A kitchen is typically one of the busiest areas of a house. Depending on the size of your kitchen, this is where you not only cook a few times a week, but eat breakfast with your family, where your kids often study, or where you catch up with friends over a cup of coffee. It’s a high-traffic area and, as such, requires quality materials and appliances. Durability is the number one priority when renovating a kitchen. As a result, it is one of the most expensive areas of the house to remodel. Using eco-friendly materials is increasingly a consideration for homeowners. Luckily, there are numerous sustainable options on the market. Today we will go over some of the most popular eco-friendly countertop types and look at their pros and cons.
Bamboo butcher block
Bamboo is an amazingly versatile material. Popular among eco-friendly manufacturers, bamboo is a durable material, which can be easily cultivated and treated. Its unique look makes it one of the most popular material choices for eco-friendly kitchen countertops. The important thing to understand about bamboo countertops is their composition. Bamboo is a plant. Therefore, separate pieces of bamboo are assembled together and glued into layers. As a result, not only do bamboo countertops look stunning, but, depending on the finish, they are highly durable. However, the production process makes this material a bit of a challenge to maintain as it gets easily stained. Price-wise, it’s more expensive compared to traditional countertop materials, but is on the cheaper end among eco-friendly options.
Image source: Flickr
“A countertop made out of recycled paper.” Sounds strange, doesn’t it? However, its production process makes paperstone one of the most popular eco-friendly choices in home remodelling projects. Recycled paper is mixed with various fibres, natural pigments, and petroleum-free resins. This mixture is then compressed and baked at high temperatures. This process produces a highly durable countertop material, which rivals wood countertops in its hardness. Since it’s a non-porous material, it does not absorb liquids, making it stain- and bacteria-resistant. The downside of recycled paper countertops is design limitations. The material usually comes in medium and dark colours, which tends to darken even further over time.
Sometimes referred to as “crushed glass countertops”, recycled glass countertops are still relatively new on the market. They are produced by encasing glass into either clear acrylic or concrete. Visually, recycled glass countertops are gorgeous. Acrylic-based countertops look like jewels frozen in liquid glass. Cement-based ones have more of a mosaic feel. Furthermore, because of the production process where different pieces of glass are blended together, no two countertops look exactly the same. While durable and easy to clean, crushed glass countertops can crack under heavy weights. You should also stay away from harsh cleaning products and acids if you opt for this material.
Image source: Flickr
Squak Mountain stone
You may wonder what in the world is a Squak Mountain stone. Well, it’s the name of a company that produces countertop slabs out of recycled paper and glass, mixed with cement. A limestone-like material, it is perfect for people who like the look and feel of stone countertops. Beautiful in its imperfections, Squak Mountain stone can last you a long time IF you take good care of it. Susceptible to staining, it requires constant maintenance.
Reclaimed wood is a highly versatile material used for flooring, furniture, doors, and, yes, kitchen countertops. It’s a warm material that will instantly give your kitchen that rustic cosy look that makes you never want to leave your house. Having been exposed to elements for decades, it is a strong material that’s up to the challenge of daily use. Reclaimed wood has history and character. In that sense, it’s a noble material. However, that also comes with a downside. Since it’s an old material, there’s a chance that it was originally treated with chemicals. It is also a rather expensive countertop solution. Finally, when purchasing reclaimed wood countertops, make sure to go to a legitimate supplier. Due to its increased popularity over the last decade, there’s a large number of producers who try to trick consumers into buying products made out of a blend of new and old wood and call them “reclaimed”.
Image source: Pixabay
This is another variation of countertops made out of recycled glass. However, pieces of glass are not as much blended, as they are melted together, producing aesthetically magnificent results. Translucent in its appearance, bio-glass countertops will elevate your kitchen design, making it look light and chic. Plus, it is highly resistant to liquids and staining. However, these countertops are rather easily scratched, so make sure to use cutting boards at all times.
There is no single perfect countertop solution. Each material has its pros and cons. That’s why selecting one that’s right for you depends on your lifestyle and cooking habits. Now that you know the pros and cons of some of the most popular eco-friendly solutions, make a list of priorities – budget, durability, etc. – and pick a material that matches the highest number of requirements.