Glass Kitchen Countertops

Beth Asaff
Flickr user this_could_be_my_house
Photo by Flickr user this_could_be_my_house

With vivid colors, green building technologies and an easy to maintain finish, it's easy to see why glass kitchen countertops are a growing field.

Types of Glass Kitchen Countertops

When most people think of glass counters, they are most likely picturing green, tempered glass. While tempered glass is used in many kitchens, today's styles and choices have grown to encompass much more.

Tempered Glass

Tempered glass counters are made of large sheets of thick glass, treated to resist chipping or cracking. While they were once only available in a limited range of solid colors, it is now possible to purchase tempered glass counters in a wide range of both solid colors, and fused glass patterns made up of multiple colors. These types of glass counters are always custom, have a great deal of variation from sample to finished product and can allow for a great deal of creativity on the part of the homeowner.

Recycled Glass

The hottest product in green building trends today is the recycled glass countertop. Made of crushed, recycled glass bottles, light bulbs and window panes these counters vivid, durable and extremely easy to maintain.

Recycled glass counters are made by selecting percentages of various colors of glass. The glass is mixed with the same resin used to make quartz countertops, suspending the pieces of glass inside. The result is a counter that is scratch proof, burn proof and chip proof, yet filled with large and small bits of colored glass.

Recycled glass countertops are formed from large slabs similar to granite or quartz counters. The same sink cutout, edge treatments and thickness are available and the installation process is the same. Depending on the manufacturer, you will have the option of either choosing from a set palette of colors, or creating your own.

If custom colors are available, you have the chance to select the exact colors and the amounts in which they appear, as well as the color resin they are suspended in. While the placement of the glass pieces themselves is random, this option gives you far more control over your counter than any other on the market today.

Designing with Glass Counters

It may sound like glass kitchen countertops are only for modern homes, but in reality some colors of recycled glass resemble quartz enough to provide a green counter option for all styles of home. When designing with a glass countertop in mind, follow these tips.

Get a Sample of the Finished Product

Glass has a tremendous amount of variation, regardless of whether you are using tempered or recycled glass. Ask for a sample from the counter you will be installing to select your backsplash, paint and other kitchen colors from. This way there won't be any color clash after install.

Complement Rather than Match

It is very tempting to install a glass kitchen backsplash with your glass counter, and in many cases this design works well. Keep in mind that it may be impossible to get the two types of glass to match each other perfectly. So rather than trying, select a complementary color or focus on style and texture instead.

Recycled glass mosaics with ragged, hand cut edges are a wonderful complement to recycled glass counters. Ceramic tiles in vivid, glossy colors and mixtures of honed slate and glass also work well to provide depth to the design.

Remember the Lighting

Glass is one of the most reflective surfaces around, which makes it ideal for dark or small kitchens. Remember to plan your lighting accordingly; too much under cabinet lighting could create a glaring effect that interferes with the counter's use.If you're using pendant lighting anywhere, pick up a shade of the glass to reproduce the colors in the glass light shades. Since the two glasses won't be as close to one another as a counter and backsplash, it's less important if they don't match exactly.


Glass kitchen countertops can spice up and brighten any kitchen design. Whether you're focusing on green building, or you just love the look of the material, you'll find glass counters to be a highly versatile and durable choice.

Glass Kitchen Countertops