Countertops: tile, butcher block or ?


Old 08-10-16, 12:01 PM
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Countertops: tile, butcher block or ?

Hello I'm stuck trying to decide what countertop material for two different counters.

Counter A (see pics) is cheap laminate with a rounded front and a backsplash that hits just under the window sill.

Counter B is attached to existing cabinetry. There is a 1" ledge next to one of the cabinet uppers. It was hastily covered with vinyl tile when I moved in (the ex inlaws did a lot of stuff crappily while I was at work) and it's starting to fall off the backsplash.

I just had my first tiling experience in the bathroom and it went OK considering how angular and plaster-ridden the bathroom was. These surfaces will be easier to start with, however I'm reading some people don't enjoy tile counters once they're in- Hard to write on, glasses wobble, etc.

The desired look is a retro farmhouse kitchen that's a little elegant. Considering the roll-top laminate makes me lean towards tearing the top off and getting a slab of wood on there. I assume the other surface (B) would need a join to accommodate the narrow L-shaped protrusion.

Saw a couple of articles about tiling over rounded laminate and I expect I'd have to trim the curves off or put some kind of shims in if I went that route.

The vision is to splurge on some tin backsplash for B and find plain, affordable countertops; get a white cast iron sink (apron front if I can manage); and reface the lower laminate cabinets on A with some mitered trim and paint. Change the hardware for nickle handles/cup pulls and a new ceiling fan..and thats it. I'm planning to pay someone to tile the floor (probably something neutral or wood-like) since I've got a cervical spine protrusion and need to limit the lifting.

A lot of advice says not to renovate to your taste if you're thinking of listing for sale but these materials in place look SO cheap I'm convinced I'm doing right by the house.

So, tile, wood, or another option? I'm guessing it would it be goofy to have one of each?

Countertop "A"
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Countertop "B"
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Thanks for your help cant wait to hear back!

Last edited by PJmax; 08-15-16 at 10:32 AM. Reason: removed dup pics
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Old 08-10-16, 01:04 PM
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Welcome to the forums! Butcher block looks good, is expensive, and won't take many of the things you have in a kitchen, like hot pots, dropped skillets (denting), knife blades for example.

I removed our yukky countertops in both our house and weekend rental cabin and applied Advantech subflooring, 1/4" Durock, and 12 x 12 tile, jammed together, unsanded grout and oak trim. Total invested, probably $100 on each kitchen. Just an idea. See picture.

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Old 08-15-16, 06:15 AM
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Chandler that looks really nice.

Over the weekend I picked up a tip that it's OK to use any floor-rated tile that doesn't pillow for the countertop. Then a couple options occurred to me: wood-look tiles or using wood veneer cut from a paper pattern to resolve going around the long L-shaped cutout in the counter without making a joint.

I'm searching for "irregular shaped wood countertop" for tips and am only getting natural bark edged wood tops.
Old 08-15-16, 06:34 AM
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I really like what you did. You just butted the tiles together? The grout stayed put even in such a small crevice between tiles?
Old 08-15-16, 08:32 AM
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I tiled the counter tops in our kitchen with white tile and white grout and while it looks nice it's difficult to keep the white grout clean. If I had it to do over again I'd probably go along the route of what Larry did.

IMO wood isn't a good choice for kitchen tops. Moisture can hurt it's looks especially if it gets below the sealer used on the surface. Any gaps between the pieces of wood make great placed for food/dirt to hide The tool room in my shop has some used cabinets with old pine flooring for the top and while it works great out there I'm not sure it would be a good option in a kitchen or bath.
Old 08-15-16, 09:12 AM
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It sounds like you are looking for counter top options that can be wrapped around the upper cabinet leg. That's a compromise and you can have any top you like.
You can remove the upper cabinets and reinstall after counter is installed.
The left leg/end panel will have to be cut cleanly.
You can get help here on how to remove and reinstall the uppers, but it's very doable and commonplace when getting new counters.
Old 08-15-16, 10:04 AM
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Brian - Thanks for the response addressing the cabinet leg. Wasn't even sure what to call the problem. Moving the uppers is more work than I can commit to with my health / work schedule / budget.

The house already has tons of "personality" so I was considering using an ikea or salvaged wood top on the sink side and tiling the leg-cabinet one, but really think the two need to match. I've seen examples of a stone/tile countertop and butcher block island, but not two different countertops.

I'm going to price out options for either a tin backsplash or doing herringbone with the very affordable 3x6" white subway tile from the bargain outlet and then look for dark floor tiles for complementary counters that are soapstone-like.
Old 08-15-16, 02:13 PM
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Norm, yes, I used unsanded grout and it has stayed pretty well. I guess the irregularities in the tiles themselves allowed for the grout to adhere pretty well. Have more $ in oak than in the other components.

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