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Countertops:  Earth and Fire

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Earth and Fire

Key Features:
  • Impervious to heat, cold, acids, bleach.
  • Won't fade or crack.
  • 16 matte and 16 high gloss finishes.
  • All natural stone.
  • $260 per square foot
  • Pricing as of 2011.
Ask For:
  • Pyrolave countertop
Learn more about Pyrolave:
by Deborah Holmes, Ebricks.com
Created by a volcano and with a glaze fired at 1,000 degrees Celsius (that's 1,832 degrees Fahrenheit), Pyrolave is one of the toughest materials you could ever use for a countertop.

It's also one of the most beautiful. The 16 matte finishes mimic slate, soapstone and other natural rock. High gloss enamel finishes are offered in 16 vivid colors, like the red shown in this photo.

At $260 a square foot, it's one of the most expensive countertops in the world. But if you've got the budget and yen for a one-of-a-kind countertop that will withstand just about any kind of abuse, Pyrolave might be just the ticket.

Pyrolave starts its life in the Nugene crater in France's Auvergne volanoes. The uniformly dense stone is extracted by hand, cut into slabs, processed and glazed.

Since the stone is born under fire, it can resist the extreme heat needed to create the beautiful and durable enamel glazes. Crazing lines that appear in the glaze during cooling do not affect the durability of the stone or finish.

The finished product is guaranteed to be heat resistant, and has been shock tested at up to 572 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other end of the spectrum, it is unaffected by temperatures as low as 10 degrees F. Completely waterproof, it is impervious to acids and bleach. It's also fade and scratch resistant, though you probably want to use a cutting board to protect your knives.

Not surprisingly, you won't find Pyrolave at your local building center. All US orders are handled through the single American office in Raleigh, NC.

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