Terrazzo countertops are a great choice for a green kitchen, and I love the way they look. Terrazzo usually refers to marble chips cast into a slab, tile or flooring. Lately a lot of products have entered the market that substitute recycled glass chips for the marble.
- Both are very durable -- longevity is an important consideration in a green material. If you do not need to replace it, you are not using raw materials to create the replacement product, and not adding anything to the landfill.
- These materials are very easy to clean, and do not need harsh chemicals to clean or seal them.
- Both use recycled components for the bulk of their volume. In the case of traditional terrazzo, most of this material is marble chips that are a byproduct of marble processing, thus making it a postindustrial recycled product. Glass terrazzo uses a combination of postindustrial recycled waste (from glass manufacturers) and postconsumer glass such as bottles and windshields.
- The cement-based terrazzos feel more like stone, and like stone they need to be sealed. Although the glass or marble is pretty impervious to staining, the cement between the chunks of glass is porous and can show a red wine ring or similar stain.
- The resin-based countertops are more resistant to staining but do not feel as much like stone, and are made from a petrochemical material.
How much will terrazzo cost?
- IceStone and Vetrazzo are cement-based glass countertops that are available both as full slabs or half slabs; a slab tends to be approximately 55-60" deep and 100" long.
- If your countertops are standard depth, you can get about 16 linear feet of countertop from a slab.
- Slab prices range between $2,000 and $4,000 depending on color, so you can expect to spend $125 to $250 a linear foot of countertop for material only.
- I have no idea what fabrication costs would be in your region, but in our area it might come close to doubling the price.
- Many of the larger manufacturers of quartz-based countertops are making materials with recycled glass content, like Zodiaq's Terra line, or Cosentino's Eco line.
- The White Diamond color out of Cosentino's product line has a lovely Coke-bottle-green glass in it. These slabs would be about $2,300 each, at least in my area.
If you love the look of these materials, but are quietly having fits about the price as you read this post, there still is another option for you.
- Wausau tile makes large-format terazzo and glass terrazzo tile, sold through Dal Tile showrooms, which can be used as countertops. I know most people want a slab rather than a tile counter, but their tiles are available up to 24" by 24", which means you would only have one grout line every two feet.
- These tiles have a top price of about $35 a square foot, without labor, and thus are an affordable way to get a terrazzo look.br />
There are new products coming out all of the time -- at GreenBuild I came across a new glass countertop, Curava, that includes pottery chips and shells in its mix of recycled materials.
The problem is not finding beautiful options, it is selecting one that looks the way you want, and that you can actually afford.
For more information:
Read Susan Welkers's Q&A "Do you know anything about a product called IceStone -- recycled glass and concrete for countertops?"