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Ceramic Tile Countertop Cost

Ceramic Tile Countertop Cost

National average
$1,500
(30sq.ft. handmade tile with V-tile edging)
Low: $500

(30sq.ft. builder-grade white tile with simple bullnose edging)

High: $3,000

(30sq.ft. handmade and hand-painted tile with decorative edging)

Cost to install ceramic tile countertop varies greatly by region (and even by zip code).
Get free estimates from countertop installers in your city.

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Ceramic Tile Countertop Cost

National average
$1,500
(30sq.ft. handmade tile with V-tile edging)
Low: $500

(30sq.ft. builder-grade white tile with simple bullnose edging)

High: $3,000

(30sq.ft. handmade and hand-painted tile with decorative edging)

Cost to install ceramic tile countertop varies greatly by region (and even by zip code).
Get free estimates from countertop installers in your city.

The average cost of installing a ceramic tile countertop is $1,500​.

How Much Does It Cost to Install Ceramic Tile Countertop?

The kitchen countertop gets a lot of use every day and plays a significant role in how your kitchen looks and its overall style. You have many choices for your counter material, and while many people choose slab counters or countertops made of a solid piece of material, it is possible to create a decorative and beautiful countertop using ceramic tile.

Ceramic tile counters are done in patterns, multiple colors, and tiles of all shapes, sizes, and styles. This means getting a completely unique countertop or a countertop that matches some country and farmhouse kitchen styles.

Because many different tile types and edges are used on a countertop, there is a wide range of associated costs. The average cost range for a ceramic tile countertop is $1,050 to $2,000, with most people paying around $1,500 for 30 sq.ft. of handmade tile with bullnose edging.

Ceramic Countertops Prices

Ceramic Tile Installation Costs
National average cost$1,500
Average range$1,050 - $2,000
Minimum cost$500
Maximum cost$3,000


Ceramic Tile Kitchen Countertops Cost by Tile Type

Countertops are a unique area to tile. While most tile is classified as either floor or wall tile, countertops use both types, as long as they meet several conditions. The tiles themselves have a range of costs, depending on their size, how they are made, and the tile type. The following tiles are used for countertops with a few stipulations, which are outlined below:


Ceramic tile kitchen countertops cost by tile type

Ceramic tile kitchen countertops cost by tile type


Type of TileAverage Heater Cost
Machine-made wall tile$1 - $10/sq.ft.
Floor tile$5 - $30/sq.ft.
Glazed terracotta$10 - $30/sq.ft.
Glazed quarry pavers$10 - $50/sq.ft.
Handmade wall tile$20 - $50/sq.ft.


Machine-made Wall Tile

Machine-made wall tile is a thin tile designed for use on walls and is completely extruded and formed by machine. This means that the tiles are uniform in size and shape and have a very even color.

Machine-made wall tiles are ideal for use on countertops as long as they do not have a crackle or crazed finish. Some ceramic tiles are designed with this finish, but any ceramic tile may craze at any time. However, some are more likely to craze than others. Ceramic wall tiles with matte glazes tend to craze less than those with glossy finishes, but most wall tiles are ideal for countertop use. Machine-made tiles have thinner grout lines, which may be desired because it makes maintenance easier. Machine-made wall tiles range in price from $1 to $10 per square foot.

Floor Tile

Floor tile is any ceramic tile graded a 4 or 5 on the Mohs hardness scale. They are larger and thicker than wall tile, with a textured or matte finish. Floor tile holds up well to countertop use, but many ceramic floor tiles do not have matching bullnose, V-tile, or other edging options. If you choose a floor tile, you may need to edge your countertop in another material, either a different tile or something else like wood or MDF. This means your countertop will not have a uniform appearance. If you choose floor tile, consider looking for those that have a matching bullnose edge. Expect costs to be between $5 and $30 per square foot.

Glazed Terracotta

Glazed terracotta is a thick tile made of red clay, usually fired once. It has a rough, rustic appearance that makes a beautiful complement to southwestern-style kitchens. These tiles tend to be slightly uneven, so you have a wider grout joint, and some tiles may have lippage, which is a corner that sticks up higher than the surrounding tiles. Most glazed terracotta tiles are found with bullnose pieces for the edge, but some do not, so you must find out what your edging options are if you choose this tile. They cost around $10 and $30 per square foot.

Glazed Quarry Pavers

If you want a very long-lasting, highly durable tile for your countertop consider glazed quarry pavers. These thick clay tiles were fired in unique beehive-style kilns. They have a matte glaze that is unlikely to craze and a range of edge pieces available, so choose the edge that makes the most sense. They need a wider grout joint than most machine-made wall tiles, so a stain-resistant grout is recommended. Glazed quarry pavers range from $10 to $50 per square foot.

Handmade Tile

Handmade tile is either completely made and glazed by hand or extruded by machine before being cut and glazed by hand. This tile is often thicker, has many more options for size, shape, and glaze, and has a lot of color variation from one tile to the next, providing a more varied and rich-looking countertop. There is a wide range of edge pieces available as well. Handmade tiles require a wider grout joint, and most producers grade or rate their tiles for countertop use. Any floor tile is fine for countertop use. Tiles graded 3 or higher on the Mohs hardness scale are ideal for countertop use, and tiles graded 1 or 2 are used in very light-use situations. Handmade tiles are expensive, ranging from $20 and $50 per square foot.

Ceramic Tile Countertops Cost by Grade

Tiles are graded on the Mohs hardness scale of 1 to 5, one being the most fragile tile and 5 being rated for commercial floor use. Floor tiles are always graded 4 and above, and wall tiles are considered for light floor use, such as a bathroom at 3 or above.

Technically, any tile may be used on countertops, but if you plan on doing a lot of cutting, cooking, baking, and other heavy use, look for tiles rated 3 or above. All tiles of all grades have a wide range of associated costs. It is possible to find some very expensive grade 1 tiles and some very inexpensive grade 5 tiles.

Grade 5 tiles are thicker with a more durable glaze than a grade 1 tile. Unless you are considering a handmade tile, the higher the grade, the more the tile costs. Below is a range of costs for machine-made tile by grade.


Ceramic tile countertops cost by grade

Ceramic tile countertops cost by grade


Tile GradeSuggested UseCost Range
1

Wall

Light countertop

$1 - $10/sq.ft.
2

Wall

Light countertop

$3 - $10/sq.ft.
3

Wall

Countertop

Light floor

$5 - $15/sq.ft.
4

Wall

Countertop

Residential floor

$5 - $20/sq.ft.
5

Wall

Countertop

Commercial and residential floor

$5 - $30/sq.ft.


Countertop Edge Costs

When you tile a countertop, the tiles themselves are only ¼ to ⅜-inch thick, while the countertop itself may be 2 or more inches thick. You need to have a way to finish the edge and turn a corner at the front of the countertop. This is accomplished in a few different ways, depending on your style preference. Each option has a different cost and appearance to consider:


Countertop edge costs

Countertop edge costs


EdgeCost per Piece
Bullnose$0.50 - $15
Quarter Round$1 - $5
Pencil$1 - $10
V-Tile$2 - $20
Molding$2 - $30


Bullnose

This is the simplest way to create an edge. It is a ceramic tile that matches your other tiles, but with a rounded edge. Place this tile so that its rounded edge turns the corner either facing down and lies on the top of the counter or facing up to form the vertical edge. These cost between $0.50 and $15 per piece on average.

Quarter Round

A quarter round is a curved piece of tile that sits on the counter’s exposed edge. You need a full tile on either side of it to complete the edge. Quarter rounds are plain or decorative, and they are used in a contrasting color to the rest of your trim for a more decorative look. They cost between $1 and $5 a piece.

Pencil

A pencil tile is thicker and more prominent than a quarter round but installs in the same way. This tile sticks out slightly more on the edge, bumping out a bit. Because of the way it is positioned, use a pencil edge if you want to change the color or draw attention to it. They range in cost from $1 to $10 a piece.

V-tile

Most tile countertops have a V-tile edge. This is a tile shaped like a V, with two glazed sides forming a 90-degree angle. It fits right over the edge of the countertop, making a nicely defined and finished edge in one piece. They cost between $2 and $20 a piece.

Molding

If you want a more decorative look, choose a molding, such as a chair rail or ogee, to create a tile edge. This attaches to the front of the countertop and extends upward so that the field tile on top dives straight into it. Expect to pay between $2 and $30 a piece.

Labor Costs to Install a Ceramic Tile Countertop

The cost to install a ceramic tile countertop is around $15 a square foot, or $450 for a 30 sq.ft. countertop. You may tile an existing laminate countertop, but more commonly, the countertop is built using cement backer board. The backer board is cut to fit, and the sink hole is cut. It is then screwed down to the countertop and covered in mortar. The mortar is keyed to the correct depth for the tile size, and the tiles are laid and beaten in. The edge tiles are placed along the front and may be taped in place briefly while the mortar cures. After 24 hours, the tile is grouted and cleaned, and the sink is dropped in and installed. The backsplash is usually tiled at the same time.


Modern kitchen with white ceramic countertop


Pros and Cons of Ceramic Countertops

Ceramic countertops are beautiful, decorative, and durable. Ceramic tiles are fired to high temperatures, so they withstand the heat from a pan placed directly on top of them without issue. Many tiles are durable enough to cut on directly, although some require a cutting board. A ceramic tile countertop creates a wide range of looks for your kitchen, often at a much lower cost than a solid slab countertop.

The biggest drawback to a ceramic countertop is the many grout lines. Grout is porous and should either be sealed to prevent staining, or a pre-sealed grout or an epoxy grout should be used. Both pre-sealed grouts and epoxy grouts are very difficult to work with, so they increase the cost of your project, although they impede staining and help your counter stay looking great for longer.

Ceramic vs Porcelain Countertops

Another great option for a tile counter is porcelain tile. Porcelain is a clay tile, but it is made of clay dust that has been tightly compacted, and then fired to extremely high temperatures. This makes the tile much denser and more durable. Porcelain is often unglazed, so the color goes right through.

Porcelain tiles resist staining and cracking, and because there is no glaze, they never craze or require sealing. However, many porcelain tiles do not have bullnose tiles or edge options for finishing a countertop. Your installer needs to create bullnose on-site, which is not an option with some tiles.

In addition, porcelain tiles do not have the same range of color or size as ceramic tiles, so your options are more limited. Porcelain and ceramic countertops cost roughly the same. However, if your installer creates bullnose edging, your installation costs could be much higher.

Glaze Considerations for Ceramic Countertops

Ceramic tiles are always glazed, making the tile water-resistant and impervious to staining. However, not all glazes are created equally, and not all glazes are ideal for countertop use.

Crazed or crackle finishes should be avoided because they stain and are difficult to clean. If your tile crazes over time, seal the crazed tile to prevent staining.

Green glazes are usually made with copper, which reacts badly when it comes in contact with acids, such as lemon juice or tomatoes. Most glossy green glazes, particularly dark green, are not rated for countertop use. Light, pale green and matte glazes may be rated for countertop use but check with the manufacturer.

Most metallic glazes are also not rated for countertop use because they frequently contain copper, aluminum, and other metals that react badly with acids.

Ceramic Tile Countertop Maintenance

Ceramic tile countertops are fairly low maintenance. Wash them with your preferred cleaner as needed, and unless they are crazed, the tiles do not require sealing.

However, the biggest maintenance need of these countertops is the grout. Grout is made of cement and is porous and stains. You must either seal the grout yearly to prevent staining or use a pre-sealed or epoxy grout to prevent staining and keep your countertop easy to clean and care for.

Enhancement and Improvement Costs

Painting Ceramic Countertops

Ceramic tile is paintable if you want to change the color of the tile. Use a urethane-based paint and a primer. Edge each tile first, then paint the center. If you wish to change the color of the grout, you must use a grout paint for this. Do not use regular paint on the grout. Professional painters charge roughly $50 an hour for their work, so the smaller the tiles, the longer this job takes and the higher the cost.

Disposal of Old Countertop

If you are removing an old countertop, you need to pay a disposal fee of around $50 to have it taken away.

Backsplash Installation

Tiling a countertop is a great time to tile the backsplash as well. A ceramic tile backsplash costs around $900 to install.

Drywall Repair

Sometimes during the removal of old countertops or backsplashes, the drywall may be damaged and need repair. The cost to repair drywall is around $180 on average.

Cooktop

If you have a cooktop, you need to have it on hand or have the template nearby prior to tiling the counter so that a hole is cut and left for it. This may add a cost of $100 to the project.

Sink

You have two options for sink installation with a tile countertop - drop-in and tile-in. Drop-in sinks are hung from the countertop by their edge and do not change the installation cost. Tile-in sinks are flush with the counter and add another $50 - $100 to the project cost.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • If you have a laminate countertop, you may tile directly on top of it, which saves the cost of removing the old countertop and installing the new backer board.
  • You need a minimum of 10% extra material plus one or two additional edge pieces in case of waste, breakage, or future repairs. If you use a highly variegated tile or are creating a complex pattern, increase this to 20%.
  • Your installer may offer discounts if you have other areas tiled at the same time, such as the backsplash or kitchen floor.
  • Ceramic and porcelain tile countertops resist heat well because they were fired to such high temperatures, so a hot pad is generally not needed.

FAQs

  • Is ceramic tile good for kitchen countertops?

Yes, ceramic tile makes an excellent material for a kitchen countertop. Just keep the grout sealed to avoid staining.

  • Do ceramic countertops increase the resale value of a house?

​Ceramic countertops do not increase the resale value of a house. However, a new countertop is associated with recently remodeled spaces, which increases the value of a home.

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Cost to install ceramic tile countertop varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Modern kitchen with white ceramic countertop

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Alexandria, VA
+2%
Allen, TX
+23%
Anchorage, AK
+35%
Andover, MN
+8%
Antioch, CA
+30%
Asheville, NC
-18%
Ashland, NH
+22%
Athens, GA
-9%
Atlanta, GA
+24%
Austin, TX
+13%
Bakersfield, CA
-6%
Baltimore, MD
+12%
Baton Rouge, LA
+19%
Birmingham, AL
+6%
Charleston, SC
-1%
Charlotte, NC
+6%
Chelsea, MA
+36%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Chico, CA
-14%
Cincinnati, OH
+6%
Coldwater, MI
-21%
Columbus, OH
+5%
Corona, CA
+19%
Dallas, TX
+10%
Denver, CO
+1%
Eugene, OR
-11%
Fargo, ND
-1%
Fishers, IN
+9%
Fort Worth, TX
+6%
Garland, TX
+8%
Glendale, AZ
-2%
Goodyear, AZ
-2%
Hartford, CT
+23%
Hesperia, CA
-1%
Hollywood, FL
0%
Houston, TX
+24%
Huntsville, AL
-17%
Jacksonville, FL
-1%
Joliet, IL
+25%
Lake City, FL
-38%
Lake Worth, FL
-2%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Laurel, MT
-12%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Louisville, KY
-7%
Lufkin, TX
-37%
Marietta, GA
+10%
Marysville, WA
-14%
Mcdonough, GA
-11%
Memphis, TN
+11%
Labor cost in your zip code
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