash. The kitchen is dark yellow with white trim, so we were thinking of going with a white and relatively plain backspash. Any other suggestions?

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  43. I have the Formica 180fx counter tops in a very large kitchen. They are beautiful and house quests generally ask if they are granite. One top is about 8 ft long and I can't even see the repeat pattern. They look clean even if they are dirty. Hold up well to heat as well. I am very happy with the product and recommend anyone doing a kitchen redo take a look, even in upscale redo.

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  44. I think they tried too hard with the formica 180fx - the samples I got make it look cheap.

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  45. Anon- Samples can be tough to look at and make a decision with solely... I'd encourage you to find a dealer or retailer near you and see some colors in larger sections. Makes all the difference!

    Additionally, the 180fx is still laminate. Never will a laminate truly look like stone. Hope you're able to find something you like!

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  46. Hi Nick! This truly is the blog post that will never die. I love it!

    Today is the first time I don't have much to say so I'll keep it simple.

    The ideal of "Faking it till you make it" does not work well in perceived luxury goods. Be it handbags, vehicles, or solid surface countertops (yes, marble counters are a luxury) a smart consumer will be able to sniff out the crap anytime. Trying to cheat and fake a product to appear luxe will only result in a cheapening of the whole. If you can't afford the real deal, then either 1) examine your priorities and budget accordingly, 2) do your homework and find a deal (ie: remnants) or 3) move on and find something else which provides quality without cheapening of the whole.

    Contrary to popular thought, a kitchen (or bathroom or....) remodel IS the sum of its parts and those parts should be on an equal playing field. Should you really be buying a Thermador range when you can't afford quality countertops? Probably not. Onyx countertops but plastic faucets? 300 square feet of glass mosaic but a slide in electric range with a microwave/stove hood combo above (this is a real example....).

    Wait... I think I just made the argument as to why having a designer involved is so important.

    The point is that there are quality solutions that exist on all levels. You just have to match your level of expectation with your budget and go from there.

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  47. I'm not going to comment positively or negatively about either but the unsanitary grout problem has been solved with epoxy grout. It would be interesting to see thoughts on this since it effectively removes the "unsatitary grout" issue. Really though, even a granite slab is not the most sanitary option as it is a natural stone and so is porous to some extent. Just a couple thoughts. Personally, I'm not sure whether I would chose granite tile or laminate but given the money for a granite slab I would go with a solid surface quartz type counter or stainless (read: nonporous and don't have to seal). One more thing is that if I went laminate I really like the options that are neat designs and colors. For me, laminate does not have the "cheap" connation when it celebrates that it is unique and can offer unique looks versus trying to look like something it isn't. Same thing with laminate flooring. I wish it came in cool colors and designs rather than just a crappy imitation of something it isn't (real wood). I realize that comment is somewhat off topic but is a further illustration of my thoughts on laminate counters. Cheers

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    1. The only true solution to being sanitary is to have 100% no seams. This is why commercial kitchens use fabricated stainless steel counters with integrated backsplashes. The presence of a seam of any kind gives bacteria, etc. a place to latch into. Epoxy grout is great but unless you're using a product with an anti-microbial and/or some sort of "non-sag" formula (which means a cheap contractor will be cheapening out here....) you're still going to have issues.

      Pricing is always irrelevant as you will always have discrepancies of any kind depending on material. A recent kitchen remodel resulted in a $3,000 difference for a fabricated SS counter between two vendors (counters priced between $5K and $8K) while using a single slab of absolute black granite with fabrication fell in between the two. Ultimately we used SS for the wet areas and switched to a natural Quartzite for the island.

      Delete
  48. I just want to say you have a very nice blog, with helpful links and information as well. Thanks for sharing

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  49. clearly you sell Formica 180fx, that's why you push it so much. Granite tile counter tops for people who can't triple their investment for solid slab countertops are a good and reasonable solution. Keep the grout joints under 1/8" and I have never had any clients that have had problems. I have used Formica also in the past and have had more complaints than I care to remember. What is the price comparison for your Formica 180fx product compared to granite tiles at $10.00 to $15.00 per s.f.?

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    1. I spec Formica, just like I do granite and every imaginable solid surface available. I do not however, specify granite tile for any counter project. Laminate pricing in our area falls below the 20-30 dollars a linear foot that you show for tile. Additionally, there is no need for a sub-top, grout, sealer, etc. Installation times are a fraction of tile and considerably less messy. I don't "push" laminate counters, but I do discourage(along with most kitchen and bath professionals) granite tile used for counters.

      If you're having complaints on Formica or other laminates, especially quality issues, follow up with the manufacturers. Most legit laminates have strict quality control standards.

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    2. I get to reply again! Woohoo! So you might not trust Nick because he's a salesperson. (Joking Nick, you know I love you) I on the other hand, don't sell a thing. I don't have a showroom or fabrication shop or big cabinetry enterprise. I'm just a lowly old interior designer with a million square feet of commercial experience. I just specify. What was great about the 180fx solution is the larger sheet size and the availability of less static patterns (ie: replicating Mother Nature's patterns with a larger repeat).

      As for that 1/8" grout line.... The problem with that tiny grout line is that it makes it that much more difficult to clean. Unless you're handy with a Q-Tip cotton swab you'll never fully clean that line. There is a very big reason why commercial kitchens use stainless steel and nothing else - no seams (or at least very few and often those are welded). There is no place for bacteria and food particles to be left behind. Not every homeowner want's SS counters (though I did a resi project recently with fabricated SS counters with an integrated 18" backsplash and it was HOT!) but have a single, solid, unified surface is the most practical, most sanitary measure.

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  50. Thanks was considering granite tile because of costs. It did not sit right with me though, you confirmed my apprehensions. Check out Karren sinks for an under-mount sink application in laminate.

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    1. Glad the info was helpful for you- the Karran sinks are quite unique!

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  51. I bought a house with granite tile countertops. Sure, it's not as good as solid slab, but my grout lines are less than 1/8", barely noticeable from a distance. It looks good and cost less than half the amount of solid slab/labor.

    Granite is granite, whether it's on the floor or on your counter.

    Stop being snobs.

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  52. Sorry for the length of this post. I just found this blog while searching for granite alternatives and wanted to offer a different point of view.

    We are getting close to replacing our kitchen counters and while I have solid 2cm granite in one bathroom and 3cm in another, the cost of 3cm in our kitchen is out of the question. 2cm is at the high end of reasonable but the profile bothers me a lot. In a bathroom 2cm is Ok since the tops are lower and the profile is less noticeable IMHO.

    Back to tile though. I have been looking at some solutions that are 18 x 25 and have a 1 ¼ (3cm) bull nose profile. This results in a seam every 18” along the length, but none down the front edge or center of a standard 24” counter. They also offer preformed sink cutout solutions so you can under mount a sink.

    We then went to our local box store and saw the Formica 180fx stuff. At first I was blown away and thought we had found the solution. I even purchased a piece and brought it home. Once we put it next to real granite, it lost its luster (both literally and figuratively). It just does not have the gloss of real stone which I think is the big draw. Yes they added sparkles here and there, but it just seems dull in comparison.

    In most of the homes that are hiring professional designers, I agree that modular (my term) stone would be a drawback. I also think Formica would be a drawback as well. However I don’t have a million dollar home. I don’t even have a $250K home. My home is a mid 70’s bi-level. It is very nice for what it is and we have kept it very well, but what I am trying to say is that “tacky” is relevant. Everybody wants solid slab stone, but I believe that in my homes price bracket, granite of any kind is above laminate. Just like the fake designer bag is above a Jacquelyn Smith bag for millions if people. We know it’s not as good as the real thing, but it is better than a “real” no name, which is how I see laminate.

    The 180fx stuff is impressive at first glance, but what about its drawbacks? My laminate is chipped on the edge. Now that I think about it, I see that a lot. Surface looks good…edges are chipped. You also cannot under mount a sink in laminate. And there is still that wow factor of the gloss.

    As for bacteria; if you are preparing any of your food directly on any of your countertops, don’t invite me for dinner. We use a cutting board for cutting and a plastic rolling sheet for rolling pie dough. Stone will absorb bacteria with or without grout. I am planning to look into epoxy for the seams if I go this route for possible benefits, but I am not concerned about bacteria any more than I would be on any other natural product.

    I hate pictures 1 and 4, but if #2 had made sure all pieces match, and #3 had stopped at the countertop, I think they beat laminate hands down IMHO.

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    1. Thanks for the good comments, Todd! I agree with you that Formica 180fx doesn't compare well when held next to granite. Frankly, it's not supposed to. There will likely never be a counter solution that will truly mimic granite, but the Formica 180fx does offer something that few laminates have in the past(a larger repeating pattern in more believable stone colors).

      I appreciate you stepping up to the plate and being an honest homeowner. Unfortunately, having granite for granite's sake won't change my mind about the end result. Granite tile is granite tile... It's not meant for counter applications.

      Thanks again for adding to the discussion!

      Delete
  53. Wow! This was fun and funny. We happen to have one of the ugliest granite-look counter tops I've ever seen in a house that was only four years old when we bought it five years ago. It's so embarassing. They are the first incarnation of print that looked exactly like speckled granite. It happens that I've been following design trends since I was ten years old. Remember the "high-end" grotto kitchen of the 80's with the TILE counters? Designers were recommending tile over laminate and Corian was the new high-end, with marble at the very highest end. Oh, I forgot butcher block.

    But people with deep pockets switched from comfortable country looks (including French) to Tuscan and the more exotically veined stones popular today. Designers are always pushing them because their reputations depend on presenting what most people can't have. We can't even afford the most beautiful laminates because they are no longer priced by the linear foot but by the square foot only a few dollars lower than solid surfaces. So if one could afford Formica 180fx or Wilsonart HD, solid 3cm granite is the better choice. For now, I think I'll look into one of the granite tile systems, save some money, get rid of the ugly, and wait for people to do what makes sense to their own lifestyles rather than continuing to live beyond their means. Only the rich can afford to keep up with the Joneses. I mean trends.

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    1. Now we get a back-handed comment!

      No legit designer has ever recommended tile over laminate, Corian is still a respected product on the market and marble has never been the highest end counter material. I still do wood tops(including butcher) on a regular basis.

      I think that you've confused designers and kitchen firms with big box stores. In our shop, Formica 180fx and Wilsonart HD are priced by the linear foot 99% of the time and is quite less than even the cheap 2cm granite in most cases.

      If I were in your situation, find a designer or kitchen showroom recommended by friends or family and go pick their brain. You might be surprised once you talk to some actual kitchen pros!

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  54. I agree to a geat extent with Anon...first of all let's talk about people who live in areas that don't have alot of installers of solid stone surfaces!! My husband is a contractor but we were NOT willing to spend thousands on marble or granite slabs shipped in to TEST his skills! The nearest professional installer was two hundred miles away....hmmm... so we deferred to granite tile. It is beautiful and after sealing with a product who's name I won't mention, is still gleaming like new! We used small grout lines,dark, on dark granite. We were tasteful, doing only the counters...I have a beautiful 4000 sq. ft. home with 2000sq. ft. of tile floors, a game room with SOLID (not laminate,2 inch solid) hard rock maple floors, custom woodwork throughout the home, and people STILL ooh and ahh over my kitchen counters. So, I think to pick a few badly done jobs and to condemm all is very narrow sighted. Also, how about showing or telling of some of the horror stories with formica and even solid stone slabs...like my friend who had just spent 5 grand for her beautiful granite slab island only to have someone at a party lay a cut lemon on it!All night. It cost her another small fortune to rectify that. Would'nt have been fun for me but a heck of alot easier than her ordeal. As for formica..where to start? Well, how 'bout the relative who accidentally grabbed a hot pot handle and to save her hand promptly set it on her new "marble-look" laminate counter-top( which in my opinion did not look like marble at all and was almost as pricey!). Do I need to paint you a picture of what the area near her cooktop looked like til she spent another small fortune to replace? So, for all of you looking to get new countertops...do your research, and seek alot of opinions. Countertops take alot of abuse and none are perfect, but I think it's wrong for you Nick, to lambast one choice so harshly. Sorry you've never seen a good one! trolive

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    1. Thanks for your comment, trolive!

      Unfortunately, my comments still stand true that no legit, practicing designer would ever recommend stone(specifically floor granite tiles) for counter applications.

      It's crummy that the nearest stone fabricator was so far away. You'd have to be really far out to not have a Home Depot or Lowe's nearby.

      Bottom line is: If you're happy with what you ended up with, that's awesome! As a professional, had you been my client, we would have explored LOTS of other options. The main argument for granite tile is cost- That's why you see my alternative with a high quality laminate.

      Are there horror stories with other surfaces? Sure. In fairness, your friend should have known that acidic items could etch her counters(or at least had someone clean up after themselves).

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  55. Does the Formica 180fx come in lengths over 144"? I have a 159" span, and don't want a seam. Im talking about on a roll. I am building the countertop myself. Also I am reading a lot on this blog about cutting on other surfaces. You don't really recommend cutting on Formica do you? Wouldnt it ruin the surface. Or on granite or ss , wouldn't it ruin a good hollow ground knife edge? On another note, I've seen granite tile done right, it was seemed like the full slabs. Looks great. NOT for my kitchen! Tile and Formica have both gone through phases. Many of the Formica patterns tried too hard to imitate another surface too. Also, stop putting so much emphasis on a "designers" opinion, it's only going to change next month to the next idea on how to take your money. I do agree that Formica is everywhere, most likly in my kitchen reno also, but even if it had "come along way" it is still a matter of $ and the ability of the DIY guy or gal at times. It is still trying to look like something else too. And why wouldn't it. It's a type of plastic isn't it?. Anyway if 144" length is the longest, do you have any other options in mind for a DIY guy?

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  56. I have the Formica Fx180 installed in my kitchen and LOVE IT.My brother ( who is a professional carpenter did it(so we just paid a couple hundred for the sheets).He said he was surprised that a laminate could look this good but he also matched the square edges perfectly so part of it is definitely good craftmanship with a cheaper product that works if you are not stuck on doing everything on the high end.
    The only challenge is how to continue the 'feel' in the open pantry area of the room. This area sits behind a small 1 and a half food wall divider and we are setting it up as a long couter with drawers and addtional cabinet storage space above. The counter will be open space underneaths so that I and my son can use the surface for office/study space as well as storage.

    My brohter says to use a darker laminate that coordinates with the calacatta formica. I say continue with the calacatta because I have not been able to find a coordinating laminate that is not too dark in my opinion. Formica really does'nt have a lot of grays which would be the perfect compromise and look great.
    We're taking our time an using real slabs of calacatta marble behind the stove as well as on the backsplash in an interesting (but oh so simple) design. While I agree that I wouldn't use tile on a counter top, I think that most of the problems with the kitchen pictures you posted were that people seemed both rushed and 'over did' their use of the products they chose.
    I'm trying to to over do the calacatta per my brother's advise. hopefully i'll find something that works soom since he is ready to install the pantry area now...

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    1. Thanks for the comment!

      I'd suggest checking with a local kitchen designer for some input on a coordinating color to match your Formica. The good ones always have something they could suggest!

      Delete
  57. Deb in New EnglandMay 25, 2012 at 7:47 PM

    All of the homes I've lived in (my entire life) have had laminate kitchen countertops. I do not chop or prep directly on counters. I do not place hot pots and pans directly on them either. As a result, in my experience, laminate wears exceptionally well. Because of the way I treat it, I've never had chips or scratches. I certainly wouldn't say I baby it either. I just understand the limits of laminate as a material.

    Over the course of my entire adult life, buying and selling several homes, when looking at properties, I've seen very few tile countertops in kitchens. The ones I have seen were CLEARLY DIY weekend projects and boy did they look it! We recently placed a bid on a short sale property. It's a circa 1970's townhouse. It's not a luxury property-it's a middle class home. The layout of the place is great and the bones are solid. The kitchen was redone in the 90's (with laminate countertops). The cabinets are in good condition and only need new hardware. However the countertops need replacing. They look very dated. Would I like to have real stone? Of course! But I don't like the colors available on low end granite and I simply cannot justify the expense of the higher end ones or any solid surface material that I like. To me, tile countertops, regardless of material, look like someone couldn't afford a slab. Grout lines are a huge (MASSIVE) turnoff for me. They look incredibly cheap. Tile countertops might actually be a deal-breaker for me. If someone went *that* cheap on their counters, what else did they do on the cheap? (And generally speaking, the homes I've seen with tile countertops also had other obvious and nasty hack jobs throughout the property.) This is my perspective as a potential home buyer. I'd rather see decent laminate than any tile countertop whatsoever.

    Context is an important consideration. Like I said, the property we're (hopefully) buying isn't a luxury one. If it were, granite/solid surface would not only be appropriate, but expected in terms of maintaining property value. However in my (hopeful) townhouse, while some in the neighborhood have installed granite in more recent years, laminate is the norm. Granite simply will not raise this home's resale value considerably. I will never recoup the cost. It might make it more desirable down the road in resale, but that's about it. So I have to weigh several factors. The house needs new floors. Hmmm...high end kitchen counters or wood floors throughout? As far as I'm concerned, that one is a no-brainer. Wood floors it is!

    The kitchen cabinets are white (solid wood) with raised panel doors. I want white subway tiles for the backsplash with polished nickel hardware. Basic? Yes. But subway tiles are a pretty reliable classic and ceramic is appropriate for this house, in this community. I know I can live happily with laminate countertops, because I always have. So after waiting several months (still waiting) for approval on this short sale, I've had plenty of time to think things over and weigh all of my options. Enter my countertop choice: Formica 180fx in Calacatta Marble finish. Anon from upthread might sigh in disgust. That's certainly his/her option. But NONE of the comps in this area or the surrounding areas have tile kitchen countertops. There's a reason for that. I'll stick to laminate thank you very much.

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  58. My husband and I will be building a house again soon. We now live in a log post and beam house so we really had to use higher end products to go with the house. While I have enjoyed the granite counters I'm considering Formica for our next house. We,re going more modern next time. My big concern is how to do the sinks.... I actually want wood edged Formica countertops with a wood top island. My husband thinks I'm crazy but I really like Formica! I think corian is outdated and Formica never goes out of style. I should have been a decorator because I can make anything look cool. I agree with earlier poster that granit is overdone now. I don't like the super hard surface of granit and tile!

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  59. Laminate is GROSS!!!! DISGUSTING!!!!!! how could you suggest it, almost like having linoleum floors,

    I have laminate counters and cannot wait to burn them in the fire pit, I'm am at an impasse however, as I do not allow contractors in my home, I do the work myself or it does not get completed.

    so I guess I will explore more options

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  60. I have lived with tile, formica, granite and Corian and they each have pros and cons. Aa a baker I love granite but it is expensive and requires maintenance. As a parent I love Corian: the stuff is indestructable. As the owner of a midcentury modern house I love formica; the colours are fabulous (I admit I would never choose a granite look, but it is unforgiving to knives and hot pots). As a cottage owner I love tile; it gives during the cold winters and hot summers.
    My favourite solution is too have bright formica with a slab of quartz as a trivet. Quarts requires less care than marble, doesn't dull my knives and can take a hot pot. I don't even get it cut on three sides, i just leave the natural edges.
    My second favourite is engineered stone. Yes crushed, glued and reconstituted marble, gravel and granite. It comes in lots of colours and is practically indestructable. It is also cheap.
    Granite is such a snobbish thing; people want it because it costs money. It is really more suitable for tombstones than kitchens. It doesn't come in bright modern colours, it requires regular maintenance, it gets smears and fingerprints on it, and it is only good for gravel when you redo your kitchen. Marble and granite should be for good furniture not kitchens. As for tile? It tends to be busy looking but can look go in an old world or country kitchen. Personally I hate cooking on it not so much because of the ick factor but because of the lumpy factor.
    As to linoleum floors? , original linoleum is made from linseed oil and cork ('lin' for linseed or flax, 'ol' for 'oil'.) It is renewable, biodegradable, warm on barefeet, and doesn't break your dishes when you drop them on it. It is coming back big time as 'oiled cork flooring.'

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  61. Honestly I have granite tile countertops....and they look damn good if I might say.... I didnt use the cheap granite tiles I actually used pure black with the silver flecks in it called black galaxy. I put the smallest allowable grout lines on them (for expansion etc) and instead of using regular water based grout I actually bought black epoxy grout (no need to seal and staines bacteria etc arent a problem) from far away it looks like 1 solid slab of granite the only time you can tell thats its just tile is when your upclose. I also have cherry cabinets and I opted to put a cherry wood trim on the outside of the counters as an edging of course (sealed very well) I've had this for aprox 5 years and havnt had a single issue to date....the grout is not a problem because it is epoxy microban type I love the way it looks and it cost me 1/3 of what a slab would have cost

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  62. Marble Kitchen Countertops
    This is highly informatics, well-written and smartly described blog. Through this blog blogger has fulfilled his objective to provide maximum information on desired topics in a simple and effective manner. I have really enjoyed reading this blog.

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  63. Wow ... Beautiful interiors. An awesome blog giving so much knowledge and very keen regarding learning. Keep it up well done.

    ReplyDelete
  64. What a sad society we live in that kitchen countertops spawn such vile comments.

    Open up your closed minds, people. There is a whole world out there. The world does not revolve around tile or no tile, granite or no granite countertops. They are not important. They are only countertops.

    Of course a blog by someone in the business who tries to make people spend the most money possible is going to stick up his or her nose on less-expensive options.

    People are suffering in the world. Such misplaced energy is spent on worrying about the the "right" countertop. It's embarrassing to be an American.

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    1. Read the post again. As the "someone in the business", I suggested a LESS EXPENSIVE alternative to granite tile.

      I'm sure people are suffering in the world, but this is the line of work I'm in and my job is to help people make smart decisions about their homes. Thanks for powering through the embarrassment to read the post and comment!

      Delete
  65. You have indeed shown some awful examples of granite tile installations. Even if any of these people had chosen the Formica surfaces, there's no guarantee they'd have chosen complimentary back splashes. Your comparison is somewhat like apples and oranges. When the granite tile is placed against a mismatched background it's obviously going to look worse than an island covered with any other material.

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  66. GRANITE TILE IS SOO WHITE TRASHY. You may as well hang a sign on your door that reads "white trash castle". Seriously, and if your friends/family have told you that your "dang'd ole, high falootin, fancy schmancy granite tile countertops from the flooring department up over yonder at'away" looks good, they were simply sparing your feelings.
    BTW, I do not have granite countertops because I cannot afford them. I did non settle for the rootin tootin damned near cant tell" tiles! hahaha

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  67. My take is this. If you are using granite to impress then you are so funny. You don't even know how insignificant you are. If someone judges you based on your countertops then why would you care a fraction about that person.

    Granite Tile: I have seen some very nice countertops done this way. If you say you never have then you need to get out more.

    Then there are those who would pick laminate over tile because the grout in tile would be a place for germs. OK, what are you going to do, prepare your food on the countertop? Are you going to be cutting? Not on laminate. But serious folks, you people go to restaurants and eat the food without having a clue as to how it was prepared and on what surfaces and by whom. But suddenly you are worried that a freakin grout line might make you sick. LOL.

    It is a matter of opinion. I know a person who has granite tile...that person is a wonderful person. Nobody enters her home and thinks any less of her because she has granite tile. I know another person who is a complete ass. Has granite slabs. I don't like him or think any higher of him because of his granite slabs.

    I have seen many granite tile jobs that I would pick over these laminates.

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  68. Hi Nick, I'm not about to jump into this ridiculous argument of granite tiles vs. no granite tiles. Frankly, I hate the look of the lines and I could give a crap about being able to say "I have granite". My question is an easy one. I have a modest sized kitchen, 12'x18", U-shaped work area with additional countertop surface on the opposite wall. The U-shape area consists of a 6.5' pennisula, natural cherry cabinets, oak floors. For past 23 years, I've had a laminate with wood edging. I want to go Formica again, new edging, but I'm afraid the 180fx series might be too large a pattern (busy) for my kitchen. Maybe I'm better off with something like Formica 6222-RD Brazilian Brown Granite (radiance). I can't decide and I don't want to be sorry afterwards. Thanks, Donna

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    1. Donna- There are a few of the 180fx patterns that have smaller movements. Also, many of the more standard colors are available with the high definition finish like 180fx so you'll still be able to get a great look for you kitchen, much like the radiance finish). I think you'll be really pleased with a nice laminate edge as opposed to the wood edging... You'll notice the durability almost instantly.

      Keep us posted on your progress... As always, we'd love to see pictures!

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  69. Two thing I hate to read............

    My opinion is worth 10 times yours because I have a business card. BLA BLA BLA

    It's more expensive so it's better............

    So how about skip both sides of this argument and go with concrete. It's better than both and can be whatever color, size and shape you want.

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    1. This is a good one...

      Firstly since I do get paid to give my opinion, I would say that it's worth more than someone who doesn't. After all, money is what makes things worth something.

      Secondly, no one said that more expensive is better. In fact, my suggestion as an alternative to granite tile is less expensive.

      Thirdly, concrete is the absolute last suggestion I would make as a suitable alternative to granite tile. It is neither better that both, less expensive than either, or easier to maintain than either.

      Thanks for chiming in, but it was a strike out.

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  70. Haha, I love this post!

    I had the Formica 180FX in Antique Mascarello installed in my kitchen a couple years ago. When I first moved into my house, it was baby blue countertops... (hey, at least it wasn't mauve). For the most part I am happy with the Antique Mascarello. Formica is pretty easy to care for, softer surface in the case of dropped dishes (common with me), and I don't have to worry about stains if I knock over a glass of red wine or accidentally leave a pool of olive oil when cooking.

    But sometimes... usually when I am watching too much HGTV... I wonder if I should have just paid the extra and upgraded to granite, since I was already shelling out so much to replace countertops anyway. But... what are you going to do. I think it's easy to get caught up in "keeping up with the Joneses".

    Still need to do something about the sheet laminate floor that are still, you guessed it, baby blue. Maybe granite tile? (kidding!)

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    1. Thanks for the comment! Good luck with those floors... ;-)

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