Should You Buy Solid Surface Countertops? Pros and Cons (+ More)
The world of solid surface countertops is a little different than natural stone. That’s why we put together this guide—full of tips, fun facts and pros and cons.
Everyone talks about natural stones like granite and composite materials like quartz. But there’s another material once again rising in popularity: solid surface countertops. Solid surface is a versatile, easy-to-clean and stylish material that deserves special attention.
In this guide, we’ll take a dive into the world of solid surface countertops, giving you the information you need to consider using a solid surface product in your next remodel project.
Table of Contents
- What are solid surface countertops?
- Solid surface countertops pros and cons
- Different types of solid surface countertops
- Solid surface maintenance
- Fun facts about solid surface countertops
What Are Solid Surface Countertops?
Solid surface products are a manufactured material made of either acrylic resin, polyester resin or a combination of the two combined with pigments, filler or acrylic chips to create unique patterns and colors.
Solid Surface Countertops Pros and Cons
Solid surface countertops come with a lot of pros that can make them perfect for your kitchen (or bathroom). Here are a few pros to keep in mind before deciding on another material.
- Variety – Solid surface countertops come in a rainbow of colors and patterns. No matter your style, there’s a solid surface countertop out there for you.
- Versatility – Solid surface is great for the kitchen, but it’s also great for the bathroom. Their more consistent, non-porous surface is super hygienic and water resistant, perfect for the countertops and shower walls.
- Non-Porous – Natural stone countertops are durable and very scratch-resistant, but they are also more porous, which means they need to be sealed to prevent any staining. Solid surface countertops are non-porous, which keeps bacteria and stains away—without having to seal.
- Seamless Look–Most solid surface patterns can be joined with seams that are very hard to detect to the naked eye. It also has thermoformable properties, so it can be shaped into things like custom shower pans.
Every choice comes with cons, and solid surface products are no different. While there are some downsides to consider, that doesn’t mean you should say “no” to solid surface. These are easily managed with proper care. It’s important to take these downsides into account to make an informed decision.
- Scratches – Solid surface countertops can be prone to scratches since it is an acrylic and not a stone. Surface scratches may appear white, especially in darker colors, so if you do go with solid surface in a high use area, it’s good to go with a lighter color. Keep in mind though, solid surface is a renewable product and a worn surface from years of use can be restored to its original appearance by a professional service call.
- Heat Exposure– They also can be sensitive to damage by heat if directly exposed to higher temperatures. Therefore, always use hot pads and trivets. Do not place hot pots, pans or cooking units directly on the countertop.
- Vulnerable to Strong Chemicals – Even though solid surface countertops are non-porous, they are still vulnerable to strong chemicals, like nail polish remover or certain cleaning materials.
With these cons in the back of your mind, you can now prepare for them so they won’t be a problem if you decide to use solid surface in your kitchen or bathroom remodel.
So, when you’re ready to buy, where should you look?
Different Types of Solid Surface Countertops
Unlike natural stone countertops that only come in colors and patterns that appear in nature, solid surface countertops can come in any color and pattern combination. They can be made to look like any natural material you want—from granite to marble to quartzite.
Natural stone countertops are differentiated by the type of stone. Solid surfaces are differentiated by brand name. Each brand is usually a trademark and has their own unique mix and offerings. This is where it pays to do your research, so you can find the brand that has the color you want.
Some great solid surface brands to consider include:
Surface Countertop Maintenance
Solid surface countertops have inconspicuous seams and are non-porous. And that makes cleaning a breeze.
For best results, clean up spills immediately with a non-abrasive, mild soap and warm water.
The best way to prevent any permanent damage is to protect your countertops with things like trivets, hot pads and cutting boards. Should you scratch or damage your countertop, you can resurface solid surface countertops by having a professional sand the affected area. Also, if purchasing a solid surface countertop, always ask your fabricator for the sink cut-out to save incase a repair is needed throughout the years.
Fun Facts About Solid Surface Countertops
Now that you know about solid surface countertops pros and cons, maintenance types and brands to choose from, here are some fun facts about the material:
#1. The Original Solid Surface: DuPont’s Corian
Solid surface countertops started with DuPont’s Corian in 1967. The idea was to create a material that looked like natural stone without the porosity. DuPont’s original patent expired years later, leading to the many different brands on the market today.
#2. They’re Great For Hospital Applications
Solid surface materials aren’t just used for kitchen and bath countertops. In fact, that might be one of the smaller applications.
They’re also used in massive industrial applications like airports, hospitals, restaurants and public buildings. Hospitals especially love using non-porous solid surfaces all over their building because they are considered sanitary surfaces and it minimizes the appearance of seams and crevices where bacteria can build up.
#3. Solid Surface Is Comparable to Wood
When being worked, a solid surface material is more comparable to wood than stone. During fabrication and installation, it can be cut, routed and sanded using similar techniques and tooling used for wood.
Solid surface countertops are a modern marvel, and they only keep getting better. With an endless number of colors and patterns, you’ll find the right countertop for your project.
If you’re interested, it’s best to talk to a professional and visit a showroom before you buy, so you can be sure your new solid surface countertop is right for you.