Solid-surface countertops are the stuff of George Jetson, where high-tech plastics can be heating sculpted into any envisioned shape. These contemporary surfaces take on many appearances, such as rock, nevertheless shed the openings of their counterparts using a nonporous surface that does not age or develop a patina. Is this countertop suitable for your kitchen? Read on to learn more.
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Darren James Interiors
The basics: Solid-surface countertops are a blend of acrylic or polyester resins, powdered additives and fillers, cast into slabs. There are many manufacturers of these synthetic counters, such as Dupont Corian, LG Hi-Macs, Wilsonart, Formica, Durat, Staron and LivingStone.
From the counter over, a solid surface counter from Staron (on the left) is blended with Calacatta marble.
Cost: $50 to $100 per square foot installed.
Advantages: Solid surface is durable and nonporous, making it resistant to stains, mildew and bacteria. Its distinctive composition makes buffing out scratches a breeze and provides the overall look of a smooth setup, such as for integral backsplashes. This product outshines its rivals having the ability to be thermoformed into odd shapes and settings.
Disadvantages: Its resin-based makeup produces this counter material sensitive to heat and vulnerable to scratches. Much like many countertops, keep your trivets and cutting boards handy.
Sustainability: Most solid-surface manufacturers tout GreenGuard’s approval, which cautioned that due to this nonporous surface and low chemical emissions, the countertop leads to healthy indoor air quality.
The environmental shortcoming of these products is their makeup, which comes from finite, nonrenewable resources, such as petroleum and aluminum trihydrate (ATH), which can be strip mined. Choosing a solid-surface product with recycled material, like Durat or Corian’s Terra show, will reduce the negative environmental effect.
Charlie & Co.. Design, Ltd
Maintenance: Soapy water will suffice for regular spiffing up of this easy-to-clean surface. However, it’s essential to wash the surface thoroughly after cleansing or clogs, as wet counters may cause a dull or uneven, blotchy finish.
Particular concerns: Acrylic solid surface is more pliable, whereas its polyester-based counterparts assert a deeper coloration. Dark colors will reveal more fingerprints.
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