Last updated on January 8th, 2021 at 04:05 pm
Black Glass countertops are similar to White glass…but a deep, pure opaque high gloss black. These will get hot in direct sunlight.
Recycled Glass Countertops is a matrix made up of small chips of colorful recycled glass chips in a binder and sold in slabs. A concrete based binder for your recycled glass countertops will require a sealant application. A resin-based binder will stand up to stains better, but can’t be used outdoors…UV light will degrade it. Many choices for colors and binders are available. Vetrazzo, IceStone, Geos are notable brands.
Textures for Glass Countertops
Texturing Glass Upon selection of the glass countertop to be used, fabrication can begin after measuring, templating, and texture design. A like a bespoke tailor, a full-service glass countertop designer-fabricator will demonstrate ALL of your options to accessorize your glass countertop to achieve the utmost in “wow” factor. These critical points include:
Stamped Textures provide a consistent textured look that is omni-directional. These can be interesting when selected for the right environment.
Hand Sculpted Textures are artistically carved into the kiln bed to create the texture you desire. Deep textures create drama and are spectacular when lit with LEDs and downlights. See our Fox News video showing some of this sculpting process.
- Designer Tip: Communicate and review pattern suggestions, and refine these until happy. Select a glass texture that enhances the personality of your room “flow”. Don’t settle for a stamped textured piece of glass when for the same amount of money you can have a custom designed statement piece that flows elegantly with the lines in your home. Make sure your texture flows from one piece of glass to another across the seam in multi-sectional countertops. See Video below for a glass counter that flows well with the room.
Air Bubbles trapped between layers of glass are part of their endearing “flaws” since glass is not formed under a vacuum.
They enhance the visual interest and depth of thick glass countertops. More Bubbles can be creatively added to glass countertops (with chemicals) if that is your desire.
Glass Cutting and Polishing
Kiln-formed glass must be cut to size and have holes drilled. Waterjets, wet saws and polishing tools with plenty of water are used. Make sure your glass fabricator has these in his shop to efficiently move your glass from kiln to cutting to polishing.
- Designer Note: Make sure you inspect the quality of the edge polish of your glass countertop upon arrival. If it has lines from a worn out CNC bit, reject it! Your glass edge should offer a perfectly polished lens into your glass.
- Also, 45 degree bevels present (2) sharp edges where the top meets the face. Gently rounded over edges are much more comfortable, and much less prone to chipping. See below picture illustrating those points.
LED Edge Lighting is typically this is the best way to light textured glass countertops. Narrow LED strip lights on the edge of the countertop allow for high levels of striking high-contrast color. Done right, your glass countertop will “POP”…especially at night. Color and brightness are achieved with a controller, usually a smart phone app. This produces millions of stunning colors that can even dance to your music. You will need to run wires from the LED strips to a controller and transformer to a 110v power outlet. Use quality LEDs…this is not a place to save money as they can be tricky to replace once installed.
- Designer Tip: Your LED cover and wiring should be minimalist and allow viewing into glass as well as reduce the pixel appearance from the front. Get a plan to conceal the LED wires through the supports and lower surface.
On A Lighter Side Note: Our “proprietary” research shows that properly lit Glass High Bars are in fact “Time Machines”. Apparently, a huge benefit of the upward angling and soft mood lighting from our glass high bars is that it “turns back the clock a few years”. (It makes my vintage 1959 wrinkles almost go away…we are not sure how to price that benefit just yet).
Down lighting from the ceiling will create a powerful mimic shadow upon the floor and lower surface. It is a perfect lighting technique for High bars to complement LED edge lighting.
- Designer Tip: Modern LED downlights are available that create a tight, well-defined X-Ray shadow upon the floor. They are powerful, dimmable and consume very little electricity. Aim the light to project the shadows where you desire…preferably at an angle to make the shadows look bigger.
Ambient lighting allows the glass to pop naturally during the day in a sunny location. Low iron glass is naturally beautiful when lit with sunlight. See the pictures and video below.
Under lighting Glass requires a tall structure on the underside of the textured glass to allow for even distribution of light…which may be unsuitably high for your countertop.
- Designer Note: It also creates a very “flat” lighting effect that minimizes the contrast of shadow vs light and robs textures of their visual depth. It “highlights” the rib structure of the underlying panels…and is not pretty. (see below). This technique does however work well with onyx slabs.
Metal Support Brackets and Installation Techniques
Supports Metal support brackets of all shapes and sizes are available. Custom metal supports must often be fabricated to suit unusual installs e.g floor-mounted supports. Your metal fabricator should be able to offer you any custom design you wish…not just some one-size-fits-all support. Make sure your plan for your high bar is sturdy and elegant. Methods of attachment of the glass to the support include:
- Silicone. Best used to attach textured glass to flat supports.
- Metal Caps. Low Profile caps are best if caps are used.
- UV glue. Fastest bond for flat glass to flat metal supports.
- Designer tip: Many designs are lazy and use ill-conceived support techniques. They often prevent you from freely rotating in your high bars stools because your knee hits the support. Or, they use “hockey puck caps” on top of the glass to prevent you from having an uninterrupted smooth flow across your high bar surface. Look for these “beauties” in the “Errata” section at the end of this article. Make sure your supports do not interact with your knees at your glass high bar. Look closely at the pictures above and below. They have a clean look owing to thoughtfully designed custom cantilevering brackets . They are concave on the high bar chairs side, thus making it very hard to hit your knee as you rotate your high bar chair.
Back painting glass maximizes the visual depth of the textured glass countertop, backsplash or sink basin, while hiding the ability to see under or behind the glass.
- Designer Tip: Back painting is preferred to laminating or painting your underlayment because gnats can find their way between the bottom of textured glass and the top of the laminate where their little carcasses will pepper the background forever. Not Pretty. Silver metallic and white back paint add depth. Back paint can be tinted to match your decor.
Installation and Shipping.
Expensive Glass requires skillful planning and experienced manpower to install.
- Designer Note: We have been on a few time critical installations where cabinets, plumbing, electrical work, ceiling plastering were all being dome in the same kitchen at the same time! This is not good.
Please have a schedule that allows the glass counter to be one of the last installations...just like a valuable piece of wall art. Having too many tradesman in the room after installation increases the risk of damage to your artistic piece.
Crating for Shipping. Crates are specially fabricated for glass countertops with plenty of sturdy foam to cushion it during shipping. Make sure you purchase insurance t cover the cost of both the glass as well as the shipping costs.
Glass Countertops Cost:
As you can see, there is a wide range of options for glass countertops. It is impossible to conclude a precise cost but these numbers below can give you a start.
- $100+/sq. ft. for ¾” flat low-iron glass. Backpaint, thermoforming, waterjetting custom shapes, holes, etc. adds to cost.
- $350+/sq. ft. for 1.5” textured low-iron glass. LEDs, backpaint, custom shapes, size of piece, supports, installation, etc. add to cost.
- White Glass and Recycled Glass are $125-175+/sq. Ft.
- Installation and delivery costs add to the above.
Glass Countertop Remodeling Trends
In an interesting article on Houzz, they show that homeowners are increasing their spending more on High-End countertops vs other kitchen elements.
You are going to have to place your trust and money in someone to faithfully execute your glass countertop project. If your vendor cannot confidently lead you through each step in the design, template, custom textural sculpting, fabrication, lighting, back-painting, supporting, securing, shipping as well as installing, then find one who can …or…risk a poor outcome. Glass counters cost too much to risk a poor outcome in the hands of amateurs.
Find a passionate glass fabricator that can listen to you and bring out the best in your ideas, create a plan and lead you through the process. The result will be an unbelievable artistic “wow” piece in your home for many years.
Jeff Downing is the founder of Downing Designs in Downtown Tampa, FL. He has represented Hewlett-Packard and Philips Medical amongst others before quitting to open his custom design studio. His teachings and blogs help architects, designers, etc. to embrace creative new ways to use glass in their projects. He previously represented ThinkGlass for several years before purchasing his own kilns to bring his unique artistic glass visions to life.
STRANGE Glass statements we have scraped from the Internet…”Fake News”
“On average, the minimum cost for glass countertops per square foot is $75, while the maximum cost per square foot is around $105.”
Clearly they have never made a thick textured glass countertop.
“Annealed Glass—Similar to tempered glass, annealed glass has chemicals added to the resin mixture to increase its strength.”
A chemical added to the resin??? This is glass, NOT plastic.
“Nonetheless, there are many other factors that can increase or decrease the total cost of glass counters. Supplies such as sealants and adhesives add an average of $2.45 per finished square foot of surface area.”
Sealants???? Why do you need to seal glass? Its non-porous.
“Contact with acidic foods, drinks, and certain cleaners can affect the surface and require fixing”
Not unless you are serving hydrofluoric acid to your guests! Nonsense!
Odd Designs Ideas for High Bars
This ugly under lighting completely ruins an otherwise nice glass countertop. Very Odd looking.
Glass Countertop with Hockey Pucks and Archaic supports. Where am I supposed to sit ? Knee and Shin bashing will occur. Careful of those Hockey Pucks! Thanks, but I think I’ll stand…
Again, where am I supposed to sit? Knee bashing will occur. Shins are safe here. Robs the ability to seat people normally.
Where does my glass of wine and dinner plate sit? Look out for those hockey pucks! You cannot see the edge of the glass while cooking! Glass Counters should look great from all sides.
This client went with a slab vendor (Thinkglass) that merely took their money with no thoughtful advice (e.g. backpaint) to prevent this half-baked result. The result is a glass countertop that shows everything inside the cabinet. Thinking about themselves and not about getting this piece right!
Thanks for making it this far. If you care to speak further, please call or text my cell phone at (813) 784 5211.
Last Updated on January 8, 2021 by Jeff Downing