Many of today’s homeowners strive for environmental consciousness, and thus are interested in utilizing green building materials in their home’s architecture that minimize their carbon footprint and won’t release toxins into the air within their home.
Natural stone countertops take the lead as the best option for eco-conscious homebuyers and homeowners.
Environmentally Friendly Production
Marble, granite, slate, and soapstone are all mined solid rock found in nature. These chunks of stone are subsequently sawed into slabs with diamond-tipped blades.
Finally, these stone slabs may or may not be polished— all depending on how rustic or polished the fabricator would like the final product to be.
Besides this process, there really isn’t much else done in the manufacturing process. On top of that, the process releases relatively less pollution than the processes of other man-made countertop materials. The energy put toward the production of natural stone countertops is much less than the amount used in the fabrication of engineered laminate, stone, vinyl, and other types of countertop materials.
Durability of Natural Stone Means Less Waste
Your natural stone countertops may just be the last countertops you’ll ever install for the rest of your lifetime. The typical length of time natural countertops last is well over 30 years— especially when they’re regularly sealed and maintained by industrty professionals.
Of course, there are always exceptions—it’s possible they’ll be replaced— normally due to a new homeowner’s different taste in interior design.
So really, the same 30 to 50 years that your marble, granite, soapstone, or slate will last; man-made laminate countertops would likely need several replacements, meaning triple or quadruple greenhouse the gas emissions. This applies even to wood countertops – pine, hardwood, or butcher block—that would need resurfacing or complete replacement a handful of times.
Replacing old countertop materials with new ones every decade or so increases the waste that overload landfills— not to mention excess energy that goes into the production of those materials in the first place.
Natural Stone Countertops Will Not Release VOCs
Volatile organic compounds are toxic pollutants that can be found in a myriad of building materials— and yes, this includes laminate countertops. The release of VOCs into our atmosphere results in what we know as ground-level smog. In addition to this phenomenon, the pollutant can have many negative health effects on those who inadvertently inhale the substance in large quantities; this includes headaches, nausea, and loss of coordination (among other, more chronic conditions).
The production of natural stone countertops, and the products themselves, don’t emit any VOCs—meaning they won’t pose as a harm to either the air quality of your home or the atmosphere outside.