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How to Evaluate Glass Countertop Quality…part 1

 

Glass is glass, right?  No…But that is exactly what a lot of glass fabricators would like you to  believe. Glass countertops are a big part of your kitchen, bath, or dining room and it would be a shame to buy such an element without the highest quality glass edge polish.

Why focus upon the edge?  Because it is the first thing you and your guests will notice and touch when they enter that room.  A 1.5″ thick glass surface has a very wide aperture through which you can see deeply into the glass. Just as a perfectly polished lens is critical for a telescope to see the minutia of far away stars, so too is the polish quality of your countertop edge. Done right, the perfect edge will come alive by allowing ambient light to reflect off of the bottom texture in spectacular fashion.

 

Lets start with a little of our history. Before we started manufacturing our own glass countertops, we used many different vendors. The quality varied greatly in the color, and especially the edge. We were never impressed, and vowed to make ours superior in all respects.

 

To ensure the utmost in optical clarity, we now use an 11-step polishing process. The final steps are completed using hand-held polishing tools. It is not a simple nor easy process. Only when the glass appears perfect to our eyes is it ready to ship.  Others that rely solely upon CNC tooling alone can never match the edge quality offered by our skilled artisans. Others that stop at step 4 have a hazy edge appearance. Frequently, the CNC tooling will show visible imperfections. This is not good. See striations in picture below.

 

What follows is our quick guide as to what to look for in a well-made, textured glass countertop…

Look carefully for:

1) Thick, optically clear edges have a wide aperture view into your glass countertop. When perfectly polished, it literally makes the texture leap out of the glass!  The optical clarity is quite evident…even close-up. Rounded Glass Countertop edgeSee our polished edge clarity below. 

2) Gently rounded edges…they just feel better to your elbows, fingers and fannie. Moreover, rounded edges are much more practical, and less prone to breakage vs. a sharp 45 degree beveled edge. Beveled edges are also very uncomfortable to place your elbows upon. See rounded vs beveled edge below.

3) High quality glass whose edge color is pleasing the eye. We use PPG Starphire glass exclusively. It is made in the USA and prized for it’s pleasing light sapphire blue appearance on edge. Lower quality glass has impurities that can create unsightly green and even yellow appearances on edge. Make sure you specify Starphire glass.

In summary, it takes great deal of effort and care to produce a high quality edge polish on a glass countertop…there are no easy shortcuts. CNC tools are faster, but cannot compare to the impeccable edge quality produced by skilled artisans.

We hope that this guide helps you understand practical considerations when selecting your  glass countertop so that it can withstand visual and tactile scrutiny (from envious neighbors) for many years to come. We welcome your visit to our factory to show-off our glass quality, as well as a side-by-side comparison with our competitors not-so-high glass quality. Glass countertops are definitely a splurge…we are here to assist you in obtaining the high quality you demand. 

Jeff Downing
DowningDesigns.com