Are recycled glass countertops a good granite alternative?

When Dan and Amanda Sheil of Portland, Ore., planned their kitchen remodeling, they chose a recycled glass countertop over granite, reflecting a growing number of homeowners opting for the durability and unique look of this environmentally sustainable option.

“We’re ecstatic with our countertop,” Dan Sheil says of the Vetrazzo surface, which is made of glass pieces embedded in cement. “Everybody who’s been to the kitchen says, ‘Oh my, I love the countertops.’ It gets an immediate reaction.”

When the Sheils first discussed replacing their ceramic-tile countertop, they looked at granite. “But nothing was ‘This is what we want,’” Dan Sheil says. “Plus, my wife had misgivings that granite had run through its popularity phase. We looked at the whole gamut of options, including PaperStone and other ‘greener’ alternatives.”

They decided recycled glass was their favorite eco-friendly option, and that Vetrazzo’s larger glass bits made it the most attractive brand they saw. “There’s a three-dimensional feel to it,” Sheil says. “Some of the glass in ours is from buildings, with fragments of writing. It’s a fun little game to look through the glass and see the pieces.”

He says caring for the Vetrazzo is similar to what’s required for granite. “We have to be careful with anything dark, like tomato sauce. If we wipe it off immediately, there’s no problem. But even at 20 minutes there might be a little stain.”

Grace Elinsway, an Angie’s List member in Austin, Texas, planned initially to replace her Formica with engineered quartz, but changed her mind after seeing a friend’s recycled glass countertop. “I liked the idea of using recycled materials, and the product was attractive,” she says.

Elinsway ended up choosing ECO by Consentino on the advice of her installer, and says the price was about the same as for engineered stone. She says it’s been a durable product that she can clean with a damp cloth. “But I've been careful not to put very hot items directly on the countertop. I read that the material can crack when subjected to extreme heat.”

Low-maintenance glass countertop option

Deborah Varner, co-owner of the Granite Transformations franchise in Mukilteo, Wash., highly rated on Angie’s List, says her competitors’ recycled glass requires sealing because it’s made with cement, but her company’s product is easier to maintain.

“It’s 95 percent glass and 5 percent resin polymer,” Varner says. “The resin encases the glass and makes a completely nonporous surface, so it’s certified for commercial kitchen use.”

About 15 percent of customers at her Seattle-area franchise choose recycled glass, says Varner, with most opting for Granite Transformations’ signature product of engineered granite. But she believes interest in glass will increase. “It’s practical and durable and beautiful,” Varner says.

Chris Giegerich, owner of highly rated Absolute Kitchen & Bath Works of West Palm Beach, Fla., says about 5 percent of his customers choose recycled glass countertops by IceStone, Vertrazzo and Geos, while most choose engineered quartz. But he, too, thinks more kitchen and bathroom remodeling customers will consider glass.

“It has a ‘wow’ factor you don’t get with granite or Corian or any other surface,” Giegerich says. “Anyone who walks in the room will notice it.”


More Like This

What to Consider When Buying Recycled Glass Countertops

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Recycled glass countertops are made from post-commercial and industrial recycled glass. Manufacturers like Vetrazzo offer many color options for clients. Vetrazzo's sky blue countertops (pictured) are made with recycled Sky Vodka bottles. (Photo by Vetrazzo)
Recycled glass countertops are made from post-commercial and industrial recycled glass. Manufacturers like Vetrazzo offer many color options for clients. Vetrazzo's sky blue countertops (pictured) are made with recycled Sky Vodka bottles. (Photo by Vetrazzo)

Recycled glass countertops are more eco-friendly than granite, but not all glass countertops are equal. Experts talk about the pros and cons of recycled glass countertops.ed

Comments

Just imagine how superior you will feel to all the mouth breathing, SUV driving climate change deniers when the see your green countertop!

While the recycled counter tops are different they are not really nicer. Nothing beats the look of the beautiful formations of stone as opposed to broken pieces of glass. I am a designer and I have tried to steer my clients to the greener alternative but it is hard when the glass is not nearly as appealing as stone.

Interesting, some people claim that granite is dated and so "yesterday" yet nothing is as dated as 1950's Terrazzo. Some of the above photos look like they are right out of an airport bathroom of the period! Though expensive, I'll take natural stone any day and love our granite counters and marble bathrooms. Plus, I don't have to worry about getting cut or heat issues.

Don't take glass for granite when involving counter tops..LOL

Good one Stephen!!! LOL love your sense of humor! :) It would be an interesting look to have on your countertops. How much to go that route I wonder.

SO, it's actually CEMENT countertops w/glass mixed in. There're many different things builders can do for you, with cement countertops. Yes, granite at this point, is boring and has been over done.

What's missing from this article is the comparative cost of glass to granite.

Glass countertops are awesome, until there is a fracture or a chip on the edge that is sharp and dangerous. And this isn't that uncommon. Our high-end glass countertops were great until my teenage son put a hot pan on a cold countertop and caused several pieces of glass to fracture, as well as marring the sealant. Then I chipped the leading edge into our under-mount sink and exposed sharp glass. That was three years ago. I convinced our insurance company to help replace the counters with engineered quartz and we've had zero problems.

Steve, thank you for mentioning a very important aspect of the glass countertops. I hadn't heard that concern before, and it's very legitimate. Thank you!

READ FIRST! MOST HELPFUL COMMENT OF ALL I READ.

I love the look of glass, quartz and granite. So when we redesigned our kitchen, I chose quartz, too, because of the ease of care and its durability and it's greener than granite. There's no sealers to deal with. I was told hot things won't bother this quartz like it does granite, but I still try not to put hot things on it because it might ruin my cookware. LOL. Small price to pay for this durability and beauty. Disappointed that quartz wasn't covered in this article. I agree with another reader that wished there had been a comparison, but I wish glass, quartz and granite were compared, and maybe concrete, too.

Angie's Staff: Endowed with Intelligence, that contributes intellectual intelligence. But whats more the quality of knowing and understanding an unbodied mind and or believers in the doctrine of intellect.

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