Research shows consumers increasingly value sustainable, low-maintenance, and beautiful products for their homes, and manufacturers are listening—especially in the surfacing sector.
It’s apparent in the five just-released surfacing collections from leading sintered stone, solid surface, and quartz countertop manufacturers. These styles and colorways show that manufacturers see light colors, marble look-alikes, performance, and now, eco-friendly manufacturing processes, as preferences for homeowners.
“Today’s homeowners are seeking surfaces that will live up to the rigors of everyday life,” according to Wilsonart’s emerging trends report citing designer Gwen Petter. “There also is growing interest in sustainable alternatives to natural products, which can contribute to deforestation and degraded air quality from sourcing and mining operations. Human-made composite materials offer appealing options that often outperform natural materials, delivering greater durability, less ongoing maintenance, and fewer harmful environmental impacts.”
Homeowners are becoming eco-conscious with the performance of their homes, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) “What Home Buyers Really Want” survey, and Millennials are especially aware of the products they consume. This generation happens to make up the largest share of the country’s population and 37% of today’s homebuyers, according to the National Association of Realtors. A 2020 survey conducted by Deloitte found 47% of Millennials educate themselves on the environmental impacts of the companies they purchase from.
Nature and sustainability were heavy focuses for four out of the five featured collections in this round-up, but the styles and palettes remain on par with long-standing kitchen trends. Marble look-alikes and other light-colored countertops continue to be most popular, as predicted by 58% of the residential professionals who shared forecasts for the next three years of design to the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s 2021 Design Trends Report.
Though engineered services offer sustainability, durability, and myriad style options, homeowners may not be as aware as professionals. NAHB’s “What Home Buyers Really Want” survey found 73% of buyers want granite or natural stone countertops while about 60% prefer solid surface, quartz, or engineered countertops. But NKBA’s survey finds residential pros expect quartz countertops to dominate within the next three years.
With that in mind, here are five newly released kitchen countertop collections.
Silestone by Cosentino says the four new surfaces in its Ethereal collection reimagine the sky through the lens of marble. Cosentino’s CEO calls the collection’s manufacturing process “industry-transforming” because of its sustainability features. The process blends minerals, quartz, and recycled glass, powered by renewable energy and recycled water. Ethereal consists of Ethereal Dusk, Haze, Glow, and Noctis, all subtly veined, white-bodied surfaces that offer impact and stain resistance and a 25-year warranty.
Just as the name suggests, the latest from Wilsonart takes inspiration from nature’s landscapes to bring elegance and peace to the kitchen, the brand says. Wilsonart’s aim for this palette of surfaces is to offer homeowners an array of styles to help express their personalities. Dramatic Landscapes consists of six styles, with two being the company’s first quartzite-inspired offerings. Surfaces take inspiration from Icelandic volcanoes, white sands, basalt, and waterfalls. These quartz countertops are made with up to 93% of natural quartz crystals, resulting in low emissions, offer a 10-year limited warranty, durability, stain resistance, and a UL GREENGUARD Gold certification for indoor air quality.
Essentials - Neolith
Neolith’s big selling point for its new Essentials line is its ultra-hygienic features thanks to its near-zero porosity that’s proven to prevent the growth of Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes. It’s also made with up to 90% recycled materials and 100% natural materials. The Essentials line was formed in direct response to people’s changing priorities after the pandemic, the brand explains. Essentials features four new surfaces with two limestone-inspired styles and two industrial, urban-inspired surfaces.
Merging nature and technology resulted in Durasein’s wood-look collection Rooted. The brand sought to mimic wood’s visual warmth and texture but with advanced performance. Durasein surfaces are resistant to scratches, impact, heat, and fire, and work in commercial and residential settings. The Rooted collection features three wood types: Hickory, Cherrywood, and Barnwood.
Cambria’s Forward Momentum launch adds four new styles to its portfolio meant to invigorate and energize interiors. The collection focuses on earth tones, burgundy veins, and juxtaposed grays. Three surfaces, Hermitage, Cashel, and Notting Hill, include micro shimmers that can be noticed when up close. All four styles can come in matte or high gloss finishes with up to 19 different edge profiles and various sizes and thicknesses.