What to Consider When Buying a Recycled Glass Countertop

Sharon Greenthal
Written by Sharon Greenthal
Updated November 19, 2021
The interior of a kitchen with a recycled glass countertop
Photo: Courtesy of IceStone

Recycled glass countertops are eco-friendly, unique, and durable

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You can be eco-friendly and show off your unique style with recycled glass countertops. With so many colors to choose from, you can find exactly the right hue to bring fun, bold shades or more subtle tones to your kitchen or bath. 

Before taking your home design up a notch, go into the process like an expert by knowing the pros and cons of recycled glass countertops.

1. Recycled Glass Countertops Are Unique

Granite, marble, quartz, tile—these are all common kitchen and bath countertops materials that are popular for a reason. However, if you want a truly unique countertop that will be a conversation starter, recycled glass is the way to go. 

Recycled glass is made by combining crushed glass chips and a resin-based binder. These countertops come in a wide variety of bright colors, which will add a modern touch of fun to your home. Because of the way they are manufactured, each recycled glass countertop is unique, meaning no one else will have exactly the same surface that you do.

2. Recycled Glass Countertops are Eco-Friendly

Recycled glass countertops consist of products from household recycling and glass from building demolition projects that would otherwise end up in the trash. Most finished countertops made with recycled glass contain 70% to 80% recycled material. The environmentally friendly nature of these countertops is one of their biggest pros and makes them the definition of trash to treasure.

3. Recycled Glass Countertops are Durable

Correctly made and treated, recycled glass countertops are durable and, with regular maintenance, will last for years—but it’s essential to start with the best product you can find. Professionals should set the glass in a cement or petroleum-based substance mix that will keep the countertop structurally sound.

As with most products, there are precautions and treatments necessary to keep recycled glass countertops in tip-top shape.

  • You must seal the countertops correctly to keep them from staining or being discolored by acidic foods such as citrus or vinegar.

  • Be careful with heavy pots or similar objects, as they may crack the countertop if placed too close to the edge.

  • Make sure your countertops are made with non-toxic products to keep your food safe.

  • Use hot pads. Though recycled glass counters are heat and cold resistant, sudden temperature changes could cause them to crack.

None of these issues should keep you from choosing recycled glass if you want it—marble, granite, and tile all have maintenance needs similar to these. However, researching how to care for your recycled glass countertops ensures they stay beautiful for years to come.

4. Recycled Glass Countertops Fall Into the Same Price Range as Similar Options

Recycled glass countertops can be expensive but are typically no more costly than most granite or quartz options. The price, without installation, averages are $75 per square foot. Then, add another $30 to $80 per square foot for countertop installation costs, depending on the design complexity and the amount of labor involved. 

Of course, every counter project is unique, so you’ll want to speak with a local countertop installation specialist to get a more accurate quote.

5. Recycled Glass Countertops Are Easy to Clean

For cleaning your recycled glass countertop, experts recommend:

  • Cleaning with a soft cloth, not paper towels, which leave streaks.

  • Using a glass-cleaning product available at any big box or grocery store.

  • Combining vinegar and distilled water for a homemade glass cleaner.

  • Cleaning up stains and spills with soap, water, and a soft cloth.

6. Recycled Glass Countertops Can Be Challenging to Repair

Because each countertop created with recycled glass is unique, it is difficult to repair a broken recycled glass countertop. It can be nearly impossible to correctly match the existing countertop with the new piece, especially if yours is a custom mix of colors. If a glass countertop breaks, it will leave a jagged edge, which can be dangerous if you’re not careful. 

Countertop breaks are not a common occurrence, but they do happen. Because each recycled glass countertop is custom made, it’s a good idea to buy an extra panel to keep on hand in case a piece breaks off. This way, you will be able to repair it rather than having to replace the entire countertop.

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