Is this the best countertop for a rental??

37 Replies

Hey guys,

anyone who has rehabbed for rent has gone through this decision for kitchen counters, tile aint too hip and grout gets nasty, granite can easily be stained and is pricey, laminate and solid surface can be burned. With that in mind I tried a new approach on my last rehab. Giant porcelain tiles (32x32) which left me with a very small number of grout lines (used epoxy for those) I was really worried I would not be able to get these hugh tiles to set level but it came out much better than I thought. So what do you guys think, best counters for a rental?

Very nice!  Can easily get left overs / remnants cheap for a small project like this as well I bet.  Do you have to seal it in any way @Will G. ?

Interesting. I think concrete countertops might have you beat in durability, but they are difficult to get right. We thought about doing that in one of our units, but the weight is an issue too. 

Great idea! I have some friends who were remodeling consultants for a while, and what you came up with was exactly what they recommended to everyone, not just landlords. There's still the nosing and the backsplash to do, but I like your idea! (What IS your nosing?)

Carol, the skirting is the same material with schluter metal trim between the two.

Lucas, I have to disagree, I used to make a living with decoritive concrete including counters. I also have concrete counters in my personal home and they require much care(sealing) and can easily be chipped and cut into. This particular tile is 7/16 thick so a lot less weight than granite

Steve,  did the whole kitchen, about 45 square feet for under $500 and never requires sealing

I really like the tile...Looks good and certainly durable.


@Will G.

any chance of a closeup of the nose profile & the grout line joint

thanks

What brand / color tile is that?  I might have to try that!

I would like to see a closeup too!

I typically use one of Home Depot or Lowes cheap granite countertops.  Depending on the location and the season, they are usually $25-$35 a square foot which includes installation. Each place has 4 to choose from in this price range.  I find that the price is essentially the same cost to the installed price of laminate. The one I use most often is Home Depot's Baltic Brown.

They may be inexpensive but I vote "no" on best countertop. They are way too fragile, and anything heavy dropped on them like a can of peas, a pot or a heavy dish is going to break them. I would go with either laminate or granite, even a low-end granite - something that you either swap out in a few years when it looks rough or can take just about anything a tenant can throw at it. 

FWIW, I have 18" porcelain floor tiles at my house and despite sitting on a solid subfloor and 1/2" concrete board, with the high-end most flexible thinset available, about 5 or 6 of them have hairline cracks where my wife has dropped a can or similar. 

Originally posted by @Lucas Miller :

Interesting. I think concrete countertops might have you beat in durability, but they are difficult to get right. We thought about doing that in one of our units, but the weight is an issue too. 

 good point on the weight!!!

We had granite installed & as usual I reinforced all the cabinets to take the weight especially around the undercount sink edging. The 36inch lazy susan had a door that spun around with the shelving and the weight of the granite depressed the top corner supports just enough that I had to shave the top & bottom of the door to avoid it jamming on the top/bottom edges. 

Originally posted by @Will G. :

Carol, the skirting is the same material with schluter metal trim between the two.

Lucas, I have to disagree, I used to make a living with decoritive concrete including counters. I also have concrete counters in my personal home and they require much care(sealing) and can easily be chipped and cut into. This particular tile is 7/16 thick so a lot less weight than granite

Steve,  did the whole kitchen, about 45 square feet for under $500 and never requires sealing

 I hadn't thought about that. How often do you seal them? I would like to have them in my personal kitchen, but not if it is constant upkeep.

Creative! Love it.

All my rentals are granite, its cheap, durable, and the tenants like it.

Concrete is cool but around here not enough people do it, or if they do its in a higher end house so the price is high.

just got my first buy and hold property that I will rent in a year in a half. It will be a minor rehab and I am looking into switching the laminate counter tops to concrete. Thanks for posting about these tiles something to definitely go look at in the future. 

Originally posted by @Lucas Miller :

Interesting. I think concrete countertops might have you beat in durability, but they are difficult to get right. We thought about doing that in one of our units, but the weight is an issue too. 

@Lucas Miller,

I think they also do concrete overlays (1/2 inch armed concrete on top of existing countertop or plywood sandwich structure)

I would be interested in the durability of these countertops (tile) as well.  Concrete is nice, but too much care.  I vote plywood with plexiglass on it!  

@Will Grabert,

you have a nice setup over there. like the colors.

with others i too subscribe to better pictures of grout lines and nose profile.

also if you can report back in some time about the "toughness" of this solution in real life.

much appreciated.


On the concrete counters, I did try one rental with that and regret it. They do require much care and ultimately depend on the sealer used to protect the concrete. I would love granite but lite color will show stains from oils left on the surface. And around here cost was $39 a square foot while the tile came in at under $10 s/f.The large tiles I used here are ker tiles(kertile.com) and because of the large size they are much thicker than a smaller tile. Kinda liked the plywood and plexiglas idea! 

@Will G. I think that Porcelain tile is a great choice and very smart move on using epoxy grout.  Most people don't know about that.  I prefer quartz counter tops for their durability and maintenance.  The $10 per sq. ft. is SO very attractive.  My concern with tiles just over time them becoming loose.  Great work in going the extra step on using the Schlutter profile for the edges.  Very smart move.  

I can get granite at $25-30/ft for a base level color  so I've been using that more often on my rentals.  It's it's a galley kitchen with a straight run I'll usually just buy laminate but when you have a couple of 45's the price for all the laminate starts to get up close to what I'd pay for granite. 

Your tile looks pretty good for tile and is way better than having a lot of grout joints but I don't think granite would have cost a whole lot more after you factor in labor.  I would worry about someone cracking that.....something heavy falls out of a cabinet and that could be the end of it.

Just wanted to follow up w pics of the edge detail. Thanks for all the input.

Have the tile counters held up well so far?

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