Solid Surface Countertops
Seamless and Stylish, This Material is a Solid Choice for Kitchens and Baths
When evaluating countertop materials it is important to think about not just how they look in the showroom, but how they all look after years of wear and tear. Solid surface countertops made from minerals, pigments, and high-performance resins are designed to handle the rigors of today is modern kitchen with aplomb. From spills to impacts to cuts and scratches, solid surface can endure all kinds of abuse without looking much worse for wear.
Solid Surface ConsiderationsSolid surfacing hit the market in the late 1960s with the introduction of DuPon is Corian. Today more than a dozen manufacturers, including Avonite, Silestone, Earthstone, LG, and Wilsonart, offer solid surface countertops. And while slight differences do exist between brands, homeowners can count on solid surfacing to be non-porous, durable, easy to machine and repair, and available in a wide range of designs. Most manufacturers offer at least a 10-15 year warranty.
As for options, here are some of the ways in which you can customize your solid surface countertop:
- Thickness: Solid surface counters are from ¼ to ¾ inch thick ½ countertops are typical.
- Edge Profile: The machinability of solid surfacing means that virtually any routed edge profile can be created.
- Integrated Backsplash and Sink: One of the unique features of solid surface countertops is the option to seamlessly integrate a backsplash and/or sink (made from the same material). Without seams between adjoining fixtures, water damage and dirt building are eliminated, resulting in a much more durable and hygienic work surface.
- Style: Each solid surface manufacturer offers dozens of different countertop styles. Many are made to resemble stone, concrete, or quartz and some are infused with metallic chips. Bold colors are also available (the addition of pigments makes color choices virtually unlimited), as are matte and glossy finishes.
- Beyond Countertops: Solid surfacing can be cut and shaped similarly to wood, making it feasible for use in almost any project. Table tops, interior and exterior walls, furniture, sculptures, and many other projects can be completed with solid surface. Talk to a fabricator to learn more.
Solid Surface FAQsThe following answers to frequently asked questions are meant to separate solid surface fact from fiction:
Are Solid Surface Counters Seamless?
Although not technically seamless, the sections where solid surface counters are bonded together with adhesive are virtually invisible after being sanded and buffed smooth.
Is Solid Surfacing Indestructible?
No countertop is indestructible, but solid surface does a better job than most at turning aside stains, moisture, sunlight, impacts, and hot objects. If the countertop is damaged you can remove the marred area with light buffing. The color and pattern are consistent throughout solid surface, so repaired areas will blend in with the original countertop surface. Severely damaged spots can be cut out and replaced by a professional. Re-sand and re-polish the entire countertop as needed to refurbish it.
How Green are Solid Surface Countertops?
The plastics used to make solid surfacing give their Green credentials a hit, but manufacturers are now offering countertops made from recycled plastics. Durability also comes into play when evaluating how sustainable a product is. Well cared for, a solid surface counter can conceivably last a lifetime, eliminating the need to consume additional resources. Plus, there is no need to seal solid surfacing with chemicals.
Solid Surface Countertop Costs
- Expect to pay $40 to $100 per square foot installed for solid surface countertops. For a typical kitchen with 50 square feet of counterspace, that is an estimated cost of $2,000 to $5,000.
- For high-end solid surfacing with a decorative edge, costs could creep past $100 per square foot.
- Installing an integrated sink and/or backsplash could add roughly 10 to 20 percent to the project cost.
- Homeowners with better-than-average woodworking skills can install a solid surface countertop as a DIY project (see: The Family Handyman). Note, however, that some solid surface manufacturers only work with an approved network of fabricators and installers.