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.
Granite and marble countertop must be quarried, which requires a lot of energy. Transport also can be expensive and environmentally detrimental if the stone needs to be shipped a great distance. Using indigenous stone from salvage or remnants significantly reduces environmental impact. Granite is virtually indestructible, provides a high-end designer look and is heatproof. But it also is very expensive, can crack and requires periodic sealing. Marble likewise provides a high-end look and is waterproof and heatproof. On the downside, it`s expensive, can scratch and stains easily unless professionally sealed.
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