Friday, May 18, 2012

Choosing An Eco-Friendly Countertop

Countertops play an important role in your kitchen. You want them to be functional and beautiful - The better the countertop, the higher the value of your kitchen and your home. In fact, some homes are purchased because of their kitchen.  However, as people become more and more environmentally conscious, they want countertops that are more than beautiful and functional - they want eco-friendly kitchen counter tops. 

 (Photo credit: craftapalooza)
Here are the best eco-friendly kitchen counter top options:

Recycled Glass.  Recycled glass countertops are gorgeous.  You can choose any color or color combination you desire. It is fairly expensive, $50 to $55 per square foot; however, it meets all of the requirements for a gorgeous, durable, eco-friendly kitchen.  Recycled glass is mixed into a cement, concrete or resin base and installed. 

Bamboo.  Bamboo is an amazing material. Because bamboo grows so quickly, it’s a very renewable resource. You can make flooring, dinnerware and cookware out of it, furniture and yes, kitchen counter tops. Bamboo is an inexpensive alternative running about $20-$25 per square foot. While it is gorgeous and eco-friendly, it can be dented and scratched.  However, many people like this weathered look and the wood can be sealed to prevent staining. You will also want to be sure the countertop is made using a formaldehyde-free binder. But all in all, bamboo can be a good choice for a counter top.

Recycled aluminum.  Stainless steel has been all the rage for a while now. It’s sleek in appearance, durable and easy to clean; however it takes a lot of resources to create a stainless steel counter top.  Recycled aluminum offers the same sleek and durable look as stainless steel and it’s made from recycled materials so it’s environmentally friendly.  The only drawback to this option is the cost, which is about $100 per square foot.  However, if you don’t need a custom install and can manage a prefabricated piece of aluminum the cost can be dramatically reduced.

Concrete.  Concrete, believe it or not, can actually be a gorgeous countertop addition to your kitchen.  Concrete can be stained in a solid color or designed to resemble granite and other stone countertops.  Concrete is durable and easily sealed.  Price can range from $65 per square foot to $135. 

Ceramic tile.  In order for ceramic tile to be considered eco-friendly, it must be made from recycled materials like light bulbs, porcelain or bottles.  Ceramic tile is extremely cost effective and prices start around $10 per square foot.  It’s easy to install so if you’re a do-it-yourselfer it’s a great option and when the grout is sealed, it makes a fairly durable option.  Additionally, ceramic tile comes in just about every color imaginable.

Eco-friendly countertops come in just about every style, durability and price point.  Take a look around, and you’re sure to be able to find exactly what you need to create your dream kitchen while at the same time, conserving resources and showing your appreciation for the environment.

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