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Granite tile countertops: Practical and cost-effective

by Kendall Holmes
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Granite is the countertop material of choice for most of us when there are no other considerations — like money.

Granite holds up to heat. It’s hard to scratch. And it comes in hundreds of colors and styles — nearly all of them shiny and pretty.

Of course, solid granite countertops are also mighty expensive. Typically, they cost $75 to $150 per square foot, meaning they add thousands of dollars to the price of a kitchen job. You could trim the cost some by installing the countertops yourself, but this isn’t exactly a job most do-it-yourselfers will feel comfortable with.

So what are your options if you’re a do-it-yourselfer with an eye for granite but a budget that dictates something less expensive?

Our granite tile countertops

Our granite tile countertops

That was the question Deb and I faced when we rebuilt a large kitchen in our old house.

After exploring many options, we decided that I would build our own countertops using 12 by 12 inch granite tiles.


We knew going into this project that our countertops wouldn’t have exactly the same look as ones made from large slabs of granite. Granite slabs, after all, are usually six feet or more long and two feet wide. These slabs give you long runs of seemless countertops.

Our countertops, by contrast, would have grout lines every foot. And their front edge would be crafted from hardwood moulding rather than stone.

So we knew there would be compromises.

But, as it turned out, I think the job couldn’t have turned out any nicer.

Our countertops are shiny and handsome and practical. They’ll last every bit as long as the cabinets that support them.

And the price was right, too.

The price is right

We spent slightly less than $400 for about 40 square feet of counters and backsplashes. That’s about $10 a square foot — or, roughly what we would have spent to buy post-formed laminte countertops.

And the nice thing about working with granite tile is that this is a job that most do-it-yourselfers could tackle with ease.

Next time I’ll explore the “how-tos” of this job.

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