Choose and Install a Glass Countertop

    Glass Countertop/Courtesy of Quality Bath

    One of the most exciting home improvement materials I’ve seen lately is glass – as in new glass countertop styles. A glass countertop gives a sleek, uniquely modern look to your kitchen or bath. It can also add color and sparkle.

    Find out more about glass countertop styles, care, and installation below. 

    8 Popular Glass Countertop Styles

    1. Tinted. With this type, the glass is tinted in a fashionable shade before being formed into a countertop. It tends to be installed atop a laminate substrate to hide the interior of the cabinets below.

    2. Back painted. This consists of a glass countertop that has been painted a solid color on the bottom prior to installation. The color shines through and is given an extra depth and richness by the glass.

    3. Artistic glass. Artistic multicolored swirls and streaks are embedded right in the glass itself. The process leads to a very personal, strikingly unique countertop style.

    4. Recycled glass. Chips of richly hued, recycled glass are set in concrete or acrylic to create a luminous, terrazzo-type glass countertop material. These are available in a huge selection of patterns and colors.

    5. Waterfall edge. Glass that covers your kitchen island and continues down the side will produce a glamorous waterfall edge countertop … but without the heavy appearance so often associated with this style.

    6. Textured. These countertops are formed of clear glass to showcase an intriguingly designed texture – perhaps crackling, dimpling, or swirling – or made to echo the natural look of water in motion.

    7. Integrated sink. A glass countertop can easily accommodate an integrated sink. (An integrated sink is formed as one seamless piece with the countertop, which it is set into.) When the material is glass, the integrated sink style is most often used as a bathroom vanity topper.

    8. LED lit. For ultra-modern excitement, glass countertops may be lit from beneath with numerous minuscule LED bulbs. This creates elegant drama in the kitchen or bathroom.

    Durability and Maintenance

    • Solid glass countertop

    Tempered glass countertops are very strong and durable. In addition, solid glass counters are extremely hygienic, since the surface of the glass is non-porous and does not trap bacteria, dirt, or stains.

    Due to glass’s excellent heat resistance, feel free to put hot pots down directly onto your countertop – you do not need to worry that it will scorch, melt, or warp.

    Care for your glass countertop is simple. Just rub it down as needed with a cloth moistened in warm soapy water.

    One common disadvantage of these countertops, especially the smooth, solid-colored versions, is that they do tend to show fingerprints.

    • Recycled glass countertop

    Recycled glass countertops are made of crushed glass (frequently salvaged from broken windows or colorful recycled bottles), set in a base such as concrete or resin. While these are a sustainable choice, you’ll find that they are a bit more temperamental than solid glass. 

    For example, a concrete-based glass countertop will need to be sealed for stain and water resistance, and cleaned only with low-acid products. Resin-based styles may discolor if they are subjected to intense heat; always protect them against hot pots by using trivets. In general, crushed glass countertops are less durable than solid ones.

    • Never do this!

    Whether you select solid or terrazzo-type glass counters, never cut directly on the countertop; use a chopping board. Beware of hitting the glass with a heavy or sharp object (such as a cast iron pan or a knife).

    Installing Glass Countertops

    Sorry, folks, installing glass countertops is not a DIY project. Damage to these beauties generally cannot be repaired, so you need to find an experienced, reputable contractor who'll carefully handle your new countertops every step of the way, from transportation to your home through the actual installation – followed by sealing, if necessary. The level of skill required makes glass countertop installation a rather pricey process … but if you love the finished product as much as I do, you might well decide it’s worth it.

    Laura Firszt writes for

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