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Glass Kitchen Countertops (Design Guide)

Here we share our glass kitchen countertops design guide covering the different types, pros & cons, cost, finishes & edge styles.
Contemporary kitchen with recycled glass countertops, metallic mosaic tile backsplash and wood flooring Glass Kitchen Countertops are a great way to create a unique and fresh look to a kitchen. Glass kitchen countertops offer a light option, with many different sizes, shapes and even colors. Different finishes can be selected as well to give a different appearance. Pairing types, colors and finishes can create a uniquely beautiful kitchen countertop every time! Some good options for glass countertops are described in detail below.

Recycled Glass Kitchen Countertops

Industrial loft kitchen with recycled glass countertops brown cabinets bamboo flooring Kitchen with white recycled glass counters that look surprising similar to white quartz countertops.

Recycled glass kitchen countertops are great for the environment, as it is recycled pieces. It is important to keep it in mind that these are not traditional glass countertops, and they do not visually look like many of the other glass counters discussed in this article.

These are made by using glass pieces, or fragments and putting them in a variety of binders based on the aesthetic of the countertop that is so desired. This binder could be clay, resin, cement or acrylic.

Recycled glass countertops offer a wide range of variety when it comes to color selection. It often gives the appearance of quartz countertops, or other pebbled looks. Based on the type of binder that is used will depend on the different types of qualities it will have.

Crushed Glass Countertops

Traditional kitchen with crushed glass countertops white cabinets gray island wood flooring Crushed glass is a form of recycled glass, as it uses crushed pieces of recycled glass in either concrete or acrylic. This gives an abstract, mosaic look to the countertops, especially when playing with the color of glass and acrylic.

This is a type of recycled glass countertops so the features that are listed above can also be said for the crushed glass countertops. Each of the different binders need to be taken care of in different ways, while the glass is incorporated it is more of an accent part of the countertops.

These can be selected in a variety of colors and patterns which can be a great focal point in a kitchen on the countertops.

Tempered Glass Kitchen Countertops

Modern kitchen with tempered glass countertop island beige cabinets Tempered glass is a tougher kind of glass that is protected by thermal treatment or chemical treatments that can affect its strength in a positive manner. This type of glass is good for countertops in case something gets dropped on it, there are falls, or anything else thinkable.

Tempered glass is typically 5 times stronger than regular glass, making the treatments well worth it. Most of the other described types of glass countertops will include a type of tempered glass, as the strength is important in the architectural uses such as countertops and other built ins in the kitchen.

Back Painted Glass Countertop

Kitchen with backpainted glass countertops white cabinets Back painted glass countertops can be whatever colored paint you have hand. Take a clear solid piece of glass, and paint the back whatever color or design desired. This will show though the glass, while still giving the durability and clean ability of glass. Back painted glass gives a clean, modern look to the kitchen countertops. This is a great option for solid colored glass kitchen countertops.

Textured Glass Countertops

Modern kitchen with thick textured glass breakfast bar countertops Textured glass countertops are somewhat more uncommon, as they are typically more used as decorative surface versus the traditional countertop. Textured glass can incorporate swirls, shapes, cracks, and stripes, basically whatever you can imagine.

These can be used in raised surfaces, or accented on parts of the countertop. This adds some personality and definitely uniqueness to the kitchen countertops. Using a variety of textured glass and other types helps express personality and still be practical for use.

Annealed vs Tempered Glass

Annealed glass is specifically treated with chemicals to add to its strength and durability features. Tempered glass is treated with heating and cooling elements to add the same features as the annealed.

The biggest difference between the two is that, chemicals versus temperature. Tempered glass is typically stronger than the annealed, but both are stronger than just the standard glass that could be chosen as well. Annealed glass also cannot handle the amount of heat that tempered glass can.

Glass Countertops with LED Lights

Kitchen with led backlit glass countertops Glass countertops have the unique quality of being transparent if so desired. This helps when wanting to add an interesting lighting quality to a countertop. Adding LED lighting to the glass kitchen countertops can be quite the scene setter.

Backlighting under the countertops surface can be a great option, as well as adding sidelights around the edge, or in certain spots. Sometimes you can keep them in one color or make the lights have a multi or changing color options.

Backlit glass countertop Adding LED lighting could create a focal piece, and is definitely a highlight of any area. It is important to consider how transparent the glass is and how close the light source it to get the right sort of display for a kitchen countertop.

Glass Kitchen Countertops Cost

Modern kitchen with glass countertop breakfast bar island and gray cabinets As we have discussed throughout this article, there are tons of different types and styles of glass, and that can greatly affect the pricing of the pieces. On an average though, glass countertops can be estimated at about $90 per square foot without installation.

Install should typically add about $20 per hour. These can change based on the types. Below are some more specific examples for a more detailed estimate when it comes to the pricing of glass kitchen countertops.

Keep in mind that each different shape, size and finish will be a little different when it comes to cost. Check will local sources to get an accurate price based on the specific situation.

Custom Glass Kitchen Countertops Cost

Modern kitchen with white recycled glass countertops dark wood cabinets A custom glass countertop varies in price from size, shape, color, etc. A general estimate though is roughly $70 to $175 or more per square foot.

The glass alone will cost the most, being about $60 to $125. Any custom cuts, lighting, colors, shapes, etc, will affect the cost greatly. It is also important to consider the glass installation costs. The installation can run about $10 to $50 per square feet. This can vary based on overall size, shape and the amount of laborers it takes to complete the job.

White Glass Kitchen Countertops Cost

Kitchen with large glass countertop island white cabinets A white glass countertop is one of the highest in price for the glass countertop variety. The white glass can cost about $150 to $250. The costs are higher, due to the cutting, polishing and other skills that need a great deal of effort, this, obviously raises the price. White glass is a solid countertop that mimics the appearance of quartz, with the glass durability. That is why it is so unique and costly. Another alternative to these are white granite kitchen countertops.

Recycled Glass Kitchen Countertops Cost

A recycled glass countertop varies in price from size, shape, color, etc. A general estimate though is roughly $45 to $130 or more per square foot. Recycled class kitchen countertops can also vary in price due to how they are put together, since they use different sorts of binders.

Glass Countertop Pros & Cons

Modern kitchen with two tone cabinets black glass countertops quartz island As with every type of countertop there are pros and cons, and glass countertops are no different. See below for the pros and cons for the glass kitchen countertops.

Pros: Glass countertops excel when it comes to strength and durability, as well as don’t show much, if any, aging. There is no noticeable wear or any discoloration that shows up on glass countertops. This is because glass is a non porous material. This also makes the maintenance of the glass countertops quick and easy.

Additionally, they are heat resistant, which allows you to place hot pots or pans on the surface without causing any damage. Another added bonus is that there are environmentally friendly options that can be chosen.

Crushed glass countertops Cons: With all good things comes its downfalls. Glass countertops may be quite durable, but they still can break, chip or dent. If this happens, it is not super cost effective to repair, if it is even an option. Basically the price tag is one of the biggest cons of glass countertops.

When the glass is a textures glass, and is used as a kitchen countertop, they can become difficult to clean and keep clean – which makes the pro of easy maintenance back down on the list.

Glass Countertop Colors

Kitchen with glass countertops recycled glass island wood flooring Glass countertops can be pretty much any color imaginable. Whether it is red, blue, green, brown, yellow, black, or white, in any hue or tint you could so desire, it is possible. There can also be a mix of colors, or custom patterns or creations.

White is the only color that cannot have any colors or patterns in it when it comes to glass. Even so the glass can even be colorless or varying shades of transparent. Basically, you name it, someone makes it.

Recycled glass countertops also have an amazing variety of color options which make them useful for those wanting to match other finishes in the design.

Glass Countertop Finishes

Modern kitchen with polished white glass countertops white and brown cabinets As with the types, there is also a large selection of finished for the glass kitchen countertops. This selection affects the appearance and the physical feel of the glass if so desired. Some of the most common selections are as described below.

Milky – A milky finish gives an opaque, milky appearance. This is typically used as a more ornamental and sophisticated piece. These don’t have to even be just a white look, it could be any variety of color, the milky finish is just referring to the softness of the item.

Etched or Frosted – Etched and frosted glass are both a decorative finish, but they can also be helpful in a functional aspect. Frosted and etched glass obscured the visible area that glass usually creates. This lets the lighting come through, while diffusing it better and not being able to see through fully. This is great for kitchen countertops that incorporate backlighting or other LEDs in the design. Etched glass can include decorative, artistic designs, while frosted tends to be a repetitive pattern.

Clear – A clear glass finish is just as it sounds, clear. It is a commonly used option that is transparent and smooth to the touch. Clear glass finished give a light and clean appearance to the kitchen.

Glass Edge Styles

White kitchen with glass countertops mosaic tile backsplash There are an assortment of glass edge treatments you can choose for your countertops. Here are a few of the most popular.

Classic Bullnose Edge – Rounded and bullnose edges are the most basic of edge profiles. These are an easy radius on either just the top edge of the surface for a half bullnose, or over the entire edge for a fully rounded bullnose edge.

Eased Edging – An eased edge is a softer square edge, rounding a little on the edges but leaving the center parts flat.

Squared Edge – A squared edge is pretty self explanatory in the sense that they keep the edges naturally squared off.

Wavy Edge – A wavy edge can either mean in the sense of wood, a live edge, but since we are discussing glass, it could mean the waves that the glass is cut into. The edges are cut into a pattern which can appear as a water wavy edge.

Glass Countertop Design Tips

Kitchen with sea glass countertops white cabinets Glass countertops can be a little tricky so following some of these tips and tricks could help make a seamless installation and selection process.

When designing your kitchen remember the user groups. Glass countertops get fingerprints on them easy, so maybe for a highly used area or a family with children, glass is not the best choice. For a more adult friendly area glass could be a better choice. User groups are some of the most important factors when it comes to selecting materials for a kitchen.

Using a glass countertop, or even just part of the countertops as glass can create a great focal point for an extravagant kitchen. Even incorporating the different colors or textures that could be eye catching can make for a one of kind design that will be sure to be a talking point for guests. Glass countertops can be frequently seen as breakfast bar kitchen islands with just the upper portion in glass and the lower countertop the primary countertop material.

Make sure to keep the see transparency aspect in mind. If you are trying to keep a light and airy appearance, or a heavier and thicker aesthetic choosing the right colors and finishes will be of the main importance. Transparency also allows built in lights to be seen in a certain ways based on desire. Clearer glass countertops allow more light, while milkier or thicker painted glasses will diffuse it a great deal more.

For more related ideas see the different types of kitchen countertops here.

Written by Brooke

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