When it’s time to update your kitchen or bathroom countertops, consider installing an eco-friendly countertop to replace your existing counters. Today, there are more options than ever to get creative with your home while still being environmentally conscious.
Unusual or Salvaged Eco-Friendly Countertop Materials
New countertops don’t necessarily have to be made from new materials. There are many places that salvage materials from older homes and then sell them to the public through stores like Habitat for Humanity. While it takes more time to go this route, you can find unusual eco-friendly countertop options that will make your kitchen or bathroom completely unique.
A countertop can be made from anything flat, level, and durable. With this in mind, the options are nearly limitless. If you like the industrial look, search for older planks of wood or metal for your new countertops. You’ll find lots of information online to help you treat these materials accordingly so they are safe for food preparation.
Bamboo has gained popularity in recent years for being both durable and eco-friendly. The bamboo plant grows to full-size in just 3-4 years, making it more sustainable to harvest than trees, which reach full maturity in 30+ years.
Bamboo countertops are aesthetically pleasing, tough, and durable, requiring occasional treatment with a food-safe sealant to protect the surface. Since it’s naturally non-porous, you don’t have to worry about bacterial growth with this eco-friendly countertop. The cons of bamboo are that it is more expensive than butcher-block and is not stain, heat, or water-resistant.
Recycled glass is a great eco-friendly countertop option that’s widely available in many colors, so you’re sure to find one that will work well in your home. Recycled glass countertops are made with glass chips that are encased in an acrylic or concrete base, offering a unique and distinct look. These countertops are durable, easy to clean, and won’t easily chip or scratch.
If you choose recycled glass for your counters, you’ll need to take caution with highly acidic foods and harsh cleaners because they can mar the finish. You can expect to spend anywhere from $50-$100 per square foot for these countertops.
Concrete countertops are gaining in popularity because of their modern industrial aesthetic and outstanding durability. Concrete can be customized with different colors and stains, and through etching and stamping before being sealed. You can even embed glass fragments and rock in the concrete before it sets.
Some cons for concrete are that it’s not scratch-proof, though it does offer better resistance than laminate or solid surface counters. It is also heavy and requires additional framing and support. Because fabricating concrete counters requires skill, you’ll pay more for the professional installation of this eco-friendly countertop.
Refinish or Resurface Your Countertops
The most eco-friendly countertop option of all is refurbishing your existing countertops. For a fraction of the cost, you can simply update what you already have in your home. If you have laminate counters, look online and at your local home improvement store for DIY countertop resurfacing kits.
For solid surfaces and butcher blocks, sand down any nicks or scratches before refinishing. If you have granite or stone countertops, call in a professional to refinish them for you at a fraction of the cost of new counters.