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What are the best modern tile countertop ideas for your kitchen? (including cost and maintenance)

“Always pick your yard based on your Summer lifetstyle.”


October 10, 2019 - Karl Yeh

Planning on a renovating or installing new kitchen tile countertops? What are the best types of tile? How about the latest designs? In this episode, we discuss new countertop tiles for your kitchen, benefits of each, maintenance and price. We also review some tile countertop ideas, combinations and trends. 

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What we discussed:

Hi everyone. I'm Karl. Welcome to another Homebuyer's School video, a channel where you get the latest strategies, tactics, and tips from experts to help you with your home buying journey.

Now remember, if this is your first time on this channel, and you want to get the latest strategies from the experts, [00:00:30] hit the subscription button below. Hit the little notification bell so you don't miss anything.

Karl Yeh:          

Today I'm joined by Mackenzie Schurer, interior designer with Brookfield Residential and topic we're going to talk about today is countertop ideas for your kitchen. Mackenzie, before we begin, because I know we have the examples here,

What are some types of countertops that we could use for a kitchen?

Mackenzie Schurer:     

Yeah, so we've got five of our stone options laid out here.

We've got on the far end the marble, that's a natural stone. [00:01:00] Quartz, which is a manmade product.

This is another quartz, just to show a bit more of a marble look.

We've got natural quartzite, so either natural quartz or quartzite, and then granite.

Karl Yeh:          

What are the benefits of each type?

Mackenzie Schurer:    

The benefit of the natural products, whether it's the marble, the quartzite, or the granite, are that they are unique, not two pieces are, no two pieces are the same.

Each one is going to have its own character, they're going to [00:01:30] have a bit of personality to them and you can really pick what appeals to you.

The benefits of the quartz are that they are consistent so you know what you're getting. They're also generally a lower maintenance product.

Karl Yeh:          

When you pick the natural ones and you mentioned no two things are like, what does that mean? Do you mean the design of it, there's no two things are?

Mackenzie Schurer:   

Yeah, the way the pattern comes out. Once it's sourced and then polished down, each piece is going to look a little bit different [00:02:00].

When you're picking  a granite, quartzite or a marble, it's important to actually go and choose the exact piece of stone that you want installed in your home so that you know exactly what it's going to look like.

Some pieces might have more of this veining through it. Some might be a little bit more plain, more white, more yellow.

It's just important to see.

Karl Yeh:           And why would you use one over the other?

Mackenzie Schurer:     

Other than aesthetics, obviously each one looks very different and unique. It would be more function I think.

You'd want to go with, if you want something lower maintenance that requires no sealing, no [00:02:30] concern about stains or discolouration, you'd go with more of a manmade quartz.

To go with a natural product there is a little bit of maintenance depending on which one there is, but it does offer that uniqueness and character.

Countertop maintenance

Karl Yeh:          

And when you're talking about more countertops in terms of maintenance, let's say we went with the natural ones. How often would you need to, I think you mentioned sealing them, cleaning them, how often would you need to do it?

Mackenzie Schurer:     

There are sort of two categories.

If you're going with a natural marble, which we do very [00:03:00] often, you do need to seal it up to every six months depending on how heavily it's being used.

It is susceptible to staining, even if it is sealed. If you leave red wine on there for any amount of time or pasta sauce or acids especially.

Karl Yeh:           it'll have the red mark.

Mackenzie Schurer:     

Yep. Or acids will cause it to etch a little bit so it'll dull it out. Marble's a little bit more susceptible to that. Quartzite and granite are both very hard stones.

They're not going to chip or crack the same way maybe a marble could, [00:03:30] but they do require a sealing probably every year.

Karl Yeh:           Every year?

Mackenzie :      Yeah.

What happens if you stain marble?

Karl Yeh:          

Okay. And let's say you did get a stain on this. What can you do to, or you can't?

Mackenzie Schurer:     

Not much. No. Marble, one of the reasons people love it, the reason you see it in restaurants or more traditional homes is some people really love that patina and the character it gains over time.

If you're somebody that doesn't like that, then one of the other materials may be a better choice for your lifestyle.

Karl Yeh:          

Got it. And I know one of the questions we got in a previous [00:04:00] video we did and if you want to take a look at that video, it's on marble versus quartz versus granite. You can watch it up here.

but one of the questions we received is,

Can you actually put I guess hot material like a pot or pan on directly on the natural countertops?

Mackenzie Schurer:

The natural stones you can, yeah, because they come from nature and they will not break down or stain with that. It's the manmade quartz because it uses a polymer or a resin.

[00:04:30] That material in itself is susceptible to scorching or cracking.

Karl Yeh:           You could see the burn on it for manmade.

Mackenzie Schurer:    Yeah, or you'll get a crack further down the stone somewhere.

Karl Yeh:          

What other things do you need to do from a manmade perspective that you need to, I guess, maintain your countertop?

Mackenzie Schurer:     

There's, other than just daily care, wiping it down, for some of them, soap and water is fine.

Your supplier will provide you with specific instructions based on whichever one you got.

There are typically granite [00:05:00] cleaners and daily sealers for something like these two natural ones, especially marble, you might want to look at something a little bit different, but it'll really depend on what they provide for you at the supplier.

Karl Yeh:          

And then for the manmade ones you said you don't have to maintain it as much, so you can pretty much just kind of just your generally clean?

Mackenzie Schurer:    Just wipe it down.

Karl Yeh:           That's it?

Mackenzie Schurer:    

Yeah, you really don't have to do anything. There's no ongoing maintenance with these.

The only thing that you will want to avoid with maybe some of the bright whites is [00:05:30] a direct UV light.

Some of the really pure whites can sort of yellow over time depending on the brand and the formula.

But I wouldn't use this in an outdoor kitchen as a white, but in general there no maintenance long term.

Tile countertop kitchen ideas

Karl Yeh:          

Got it. Got it. Let's talk about actual ideas for your kitchen.

Can you mix and match? Could you have kind of manmade and natural all at the same time?

Mackenzie Schurer:    

Yeah, absolutely.

Often what we'll see is someone will go with more of a natural or a unique stone [00:06:00] as a showcase on an island or a peninsula where it's really center of attention and then maybe the perimeter you go with a coordinating solid or a quieter print just to really focus and feature that primary stone.

That will also help manage cost a little bit.

The manmade quartz comes in so many colours that you'll easily be able to coordinate a natural with a manmade, which is nice.

Cost of tile countertops

Karl Yeh:          

Which from a budget perspective, what would be I guess cheaper or what would be more expensive? I would [00:06:30] imagine the natural one would be a little bit more expensive?

Mackenzie Schurer:    

Yeah. The more unique, the more exotic. Less supply, more demand.

They're a little bit more money. Same thing with the quartz though.

Some of these patterns are a little bit more difficult to manufacture, so they're going to be a higher price point than something like a solid.

The composition of these two, the care and the quality are the same, but the pattern is what makes it more expensive.

Marble tends to be a little less depending on your region compared to these two.

But granite specifically comes in a wide range of prices, just [00:07:00] depending on the pattern and the coloring.

Karl Yeh:          

If somebody were to actually start thinking about ideas in terms of the type but also the design of their countertops, what are some things that they would probably want to look for?

Mackenzie Schurer:    

I think the type of countertop is really what you want to look at first because the function of it and the function of your space is the most important.

If you're a family with young children, I think you just go right to something that's low maintenance unless you're okay having that sort of day to day [00:07:30] management or cleaning of those, that's fine.

I think aesthetics come in after that.

If you know you're somebody that really loves, that doesn't mind doing that little extra care and that will do the maintenance longterm, these are gorgeous products.

Both of the natural quartzite and the granite will be relatively low maintenance day to day. It's just whether you like that variation in the color.

Karl Yeh:          

Got it. Does it matter if you have a kitchen that's on an island versus a I guess a regular kitchen that there is no island? Does it matter or is it more of what [00:08:00] you prefer?

Mackenzie Schurer:  

I don't think so. If you want to switch materials I definitely would switch it up perimeter and island.

I don't think you want to switch as you kind of come around to a peninsula or anything like that, but no, I think you can pick whatever material works for you.

They're going to be installed in a really similar way.

Countertop combinations and trends

Karl Yeh:          

And I just want to go back to the combinations of what are some of the, I guess the trends or the combinations that you've seen in today's homes?

Mackenzie Schurer:

In general, we're seeing most [00:08:30] homeowners going with one color throughout and I think that just speaks to the trend in kitchen cabinetry that we're getting a lot of mixes of colors in the base cabinets and upper cabinets, open shelves, things like that.

There's more going on there. That sort of lends itself more to keeping the same finish throughout so that everything is unified really nicely.

Question of the day

Karl Yeh:          

The question of the day I have for you is:

What are some countertop ideas that you have, that you want to share? And what material did you prefer and why?

Let us know in the comment section [00:09:00] below.         

Now, if you want to know more about granite, quartz or marble countertops, check out this video here as well as our other interior design videos right here.

And I'll catch you in our next video.


Your turn:

Let us know if you have additional home design or home buying questions that we can answer by submitting them in the comments section below. 

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