The downfalls to a tiled kitchen counter are as follows:
1. The gaps between the tiles collect any water that gets on the counter, creating little rivers that flow right onto the floor. This has caused endless puddles and wet socks. Not my favourite thing.
2. The surface is bumpy instead of smooth. This has caused more problems for Joe, who loves to bake pies. You can't roll out dough on a bumpy surface. It is also challenging to cut anything on the counter.
3. Wiping the counter requires above-average elbow grease, as all crumbs and seeds and coffee grounds etc etc. love to cling to the gaps between the tiles.
4. Because the countertop is such a highly used space, the grout can get damaged, leaving the counter looking NOT so nice, dirty and cheap. After living here for about 16 months, they looked like this:
Fortunately, while it is not in the budget to replace the countertop right now to fix problems #1, #2 and #3 (and may never be in this home...) I did find a simple and easy-to-do solution that repairs problem #4, making my counters look brand-spanking-new!
When cleaning under my kitchen sink the other week, I discovered a bottle of a "Grout Renew" product that the previous owners must have hidden there. All I did was apply the product between the tiles using a tooth brush. It is important to also wipe off any excess that gets onto the actual tiles...I used a rag for this.
Let it dry for 72 hours, et Voilà, my counters look brand new again! My next project with this same technique will be the bathroom floors. Can't wait! Oh, and I'm sure this could be used in shower tiles, or any other tiles for that matter.
The moral of the story is: If you are considering installing tiles as a countertop, I would highly recommend against it. But, if you are in the same predicament as I am, at least we can keep em' pretty!