200 year old house countertop questions [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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08-18-2004, 12:11 PM
I am in the process of remodeling my kitchen and have decided to go with tile. Tho i have not decided what size, the grout lines seem to be a huge problem. I have been recommended the use of Latacrete,, a cure and daveco as grout. Does anyone know which one would last the longest? (sorry i am so new at this kind of thing, but i wish to make a lot of mistakes in my choice of products) as i have to live with this kitchen for a while. Anyone have any suggestions? Our house is about 200 years old literally, and i think out of everything ive looked at tile is the only thing that looks like it would look ok in this place

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08-18-2004, 12:12 PM
pardon me i misspelled a product name, i meant to type c cure

08-18-2004, 12:17 PM
Pardon me again, but i also forgot to mention the tile i was speaking of willl be on the countertop, and also the flooring

Steven Hauser
08-18-2004, 03:06 PM
Hi there,

Iam going to mak you your own thread.

The C cure and Laticrete sanded and unsanded grouts are fine. I don't know Daveco.

Have you ever thought of soapstone slabs?


08-18-2004, 03:43 PM
200 years ago they wouldn't have had tile or soapstone. They didn't have bathrooms, either.

My suggestion is to use black and white mosiacs, which would give the place a nice turn of the century look.

Steven Hauser
08-18-2004, 04:52 PM
200 years ago they wouln't have black and white tiles either in the kitchen. They would, at the turn of century, both the 20th and 21st, have had both soapstone and mosaics.


08-18-2004, 07:33 PM
I agree with Steven. Soapstone slabs go back quite a while as the material is soft enough to work with primitive hand powered equipment as opposed to the fancy diamond tools that make all of this "granite " possible today. Soapstone blocks have been carved into sinks for a long time now. And as for mosaics, I believe that those uncovered at Pompey and Herculenium pre date the 19th century by about a thousand years.

08-18-2004, 07:49 PM
OOPS :bang: I think I miss spoke. Those mosaic floors I mentioned pre date the 19th century by about 2000 years :rolleyes: :uhh: :rolleyes:

Steven Hauser
08-19-2004, 06:53 AM

I was wrong in wording. I should have said they were not using them for kitchen counter tops in the late 18th century in the USA.

Ancient Byzantine and Persian mosaics are quite exquisite.

Thanks JVC


08-19-2004, 09:00 AM
May I jump in...

I assume the home is late colonial - we all know who the "colonial" expert around here is...I hope JB chimes in - I'd like to hear what he has to say.

But, I will say that although mosiacs predate just about everything (ha), it doesn't mean they would be appropriate in a late colonial style home. Or any home for that matter built in the US 200 yrs ago.

I would suggest doing some research and talking to an architectural historian(s) about what is period appropriate for the area the home was built in. If historical restoration is in fact the look you're trying for.
There must not be too many 200yr old homes about - I think IMHO it would be great to keep it's original style as much as possible.

If not - well, soapstone, granite, tile, mosiacs - the possibilities are of course endless...

Derek & Jacqui
08-19-2004, 03:59 PM
The house we had in England was built in 178walls 18 inches thick solid granite blocks, we couldn't change the outside but inside was quite modern, so what ever you like goes.

08-27-2004, 01:32 PM
I have decided to use the smaller 4 inch white tiles for counter top. I have looked at granites and soapstones, neither of which i care for AND they look out of place to me in a house this old. The old houses i have seen in the past were done in tiles, which kind of lead me to this decision. Do they make a soapstone tile? and it is durable? We are also putting tile down on the flooring also. Im more concerned about the grouting than anything, i dont want to have to always be sealing this countertop. Do any of you have a site you can recommend that i shop?

08-27-2004, 01:35 PM
Dont you have to reseal or bother with soapstone also? I would like it to be as maintenence free as possible. I thought white tile with white grouting on the 200 year old liter pine cabinets would looks nice.

08-27-2004, 01:46 PM
I should also say that this house is the old dog trot style home. We have enclosed the front and rear openings and have attempted to keep it as close to style as possible. This place is so old that the nails in it were hand made by slaves. They are all square. We would like to keep it as close to original as possible, short of relaying old wooden blocks as kitchen counters, lol. I feel that the small white tile with grout is my best option to date. I wil not have formica in my house, its horrid. Id also like to ask if there are any sites or links to that i may get a few ideas on island design. We are adding a 4 by 7 foot island also, but i need to see a few more designs before i decide for sure what i want. The stove top and oven will be on the island also.

08-27-2004, 02:32 PM
I am responding not because I am one of the pro's here, on the contrary I am learning from them. I am responding because I too have a approx 200 Y.O. home with tile Kitchen countertops. I put them in when I re-did the kitchen about 10 yrs ago. U-Shaped counters that were by necessity out of square because the room was built that way. attached breakfast bar also. I knew any type of normal counter would be a nightmare & chose to tile. I'd do it again (as a matter of fact we are thinking about re-doing it to get a different look)
As far a grout used I used epoxy grout & have NEVER had a problem with it. It's the toughest stuff I ever seen. A little nasty to work with but I did it sucessfully & it was my 1st tile job. The only problem I've noticed is the grout has cracked where the counter meets the backsplash. If I'd known about this forum then It would have been done better. I would have caulked there for expansion/contraction. Its barely noticable & causes no problem so it will stay that way.
I could post a picture for ideas if you'd like.

08-27-2004, 02:52 PM
Thanks, that would be lovely!! I need some new ideas!!!!

08-27-2004, 02:58 PM
OK, glad to.
I am still at work & have some errands to run when I get home but I need to post a couple of questions on my thread this evening so I will do it later this evening.

08-27-2004, 05:45 PM
I'm a bit curious about why you have decided to use 4" white square tiles? For a kitchen, I think you will want something that is a bit more durable. What sort of finish will your kitchen cabinets have? There are a lot of tiles choices out there, and "tight white 4"by4"" is awful pedestrian for such a treasure of a house as you seem to have.
Best of luck,

08-27-2004, 08:31 PM
As promised, here are a few photos of our kitchen. I just checked, it has been done since 92'. The counter top has an Oak front trim on it. I put it on flush with the tiles & then grouted. It could use refinishing but has really held up very well. The grout is a bit darker on the countertop where it gets all the use than the backsplash. NO grout has ever come out. We do not baby the kitchen. I walk on the counters when cleaning the window & the stuff on the upper cabinets. No cracks except where mentioned above. No cement board. No floating joints. All I did was put down VERY securely 3/4" hardwood plywood. Across the diswasher cavity and on the breakfast bar there is double thickness, glued & screwed together. Again, I used sanded epoxy grout.

Also, I agree with Schaghnn on the white tiles. We rented a house with all white tiled kitchen counter. Kinda sterile looking. A mixture of some black diagonal border tiles might make it a bit more nostalgic, but you don't want it to look 50ish either. When I get done with my current project we may redo the kitchen. We've looked at them tiles a long time.

John Bridge
08-28-2004, 12:25 PM
Very nice looking kitchen, Ken. ;)

Hi Judy, Welcome aboard. Go ahead and register so you can post pictures. We do not sell your email addy, and our cookies are friendly ones. ;)

I don't know a lot about houses of that period -- which would have been the early post colonial period, maybe. ;) Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison and a bunch of the other were getting up there, but they were still going strong during this period, and the War of 1812 would have been still in the future. :)

I know quite a bit about Tom Jefferson's house because he kept a detailed journal of its construction. Fact is Montecello had no kitchen per se-- none in the house, that is. There was a cook house out back where food was prepared and then carried into the dining room. The countertops in the cook house were wood planks.

There is a sort of pantry where the serving staff kept condiments, utensils, dishes, etc. Dumbwaiters in the dining room carried wine and fruits up from the cellar below.

I guess my point is that houses that old didn't have kitchens as we know them, so I think that anything tasteful will do. You won't be able to do anything "period." :)

By the way, not all houses were built with square cut nails in those days. Jefferson, for one, manufactured (his slaves manufactured) nails cut from coils of wire that he imported. So Jefferson nails were round. :)

Agree with Shaughnn that 4-1/4 tiles should not be used. They are "pedestrian" for sure, and they are also very soft and easily scratched. Something on the order of what Ken used would be tasteful, and any mosaic tile would go well.

I know, no help at all. :D

Are you aware of my links partners at the Old House forum? Lots of folks with old houses hang out around there. http://www.oldhouseweb.com/oldhouse/community/

08-30-2004, 07:51 AM
I selected the 4 by 4 tiles really because of their neatness. Our cabinets will be made of hickory, unless we can find someone that will work with this old pine we have. It's antique and very hard. We are told it maybe too brittle to use for the cabinets. Id like to choose something that would light in color since the wood is kind of dark. We are adding 8 casement windows along the back of the house which will be the rear wall of the kitchen. I dont want to be tied down to a color theme in this kitchen which is another reason i chose white tile, although its not a definate decision at this point, just that i am leaning towards the white so that i made change other details and not be locked into any certain color scheme. Im totally open for ideas if you would like to forward any. I have been to home depot and looked at tiles, tho we have not made any firm decisions on color. I do know we will use tile. Are there better tiles than the white? i noticed someone posted that they are not durable? Kens kitchen looks very nice!! He did a wonderful job on the tile i thought. And yes john, our old house had some of the old kitchen off the back when we bought it, course now its all gone. Its a very curious old house and will be hard to work on since nothing is level or square due to the old ways of carpentry. Id love some ideas if anyone has any and will register and also post some pictures if possible. THe cabinetry will be L shaped after we take down the rear wall, and we will have a 4 by 7 foot island approximately where the wall now stands. Thank you all for your help with this project