In today’s bathroom renovation podcast, Joe DeMarco explains the benefits and drawbacks of 7 eco-friendly bathroom countertops, all options to complement any vanity set. The aesthetic and appeal of your bathroom vanity is synonymous with the type of countertop you install as they naturally catch our attention before the cabinetry.
Joe DeMarco: Hi, everyone. I’m Joe DeMarco, general manager of Perry Brothers Construction, a bathroom remodel service firm based out of Newbury, Massachusetts. Today I’ll be discussing the pros and cons of seven different eco-friendly bathroom countertops for bathroom vanities.
Sustainable Bamboo Countertops
So, my seven eco-friendly countertops. The first one I’d like to talk about would be a bamboo countertop. Now this is an eco-friendly option that you can use on top of any vanity. The beauty of bamboo and why it’s eco-friendly is that bamboo is an extremely fast-growing grass and it rapidly regenerates. It actually reaches its maturity within three to five years. You won’t even have to use any chemicals or anything for it.
Now a tree traditionally reaches its maturity, decades. It takes decades. And bamboo, it takes a shorter amount of time for it to grow. It’s a very sustainable resource. And bamboo, you may not think it is, but it’s extremely durable, highly resistant to moisture, stains, scratches. Perfect for bathrooms. It just really creates a peaceful environment inside a bathroom. It’s like you’re in a Buddhist temple.
Bamboo countertops, they last for many years. You don’t have to do much maintenance, just a little polish every five or 10 years or so, just regular dusting and cleaning, wipe it with a damp cloth. Cost, they can be pretty affordable compared to high-end options like granite, quartz, or marble. But I mean, the prices, it really depends on the brand and artistic design and the quality of the finish on these bamboo countertops.
It’s recommended to compare the quality and the prices from different countertop suppliers and bathroom renovation contractors, finding out the best option within your renovation budget. And just like any other countertop, I would advise you to have professionals install them. You can do it DIY because it’s a lighter countertop material than, say concrete, but typically, it’s coming in a pre-cut size and it’s custom ordered to fit in your vanity.
Sometimes though, what could happen is that the countertop needs some adjustments and cuts to get the proper installation and seal, and that’s where the professional countertop installers really come in because you don’t want to potentially screw up and cause leaks to happen within your bathroom vanity.
Vibrant Recycled Glass Countertops
The next one I’d like to talk about would be recycled glass countertops. Visually stunning, eco-friendly, just an amazing option. This is one of my personal favorites, you’re getting recycled glass from all sorts of different materials, resulting in the glass having different shades and textures and colors. You can get some really unique and colorful recycled glass bathroom countertops for your vanities. The beauty of these is they have a vibrant appearance.
And it’s made from this post-consumer glass. So these countertops are manufactured from bottles, jars, and anything made of glass.
Basically they use a cement binder or some other kind of a resin and it bonds the glass together, creating this thick, durable glass countertop that you can install on your vanity, and it just withstands any daily bathroom activities. And the binder material used during the construction to seal it enhances that strength and resilience even more.
The exact durability of it, it’ll withstand anything. I mean, Bigfoot and a giant could use that vanity countertop. Okay? Glass countertops are great. Stain and heat-resistant, it’s not going to just heat up like normal glass and shatter. No, no, no, no. These are completely fireproof and meant to be everlasting. The binder, it protects the glass from fragments of absorbing liquid or from being damaged by hot objects. You just got to follow your brand slash manufacturer’s instructions for sealing and maintenance. Make sure your general contractor follows the installation instructions and you will have the most beautiful long-lasting recycled glass countertop that you could imagine.
And they’re super easy to maintain, low maintenance, just don’t use any abrasive cleaning devices or any cleaners that could be super heavy in chemicals. Keep it natural. You don’t want to scratch the surface or damage the protective sealant. Just wipe up the spills promptly as they happen, better yet after they happen, instead of a couple of days later because you’ll avoid staining the recycled glass countertop.
Rustic Salvaged Wood Countertops
The next one I’d like to talk about is really cool, woodsy salvage wood countertops. Also called reclaimed wood countertops, or you can call them recycled wood countertops.
A super popular choice for people. Basically, it’s made from recycled wood collected from old buildings and barns and just anything made of wood. And they take this wood and they create it into new wood.
They basically build new stock and it reduces the need for you to go out into the forest and cut more trees down for more wood. It reduces deforestation at least. And it’s always unique looking because every piece of wood is a little different looking.
So when you’re manufacturing recycled wood, just like the recycled glass countertops, you’re mixing it all together and you’re getting a unique piece of lumber. A little shade of dark wood, a little shade of lighter wood, maybe some oak, mahogany, pine. You’re getting all this together and you’re getting this very unique bathroom vanity countertop.
Say if you have a bathroom vanity that’s made of oak or something, it’s a red oak and you want to get a darker countertop, you could get a recycled wood mahogany countertop and that would be so beautiful, man.
And just the environmental benefit of using salvaged wood, it’s reducing our waste. We’re not going to send old stock into a landfill to be burned. It’s going to limit our deforestation. It preserves the forest and it reduces the need to harvest trees.
Let them grow. Protect our ecosystem. Salvaged wood countertops have a lower carbon footprint compared to countertops made from new wood. Do not buy countertops made from new wood. You can always use reclaimed wood.
Tough Concrete Countertops
The next countertop I’d like to talk about would be concrete countertops. Probably the most durable option, of course. I mean, we use concrete for the foundation of our homes. Very durable, lots of strength when properly made and sealed. This can withstand any daily use in the bathroom by anyone from a T-Rex to a gorilla. It doesn’t matter. And they don’t scratch or chip.
They could last for lifetimes, a concrete bathroom countertop. Resistant to heat and moisture. And it’s perfect for any bathroom environment. It can complement any bathroom environment. You have different shades of concrete. You can go darker, you can go lighter, you can mix it, you could have shells in it, you could have different textures.
You could have it smooth finish or you could have it kind of feel like a football or something. The design possibilities for concrete countertops on a bathroom vanity is completely endless. There’s a huge range of design options you can do and it’s awesome. You can get decorative stones, even some jewels. Rubies, sapphires, gold, diamonds. Concrete countertops can be molded to blend into any master bathroom design for a simple, seamless, cohesive look.
Very eco-friendly and these recycled countertops are manufactured using recycled materials. General Contractors always recommend concrete countertops because they have the most longevity and you don’t even need to do much maintenance for them. They’re pretty easy to maintain. There’s no polishing or any of that.
The cost of them, it can really vary though. Usually, they’re going to be in the mid to high price range because they last so long. And I would definitely get quotes from a lot of different bathroom countertop contractors and suppliers and determine the long-term durability and design possibilities, visual aesthetics of all the different ones as you’re evaluating the cost and find out what you want and also what you’re willing to spend and really find a balance between the two.
Forward-Thinking Recycled Paper Countertops
The next type of bathroom countertop I want to talk about is recycled paper countertops, and they’re also known as paper composite countertops. A very innovative bathroom countertop option, I might say. Recycled paper countertops, they’re made from a blend of post-consumer recycled papers, so it could be things from newspapers to magazines to sticky notes, your bills, cardboard. And they use a resin binder just like the recycled glass countertops and put all these materials together and it creates a durable hard surface.
And these countertops, they reduce the waste of all this paper going into a landfill and being burned, getting caught up in the atmosphere. And they’re as strong and durable as reclaimed wood or recycled glass countertops.
You just have to make sure they’re properly manufactured and installed. Make sure these countertops are put in properly. They’re resistant to scratches, stains, and water damage just like any other bathroom countertop material. Heat and moisture resistant, of course, they’re just engineered to be that way.
The resin holds all the paper fibers together and gives fireproof and moisture-proof properties to the countertops. And of course, the environmental benefits of eco-friendly countertops are too good to pass up, and they sometimes overshadow any sort of costs or whatever financial or design considerations.
But the costs of recycled paper countertops, it does vary depending on the brand and the complexity of the design, the size. They’re within the mid to high price range.
I mean, they look beautiful and the long-term benefits and the way that you positively impact the environment by installing a recycled paper countertop on your bathroom vanity after assessing the cost seems to warrant the price.
Artisan Terrazzo Countertops
The next type of countertop I want to talk about is terrazzo countertops. And these are just an excellent, again, durable option for any bathroom vanity.
They’re made from a combination of chips and small pieces of marble and granite and glass, little pieces of wood and quartz and anything, any type of sediment or material really, and it’s all binded together with a resin, usually a cement or an epoxy. And then the mixture is polished and it creates a smooth, visually stunning bathroom countertop surface.
Visually appealing. These countertops, they offer a unique and eye-catching appearance. The variety of colors of the chips provides endless visual aesthetic possibilities. It’s just like the recycled glass countertops or the salvaged wood, every one of these is unique and individual and it can complement a vast array of master bathroom or small bathroom remodeling design accessories and ideas. Create a speckled or mosiac pattern. Super durable.
They offer just the highest levels of customization. The binder material for terrazzo bathroom countertops affect the appearance and the performance of it. These vanity tops are so scratch resistant and no heat is going to damage it, no moisture’s going to damage it.
The cost of a terrazzo countertop, it really depends on the size and just the choice of the materials and chips and the mix of the entire thing, what type of binder materials, cement versus epoxy. They’re usually, again, mid to high price range compared to other bathroom countertop varieties.
So again, get some quotes from other countertop suppliers and other general contractors and find out what you want.
Futuristic Stainless Steel Countertops
The last type of eco-friendly countertop I’d like to talk about would be stainless steel bathroom vanity countertops. Very sleek, modern, space-age design, very practical.
I would say maybe some people would consider steel bathroom countertops to be more of a commercial design. And while stainless steel countertops are very common in commercial kitchen design, they’re excellent and equally common in residential renovation or remodeling projects.
Very durable, exceptionally durable. Doesn’t scratch, no stains, easy to clean. You can use any cleaning products with it. Super highly resistant to any corrosion and rust. Extremely long lifespan. Very hygienic of course. Stainless steel vanity countertops are meant to get messy, and they’re easy to clean. They don’t heat up. Nothing’s going to be damaged. Very versatile.
They can be huge. They can be suitable for various styles of bathrooms, modern, industrial, minimalist, master, small, any bathroom could benefit from a stainless steel countertop.
And it brightens up the space. It creates this sense of sleek, beautiful openness, peace of mind. It’s compatible with any sort of vanity type or sink. You can make your entire bathroom look like the inside of a space pod, like it’s the Millennium Falcon’s bathroom, maybe right out of Prometheus.
Stainless steel bathroom countertops are a versatile design, choose a sink style that best suits and complements your preferences in bathroom design.
So make sure to choose a stainless steel countertop that matches the sink if you know this is what you really want. Stainless steel countertops, they’re custom-made to fit your vanity dimensions. Highly recommended you get a professional to install these. They’re a little bit harder to install. You need someone who specializes in stainless steel bathroom countertops. Extremely low maintenance when they’re installed. Longevity, exceptional. Proper care and maintenance, they keep their appearance and functionality for many years to come. These are resistant to fading, discoloration, everything.
The cost of them, they can vary in price. Sometimes they could be the cheapest, sometimes they could be the highest-priced counter surface for a vanity, especially when buying commercial-grade stainless steel bathroom countertops. But we’re talking about residential bathroom renovations right here, the appeal and the aesthetic and the durability and functionality is the same.
Learn All About Bathroom Countertops With Perry Brothers Construction
Wow, who knew eco-friendly countertops could be such an exciting bathroom renovation topic. With so many different eco-friendly bathroom countertops to choose from, it can at times be overwhelming to pick just seven, but I did my best. And at Perry Brothers Construction, we’re dedicated to matching you with the ideal countertop to complement your bathroom vanity.
If you’re interested in exploring the different bathroom countertop materials that are out there with one of our tour guides, feel free to fill out a contact form or call our office at (781) 233-7511 as we’re always willing to help further your understanding of the bathroom renovation and remodeling process. Have a great rest of your day. Perry Brothers Construction signing off.