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Recycled glass counters

12 years ago

Hi everyone - I'm new here, but have been reading and learning for a while. I've had an experience with recycled glass countertops that I think other people need to know about, so I want to share. A bit of background - We started remodeling our kitchen last October. It was mostly stuck in the fifties (and not in a good way). But it had some of its original 1938 features, including cabinets and hardware. We decided to try to keep as much of that feeling as we could while making it modern and functional. One of the first materials we picked was a pretty gray countertop that had the subtle look we wanted. Even better it was recycled glass and made by a local company here in Chicago. Everything in the remodel went amazingly smoothly, including opening a wall, total rewiring, rebuilt floors, the works. Then the counters came. That was in December and we're about to pull the SECOND installation of this material out for good. The product is called Gilasi. The specific color/style is Chi Moonshadow. We've concluded, after endless hours of frustration, wasted dialogue with the manufacturer, etc that this material is totally flawed. The first installation was a nightmare combination of sloppy fabrication and weird issues with the material - at first it was constantly gritty and the fabricator had to remove and rewax, which helped. But the seam was very hard to join, and looked terrible, and worse, we realized the material was cracked in the corner front to back. The fabricator blamed the Gilasi people, because apparently there was a flaw in that area when they received the slabs, they were worried about it, and had to put in steel reinforcing rods to support it. (Why they didn't tell us that before install, is another story.) The Gilasi people naturally blamed the fabricator, but did offer to repour the section with the crack. This took months. We went to another fabricator for the second install, this time recommended by Gilasi (which is actually Innerglow Surfaces). Everyone at this fabricator was great to work with, and they did great work. But the material was even worse. It had several large dark stains from the outset. It was highly absorbent. They couldn't get the seam to bond, and had to modify the manufacturer's recommendation to get it right. Back and forth again with Gilasi and the fabricator. Gilasi told them to use a new sealer and process. The fabricator sent crews and a specialist out twice to do this. The counters are now triple sealed and it makes no difference. Anything wet, dirty, oily - you name it - immediately sinks into the surface. There are dark, weird marks all over it (drives me crazy and I'm not a neat freak). Areas like the counter ledge we put in when we opened the wall have discolored from contact with our skin. We sent pictures to the manufacturer numerous times, explained the situation in detail, called and left messages - nothing. We asked for our money back (this is a really price material, too). He refused and blamed the fabricator. I know there are other more reputable recycled glass options, like Vetrazzo, and we wish we'd looked harder at our choices. We had no idea that a company who puts up a nice display in local stores, with perfect polished pretty samples (and correctly sealed - I've tested the sample I still have!), actually couldn't produce the material properly. And would refuse to stand behind what they make. The owner of the company has changed the sealing and wax procedures three times just in our experience. The local shop where we got the sample said they had bad sealing problems with the product too and have pulled out several installations. They will now only install it in low traffic areas, if at all. Neither of the fabricators we've used will ever touch it again - they've told us so. So that's our experience with Gilasi recycled glass countertops. If you're thinking about a green option like this, look really hard, ask LOTS of questions, call as many fabricators who've worked with it as possible. I know there are green materials out there that get great reviews. But we're done. As upsetting as it is to send another set of "green" counters to the landfill we can't live with them. I'm happy to post picks of my kitchen and counters, if anyone's interested. Thanks for reading, sorry such a long post.

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