Group 6 2 minutes Read

counter culture

Lauren Zerbey

One of the things we are most excited about with the impending kitchen remodel is new countertops! One of the most embarrassing parts of our house is our laminate countertops. Now, laminate isn’t inherently bad. But ours…ours was meant to look like marble. I think.

Is there such a thing as yellow marble with gold veins?

It’s quite possible that it wasn’t always yellow. Or maybe it was more yellow. Or gold. Anyhow, it is scratched, stained, de-laminating and soon to be gone! But what to replace it with?  

In general, we like smooth surfaces that are not busy or shiny. This rules out most tile, granite, marble, and recycled glass products. Second, we want it to be extremely durable. Recycled content is also a plus. Oh, and it has to be affordable. In terms of color, we’re thinking something in the lighter hue to bounce more light and make the space feel brighter. [For the island, we’re planning on going with IKEA butcher block.] 

We started out with three choices: stainless steel, quartz, and a recycled bamboo/paper fiber product.  

Photo found here.  

With stainless steel, you get a durable, sterile material with the option to do an integrated stainless steel sink. Swoon! Sadly the quote was well over $3k (for counters, sink, a full height back splash and installation). Oh well.

The two remaining contenders are quartz and a recycled fiber product. Let’s see how they compare.


The quartz product we’re looking at is sold as Chroma at Pental Tile & Marble. We like the colors and visual texture (not too busy but not too dull) in addition to its durability. The photo above is a similar color in a polished finish. We’re looking at either the “mesa” or “mohave” in a honed finish. The material comes in 55″x119″ slabs in 2 cm and 3 cm thicknesses. It retails for about $25-$35/SF excluding fabrication and installation.  


We’re also looking at a product called EcoTop. It’s similar to Paperstone and Richlite, but it uses a 50/50 blend of bamboo fiber and post consumer recycled paper. The materials are bound together by a water-based, zero VOC co-polymer resin. It comes in 5’x12′ sheets and in  3/4″ and 1/2″ thicknesses. The price is about $20/SF for 1/2″ material. We haven’t priced fabrication yet, but one advantage to this product is that we could feasibly do the cuts and install ourselves.


Unlike similar paper-based products that only come in darker colors, EcoTop has a nice range of lighter hues. We’re considering some of these medium range browns:

So there you have it. The final choice will come down to cost, availability and color. Decisions, decisions! In the meantime, any amazing countertops out there that we’ve overlooked?