Help! Is granite tile really less expensive than slab granite? I really want to redo my countertops with granite but cannot afford it. Is this a good option?
To answer your first question; yes, granite tile costs less than slab granite. So far as the second question goes, the answer is as resounding a no as I can muster.
Granite tile looks like crap on a counter and there's nothing you can do to make it look good. Worse, there's nothing you can do to perform well. Granite tile counters may look like a good option because they're relatively cheap. But believe me, it's a short term gain.
I don't like to think in terms of resale value and I realize I'm alone in that. So with that said, think about this. Installing them will add nothing to the value of your home and may even detract from it.
Functionally, they stink too. It is impossible to fully seal grout. It will always discolor and it will always harbor the residue of whatever's been prepared on it. Remember too that where there's food residue, there's also bacteria and mold. Ugh. Bacteria and molds are fascinating when they're in a petri dish or on a microscope slide, but I don't want them colonizing my kitchen counters.
Seriously, when an alternative is drastically cheaper than what you really want, think twice before you act. Just as with everything else in life and not just kitchen counters, unusually low prices are a warning sign. Or they should be at any rate. If somebody offered you a new 700-series BMW for $10,000 what would you think?
Not everybody wants to spend a couple thousand dollars on new counters and that's OK. There is nothing wrong with having other priorities for your money. So rather than wasting it on granite tile counters, why not look to laminates?
Laminates are the whipping boy of the counter world and it's unfair. They get maligned by purveyors of such things as solid surface, but I'd put laminate counters in my house before I thought of anything else were I in your position. Laminates are workhorses and they're available in more colors and patterns than you can imagine. When you approach something like laminate, let it look like laminate and don't go for patterns that imitate other materials. Just as granite tile looks cheesy when it's made into a counter, so too do laminates that pretend to be granite. Here are a handful of laminate patterns from Formica, probably the best-known laminate manufacturer out there.
Chin up man, and remember it's not that you can't afford granite. Rather, it's that you'd rather spend your money another way. Semantics? Sure it is, but you create your life every time you open your mouth.