Kitchen Countertops / September 14, 2018 / Banner Jones.
The basics: Plastic laminate countertops consist of a wafer-thin finish adhered to a plywood or particleboard substrate. That thin finish is a high-pressure laminate (HPL); it’s made of three layers of material bonded together by high heat and pressure: a clear melamine top for protection, a decorative layer and a backing made of phenolic resin-coated kraft paper. Well-known laminate manufacturers include Formica, Wilsonart and Nevamar.
Recycled glass countertops vary greatly in appearance. IceStone, which is Cradle to Cradle certified, provides an opaque, refined character with its fine glass particles set in pigmented cement. Because the material is porous, recommendations call for sealing twice a year, so make sure you’re up for the maintenance.
The basics: Recycled paper countertops are composed of postconsumer wastepaper, nonpetroleum-based resins and pigments. This mix is heated and compressed into a dense, monolithic slab with a feel that’s often compared to a warm, soft stone — like soapstone. The primary manufacturers, PaperStone, Richlite, ShetkaStone and Kliptech, all offer several colors, though the material typically is available only in medium to dark hues, all in a smart-looking matte finish.
Cons: Most quartz products claim to be heat-resistant, but that doesn’t mean they’re completely heat proof. As with many countertop materials, it’s always best to check with the manufacturer about just how much heat the product is able to withstand.
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