Choosing Solid Surface Countertops
Choosing solid surface countertops can be a really smart choice for you.
THE GREAT QUALITIES OF SOLID SURFACE COUNTERTOPS
- Scratches can be fixed.
- Solid color throughout (this allows for scratches to be fixed, and some burns to be sanded out).
- Flexibility in sink choice. Can have the normal self-rimming type of sinks, but can also easily (although more costly) use under-mount sinks, and sinks that are even made of the same solid surface material. They'll look seamless where they join the countertop (your sink can be the same or a different color than the rest of your countertop).
- Where countertops are joined can be made to look seamless (your installer needs to sand joints to look seamless). These types of countertops are the only ones that can actually look seamless.
- Come in a wide array of colors and patterns.
- There are several companies that manufacture solid surface, with varying degrees of expense. The more expensive solid surface countertops are not necessarily any better than the lesser expensive ones. Often, they just have the name (like Corian).
- Solid surface countertops should not be left to get too cold or freeze (they can and will crack, especially at the joints).
If you're thinking about choosing solid surface countertops, remember they are made of acrylic or polyester plastic. This allows their color to go throughout. That in turn allows a lot of flexibility regarding their assembly and installation, especially if any repairs need to be done. We've seen where a solid surface countertop is being installed, is accidentally cut too short, the piece re-glued on, sanded down, and you'd never know it happened. With any other top, its a new top.
A big plus for choosing solid surface countertops is that they are the only countertops that can be made to appear completely seamless. If you have a good installer, they will bring your joints together well (for example in a corner), sand, and then polish the corner so you will not even notice the seam (or barely if you look hard).
Solid surface countertops are more expensive than laminate countertops, but usually much less expensive than granite or quartz. This is also a big factor in choosing solid surface countertops. This middle ground in cost, along with the many benefits of owning a solid surface countertop, have made them very popular.
GOOD COMPANIES THAT MANUFACTURE SOLID SURFACE COUNTERTOPS
- Corian (made by DuPont)
- Zodiaq (made by Formica)
- Gibraltar (made by Wilsonart)
When deciding between companies and choosing solid surface countertops, keep in mind one of the most affordable solid surface companies is Visioneer. The reason they are more competitive in price, is that they offer a line in which the solid-surface material is 1/4" thick (they also have 1/2" thick material). The 1/4" material is built onto a substrate of particle board, much like a laminate countertop.
This allows them to be more competitive in price, with relatively little difference in finished product. After all, if you damage your countertop so that you need to sand off 1/4", you will probably be just purchasing a new countertop anyway!!
There are some that think a thicker solid surface material is better, but in the many years we sold solid surface countertops in our custom cabinet shop, we never had any problems with the thinner material. There were two occasions that seams split apart, but the customers had new homes that they let get cold in Wisconsin.
Other companies are catching up with Visioneer and offering thinner material choices and lower prices, so shop around.
Remember when choosing solid surface countertops, the difference between companies is really the thicknesses they have to offer, the price differences, and colors (like appearing to show more depth, etc.). For the most part, these companies are similar to laminate companies in that they all have really good quality products.
Return to Compare Kitchen Countertops from our Choosing Solid Surface Countertops page.
Enjoy your solid surface top -
And remember - HAVE A HAPPY KITCHEN!!!
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