Manufacturing concrete countertops requires a lot of energy, and cement production pollutes more than most processes. Some redeeming environmental qualities of concrete, however, are that recycled materials such as fly ash and glass can be included in the concrete mix for texture and variety, and concrete can be recycled into aggregate at the end of its usable life. When coloring concrete for countertops, be sure nontoxic, natural pigments are mixed into the concrete rather than applying surface stains. Concrete looks exotic and unusual, it`s heat- and scratch-resistant, and new treatments help eliminate cracking and diminish porosity.
Engineered stone. This countertop product is manufactured by combining quartz and pigments with polyester resin and pouring it into a mold to create a dense slab resembling granite. Using regionally manufactured stone and local fabricators cuts down on transportation distance, which is less harmful to the environment. Engineered stone is extremely durable, heat- and stain-resistant, and available in a wider range of colors than natural stone. Its nonporous surface resists scratches and cracks, and unlike natural stone, it does not require annual sealing.
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