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Spotlight On… Man-Made Countertops, Part 2

August 04, 2015

Today we’re following up on our first segment on man-made countertop materials with 4 more that you might not have heard about: Metal, engineered stone, recycled glass and wood!

  • Metal –Stainless steel, Zinc, Copper – Stainless steel is great for Modern, Contemporary and even Craftsman style kitchens due to its smooth and characteristic look. While stainless steel stands up to heat and stains, it’s not impervious to cuts and dings. It is very easy to keep clean, and contains 60% recycled material. If you’re willing to trade a hard-working, imperfect surface for a perfect clean, this might be a good match. Read more on Stainless Steel Here. Metal can still be a good element for kitchens with a softer look if you look outside of steel for your options. Zinc is a metal surface with warmth to it and it accumulates patina, as does the brighter and more actively aging copper.
  • Actually ‘engineered stone’ and not truly a sheet of earth-forged stone, “quartz” countertops are made of ground quartz chips and resin. Because of this, they have the strength of stone with the ease of care of the non-porous resin surfaces. There are conflicting reports on the resistance to heat – some say its excellent, others say to watch out. You might want to do your own research or simply be careful where in your kitchen you install it. Pros and Cons are in more depth here.
  • Recycled Glass – fashionable and contemporary, this highly customizable surface is very ecofriendly and durable. Recycling can give your countertop some history –  for example, there are options available made from beer bottles, and what could be a better match for a beer enthusiast? Even if you’re not furnishing a brew kitchen or mancave, knowing the previous life of your counter is pretty interesting. Was it windows? Skyy® vodka bottles? You do pay for the flexibility and kindness to the earth, but you can read more to see if it’s a good match.
  • Wooden countertops are more man-assembled than man-made, but the sort of layering and treatments that go into making a sturdy countertop certainly aren’t found in nature. Wood isn’t a common go-to for countertops due to it being a little high-maintenance. With the right quality and used for the right purpose, the wood countertops become much more reasonable. Butcher block is particularly popular in rustic and country kitchens. It also has a place in contemporary and industrial style kitchens since it is as utilitarian as it is naturally beautiful. Wood also offers renewable and sustainable options for kitchen remodeling. Bamboo is beautiful but currently is best for low-use areas.
    Similar affordable and eco-friendly wood-based kitchen counter top options include recycled paper and salvaged wood. Countertops of compressed recycled paper have the texture of soapstone and are resistant to heat and dents. More details at Houzz. You might also want to consider salvaged wood to bring some history as well as beauty into your kitchen. Houzz has a more in-depth look at the use of wood for counters here.

Visit our Counter Topics pinboard for a wealth of ideas and perspectives on countertop materials.

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