Sunday, March 23, 2008

Countertop Selections

In the last 5 years, we have seen a tremendous growth in the development and availability green products, including many types of new sustainable countertop materials. Because of all the options available and our goal to demonstrate new materials in EcoDEEP Haus, we will have 3 different types of countertops. For our kitchen, we have selected CaesarStone- see previous post Coloring our World. For the bathrooms, we wanted to select equally durable surfaces that showcase innovative sustainable strategies.

One of the increasingly popular countertop choices are those made of recycled paper. PaperStone is one of the more well-known brands.
PaperStone products are made from post-consumer waste, recycled paper and proprietary, petroleum-free, phenolic resins. This product is so durable and stable, that it can be used as an exterior rain-screen material. It comes in a variety of great color and a couple of options for recycled content. For us, the down-side of PaperStone are that it’s manufactured in the state of Washington and must be shipped here. It comes in sheets 60” x 144”, which is much larger than our bathroom vanities, so it’s not too practical for small projects.

Recycled paper counters can be worked with regular wordworking tools.

Another more local option is Shetka Stone. It is made in LeCenter MN. There are less color options, but there is this funky shredded money option. Talk about a conversation-starter! I’m not sure what kind of message is sent by having countertops made of shredded money?

Our cabinetry makers, Eastvold Custom, introduced the idea of going with a Richlite laminate. Richlite is also a recycled paper product and has been around for decades in such uses as skate board park surfaces.
We are going to use a black ¼” surface laminated to a high density substrate for our master bathroom. The substrate and core material at this countertop and all our cabinetry is no environmental slouch either - as we are using the "Sky Blend" family of products - SCS and EPP certified and free of formaldehyde among other little nasties.

For the shared bathroom, we are splurging a bit on a recycled glass terrazzo countertop (at $75/square foot). Natural Built Home,
carries many green countertop materials, including PaperStone and two types of recycled glass countertops. We are going to go with the locally produced, Element Surfaces recycled glass terrazzo countertops.
In addition to using recycled glass aggregates in our castings, the resins are free of volatile organic compounds, and off-gas no fumes or chemicals during or after curing. We are able to totally customize this countertop by selecting the glass chip color, the size and percentage of each. This sample was created for us based on a mix of gray, clear, orange and amber glass in a gray matrix. It’s pretty close, but for the final, we will tweak the sizing and percentages a bit. I think it will look great with the gray floor tile and orange glass tile.


Anonymous said...

You should check out EcoTop the same guy that brought richlite to market and the founder of paperstone is now making a new and improved product called EcoTop and it is made in Washington state and now I understand they have a new factory in New Jersey.

Shawn said...

Hey Kevin and Roxanne,

I did a brief writeup on a product called "Fuez" which is similar to your terrazo counters...there's alos a link in the post to a product called "Ice Stone."

Here's the link

Shawn said...

Ack - sorry about that last post. Hit the "Publish" button too soon.

Anyway, check out the to the blog, as well as the Ice Stone product.

One of the issues you may want to consider is the distance your material has to travel. For example, Ice Stone is made in New York so it might not be the best choice for West Cost folks. Fuez is made in Portland, OR, so it's a better solution for folks like me.

I love the look of paperstone too. That matte-black finish is to die for!

Shawn said...

Wow, while you're at it, you better take away my HTML license. That last post was silly.... :)

Tyboty said...

Nice write-up in the Highland Villager. Glad things are really taking shape.


Kevin & Roxanne said...

Thanks for the tip on EcoTop, Anonymous. Yet, another reason to live in Washington state!


Kevin & Roxanne said...

Interesting blog! Our project is actually a Live/Work project as well, even though we don't often mention that.

Good tip on Fuez. Another material option for those of you in the Pacific Northwest! I'm jealous of all the cool local options you seem to have.
I would expect that pretty soon, there will be local manufacturers of recycled glass terrazzo pretty much everywhere, so shipping across the country won't be necessary.

Kevin & Roxanne said...

Good to hear from you- You will have to come over for a tour sometime!

Tyboty said...

Love to -
I kept going down the street to see which house you were working on, but I had thought you were one block over, so assumed the deal never closed. Finding your haus and blog was a happy moment.

Jan said...

Kevin and Roxane-
The plant that makes the "paperstone" is not far from us and they have on their website 'handyman' products, a list of thier materials that are discontinued or ends or what ever. They will have them out for you to look at (with notice) after you select so you can pick up directly from them, but yea, it is in Hoquium WA about 1.5 hours from us. We need to replace some counters before we sell and move so I will be checking it out.
Great project!! Jan

Anonymous said...

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