Granite remains one of the most popular countertop surfaces for kitchens around the United States. For some homeowners, however, the cost of the stone that they want may put it out of reach. Those homeowners that still want granite in their kitchens, but don’t want to save or wait for a slab sometimes turn to granite tile as an alternative.
Granite tiles are made from the same natural stone that the slab counters are made from. The differences is that while a slab is 2cm to 3cm in thickness, the tiles will run roughly 1/8-inch in thicknesses. This means that while a granite slab counter may sit directly on a run of cabinets without an underlayment, a granite tile counter will need a plywood or MDF underlayment to make up the thickness and give the tiles something to adhere to.
Once install, granite tiles perform on a counter exactly like a granite slab. Both counters need to be sealed on a regular basis, and both need to be washed with a PH neutral cleanser.
The biggest difference between a slab counter and a tile counter is the grout lines. Tile counters by necessity will have numerous grout lines that must be maintained so they do not stain, crack, or collect debris in them.
The other biggest difference is in the installation. Granite tiles will need to be cut on site, and any edges will have to be bullnosed specifically to help give a finished look to the counter. A granite slab is made off site to your exact measurements, and numerous edges and shapes are available for use.
For many people, nothing beats the beauty and durability of a whole granite slab for the kitchen counter. For some, however, granite tiles can make a cost effective alternative to get the look of granite with only a few drawbacks.