Countertops can make a big splash in kitchens and bathrooms, but they need to mesh well with both your residents’ style and your property’s budget.

Montgomery Housing Partnership, for example, selects its countertops based on cost-effectiveness and durability. The Montgomery County, Md.-based nonprofit affordable housing developer recently completed the renovation of Gilbert Highlands, a 21-unit building that dates back to 1957. The company installed high-pressure decorative laminate from Formica Corp. in Colorado slate with a sparkle finish.

“We try to pick a countertop that is neutral to appeal to all residents,” says Stephanie Roodman, a project manager at the firm. “We don’t want the countertops to make too strong a statement. The product needs to be universally appealing without being bland.”

In addition to aesthetics, residents are increasingly concerned about sustainability. In New York City, for example, Chicago-based Equity Residential installed IceStone countertops at its 500 West 23rd Street project.

The community’s concrete and glass countertops, made of 100 percent recycled glass, will no doubt appeal to the many eco-conscious New Yorkers looking for new digs.

Classy Glass: IceStone’s Refined collection adds six new colors to the firm’s surface offerings. Made of 100 percent recycled glass in a non-toxic cement base, the collection features smaller and more refined pieces of glass. The sustainable, durable surfaces can be used for countertops, bar tops, commercial desks, and flooring. For more information, call IceStone at 718-624-4900 or visit


Sparkle and Shine: Elements by Durcon mixes fine quartz, epoxy resin, and recycled glass such as clear beer bottles to create a durable and smooth countertop surface that is solid and non-porous. The Elements Titanium series infuses the countertops with metallic flakes, creating a sparkling countertop made to withstand the harshest of environments. Custom colors are available. For more information, call Durcon at 512-595-8060 or visit

Colorful Counters: Go Wavy is the newest addition to Wilsonart Contract Laminate. Inspired by hues found in farmers’ markets and gardens, Go Wavy is a series of seven variations on an abstract pattern. The series, designed to coordinate with specific fabrics and wall coverings, comes in the following colors: pomegranate, eggplant, tangerine, sweet corn, sprout, kiwi, and blue agave. For more information, call Wilsonart International at 800-433-3222 or visit

Nifty Neutrals: DuPont has added a new color collection to its Corian solid surface product. One of the new colors is Cottage Lane, which exudes farmhouse charm with its nature-inspired caramel, tan, and beige tones. Like all Corian products, the new collection is non-porous and requires no sealing. For more information, call DuPont at 800-426-7426 or visit

Michael J. Colella

Green Surface: Formica Corp.’s high-pressure decorative laminates have been certified by Scientific Certification Systems to ensure that the materials meet strict sustainability requirements, from production to delivery. For instance, the materials come from well-managed forests. For more information, call Formica Corp. at 800-367-6422 or visit

Bold Statement: Silestone’s Life! brings new energy to any room with a collection of six colors far beyond traditional neutrals. From calming blue and green hues to manic shades of red and orange, the quartz countertops offer both built-in antimicrobial protection and GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certification. For more information, call Silestone at 800-291-1311 or visit