05 August 2008

Cool, sustainable countertop materials and where to buy them

I was combing through my blog list over the weekend and shaking my head at all of the hoo-hah being made about granite lately. I specify granite all the time and whatever reservations I have about it, they are not based on bogus health claims. My only reservations about granite are a) it's pretty much everywhere any more and b) comes out of the ground in some less-than-ideal conditions. So what's out there that's unusual, resilient AND sustainable?

Well I came across a mention of Squak Mountain Stone on Apartment Therapy. Squak Mountain Stone is made by made by Tiger Mountain Innovations and is a counter top material that looks like a cross between limestone or soapstone and concrete. Squak Mountain Stone is a fibrous, cast material made from recycled glass, recycled paper, coal fly ash and concrete. Coal fly ash is what's left over after a power plant burns coal to make electricity. Squak Mountain Stone is an interesting alternative to other, non-sustainable counter top materials. Unlike the rest of its competitors, it's possible to buy this material and install it yourself in simpler applications. It's an interesting idea and the resulting counters look great!

The company behind Squak Mountain Stone also has a product called Trinity Glass, an alternative to quartz counters that's made with 75% recycled glass. Trinity Glass brings a whole different aesthetic to the table from its companion product, Squak Mountain Stone. Just as is the case with Squak Mountain, Trinity Glass is available with a do-it-yourself-er in mind.

Both of these products, and a slew of other sustainable building materials are available at Indigo, a green building products vendor in Gainesville. It's a bit of a haul, but worth the drive. Their website is extensive and you can buy samples and supplies through it.

Wanna know what's new in counter top land? You're looking at it.


  1. Every Squak Mountain Stone concrete slab is hand-finished so it has a unique character similar to that of natural stones such as marble, travertine, and limestone. Squak Mountain Stone is generally used in kitchens and bathrooms as a counter top, table top or vanity top. If you haven't seen the "new" Squak Mountain stone you really don't know what you are missing out on! Tiger Mountain Innovations, LLC has recently made some great product improvements to their Squak Mountain Stone product. The coal fly-ash previously contained in the material has been substituted out with more recycled glass. Portland cement was substituted for low-carbon cement over 2 years ago as low-carbon cement releases much less co2 into the atmosphere during the manufacturing process. Furthermore, the slabs are available in a nominal 56"x96" size at 1-3/8" thickness. Slabs are gauged on the backside to ensure consistent thickness and ease of seaming for fabricators. A state-of-the-art vibration technology is used to minimize pinholes and give a more consistent character from slab to slab.

  2. Squak Mountain is not a proper product for kitchen counter tops. I can't say this enough--if you are a real cook, you do not want a product that is going to stain and even break surface like this product does. I spent more than i had to and worked very hard to get this product in my kitchen remodel. No one--not EcoHaus Seattle, the installer or my contractor gave me any information that would of made me question my decision to use this product. Honestly--in one year it looks TERRIBLE and I can not afford to replace it. Please, please rethink using this--even water stains. It's a nightmare for a kitchen. It's so said because I wanted to love this and use it in other places in the house--I'm can't now.


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