There are a number of different materials which can be utilized to make counters that most people would expect. Granite, marble, and stainless steel have all had their day in the sun, as more eco-friendly materials come to the foreground. Among these options are recycled countertops. While this might sound like old counters being used elsewhere, recycled countertops reuse content rather than the whole counter.
How They are Made
These counters are made of used materials like glass, mirrors, ceramics, and porcelains. They come from bathtubs, toilets, dishes, and mirrors, amongst others. There are a number of different manufacturing techniques but the principle is more or less the same. Compaction, strong vibration, or even vacuum technology is used to harden the crushed materials together. They are then baked in a oven at an extremely high temperature so that what is produced is a slab that can then be polished and even sanded for an ideal finish.
Benefits of these Countertops
What makes these countertops so eco-friendly is the fact that in comparison to other countertop materials, there is essentially no damage done to the earth in their making because no mining is done. There is also no left over waste, as it is made from the “waste” of others. They are also incredibly durable and long lasting. Some other benefits are:
● Mold Resistant: It is not a porous material, meaning that they are easy to clean and sanitize. There will not be any sneaky places that allow germs to breed.
● Durable: The hardness of the slab makes it difficult to blemish the countertop, so you wind have to deal with scratches and dents. Since the slab was also cooked at a high temperature, it can also handle high heats without damage.
● No Maintenance Required: All you have to do is keep the counters clean with water and soap. No sealing is required because it is not porous.
● Many Design Options: The benefit of having so many recycled materials to choose from means that you have a large colour palette to work with. This is especially the case if you're using recycled glass, which will also reflect light in fun and exciting ways on otherwise dull kitchen cabinets.
Which One is Right for You
Recycled glass countertops are a great inexpensive and eco-friendly option, but before making any big purchases always ask yourself if this is the right decision for you and your family. If you have a lot of little kids you might spend more time cleaning fingerprints off of the glass than you would for another material. If you are an avid meat-eater who does a lot of chopping while cooking, you might want to consider something like a butcher block. If you decide that recycled glass is for you and kitchen cabinet redesign project, there are some more options to decide between.
Tempered versus Non-Tempered - As is the case with other materials such as metal, glass can be heated up in order to achieve certain beneficial properties. Often this has to do with strength, durability, and hardness, all of which are ideal qualities to have in a countertop which will undergo some abuse. Tempered counters will offer you all of these benefits. Untempered glass is often less expensive, while still offering good durability. In the end you have to decide what is best for your family. Talk to the supplier in order to better understand the options available to you.
Kinds of Glass - It is always a good idea to have an understanding of the terminology that you will come across while looking for recycled glass countertops. You will often encounter terms that refer to the kinds of glass available. For instance, “float glass” is molten glass that has been “floated” of molten tin in order to create slabs of glass uniform in thickness. Smoothness and flatness are characteristics of this kind. Slump glass on the other hand is glass that was placed in a mold and heated until it conforms to the shape of the mold. It is a good option for giving glass unique shape or texture. Finally, kiln fired glass are glass remnants which have been melted down in a kiln to produce a new sheet. It is strong but the size is limited to that of the kiln.