In every household there are a multitude of horizontal surfaces, from counters in kitchens, bathrooms, and wet bars to custom tabletops and storage units. Choosing the right surfacing for your lifestyle is extremely important in creating a design that will work for you, for many years to come. Some things to consider about surfacing materials are their durability, the propensity for germs and bacteria to grow on their surfaces (especially important in kitchens), the colors and patterns available and how they fit in to your décor, the care and maintenance that each will need over it’s lifetime, and if there is any sustainable aspect, such as being recyclable at the end of life.
Engineered Quartz Countertops like those available from Caesarstone or Silestone have many benefits including: they have a non-porous surface that never needs to be sealed, they can be cleaned easily with soap and water or a non-abrasive household cleanser in case of staining, they have a heat tolerance of up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, though it is not recommended that you place hot objects directly onto the counter, and they have a natural scratch resistance, though you should still use a cutting board. These countertops also come in a large range of colors, from neutrals to bright colors as well as some types that mimic a marble-look, and some that contain recycled content. Caesarstone also deals in surfacing made from semiprecious stones that can be backlit when used vertically and all Caesarstone products have a lifetime residential warranty that includes a 10 year limited warranty for the next owner should you sell your home.
Caesar Stone Concetto Semi-precious stone solid surfacing material is used here to create a living room table. Image Source (source)
Ceasar Stone Concetto Semi-precious stone solid surfacing material in Rose quartz in used here as a bathroom countertop. Image source (source)
Caesar Stone Classico in “Red Shimmer” is used here as a waterfall kitchen island, adding colour to a modern neutral kitchen. Image source (source)
Here we can see how various Caesarstone products can also be used for table-tops. Image source (source)
Caesar Stone Concetto Semi-precious stone Amythyst Rock made into a consul table. Image source (source)
The PaperStone Company makes solid surfacing from 100% post-consumer recycled paper that has been saturated with PetroFree™ phenolic resins and selected natural pigments. It is one of the few FSC certified surfaces and also
qualifies toward LEED certification. It has a non-porous surface that “provides a lifetime of stain resistance”, any scratches can be sanded out and refinished, it is a VOC free product meaning that it’s installation has no off-gassing, and is heat resistant up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. It is currently available in 9 colours Slate, Cabernet, Chocolate, Denim, Evergreen, Gunmetal, Leather, Mocha and Sienna.
PaperStone counter top in a kitchen shown in “Leather”. Image source (source)
PaperStone molded bathroom counter top in “Slate”. Image source (source)
PaperStone kitchen counter top in “Slate” shown with optional water drainage grooves into an under-counter sink. Image source (source)
PaperStone Slate kitchen with back counter and tabletop. Image source (source)
Marble countertops can be extremely beautiful and extremely expensive, this is because unlike their manufactured counterparts they are cut from existing rock and have a natural veining pattern that can come in different colours depending on the region where it was harvested. This extra effort in retrieval means that your Marble, Granite, Travertine, Limestone, Slate or Onyx countertop is going to cost more at the outset, let alone the costs for shipping it to your local supplier from places such as Brazil or Russia. This extra travel also increases the carbon footprint that will be left by your countertop purchase, most natural stone countertops also need to be sealed and resealed regularly. Granite Countertops are slightly less porous than marble and are just as beautiful. The tradeoff is that you will get a one-of-a-kind masterpiece created by nature that is unique to your home. Marble especially stays cool to the touch which is a benefit for bakers rolling dough.
Be warned however that one-of-a-kind also comes with a one-chance-to-make–it mentality, if your slab is miss-cut by your installer or is broken in transit you will have to choose a whole new slab, and though you may have access to the very next cut from the same rock it will look different and certain details will no longer be in the same locations.
Grey and black granite island countertops bring in the colors that surround them in the kitchen and are truly beautiful. Image source (source)
Rainforest Green Marble used to create a beautiful bathroom vanity counter top. Image source (source)
Rainforest Brown vanity counter top with under-mount copper-look sink. Image source (source)
An Acacia Granite slab, which could be used in counter tops or for vertical installation. Image source (source)
An Abrolios Green Granite slab, which could be used in countertops or for vertical installation. Image source (source)
A Emperador Dark marble slab which could be used in counter tops or for vertical installation. Image source (source)
Recycled glass countertops are also becoming popular as an eco-friendly product and a bit of a novelty item in kitchens and bathrooms where you can tell your guests “oh, this counter top was once beer bottles”. GEOS recycled glass surfaces produces a countertop that doesn’t need to be sealed, and due to a propriety resin binder purports to be stronger and more chip and crack resistant than other recycled glass countertops on the market. It has a 15 year limited warranty and like other countertops recommends the use of trivets and cutting boards despite it’s heat and scratch resistance.
Geos recycled glass countertop in “Juneau” has a mixture of blue, brown, grey, white and cream pieces held together by white resins. Image source (source)
Geos recycled glass countertop in “Red Rocks” has a mixture or red, orange, cream, white and grey pieces held together by white resins. Image source (source)
Geos recycled glass countertop in “Auckland” is a more dense mixture of greens and blues pieces held together by white resins. Image source (source)
Geos recycled glass countertop in “Marina” is a more dense mixture of dark and light blue glass pieces held together by white resins. Image source (source)
Geos recycled glass countertop in “Coffee Kona” is a mixture or brown and yellow glass pieces held together by brown-dyed resins. Image source (source)
A relatively new recycled countertop product now available is ECO by Cosentino. It is made from 75% recycled mirror, glass, porcelain, earthenware and vitrified ash, with the other 25% including quartz, natural stone, and the binding of corn and other ecologically based resins. 94% of the water used in its manufacture is reused, it has a rating between 5 and 7 on the Mohs scale, is scratch, chemical and impact resistance and is approved for use as countertops, flooring, wall cladding and custom large-scale
projects. It comes with a 10 year residential warranty and is currently available in 14 neutral colours.
ECO by Cosentino in “White Diamond” used here on a kitchen island. Image source (source)
ECO by Cosentino in “Crystal Sand” used here as a bathroom vanity counter top. Image source (source)
ECO by Cosentino in “River Bed” used on kitchen counter tops and two waterfall edged kitchen islands. Image source (source)
ECO by Cosentino in “Luna” used here as a waterfall edged modern bathroom vanity. Image source (source)
ECO by Cosentino in “Polar Cap” used on a two tiered kitchen island that houses a bar and cooktop. Image source (source)