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Glass Countertops Cost Guide

Glass countertops are a hygienic and luxurious material for a kitchen or bathroom remodeling project. The material for glass countertops comes in a wide range of colors, thicknesses and treatments so that a unique look can be created. The high tensile strength of glass is a primary draw for selection of this type of material for use in countertops. Now, see what it costs.

The Costs 

  • The average minimum cost per square foot of glass countertops is $75.

  • The average maximum cost per square foot of glass countertops is $105.

In addition to the cost of the primary material for installing glass countertops, homeowners arranging for this type of remodeling project will have some additional expenses. A back splash is not included as part of the countertop surface area and will cost more both in material and labor. Supplies such as sealants and adhesives add an average of $2.45 per finished square foot of surface area. The average cost of labor to install glass countertops is $45.75 per hour. Installations of complex shapes or configurations of glass countertops cost more to install than a basic rectangular or L-shaped area with one or two seams. 

Materials for Glass Countertops

Glass countertops consist of 85% to 95% glass along with a polymer resin or cement that binds the glass together to create a dense, solid surface. Each manufacturer has its own proprietary blend of binder that may vary in color, texture and thickness. The glass included in the countertop may be used, recycled or a combination of both. Coloring pigments may be added to the binder for enhanced visual appeal. In most cases, the glass is laid atop a solid substrate during the installation process. This ensures that the inside of the cabinets cannot be seen when looking down at the surface of the counters.

Glass countertops consist of two primary types: all glass and mixed material, which is made of glass chips embedded in a binder. The primary sub-types of glass countertops include:

  • Float Glass: New or recycled glass is made molten. The liquid glass is then poured into forms to create solid sheets ranging from 1/2 to 3 inches thick. The glass may be coated or sealed, and pigments may be added before the glass is fully hardened.

  • Slump Glass: Pieces of glass are loaded into a mold and then heated just enough to make them adhere to one another. This process creates countertops of variable shapes and textures.

  • Kiln-fired Glass: Bits of glass are melded together in a mold in a kiln. This allows even tiny shards of glass to be reused. The size of the finished piece is limited to the capacity of the kiln. 

Homeowners have many choices when it comes to selecting a source for glass countertops. Local companies may offer their manufacturing services and may even allow homeowners to supply their own glass to create the finished product. In this case, the fabricator may also act as the installer. If not, the homeowner will need to locate an experienced installer for the project.

The glass used in countertops is graded based upon strength. These grades include:

  • Non-Tempered Glass: This as-is glass has not undergone any strength-enhancing treatments.

  • Annealed Glass: This glass may have chemicals added to the resin mixture to enhance hardness and reduce ductility.

  • Tempered Glass: Glass that has been tempered has undergone a heat treatment to increase its strength and durability. It may cost more than non-tempered or annealed glass. Most glass used in countertops is tempered glass.

Advantages of Glass Countertops

Glass countertops are highly resistant to heat, moisture, scratching, staining and mold. Spills are easy to clean with just a soft cloth required for daily maintenance. No sealing is required for a glass countertop. Because glass is available in so many colors, homeowners can select a solid, mixture or pattern that suits their preferences, and no two countertops will be exactly alike. Glass is an environmentally friendly option, especially if recycled glass is selected as the primary material.

Disadvantages of Glass Countertops

Glass countertops are more costly than other popular materials. Dirt, fingerprints and water marks are easy to notice on the surface of the glass. Under very high pressure, the glass may chip or break, which is why most manufacturers recommend that homeowners use a cutting board to avoid chipping the glass when preparing food. Strong acids or corrosive materials may scratch or etch the glass. Homeowners should avoid harsh cleaning products when maintaining the countertops. While glass countertops are trendy now, they may make a room look dated in a decade or two.

Last updated on Oct 29, 2014

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