Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Earth-Friendly Countertop Options Abound


Green living expert Danny Seo touts benefits of laminate


Real or faux granite?



If you guessed faux, you’re right. It’s exactly what laminate manufacturers are touting about the new laminate options for home renovations these days. They say the newly manufactured laminate options are made to resemble everything from granite to wood - at much cheaper prices than their traditionally more glamorous counterparts.

Green living expert Danny Seo recently told Remodeling magazine he thinks it’s one of the three next big trends in kitchen and bath remodeling. Seo, who is well known for his ideas on incorporating sustainable design into everyday life, is using laminate on his own kitchen remodel on kitchen countertops and a bar wall area.



“Laminate. I’ve decided to rebrand it as glaminate because the new finishes are not like your grandmother’s laminate anymore,” Seo said. “And I like the fact that it’s so eco-friendly.”

Laminate manufacturers say new manufacturing techniques have allowed them to produce material that is better than what some of us knew from the 70s and to use it in a way that does away with unsightly seams.

Check for green certification

One thing to look for when considering a laminate countertop is checking to see whether it has certification from the Forest Stewardship Council and the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute for indoor air quality.

Laminate countertops are a popular choice, especially for consumers seeking budget-friendly materials but there are plenty of other green options you may want to consider for your countertops.

But if you aren’t sold on laminate, here are some other eco-friendly options for countertops:



Terrazo: Tile made from recycled glass and sometimes other materials like marble, quartz, granite. These are poured into a cast and treated with a binder chemical. It’s known for being durable and heat and scratch resistant. It can be used in kitchens, bathrooms and floors.

Oceanside Glasstile: Tile is made from a natural resource called silica sand, with a variety of recycled waste material  mixed in, such as recycled bottle glass and others, for a finished product that contains up to 95 recycled materials.

Alkemi: This surface material is made from recycled acrylics and is certified by the Scientific Certification Systems as containing 91 percent post-industrial scrap. With no VOC content, this kind of surface is made from aluminum flake, solid surface scrap, and recycled acrylic.

There is no doubt that advanced manufacturing techniques coupled with an emphasis on eco-friendly living has combined to create more options for consumers interested in using green materials in their kitchen and bathroom remodeling.

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