Solid Surface Material Description
Solid Surface material, commonly known as Corian, Swanstone, Staron, Avonite, HI-MACS, LivingStone, and Wilsonart, is a generic term for materials that are composed of two main ingredients: a natural mineral filler and a resin binder. Along with a few other elements such as pigments, UV absorbers, stabilizers and catalysts, these materials are then cast into ¼’’, ½’’, ¾’’ or 1 ¼” (3cm) sheets.
Solid surface sheets can then be fabricated into a variety of projects, the most common being kitchen and bath countertops. The acrylic-based resin solid surfaces can actually be heated and bent to almost any imaginable shape.
There are many advantages to using solid surface for your kitchen or bath countertops. Because of the number of large-scale manufacturers offering solid surface products, a wide variety of colors and patterns are available to choose from. The selection ranges to a basic solid white to patterns and colors that mimic granite, quartz, concrete, and marble. The design possibilities are endless.
One feature that makes solid surface materials unique is its seamless appearance. These products can be installed in a kitchen or bath without the visible seams of natural stone or quartz. You also have the option to seam or “cove” your backsplash to the countertop, as well as integrate a kitchen or bathroom sink. Because solid surface is a nonporous material, stains and bacteria are not an issue. Most manufacturers offer a ten-year warranty on their materials and integrated sinks.
There are a few drawbacks to the use of solid surface in the kitchen. It is softer than natural stone, so it can be scratched with knife blades or coarse pottery. It is also sensitive to high heat exposure. Most manufacturers do not recommend that you take a hot pot or pan off of the stove and set it directly on the material.
Solid surface is an excellent choice for both residential and commercial applications. Color choices and patterns abound. Because it is nonporous, so it is especially suitable for use in the food preparation and health care industries. It is also resistant to many chemical compounds, making it a good choice for laboratories.
Solid surface is one of the most repairable countertop materials available. It can be machined with typical woodworking tools (sanders, routers, saws). If scratched, burned, or cracked, sections of the countertop can be removed and replaced easily with little or no noticeable damage.
- Affinity Surfaces
- Formica Solid Surface
- LG HI-MACS
Many colors and patterns to choose from. Seamed-In sink option. Nearly invisible seams. Nonporous, eliminating the need for sealing. Many options for color, pattern, edge designs, cove (one piece) splash, drainboards, and more.
Scratches easier than granite or quartz. Not as heat resistant as natural stone counters.
CARE & CLEANING
Matte finish needs light cleaning with an all-purpose or glass cleaner. For satin or high polish, a glass cleaner is recommended. For solid surface sinks, use an abrasive cleaner with a Scotchbrite pad.
A 10- to 15-year warranty is typical with most solid surface manufacturers when fabricated by a certified professional. Be sure to read what the warranty covers before you purchase.
Solid surface is one of the more affordable high-end countertop materials. The retail cost for solid surface typically runs from $35 per square foot for simple patterns to $75 per square foot for granite and marble patterns.
Adapted with permission from CountertopReview.com