Just because it's porcelain doesn't mean it's better than ceramic. Some porcelain is pretty cheap and breaks easily, you get what you pay for with porcelain or ceramic. As a general rule on price for tile, spend over 1.50/sq ft. This is a general rule for someone that doesn't know anything about tile. Not to say you can spend less and get good stuff, but you have to know what your looking at. Cheap tiles are thin, odd sizes and cheap thing glazing.
If choosing porcelain make sure it is a solid color all the way through, that way if it chips on top it's the same color below. Some are some aren't.
Also make sure there is bull nose available for the field tile you choose.Bull nose tiles are costly especially for 12x12 or larger tiles (some are 3.00 each) For your counter top, you want 1.25 inches of underlayment. This can be 3/4 plywood with 1/2 durock on top. Duroc is better than hardi backer which in my professional opinion (20plus years) is crap.Especially for floors.Make sure to nail or screw durock every 6 inches and closer on the edges. Not absolutely necessary to thinset durock down to plywood.
Beware harsh cleaners on grout, especially bleach or clorox cleaners!!! It will stain the grout. Epoxy is a real PITA to use will resist stains better than latex grouts. Epoxy grout will work your ass over, plus if you don't know what your doing.........(very hard to apply, put on too much, or wait to long to take off then your fucked) Sanded grout is for 3/16-1/4" grout joints, usually 8x8 and larger. Unsanded 1/8" grout, 4x4 and up to 8x10 tiles with lugs. 1/8 grout easier to clean. Black would be the best to not show stains. Even epoxy grout can stain if abused
Use wood brace or sticks to hold tile up on edges till it sets up.
BTW- sanded grout is more porous absorbs stains more readily than unsanded, Unsanded is easier to scratch out and regrout.
I try my best to advise against sanded grout in showers due to staining...but people like the "look" of big tiles which use sanded grout.
Beware the cheap tile saws which only gnaw away at tile and don't cut it, especially with porcelain.
a lot of this advice is just general advice like tile sizes to grout sizes...I say this in case someone wants to say...bla bla bla, that ain't true.
One Less Harley screwed with this post 01-20-2013 at 09:20 PM