If you are considering kitchen remodeling or bathroom remodeling, you might want to think about solid surface countertops. At Countertops and Cabinetry by Design, we’re committed to ensuring your kitchen countertop remodeling project or bathroom countertop remodeling project meets your every expectation. We pride ourselves on being a trusted expert in the greater Cincinnati area that can answer your questions for your kitchen or bathroom remodeling project.
What are Solid Surface Countertops?
Solid surface countertops were first introduced by DuPont in 1967, and were a revolution of sorts, at the time. Up to this point, most countertops were either laminate or tile, sold under the brand name. The Corian patent has since expired, allowing additional manufacturers to introduce their own brands of solid surface countertops. Solid surface countertops have come a long way since their introduction, now with numerous manufacturers and a vast array of colors and patterns to choose from.
Solid surface countertops are essentially a petroleum-based product constructed of man-made materials—generally a combination of pigments, polyester resins, acrylics and epoxy. Solid surface countertops are constructed of 66 percent mineral and 33 percent binding resin—the mineral portion includes aluminum trihydrate, a fine white powder which gives solid surface countertops their smooth appearance.
These materials create a non-porous surface which many homeowners prefer since they require little maintenance. As far as installation goes, the manner in which the substances are cut and joined for solid surface countertops is very similar to wood. Solid surface countertops are also cast into a variety of shapes, typically with no seams. When seams are necessary, a highly trained craftsman can actually join solid surface countertop materials so that the seam is nearly invisible. In addition to countertops, solid surface materials are cast into sinks, backsplashes, bathtubs and shower pans.
Different Types of Solid Surface Countertops
There are, essentially, two types of solid surface countertop materials: acrylic-based and polyester-based. The polyester version is not as pricey as acrylic-based solid surface countertops, but the quality is not quite as good, either. Some manufacturers, like Staron, make a solid surface countertop that is 100 percent acrylic, and other manufacturers like Formica make both acrylic and polyester solid surface countertops.
The advantage of polyester solid surface countertops is that there is usually a wider array of more vibrant colors. It is important to note that solid surface countertops are not particularly DIY friendly—in other words, you will need an experienced contractor to perform the installation. Fabrication of solid surface countertops requires the proper tools, training and expertise. That’s why Countertops and Cabinetry by Design originated in the first place—to provide fast, simple installations to those who need it. Our team has the training and experience to make the installation of your solid surface kitchen countertops or solid surface bathroom countertops a breeze!
There are a number of companies who now make Corian substitutes for solid surface countertops including:
- Formica Solid Surfacing
- Royal Stone
While brand differences do exist, they are seldom drastic enough to avoid one specific brand. In the end, your final decision will most likely be based on the product that provides the price and features you’re looking for. The price of solid surface countertops will vary between manufacturers, color and pattern selections, but if you have your heart set on a specific color or design that is beyond your budget, it could be helpful to check with another manufacturer.
Typical warranties for solid surface countertops are 10-15 years, although some manufacturers will offer a lifetime warranty. Solid surface countertop material is relatively easy to find, but if you’re interested in a particular brand, style or pattern, you can speak to one of our knowledgeable representatives from Countertops and Cabinetry by Design. Our team takes your kitchen remodeling or bathroom remodeling job very seriously and will ensure you find the solid surface countertop to match your vision.
What are the Advantages of Solid Surface Countertops?
Perhaps the biggest advantage of solid surface countertops is the durability and impermeability of the surface. Solid surface countertops are durable, waterproof and have a “warmer” feeling than stone, metal or tile. There are no gaps in a solid surface countertop, eliminating any areas for water or other substances to collect and bacteria to grow. The non-porous surface of solid surface countertops is easy to clean and disinfect, and in the event a scratch or break should occur, repairs to the solid surface can be made by a trained fabricator or solid surface repair company. A solid surface countertop which has undergone years of use, wear and tear can be refinished, and the Cincinnati, Ohio Countertops and Cabinetry by Design team can help you with installation and refinishing.
What are the Disadvantages of Solid Surface Countertops?
There are a couple of disadvantages to solid surface countertops, primarily the fact that solid surface may be less heat-resistant than some other surfaces. While solid surface countertops will hold up against boiling water temperature (212 F), the surface will usually begin to deform at temps of 250 F or higher. This means that setting a hot frying pan down on a solid surface countertop could significantly degrade the surface. Solid surface countertops may also be more susceptible to scratches, so extra care must be taken to use cutting boards. When a glossy solid surface countertop is chosen, scratches may show more easily, and may not be as practical for high-use areas as a satin or matte finish.
What Things Should I Consider Before Choosing My Solid Surface Countertops?
Your budget will determine, to some extent, the solid surface countertop you choose. DuPont Corian tends to be the most expensive, and while Swanstone typically offers the best value, it does not come in as many styles.
Type and Quality
Like most anything, there are different levels of quality regarding solid surface countertops. Wilsonart tends to lead the pack in a more diverse array of tones, textures and colors, with Staron following closely. DuPont Corian remains the gold standard in toughness and is backed by one of the best warranties in the industry.
Of course the dimensions of your specific kitchen countertop needs will also have an impact on the type of solid surface countertop you choose, as the cost will increase for non-typical dimensions since a unique cast must be created for those areas.
Color and Style
In addition to color and pattern, you will need to choose a finish that matches the aesthetic vision you’re looking for. You can choose from a matte, satin (or semi-gloss), or high-gloss finish. Matte is the most common finish for medium-colored countertops, as it provides a soft, even look and feel with a slight sheen. This sheen will increase over time with daily cleaning. A matte finish tends to be more economical as there are fewer sanding steps in the fabrication shop, and is the easiest to maintain, making it better for heavy use. Satin or semi-gloss finish has more shine than matte, feeling slicker and smoother. A satin or semi-gloss finish in solid surface countertops will reflect accent or overhead lighting, and if you choose a darker color, you might want to consider a satin finish as the color of the material will be brought out more fully. Satin finishes are a good choice for moderate use areas. A high-gloss finish provides a mirror-like look. Whites and darker colors really “pop” in high gloss, however a high-gloss surface is better for low-use areas, as scratches are much more noticeable.
How We Can Help You
Countertops and Cabinetry by Design keeps your kitchen remodel as simple and easy for you as possible. As an expert in our field, our goal is to sustain positive, long-term client relationships. Our commitment to our clients is to give you a fast, accurate quote, quickly schedule your install, then complete your job as simply as possible. In fact, whenever possible, we can often have your job completed within a day. We will listen to you carefully, directing you toward the best solid surface countertops for your specific needs, never cutting corners, and never compromising our high values and philosophies regarding our clients. Our bottom line is that we will complete your kitchen or bathroom remodel as though we were doing it in our own home. For those in the greater Cincinnati area, Mason, West Chester or Anderson, consider Countertops and Cabinetry by Design for all your kitchen and bathroom remodel needs.