Whether granite or marble, natural stone countertops are a popular countertop choice with homeowners. But as much as we love its aesthetics, natural stone isn’t exactly cheap. To make matters worse, nature doesn’t exactly concern itself with our kitchen needs and therefore its bounties need a little human-touch-fixer-upper. What a bother!
Instead of spending half our lives trying to keep a natural stone surface properly maintained, there’s a simpler alternative – solid surfaces. A durable composite material made primarily from polymers (acrylics and polyesters being the most popular), solid surfaces are the closest thing to you’ll find to purpose-engineered perfection. With the kitchen in mind, of course.
While it’s usually used as a countertop, solid surfaces are very versatile and are used for a wide range of applications including backsplashes, waterfall edges and floating counters. To add colours and design elements, bauxite, minerals and dyes are used. Done well, a solid surface is nearly impossible to tell apart from the natural stone its supposed to mimic.
This versatility has paved the way for its growing popularity, with highly refined products such as DuPont Corian leading its development.
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Solid Surface Countertops – Care and Maintenance Made Easy.
A solid surface countertop is a virtually carefree option in comparison to natural stone. While it definitely has its downsides, a solid surface countertop is a good choice for anyone looking for something more affordable, reliable and, more importantly, easy to care for.
Here are five reasons that make solid surface countertops an easy-to-care-for option for busy homeowner:
1. Stains Away!
Non-porous and impermeable to liquids, you’ll find that you’ll almost never need to break your back (or heart) trying to remove stubborn stains from solid surface countertops. Even the most careful individuals are going to spill or drop something messy sometime, so it’s a good thing that your countertop is near-impervious to staining. Hey, we know how it feels when a precious thousand-dollar countertop is ruined simply because of one missed resealing – with solid surfaces that’s not going to happen.
A solid surface countertop’s impermeability to water also means that they are perfect for sink areas and bathrooms. Just remember to wipe off any any puddles of water or it could leave unsightly water marks over time!
Picture via University of Edinburgh.
2. Does not need Special Maintenance.
Don’t have the time to do periodic maintenance? Because solid surfaces are non-porous you can skip this step entirely. This is an advantage for anyone who doesn’t want to deal with the fuss of having to periodically reseal the surface, whether it’s natural stone or wood. An exception to this are polyester solid surfaces which needs to be polished from time to time to keep glossy shine on.
3. Easy to Repair.
If a solid surface gets scratched, scuffed or dented it can be sanded out pretty easily compared to a harder surface like granite. It’s also made from a homogeneous material, meaning that sanding it down won’t reveal any unsightly inconsistencies underneath.
This also means that if a sizable portion of the countertop does need to be replaced, the damaged portion can be cut out quickly and then have a new piece reattached without leaving any visible seams. That’s often not possible with natural stone where each piece is unique and therefore are always a little different.
4. Impact Resistant.
Although easily cut or scratched by knives and other sharp objects, solid surfaces are less brittle than stone. At the same thickness, its high flexural strength allows the material to absorb shocks and impacts without damage compared to hard stone like granite. It’s nice to know that you won’t accidentally crack or chip it if you absentmindedly put something heavy on it, or decided to climb on top of it to reach something.
5. Easy to Clean and Hygienic.
No pores means no snagging bits and pieces from leftover meals or other dirty things, making solid surfaces super easy to clean. For the most part, a simple wipe with a wet cloth and soapy water is all that’s needed to keep it clean.
More importantly, however, is that a non-porous surface doesn’t provide bacteria and other pathogens a spot where they can breed and thrive. Keeping biohazard levels within a satisfactory threshold is a must if you want a healthy living environment.
It is this reason why solid surfaces are popular with hospitals. With so many sick people passing through everyday, a surface material that’s easy to clean and keep clean is really, really important. And if solid surfaces are good enough for hospitals then it should be good enough for you.