Why solid surface countertops make sense?
With a solid surface it is possible to have the countertop, sink and backsplash in one piece. Because of this there are no slips and seams, so the unit looks more attractive and also easy to clean.
Solid surface material is non porous which makes it sanitary and easy to maintain since dirt and grime will not be absorbed. These countertops, which are available in a variety of colors and patterns, are stain and water resistant, so they never need polishing or sealing.
Solid surface countertops, like DuPont’s Corian brand, are completely synthetic and are made from sheets created by mixing acrylic and/or polyester resins with mineral compounds. The manufacturing process ensures that while the look is that of natural stone, the finish is smooth, uniform and seamless with no color variations.
A wide range of finishes are available including matte, semi gloss, glossy and satin allowing the countertops to fit into any kitchen décor.
Solid surface countertops are the ideal choice for those who want to personalize the color and shape of their countertops. Similar to concrete in many ways, solid surface means that the material can be shaped to meet the user’s requirements. The material can be cut, routed, drilled, sculpted, bent or even worked like wood to create unique and distinctive shapes, or just to fit into awkward spaces.
Solid surface countertops have one drawback – although heat resistant to a point, they cannot accept high heat. Users must ensure that when placing hot utensils on the countertops they use hot pads or trivets.
Since the color in the countertops goes all the way through the material, repairing small nicks, scratches and burns is easy, as all that has to be done is to sand down the surface. However, it is advisable to call in professionals in case of any major damage.
How much do solid surface countertops cost?
The price of the countertops will depend on various factors like color, finish, design, size and the manufacturer. But the fact remains that they are not cheap. A thumb rule is that you can expect the prices to be from $50 onwards per square foot (installation may be extra) or about the same as natural stone. However, the thing to keep in mind is that it is the appearance, long life and ease of cleaning that has enabled these countertops to retain their popularity with consumers over the years.
Among the well known brands are Corian, Swanstone, Staron and Avonite.
How to choose solid surface countertops?
1. Keep the overall kitchen décor and color scheme in mind when selecting solid surface countertops so that the countertops fit into the overall look and feel of the kitchen. It’s worthwhile getting samples and using these to match the countertops with the existing décor.
2. It’s a good idea to consult an interior designer for help in choosing the right designs and colors.
3. By and large, light colored cabinets look good with dark solid surfaces and dark cabinets with light surfaces.
4. If you would like to reduce your costs you could consider using solid surface only in high use areas and covering other spaces with laminates or other less expensive materials.
How to install solid surface countertops?
Installing these countertops is a job for an expert – they are heavy and need expert handling to ensure they are not damaged during installation. Please remember that before hiring a contractor you should check both his overall experience, and the amount of solid surface countertops he has installed. This is not a job for amateurs or the DIY enthusiast.
Maintaining solid surface countertops
Maintaining solid surface countertops is not difficult and is only a matter of a little care and common sense.
- Follow the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions. They know their product best and a failure to follow the maintenance policy could lead to a cancellation of the warranty.
- All that is needed for daily cleaning is a simple wash with soap and water.
- It is important to make sure to wipe the countertop completely dry after cleaning – this will protect the finish.
- As mentioned above, be careful not to place hot pots and pans directly in contact with the countertop.
- When cutting anything on the countertop, always use a cutting board. This will prevent the knife leaving marks on the surface.
- Do not drag utensils or appliances across the countertops as this may cause the surface to get scratched.