Thursday, May 10th, 2012 by Travek Inc.
This week our focus is SOLID SURFACE COUNTERTOPS.
Cooks and chefs have been trying since the beginning of time practically to find the perfect countertop material. At some time, they favored wood and butcher block, but did not like the fact that wood is so porous and in a sense, more unsanitary than others. Ceramic tile looked nice but was not too practical for what they needed to do; for example, in rolling out pie dough, the dough would stick to the grout lines. Granite and marble are nice, but they do not always fit the budget or maybe just do not go with the design of the rest of the house.
So where do SOLID SURFACE COUNTERTOPS fit in? First of all, the term solid surface when referring to countertops refers to any kind of largely acrylic polymer-based countertop material. Back in the early to mid 60s, Don Slocum, the father of Solid Surface, along with engineers and researchers, wanted to create a totally solid material that would have the same color or pattern throughout. He wanted the material to be something that could be fabricated with standard woodworking tools. This material was to function as a work surface, yet be something that could be easily repaired. To top it all off, of course, he wanted it to look rich and nice. This research and engineering brought about the SOLID SURFACE product which was patented in 1968, and has been around ever since.
There are many different manufacturers of Solid Surface, but some of the more well-known names are Corian, Formica Solid Surfacing, and Silestone. Each manufacturer uses a little different combination of materials, but there are two main ingredients, no matter what else they may use: natural mineral filler and a resin binder. The mixtures are cast in a mold and cured to become sheets of Solid Surface that can be cut and formed by the fabricators.
Solid Surface has a number of attractive features to the buyer. First of all, they look nice. They have the rich luster and appearance of stone, yet are not stone. They are very strong - the plastic goes all the way through, and it is more resistant than stone to impacts and bumps before installation.
The seams are almost invisible, and the Solid Surface can be fabricated into innumerable shapes and sizes. The surface is also nonporous and so easy to keep clean. It can scratch, but it can also be sanded and buffed out, too.
Color and design are almost endless with Solid Surface countertops. (Just as an aside, Solid Surfaces are not just countertops any longer. They are also using this same material for shower pans, floor tiles, tabletops, cutting boards, cutlery handles and many other products.)
In most cases, Solid Surfaces are less expensive than granite. Even though it is less expensive than granite, it is a very nice product, and should not be considered as "cheap". It definitely has many great qualities and has enhanced the look of many homes.
The two main drawbacks of Solid Surface is that 1) your design is not unique, and 2) it is prone to scratching.
Again, as it was with both granite and quartz countertops, TraVek, your Scottsdale remodeler, recommends Solid Surface countertops to be fabricated and installed by those who specialize in it. Their special tools and expertise will make the job a whole lot easier and, in the end, will give homeowners a much nicer product and look.
Please EMAIL ME if you have questions that I have not answered here or something you would like addressed in another newsletter or blog.