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Countertop Options



Butcher Block

$48--80 per sq. ft.

Select wood certified by Forest Stewardship Council

Look for food-safe labels on oils and sealers


$80 -- 150 sq. ft.

Recycled materials like glass and fly ash can be included in the concrete mix

Use nontoxic, natural pigments mixed into concrete for color rather than surface-applied stains

Engineered Stone

$65--100 per sq. ft.

Quartz, pigments, and polyester resin are combined and poured into a mold to create a dense slab resembling granite

Available in many colors

Look for regionally manufactured stone and local fabricators


$10--25 per sq. ft.

Choose products made with water-based rather than solvent-based resins

Use adhesives low in VOCs

Natural Stone

$80--150 per sq. ft.

Quarried from around the world, impacts depend on quarrying and production practices as well as transport distance

Readily available as salvage and remnants

Solid Surface

$45--90 per sq. ft.

Solid surface materials (e.g., Corian©) is a mix of fillers and resins

Filler is often a form of bauxite -- the ore that produces aluminum

Resins are polyester or acrylic -- both are derived from oil and natural gas products

Stainless Steel

$85--100 per sq. ft.

Combo of steel, chromium, and nickel

Chromium, a toxic heavy metal, is bound in steel during manufacturing so the finished product is non-toxic

Look for salvaged stainless steel at restaurant supply and metal surplus distributors

Stainless steel that is 18% chromium and 10% nickel is more durable


$5--80 per sq. ft.

Manufacturing requires large amounts of energy but products are durable

Cost option varies widely based on tile and complexity of installation

Tiles can be made from recycled glass, porcelain, salvaged ceramic scrap, or feldspar tailings

Grout sealers and lines less than 1/8" create easy-to-clean surfaces

Choose sealers free of formaldehyde and low in VOCs

Install with solvent-free mastic on a durable rot-proof surface, such as cement backer board

Source: Green Home Remodel / Kitchen, City of Seattle.

Content updated on 9/29/2006

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