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Island top

My mother and I recently got new countertops from Home Depot installed in our kitchen, and are now looking at building an island. I'm confident in my ability to build the island from the materials we've purchased, but with the cost of the granite countertops, backsplash, and materials for the island, our budget is basically depleted. Can anyone think of an economically efficient countertop (Probably not more than a few hundred dollars) other than laminate that would go with the emerald pearl granite offered at Home Depot?


The dimensions are about 36" x 36". We looked into butcher's block, but the cost of that was around $1,500, which is a little crazy for 9 square feet. We also looked into the stainless steel paint, but it's not safe for food preparation surfaces, which would be the main use of the island. I would be grateful for any suggestions.


Thank you,




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Posted 2010-10-12T14:56:49+0000  by Sbremer Sbremer

Hey Sydney welcome to the community. First I agree with you that $ 1500 for a butchers block it is a  little bit too much, although I do have  an interesting butchers block-tile combination suggestion that you may like. What do you think about getting granite tiles in a similar color and some pieces of wood (preferably teak, walnut or maple) to use as a spacer between granite tiles? Confused? I know, I know. :smileyvery-happy:  That’s why I’ve drawn a very artistic picture to help you grasp my genius idea :smileytongue:



Picture 2.jpg



In my opinion this would look very sharp for the fraction of the cost you would pay for the butchers block or granite counter top. Just something else to think about besides great post from our Designingwoman.If you like this idea let me know and I will explain the project in further detail.

Best Answer

Posted 2010-10-12T20:03:46+0000  by George_HD_CHI

Do they make granite tiles in the same color? Typically tiles are much less expensive than slabs.

Posted 2010-10-12T15:03:00+0000  by REJordan

Dear Sydney,


Congratulations on the new countertops and thank you for choosing The Home Depot!   The Emerald Pearl granite is a beautiful stone – a part of our specialty collection - and offers a beautiful, consistent shade variation. 


Your 9 square foot island top may not meet fabricator minimum job requirements, but there are other options available.  I would recommend visiting your granite fabricator and see what project remnants are available - they may even have a piece of Emerald Pearl available to match your new countertops!  You may want to even consider a different stone (possibly in a lighter color) to add some visual interest on your island.  Your fabricator can cut the remnant to your dimensions, create an edge treatment, and polish the edges for a designer look.


I wish you success on building your island.  Please send us pictures of your completed project – we’d love to see how it turned out!

Posted 2010-10-12T17:25:43+0000  by Eileen_HD_ATL

Thank you all. Those are excellent ideas we hadn't considered. I think we'll look into all of them and I'll be sure to post a picture of the finished product. :smileyvery-happy:




Posted 2010-10-12T21:38:30+0000  by Sbremer


Thank you very much for your idea; after discussing it with my mother, we would very much like further details on how to build this project as we feel this would be the most appealing and economical solution. We do have a couple of questions:


Why are walnut, maple, or teak the best material to use. Is this due to longevity, price, or sanitation reasons?

Would plywood be suitable as a base for the tiles & wood framing?

Can you suggest a food safe finish to seal the wood that will alleviate the need to oil on a regular basis? The site that we found the butcher block used waterlox. Is this product available at The Home Depot?

Does the wood framing eliminate the need for spacers in setting the tiles?


Again, thank you very much.




Posted 2010-10-12T23:28:10+0000  by Sbremer


Hey Sbremer,


I am Gregg and I work for The Home Depot in Chicago. I am glad you like SteelToes idea, I do too! The species of wood you use should be very hard to protect it from denting, like maple or walnut. Teak is also very versatile wood.  Teak is resistant to cracking, warping and can be used in any environment. As long as the wood you choose is a hard wood and you like the look of it you can use it. I would recommend using a ¾” plywood as a base for the tile and wood.  Regular sanded plywood is a great surface to adhere the tiles to and it’s durable.


I would frame the wood around the tiles first leaving enough space for the tile plus a 1/8” gap around it. Make sure you actually have the tile before you start. Not all tiles are the same size and thickness. When you put the tiles in you can use the 1/8” tile spacers on all four sides. I would use painters tape to protect the wood that is framing the tiles. Then fill in the 1/8” gap with a grout.  I would use a grout that is in a squeeze tube, or caulk tube so it’s easy to control.  The grout space for the tile can be bigger or smaller than an 1/8”. Whatever works out best for the layout and size of the countertop.


There are a lot of different food safe oils and waxes you can use for the countertop.  You can use a basic mineral oil or tung oil to protect it, or you can also use a wax/oil combination. This will seal the wood and protect it from cracking, but it has to be reapplied periodically and it is not good for consistent exposure to water.  We at The Home Depot have a butcher’s block conditioner that is a mix of wax and oil that will work for you.


If you have more questions let us know. We can’t wait to see how it turns out, so take a lot of pictures. 




Posted 2010-10-13T20:07:45+0000  by gotogregg

Hi there!


Listen, all I want to do is take one top off and put another on a (probably home made) Kitchen island.  I can measure and already have, not the problem.  It is older mastic, rounded corners and its peeling off and has numerous cuts and stains. I was hoping to be able to buy a reminent peice of counter top (of some kind for cheap) to replace it. All the tops and cabinets are white, but I suppose I could go bolder.  Also, how do you get stains out of the white laminate countertop?  I don't even know where they came from, but I am guessing maybe coffee, I don't drink it! They all seem to be kinda round!!  Any advice would be great!   I could send a pic but I cant figure your icons out!  I don't know, I may have to replace the counter tops too!  Whatever!! I have the house up for sale and want to get outta here!!!  I need inexpensive but nice way to do this if possible.  Thanks,

Ms. Frankie Gagnon

Posted 2010-11-10T05:35:06+0000  by frankie

Hello Frankie - thanks for bringing your questions to us – we have some help for you!


The best plan for your island that needs major help is to replace it.  Take your measurements to the kitchen department at your local store.  Depending upon the size, you can purchase an in-stock laminate countertop, order a sheet of laminate to put on your existing form, or create a whole new look with a new post form laminate. 


This link will show you how to install a laminate countertop.


Things get a little more complex for the white laminate countertop with numerous stains.  If it is “pure” white, you can use a bleach solution on a sponge to gently “tap” out the stains.  Start with a 50:50 solution and work up to full strength.  Be sure to have adequate ventilation and especially wear gloves and eye protection.  Wash the countertop thoroughly so no bleach residue remains.  If the laminate is NOT “pure” white, this will not work – and it may create white circles where the round spots are. 


I can better help you with photos so I have included this link to help explain how to insert a picture into your post.  I look forward to helping you and want you to sell your house quickly too!

Posted 2010-11-12T13:58:12+0000  by Eileen_HD_ATL
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