The surface is then polished to a gloss finish. All of the water used in grinding and polishing is piped to an enormous 150,000-gallon settling tank and the water is then reused. The slurry of clay-like cement and glass particles is recycled by a paving contractor for making road beds.
Some patterns of Vetrazzo may receive an applied stain, called a “patina,” that darkens the cement matrix. The finished slab size is 5'x9', and the finished thickness is 1-1/4". Each slab weighs approximately 700 pounds.
Fabrication & Installation
Fabrication and installation procedures comply with the recommendations of the Marble Institute of America for residential stone countertops, and working with Vetrazzo is very similar to working with granite.
Installations completed by a Vetrazzo certified fabricator are eligible for the company’s 10-year warranty. The company warns that sharper edge details are prone to impact chipping and dislodging of pieces of glass, and recommends a minimum 3/16" radius on all edges and outside corners. No warranty is offered on glass chipping and dislodging. Use of a penetrating sealer followed by a wax finish is recommended for the best stain resistance and optimum appearance.
Despite the economic downturn, production at Vetrazzo rose significantly in 2008, to a level nearly twice that of a year before. In early 2008, the company hired industry veteran Bob Paradiso as its v.p./sales. Paradiso previously worked for Israeli quartz manufacturer CaesarStone, and also for Formica, specializing in marketing solid surface materials for many years. One recent marketing coup was an appearance on Late Night with Jay Leno by environmentalist and actor Ed Begley, Jr., where he praised his new Vetrazzo countertops. Dozens of national magazines, other television shows and Web sites also featured Vetrazzo last year.
In December, 2008, the California State Department of Conservation awarded Vetrazzo a grant of $1,396,000 for a project to add cleaning equipment to reduce contamination and improve the cleanliness of its raw glass material. This grant is estimated to create 29 new jobs. In January, the company announced it now has a complete coast-to-coast distribution of its products throughout the U.S., as well as much of Canada.
The most striking thing about Vetrazzo is its distinctive and engaging appearance. It is a premium-priced product, comparable to higher-end granites, according to company officials.
In a time when green is definitely a hot trend, countertop professionals should familiarize themselves with Vetrazzo and all of the other green countertop materials.