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7:45 PM Tue, Sept. 25th

Recycled glass countertops add dazzle and durability

This week, we received multiple questions on recycled glass countertop material such as "What is it?" "Can it be used outdoors?" "What is the care and maintenance?" and "Is it truly environmentally safe?" Today's column is dedicated to recycled glass countertops, one of the most dazzling surfaces available, thanks to great questions from Michelle in Prescott, Audrey in Prescott Valley and Clint in Prescott.

Let's first talk about green or sustainable building, which is the practice of creating a healthier and more resource- and energy-efficient mode of construction, renovation, operation, maintenance and demolition. Recycled glass countertops fall in the category of green building because they are made from a post-consumer product, keeping the glass from going into our landfills or becoming a litter problem. And, just as importantly, the product is all American-made.

Recycled countertops are a great choice if you are searching for eco-friendly, green material. There are many benefits to recycled glass countertops and right here in Prescott a product called Vertrazzo is being sold and installed. Recycled glass countertops are slightly higher in cost when compared to granite, marble and Corian. However, the features of this product make them more popular by the day. They are made from 85-95 percent of post consumer recycled material and, in the case of Vertrazzo, each countertop panel created uses more than 550 pounds of crushed recycled glass.

Recycled glass comes from a variety of sources, which includes beverage bottles, post-industrial products, windows, stemware, automotive glass, stained glass, reclaimed glass from building demolitions and other unusual sources such as decommissioned traffic light lenses. Because of the unique nature of the glass used, all recycled glass surfaces have their own story.

Vertrazzo is comparable in strength, scratch resistance, thermal resistance, durability and care and maintenance to granite. Vertrazzo is one of the most environmentally-friendly surface materials on the market today. Almost any surface requirement can use recycled glass material. The most popular applications include countertops, vanity tops, tabletops, bar tops, hearths/fireplace surrounds and tub decks and shower surrounds. It is important to keep in mind that because of the unique nature of this product, no two pieces are exactly the same, so any samples should be considered a general representation of the final appearance of your product.

Although recycled glass countertops are 85-95 percent impervious to stain, they still need to be cared for, but that care and maintenance is easy. The surface should be wiped with a damp cloth, and a mild liquid soap or detergent can clean off dried spots or rings. It is recommended that you reseal your product every year or two to keep it like new. The sealant is applied, sits for 20 minutes and is wiped off. Nothing to it! A coat of marble wax applied every six months to add an additional protective layer is good practice.

Red wine, lemon juice, acid type liquids, will etch the surface if not cleaned up right away. Staining agents like coffee and tea will leave a trace if allowed to remain on the surface. But, on the other hand, if you are more carefree, you may appreciate the natural patina that develops as you live with and enjoy your product.

Recycled glass tops are extremely strong and durable and will withstand years and years of normal use. Recycled tops handle hot pans extremely well. Remember, the material is glass and concrete. You will also be happy to know that you can cut on the surface; however, you will quickly dull your knife, as recycled tops are one of the hardest countertops surfaces on the market.

Because of the unique nature of the glass used in the production process, every Vertrazzo surface has its own history. That history is tracked and a "certificate of transformation" will tell you exactly where the glass came from. Now, how cool is that? You have your own countertop story.

Every panel of recycled glass is unique. You can express your own individual style with the color you select. I have a Vertrazzo favorite: the Charisma Blue. It is charismatic in its beauty and it's an elegant solution to transforming your kitchen or bath.- Dee Spitler, owner, The Granite Shop/Design Center, Prescott

Yavapai County Contractors Association (YCCA) is a professional association representing licensed, bonded and insured contractors, suppliers, distributors and business entities. YCCA, your local trusted referral source, can be reached at 778-0040 or at www.ycca.org.

Submit your questions to ycca@cableone.net and watch for your answer in the weekly real estate section of the Daily Courier.