Environmentally Friendly Countertops and Flooring

More and more materials for countertops and floors are available that are both beautiful and environmentally friendly. One product called shetkaSTONE is made from recycled paper, plant, and cloth fibers. While it has the look of stone, it can be cut and screwed like wood. It is water and stain resistant and comes in a number of colors. Best of all shetkaSTONE can be recycled again if it is ever replaced.

Richlite® is another countertop material made from paper combined with phenolic resin to form a chemically inert product that doesn’t release harmful gases into the air. It is harder than wood, stain resistant, and can be heated up to 350° without scorching. Unlike stone, Richlite® countertops can be cantilevered without additional reinforcement underneath.

IceStone® is made from recycled glass mixed with concrete to create a durable material that is environmentally friendly. It comes in dozens of colors and patterns and can be used on anything from kitchen countertops and bathroom vanities to shower surrounds and flooring.

Marmoleum linoleum floor tiles are made from a combination of natural ingredients including linseed oil, limestone, wood flour, and organic pigments. The natural antibacterial properties and lack of chemical gases make it the perfect flooring for those suffering from allergies or asthma. It is available in over 100 mix and match colors and installed with adhesive. Marmoleum® Click is a similar product that easily locks together to provide a homeowner friendly installation that doesn’t require glue.

While linoleum is much easier on your feet than ceramic tile, for the ultimate in cushioned comfort you might consider cork flooring. It is harvested every few years from the bark of the cork oak without killing the tree. The cork is then ground and pressed together into floor tiles that are surprisingly durable, given their resilient nature.

Bamboo is sustainable wood flooring, but unlike cork, it is as hard or harder than oak or maple. Bamboo comes prefinished in either a light natural color or carbonized to a dark brown and is available with vertical or horizontal grain. Both cork and bamboo flooring are available at The Home Depot.

Sandhill Industries manufactures ecofriendly wall tiles from 100% recycled glass that require half the energy to make than ceramic tile. They are available in a number of mosaic patterns and vibrant colors.


  1. recently saw a “Small Space Big Style” show on HGTV. It seemed 2/3 of the apartment was done in variations of cork, includ. countertops & backsplashes. Very, very interested in any & all info on using it for my countertops & backsplash but cannot seem to find any REAL info on this specific use. Could you help me?

  2. need to make an additional comment about countertops. Two yrs. ago we had our old pinkish/orangish laminate (on our island) replaced with silestone. Since we live in NE, PA we get some verycold months & our ranch (built apprx.1960) of brick & stone is not insulated. I have noticed in the last 2 yrs. that the silestone island gets very cold (much worse than the remaining old laminate on the countertops). Therefore I do not want to cover the remaining countertops with any kind of “stone” product thereby adding to the coldness of the kitchen. So this is not only an aesthetic issue but also the practical issue of not making the kitchen even colder because rock surfaces are the current fad. I am also a person who does not necessarily want what is the current fad or what everyone else has!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Geri,
    While they may feel colder to the touch, having stone countertops will not affect the inside temperature of your house or reduce energy efficiency.

  4. I have said this before but can’t say it enough. Throughout the northeast and PA, there is a non profit organization called greendemolitions.com . They have recycled and new showroom display kitchens on sale for a fraction of what you would pay normally. Many of Dannys sponsors support this cause. I think they can arrange shipping to anywhere, and they take donations of used kitchens in good shape. I am planning on donating my own as soon as I can find one that I like there to replace it. You then can take the donation as a tax write off. Some people just cant afford all the glitz and glamour of a new designer kitchen and this gives you the best of both worlds.

  5. I am so sick of being told that bamboo is so environmentally better than oak. First of all, bamboo requires fertilizers and pesticides to grow and many harmful glues to manufacture. And, it’s ugly. Red oak requires NO fertilizers or pesticides to grow and the least energy to produce flooring, cabinets, etc. Saying we should not cut trees is like saying we should not cut the corn stalk or wheat stem to produce food.

  6. Icestone is growing in popularity and we love making it for people. Something customers should know is that unlike other man made materials, IceStone does need to be resealed every year if not twice a year. It something a homewoner can do themselves with common sealers found at any home improvement store


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