Discount Countertops Cheap Countertops Granite Countertops Onyx Countertops Vanity Countertops Zodiaq Countertops Resurfacing Countertops Granite Remnants Copper Countertops Related Articles

Solid Surface Countertops

Technically, there are two types of solid surface countertops – natural rock solid countertops and man-made solid countertops. Originally, the only way you can get a solid surface countertop is by using granite or marble.

But with our modern technological innovations, countertop makers now use modern materials such as plastics to produce what is now called solid surface countertops or engineered stone. They are more flexible than natural hard stones since you have control on how the structure will appear and how strong it will be. In this regard, you can even produce a solid surface countertop that is much stronger than granite or marble countertops.

The Components of Solid Surface Countertops
Man-made solid surface countertops are basically made of synthetic sheets which are formed by combining mineral compounds with acrylic or polyester resins. You can get different effects if you will use different material compositions in each sheet. The structure is then chemically treated at 60º centigrade.  The resulting countertop surface is very smooth and has a uniform consistency. With this method, it is possible to get the appearance of solid stone, with or without color variations. You can also vary the solid surface by the amount of acrylic and polyester. The structure will be more durable and stronger if you use a higher amount of acrylic.

How They Are Installed
A solid surface countertop is usually prefabricated by the installer and delivered to the homeowner where it is assembled. If there are separate parts, they are glued together and the joint sections are sanded. Sanding is done so as not to leave any traces of joints in the surface. The edges are made by stacking up two or three layers of the material. This is necessary because solid surface averages only about ½ inch thick. This worked-up edge is then shaped to an edge that is appropriate for the countertop design.

Available Brands and Types
There are many brands of solid surface countertops available in the market today. Among the most notable are the following:
• CeasarStone – there are many styles in this brand. Most of their faux stone are shiny and cool to the touch. It is 15 times stronger than granite and 5 times harder.
• Corian – this brand has more than 100 color choices. Some of its finishes are matte, high gloss and semi-gloss.
• Staron – this brand is 100% acrylic made, and has 50 color choices. It also has various inlay and edge options.
• Meganite – this brand is also made of acrylic, with 65 different color choices. They have a product line that can be bent by applying heat to the surface – very attractive to those who want to have intricate shapes in their countertops.
• Rembrandt – they have a variety of color choices that can be easily matched with the colors of your kitchen or bathroom.
• Gibraltar – they also have different colors and their countertops are very easy to repair, and are also heat and stain resistant.

This is just a sample listing of the brands available in the market today. It is by no means a complete listing. By going on an online search, you can still get some more brands and find one that can best suit what you are looking for.

Advantages of Solid Surface Countertops
Using solid surface countertops brings about many benefits. Here are some of them.
• They are highly non-porous – very impervious to water, dirt and grime therefore you will have no problems with stains.
• Clean and safe - your food preparation is always safe because they will not allow molds and bacteria to multiply on their surface.
• They are affordable – with costs ranging from $40 to $80 per square foot.
• They are available in different colors and styles – since they are man-made, all manner of color or color combination and surface texture are possible.
• They are convenient – with solid surfaces, cleaning and maintenance is very easy. If there are burns or scratches, just sanding and buffing the affected section will restore its condition.

Some of the downsides to using solid surface countertops are the following.
• They have a low resistance to heat – since they are basically made of plastic materials.
• Their surfaces can be discolored – if excessive heat is allowed on the surface, they may damage the original colors.
• They are difficult to make – this is definitely not a DIY project. Only the professionals can do a successful job of fabricating and installing solid-surface countertops.

With the convenience and advantages of solid surface countertops, it is no wonder that they have been widely accepted by the market and are now being used in various places. You can find them in big commercial establishments such as department stores, malls, restaurants, hotels, hospitals. They are also used in public offices, hospitals and airports. You can use them for your kitchen countertop and your bathroom vanity countertop.