What makes a counter-top eco-friendly?

Is it the way it’s fabricated or mined? The durability and lifetime expectancy? Or the lack of off-gassing and potentially harmful material? From a real estate prospective, we love hard-surfaces without lines; think slab granite, quartz or recycled glass. We also love neutral colors and in the Northwest specifically, make it warm and make it light and bright.Using Stainless Steel in an eco-conscience remodel

We know that a new kitchen is one of the highest returns on investments when it comes to resale value for your home. In fact, according to the National Association of REALTORS®a kitchen remodel can bring anywhere from 63% to over 80%, so while it’s always risky to remodel for the purpose of selling, every home improvement project should be based with resale value in mind.

The maddening part of being an eco-conscience REALTOR® is seeing beautiful but dated 1980’s ceramic tile counter-tops (or the 1990’s tile granite, or any other hard surface) being ripped out to make room for the lasted trends of slab stone. While I love the look of the slab stone and know a dated ceramic counter-top will turn some potential home owners away; I can’t help but to be saddened by the sheer waste of an otherwise useful product. In writing this blog I took at quick look at a City-data feed on what to do with old tile? The majority of answers simply say, “trash it” or “take it to the transfer station”

Search for Certified Green HomesI can’t help but to wonder if in a decade or so, we’ll be ripping out the slab granite to make room for the next trend in real estate counter-tops. In my opinion, the trick for an eco-friendly product must include a classic and timeless appeal that will last generations both in style and durability.

In a previous post, I break down some of the Greenest Counter-top options.  I love the idea of using recycled stainless steel to accomplish the eco-warriors goals of re-cycling, creating a healthy environment for the occupants of the home as well as the durability and lifetime expectancy.  Check out this informative post from the Kitchen that really breaks down the pros and cons of this counter-top surface.

Cool & Light

Houzz features some great products, particularly stunning is this beautiful mixture of cool light reflecting stainless-steel with the warm earth tones of natural wood

Modern Meets Classic

The stainless steel is intriguing, but in addition to the disadvantages of being noisy and requiring a lot more cleaning due to fingerprints, there is a style element there that might not work for every kitchen.  A mix of material not only breaks up work areas up in the kitchen, but can also subdue the modern and contemporary look to a more traditional look as they did in this project.

Contact a REALTOR First

ContactMeI’ll be exploring other counter-top materials for both their eco-attributes as well as their impact for potential home buyers and re-sale value down the road. Considering the waste and carbon foot-prints of any remodel, please contact me before considering any remodel project and we can’t help identify the best approach for both your home value and the environment.