In a recent issue of Surface & Panel there was a great article about countertops. Today there are more choices than ever. Long gone are the days of formica or butcher block as your only options. While the article highlighted 18 products, we’ve picked our 5 favorite work surfaces to share with you.
To be considered a great counter top choice the material has to meet some pretty high standards. First and foremost it has to durable. In terms of wear and tear, the kitchen gets a big workout. Good functioning countertops need to be easy to take care of (read: low maintenance), and since kitchen remodels are very costly, materials need to be long-lasting.
We’re all about Green products. Tammy is studying for her LEED Green Associates accreditation. So don’t be surprised if our 5 product choices are not only beautiful, but Green, too!
All those recycled wine bottles, water bottles, stemware, and beer bottles can be turned into a 100% recycled product (no epoxies or colorants) called, Bio-Glass. According to the manufacturers, it’s available in white, light green, dark green, blue and brown. Bio-glass is hard, really hard. It’s non-porous—making it easy to clean, and it does not stain. In addition to countertops its been used as partitions, facades and other decorative surfaces. I did a Google search and found tons of resellers and installers. And if it is sourced and transported less than 500 miles from your building site, it may be eligible for LEED points.
Cosentino has just introduced a new product called, Eco. I’ve not seen it myself yet (it’s so new), but the company claims this product qualifies for Cradle-to-Cradle certification. Consentino lists recycled/reclaimed porcelain, mirror, glass, and stone scraps as the main ingredients in this new product. These are mixed with a corn-based organic resin. Eco is offered in two collections, The Green Collection and The Revive Collection; available in 6 and 4 color ways respectively. I’m setting up a meeting with our local Consentino rep to see this first hand and get the background on this new and innovative product…I’ll keep you posted.
Yes, it’s made from a composite of re-cycled paper! It carries FSC certification. It’s durable, hard and “virtually impervious to water”. But how does it do with stains and scratches. Well, I’d say it might be a bit softer than granite, so you’d always want to use a cutting board or other protection. It’s resistent to stains and scratches, but not “impervious”. Even with Paperstone’s recycled nature it is food and preparation surface safe. Paperstone solid surfaces come in about 9 rich and elegant colors.
For the past 10-15 years granite, and to some degree marble, has been the countertop of choice. But did you know that there is a lot of waste (not to mention high embodied energy due to its extraction) from cutting, grinding and polishing granite and marble? Eco-Terr solid surface countertops are available in 12 polished or brushed colors. How are they made? Well you take the left over granite and marble chips and combine those with binder and …voila! a 70% recycled material. There are zero VOCs, it’s non-porous and so it doesn’t support microbial or mould growth. I’m liking this new surface and would like to spec this for a project.
Squak Mountain Stone
Now I’ll admit to this: I’ve never heard of this product before, have you? I’ve never seen it, and therefore do not know much about its functionality, installation, or durability. But here’s what Surface & Panel had to say about it: Sqauk Mountain Stone is made from a combination of recycled paper, recycled glass and low-carbon cement. It is hand-cast into “slabs”. So in my opinion, this product has a lot of pluses. I’m a closet tree-hugger. So any product that can be made from recycled material, have a low-carbon output in its manufacturing, and then have a long (or long-ish) life span is okay in my book. In this picture it resembles a concrete countertop, but in my reading, I saw that it could be finished and polished just like granite and marble, so maybe it’s a good alternative. I’ll look into this.
So many choices, and we just picked our 5 favorite. If you’re thinking of tackling a bath or kitchen design project, let us help you pick the best product that meets you and your family’s needs. Send us a quick email and we’ll be happy to help you out!