Replicating the look of natural stone without the need for resource-exhaustive quarrying and shipping, concrete countertops are often a greener option than marble or slate. However, in order to make certain that your new kitchen or bathroom workspace is as eco-friendly as possible, make sure to discuss the following items when choosing a contractor for your project: concrete composition, using recycled decorative accents and non-toxic sealants, and choosing a design that’s both functional and timeless.
Concrete countertops are made using a mixture of cement and other materials to create a uniform, attractive indoor surface; but not all mixes are equally environmentally friendly. Make sure to request a composite material that makes use of ingredients that would otherwise go to waste. Industrial byproducts from coal furnaces (fly ash), silicon metal refining (silica fume) and iron production (slag) are often recycled for use in countertops, increasing the strength and durability of the cement base while minimizing overall waste.
Because concrete is poured into molds, it offers incredible versatility when it comes to design options. Each countertop is poured to order, reducing materials waste while making it easy to create a uniquely shaped surface that perfectly suits the room it’s made for. If your looking for something with a little more personality or pizzazz, concrete also allows for the incorporation of recycled or found materials ranging from beach pebbles to glass, pottery or seashells.
It is also important to make sure that you discuss the earth-friendliness of form-release agents and sealants used during countertop production and installation. Products made from biodegradable vegetable oils are non-toxic and odorless, making them safe for food preparation areas and preventing any issues with indoor air quality.
Finally, timeless design and seamless functionality should be at the heart of any sustainable building or remodeling project. Make sure to find a contractor who will work closely with you to choose a concrete countertop layout that you’ll love for years to come, and that will appeal to potential future buyers.