PaperStone – The Unique Countertop That’s Both Sustainable and Affordable

Looking for an affordable and sustainable alternative to cold granite countertops? Discover PaperStone – a recycled paper countertop that’s surprisingly warm.

PaperStone’s surface is a unique composition of recycled paper and non-petroleum resin with origins in the aerospace and marine industries. But don’t let its strength and durability fool you – it’s also warm and luxuriously smooth – making it an ideal kitchen countertop or bathroom vanity.

PaperStone Recycled Paper Surface in Slate (Black) in a kitchen designed by Rock Paper Hammer.

PaperStone Counters in Slate are featured in this kitchen designed by Rock Paper Hammer.
Courtesy of PaperStone® – Photo by Sara Rounsavall

What is PaperStone?

PaperStone® is a paper composite surface made with 100% post-consumer recycled paper, petroleum-free resins, and natural pigments. Sheets of paper are essentially saturated with the resins and pigments, then compressed using heat and pressure. This process creates an extremely durable, structurally sound, and non-porous surface product that looks like stone, but is surprisingly warm and soft to the touch.

Origins of Paper Composite Surfaces

Paper composite countertops aren’t new, in fact, they’ve been around for decades, originally developed for use in science labs, industrial kitchens, and fabrication shops. Aerospace and marine industries use the material — we’re talking heavy-duty applications. These are the types of commercial and industrial environments that typically value durability and structural integrity over aesthetics. Although, PaperStone is an attractive surface with a modern look and feel.

Not just for countertops, PaperStone can be used for a variety of applications, like this coffee shop tabletop. Photo courtesy of PaperStone®

Not just for countertops, PaperStone can be used for a variety of applications, like this coffee shop tabletop.
Photo courtesy of PaperStone®

Look and Feel of PaperStone Countertops

PaperStone is often compared to soapstone or slate, thanks to its warm, soft, and smooth-to-the-touch feel. Sheets of PaperStone are shipped raw and un-sanded with an organic micro-textured surface and matte finish. Since it’s a green product made entirely from natural raw materials, it will naturally age similar to a fine hardwood. The aging process develops over time and produces a worn-in feel and natural patina. For example, you may notice deeper luster in areas of heavier use. However, as one commenter on Houzz noted, “Some slight changes to that visual texture over time don’t bother me – it feels like it’s more alive that way..more like wood.

PaperStone’s color comes from the natural pigments used combined with the natural color of the recycled paper. The color is not a surface treatment – it runs through the entire depth of the product.

This PaperStone recycled paper countertop features a waterfall edge. Photo courtesy of Curbed NY. Photo by Matthew Williams.

This PaperStone counter in Slate features a gorgeous waterfall edge.
Courtesy of Curbed New York – Photo by Matthew Williams.

Cost of PaperStone

The price of PaperStone varies depending on the color and thickness of the slab, the layout of the installation, as well as the cost of installation in your area. You should plan to spend about $75 to $125 per square foot installed, which is comparable to a high-quality quartz or granite product. But, the benefit to PaperStone is that it’s DIY-friendly, which is rare in the world of countertops. Fabrication can run you around $45 per square foot, which can save a skilled DIYer a pretty penny.

We also like to talk about yield when we talk about the cost of PaperStone. If you can maximize the yield of the material you’re using, you’re not throwing away dollars. Since it’s available in several unique lengths, you can minimize product waste. This means less waste for the planet, and fewer dollars wasted by you.

Installation Options for PaperStone – DIY-ers, rejoice!

The ease of fabrication and installation of PaperStone lends itself to being DIY-friendly. Working with PaperStone is much like working with fine hardwoods or butcher block – it installs with common woodworking tools. If you are comfortable working with carbide-tipped tools, saws, and routers, you really can have a successful self-install on this product. We even provide a detailed FABRICATION GUIDE.

However, many of our homeowners see the value in the cost of a professional install, which includes fabrication, templating, delivery and installation.

So, professional installation or DIY – the choice is yours.

Finishing of PaperStone – Should you Buff or Sand?

At Greenhome we encourage our clients to simply buff their PaperStone slabs, rather than sand them, to stay as true to that original, micro-textured surface and keep the matte finish. And BONUS…that matte finish creates less glare, which in turn shows fewer imperfections – like oily fingerprints and dust – than glossy, sanded counters.

At its heart, PaperStone is a natural wood product – it’s made from paper after all. And like finishing fine hardwoods, you also have the option of sanding when finishing it. Sanding effectively removes the textured surface giving the slabs a smooth, more mottled appearance. But note that over-sanding can create an extremely mottled pattern, which is especially noticeable in the Gunmetal and Sienna colors.

Those who prefer the shiny, polished look that sanding creates should be aware that with that finish comes additional maintenance. Because once you sand – and essentially cut – the surface in order to obtain that polished look, you’ll need to treat it with the sealant more often so it’s not as susceptible to stains and scratches.

Finishing of PaperStone – Should you Buff or Sand? Sanding effectively removes the textured surface giving the slabs a smooth, more mottled appearance. But note that oversanding can create an extremely mottled pattern, which is especially noticeable in the Gunmetal and Sienna colors.

Be cautious when sanding PaperStone because mottling becomes more apparent. This is especially noticeable in the Gunmetal and Sienna colors as seen above.

Cleaning and Maintaining PaperStone Surfaces

Although PaperStone is ultimately a low-maintenance surface, an initial sealing finish is highly recommended to enhance the natural color and protect it against oils and stains. We prefer a natural oil and wax-based Soapstone Sealer which provides a low-luster finish without the continuous reapplication that is often required with mineral oil.

Day-to-day cleaning is a cinch, thanks to PaperStone’s low porosity which means it resists stains, abrasions, and water. Simply wipe clean with a damp cloth. For deeper stains use a non-abrasive, eco-friendly kitchen cleaner as dish soap and harsh chemicals can dull the surface.

Soapstone Sealer by The Real Milk Paint Co is available at An all-natural protector for PaperStone and Soapstone counters, Soapstone Sealer is made from food grade Walnut Oil and Carnauba Wax. It provides a low luster finish without VOC's or added fragrances.

We like an all-natural protector for PaperStone like this Soapstone Sealer made from food grade Walnut Oil and Carnauba Wax. It provides a low-luster finish without VOCs or added fragrances.

The time between applications of the sealer will vary. PaperStone recommends a yearly application to protect against stains and scratches, but ultimately it’s up to the individual owner. Some folks, like our Pro Sales Associate Pieter Sundgren, don’t mind the chalky or “thirsty” look a PaperStone counter can develop. He’s currently in year 2 and hasn’t resealed his tops yet because they’re still performing great and holding up well. But if you’re noticing that water doesn’t seem to bead up anymore or the luster is a bit diminished, the oil & wax sealer is a great way to refresh your countertops.

For more detailed information on care & maintenance, see our guide on How to Care for Your PaperStone Surfaces.

Sustainability of PaperStone

PaperStone as a material is truly deep green. From Forest Stewardship Council-certified recycled paper and natural pigments to non-petroleum resins made in-house from industrial by-products that would otherwise go to waste. But they don’t just make an environmentally friendly product, they also walk the walk in their Hoquiam, WA manufacturing plant. Committed to a clean manufacturing process, all raw materials used to create PaperStone are also from the U.S.

With PaperStone, you can have a gorgeous countertop AND feel good about it. Find out why we love PaperStone Recycled Paper Countertops at Greenhome Solutions

Courtesy of PaperStone® – shown here in Pewter
Saves 24,000 gallons of water
Eliminates 3 cubic ft. of landfill space
Eliminates 60 pounds of air pollutants
Conserves enough energy to power a home for 6 months
Saves about 20 trees
Saves 4 barrels of oil


  • Environmentally sustainable and responsibly manufactured
  • Durable – heavy-duty solid surface that’s harder than wood, lighter, and less brittle than stone or engineered quartz. You’ll even find PaperStone used as cutting boards and food prep stations in commercial kitchens.
  • Stain Resistant – nonporous, resists food and water stains
  • Certified Food Safe – certified safe by the National Sanitary Foundation and won’t harbor bacteria, mold, or mildew
  • Easy to Maintain – simply clean with a damp cloth or natural soap and water;  apply soapstone sealer once every 1-2 years
  • Warm, Soft, and Smooth-to-the-touch – similar to soapstone
  • Easy to Install – easy to fabricate and install by professionals OR DIY-ers!
  • Larger Sheet Sizes – unique sizes to fit large or small kitchens with less waste
  • Virtually Seamless – the large sheet sizes (up to 5′ x 12′) makes it possible to have fewer or even no seams; for larger applications that require adjoining two pieces together, joint gaps can be filled and sanded to make a seam virtually disappear.
  • Multiple applications – PaperStone makes an ideal countertop but is also great for bathroom vanities, conference tabletops, window sills, partitions, furniture, benches, signs, and displays. You can also use it in vertical building applications such as wall panels.
  • Affordable – pricing is comparable to a quality quartz or granite product.
  • 10 Year Warranty


  • Heat resistant, but only to 350 degrees – we recommend using a trivet or hot plate
  • Medium to dark color pallet – no hues lighter than platinum gray and no white (at the time of publication). This is due to the source raw materials including the high recycled content of their paper and non-toxic resins which aren’t clear. The resin combined with the recycled paper creates a product that’s closer to an amber-yellow in color, which makes white or even light-colored sheets difficult to achieve.
  • Requires a sealant – we love this walnut oil + carnuba wax Soapstone Sealer
  • Perfectionists Beware – PaperStone is an organic raw material that will develop a natural patina over time
PaperStone can withstand 45,000 pounds of compressive pressure per square inch, making it both beautiful AND strong!

Look at all those layers…PaperStone can withstand 45,000 pounds of compressive pressure per square inch, making it both beautiful AND strong! Shown here in Azure and Sand.
Courtesy of PaperStone®

Summary of PaperStone Countertops

We are big fans of the recycled paper PaperStone countertops because they’re durable, affordable, water-resistant, and easy to work with. Despite the availability of lighter white hues, their range of colors (including their new lighter design collection colors) and price-point have made it a favorite choice for homes, restaurants, offices, universities, and laboratories. They’re also stain and nick-resistant. If you do happen to scratch the surface, you can refinish it time and again, as the color goes all the way through the product.

Availability of PaperStone Counters – Ready to Buy?

Want to feel the warm, smooth texture for yourself? Single-color samples are available in our Seattle showroom. If you live in Washington state, please call us for fast, free shipping on samples at 888-447-9877. Or, click here to locate a supplier in your area.

PaperStone Countertop Samples - Purchase Single Color PaperStone samples and enjoy fast, free shipping.

Call us to order SINGLE COLOR PAPERSTONE SAMPLES and get fast, free shipping: (888) 447-9877

At Greenhome Solutions, we typically stock PaperStone panels in SLATE (black) due to their popularity as a color and their lower price point.  The Slate product appeals to customers that are attracted to slate and soapstone countertops, but not the maintenance that comes with them.

If you’re looking for another color or additional sheet sizes, the turnaround time is typically only about 2 weeks.

For more information on PaperStone recycled paper countertops, visit our product page or call us at (888) 447-9877.

Learn More

Greenhome’s PaperStone Products  |
PaperStone Products – The Earth’s Surface  |
Modern Surfaces – Collection of Sustainable Surfacing Brands  |
Follow @wearepaperstone  |

Looking to update your floors? Read What Flooring Do We Put in Our Own Homes? to discover our favorite sustainable flooring option right now.


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6 thoughts on “PaperStone – The Unique Countertop That’s Both Sustainable and Affordable

    1. Team Greenhome Post author

      Hi Jason,

      Yes, Paperstone would be a great option for a shower curb or a shelf in a shower. The only concern we would have for the shower curb is that it could get a bit slippery when wet.

  1. M.E. Jepson

    When I installed paper stone in my kitchen some years ago, butcher block sealer was recommended. However, it does not work well, water spots and frequent applications are annoying. How can it be changed for greater durability and less maintainence with an eco friendly product?

    1. Team Greenhome Post author

      Hi! We recommend a really hot water wash with a mild soap followed by a good clean rinse. Then finish with The Real Milk Paint Company’s Soap Stone Sealer. We offer it online here or you can find other dealers on their website. Hope this works for you and you find that you don’t have to apply the sealer as often. Please let us know how it goes or if you have any additional questions.

    1. Team Greenhome Post author

      Hi Brian! We recommend first cleaning the entire surface with very HOT water and a mild detergent, then follow it up with a clean rinse. The 2nd step would be refinishing with a sealer. We use The Real Milk Paint Company’s Soap Stone Sealer. We offer it online here or you can find other dealers on their website.
      Your abrasive spots may require more attention. It’s difficult to answer specifically without knowing how bad those spots are, but definitely try the 2 Step Clean and Wax that we outline above first. If that doesn’t heal the damage of those abrasive spots to your liking, it may require a buffing of those specific spots or the entire surface. It really depends on the extensiveness of those spots – how large the spots, and how many spots there are. Hope that helps!

      Please let us know how it goes or if you have any additional questions. Also, feel free to reach out to our resident PaperStone countertop expert, Pieter Sundgren – or call 888-447-9877 to discuss in person!

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