Confession: I suffered chronic counter-envy for the last decade. My counter-envy intensified every single time I saw granite or marble countertops in magazines and in the backdrop of cooking posts on other blogs. Even while my inner tree-hugging hippy clutched her hemp necklace in horror, I dreamed of replacing the counters in our Georgia house with sleek, sophisticated, and classy slabs of polished nonrenewable rock. Imagine my delight when I discovered an inexpensive alternative which still gave the look and feel of granite without the guilt!
The process is pretty straight-forward and there are several brands to choose from. I went with Rust-Oleum Countertop Renovations because it was in Lowe’s, had a snazzy instructional video, and I really liked the charcoal color. We have been renovating our beloved Georgia house (which we have kept as a rental property) for the past five months and already replaced the floors with wood-look ceramic tile in a soft gray. I wanted to keep the light wood country cabinets, replace the counters, and install new stainless steel appliances after we finished the floors. We saved so much money by using the countertop renovations kit instead of buying custom counters and I didn’t have to compromise my beliefs. The kits come in two sizes: 30 square foot and 50 square foot. We were able to buy one kit and still had enough to renovate the counter in the hall bathroom. The kits are about $250 (for the 50 sq. ft). Since we live in Hawaii, we paid our friends to sand the old laminate counters, tape the edges, apply the adhesive base coat, toss on the “granite” chips/dust, sand the counters, and apply the clear coat. With labor and supplies, it cost us about $550.
I have to tell you: none of us thought it would look this good. I am absolutely madly and completely in love with every aspect of this project! We recycled our old countertops, didn’t have to rip them out or throw them in any landfills, and didn’t compromise our beliefs by buying up nonrenewable resources (marble and granite take millions of years to form). In case anyone was wondering, renewable resources replenish at the same or faster rate than consumption so granite and marble definitely don’t qualify.
Mining for granite and marble is an incredibly destructive process (click here to see just one example) and our unconscionable hunger for these materials is damaging fragile ecosystems, destroying wildlife habitats, and the amount of fossil-fuel used in mining & shipping the rock is staggering. Thankfully, forward-thinking people created sustainable alternatives which are beautiful, durable, and enable you to sleep at night while your inner hippy flashes you the peace-sign. Here’s a list to get you started should you need brand new counters:
- Recycled-glass counters
- Recycled stone (ceasarstone)
- Recycled-paper/glass composite
I also want to point out that this is not a sponsored post. Honestly, I just want to spread the word about alternative and sustainable methods to renovate houses. If even one person reads this post and takes steps to reduce waste and recycle, then I have succeeded.