The countertop is one of the most important decisions to make when designing a bathroom or kitchen. The style, color and material will help to drive all other choices and aspects of the design. Glass countertops offer new styles, colors and options for homeowners to choose from.
Types of Glass Counters Available
There are many options available for glass counters. Taking into account the amount of use, and the style of the design will help make the decision easier.
For modern bathrooms, look into tempered glass sink and counter combinations. These counters come in bright colors, with either an integral sink, or a matching vessel sink to complete the look. They work well for bathrooms, and will withstand light use without scratching or chipping.
Custom glass counters offer multiple colors and styles for both kitchens and bathrooms. These counters are templated and made to the exact specifications of the cabinets, like granite or other counters are. They can be opaque, or translucent and underlit for more contemporary looks.
A recycled glass countertop, such as Ice Stone, is a composite material made up of many types of recycled glass held together by a resin and ground to a high sheen. These counters will contain multiple colors and shapes of glass within them, and can work in nearly any home setting. They are impervious to staining and scratching and can withstand heavy use.
Care and Considerations
It’s understanding to have concerns about using glass counters for fear that they may break, chip or scratch, or that they will be impossible to keep clean. Glass counters for commercial and residential use, however, undergo extensive testing to ensure their safety during use. Glass counters will withstand normal use in residential settings, such as kitchens and bathrooms, provided that some care is taken. Use cutting boards to avoid scratching the counters, and hot plates to avoid thermal shock to the glass. Recycled countertops, which are held together with a resin, can be cut on and will withstand heat as well.
To clean glass countertops, treat them like any glass material in the home. Glass cleaners, or vinegar and newspaper will help to keep them clean and streak free. Glass counters do tend to show finger prints, water marks and other spots fairly well, if a solid color counter is used, so consider using a custom, multi-colored counter, or a recycled glass counter, if this is a concern.
Decorating with Glass
Once a glass countertop has been decided on, it’s time to accent the rest of the space. Take the type and style of the counter into consideration first. If this is a smooth, tempered glass, accent with color-backed glass tiles or modern porcelain or ceramic tiles with clean edges and colors. A recycled glass counter, with multiple shapes and colors of glass throughout it, might work well with a hand poured, hand cut glass mosaic as a backsplash, to mimic the effect.
Remember that glass, particularly recycled glass, can change from lot to lot, so be sure to have a sample of the exact counter when choosing accents, to be sure that the colors will be consistent. Also remember, that due to these color variations, it’s best to find complimentary colors to accent with, and not to try to match the counter color exactly. It will be difficult to do so, and more likely, the colors will be off slightly, making it appear that the designer tried and failed to make the match.
Whatever style of glass counter is chosen, be sure to ask about any specifics of care that it may require prior to purchase, to help ensure its long life and use. Build the rest of the design around the countertop to help ensure that the design flows smoothly and each element compliments the others. Accent the glass with proper lighting to highlight its beauty, and enjoy the look for years to come.