Solid Surfacesby Cynthia on 09/26/12
You keep hearing the sales person say “solid surface” but if you’re not familiar with the term it may sound a bit ridiculous; after all, granite is solid - marble is solid – what’s the difference? While granite, marble and other natural stone surfaces are solid, they are an all natural product and therefore coined as natural stone. So when your designer or sales person starts talking about solid surfaces they are talking about a man-made product manufactured with natural mineral filler and a resin binder. The result is a product that is solid all the way through with a uniform design that can be molded into numerous thicknesses and edge designs.
Solid surfaces have been around since the 1960s when DuPont™ engineered the first solid surface – they called it Corian®. Since then, Corian® has become a term that is synonymous with solid surface in much the same way as Kleenex is used in place of tissue. However, as in the case of Kleenex, so too is Corian® simply one brand of many.
Today there are a multitude of manufacturers producing solid surfaces with hundreds of color and style variations ever widening the options consumers have. But the purpose of solid surfaces are no longer solely for countertops, they are now fabricated for many different uses: shower and tub walls, bathroom wainscoting, shower pans, floor tiles, tabletops, cutting boards, cabinet pulls and knobs, cutlery handles and many other products.
So what’s so great about solid surface? The incredible variety of colors and styles give the consumer endless choices. It doesn’t stain because it’s a non-porous substance. There are no grout lines and it can be installed to appear virtually seamless. The product is very strong and durable and is easier to care for than granite or marble. While it can scratch it can be repaired, unlike natural stone or laminates.
What’s not so great? The price. In recent years, the popularity of solid surfaces has driven up the price of these products. Solid surfaces used to be an economical substitute for granite or marble. These days, however, solid surface prices are not that far beneath natural stone. Many consumers will choose granite over solid surfaces because granite will increase the value of their home more than a solid surface and is nearly the same price.