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Why Solid Surface Counters Are a Great Choice

by Rachel Lyon, Editorial Director for The House Designers®

Balancing beauty and practicality can be difficult, especially in the kitchen. It’s primarily a workspace, but it’s also a focal point of the home where friends and family gather, and everything from appliances to fixtures is always on display. Nothing has to pull double-duty as much as countertops—they are the base on which you get stuff done, the backdrop to buffet-style spreads, and sometimes they act as a dinner table—so make sure the material you choose is up to the task. Have you considered solid surface counters? Here’s why they could be the perfect solution!

Wilsonart Angel Falls

With a smooth, natural stone pattern, this countertop in Angel Falls from Wilsonart® is a cost-effective mimic that promises great ease of care for those who want beautiful looks without a lot of maintenance.

Solid Construction

The term solid surface isn’t the most intuitive descriptor to the average consumer, so you might not know exactly what it means. It’s basically a durable man-made material—originally meant to appear like natural stone, though a multitude of colors and patterns are available today—that comes in full-thickness slabs. Solid surfaces are roughly composed of two-thirds powdered minerals and one-third binders, and they have a homogenous composition. If you take a slab and slice through it at any point, the fresh edges can be buffed to a finish like that of the top surface.

That’s one of the most attractive features of solid surface countertops—they’re a lot like solid plank hardwood flooring because you can sand them multiple times to renew their appearance. That’s a great investment for the long term! And this quality is hard to come by in other materials; natural stone is prone to all kinds of damage and often requires costly professional repair, while laminate counters are basically thin skins of resin- and pressure-treated paper glued to particle board, and replacement is the only option if they get scratched or burned. A solid surface countertop comes with a mid-level price tag, and it offers renewability and convenience that homeowners appreciate.

Corian Designer White

For a sleek modern vibe, choose a solid color like Corian® Designer White. Take a long look at the huge selection available—there are so many different styles that you can really personalize your kitchen.

Day to Day Practicality

Everyday challenges can leave lasting damage on countertops. Liquids, heat, and hard impacts take their tolls by staining, etching, burning, bubbling, chipping, and cracking surfaces depending on the material, but you can minimize the risks by installing something better equipped to handle common kitchen stresses. Just consider the consistent composition of a solid surface and you’ll see why it comes out ahead of its competitors; nonporous and sturdy by design, solid surface counters are impermeable and heat-resistant, and can take a hit from a heavy pot.

Whether natural or man-made, most materials have gaps or weak spots that can cause trouble. Porosity, seams, and areas with damage allow liquid intrusion, and with that comes staining and bacterial growth in nooks and crannies you can’t hope to clean. Solid surfaces, on the other hand, are essentially waterproof, so much so that they actually promote a more sanitary kitchen. Just wash with a general cleaner to remove grime and you can rest easy knowing that nothing sinister has seeped below the surface. You don’t have to treat the countertop too gently, either. The inherent durability of each slab is thanks to its solid nature and composition, which helps it absorb force where other materials might crack. And while you should always try to place hot pans on appropriate holders, solid surface counters can actually withstand quite a bit of direct heat without damage. Wear and tear is bound to happen over time, but remember—issues can be resolved with some sanding!

Corian Deep Smoky Pearl

It looks like light gray granite, but this is actually a Corian® Deep Smoky Pearl waterfall countertop, which extends the surface down the vertical wall of the base cabinets so it can be admired from another angle.

Color Personalization and More

With natural stone slabs, you’re limited to a natural color palette, but manufactured surfaces can be found in a virtually limitless array of colors and patterns. You can choose between solids, marble or granite looks, and options with authentic, random veining and flecking on unique base colors. Perhaps you’re interested in something with a little extra oomph, like a glittery sheen or translucency that creates depth to the eye? All of these characteristics are possible with solid surfaces, and if you can’t find something you love in a catalog, provide a sample of the look you’re going for and you can have a completely custom countertop made just for you. There’s no better way to build a one-of-a-kind design for your kitchen, and it gives you greater control over the final results.

The beauty of solid surfaces goes beyond their appearance and durability, though. They are available in a wide palette of colors and patterns for a multitude of uses around the house. You can have a sink that perfectly matches your counters, a distinct backsplash, a stunning shower stall with seating—it really is a test of your imagination with a material as adaptable as this. Find an authorized retailer to start discussing the possibilities for your home, whether you want to keep it simple with a countertop or see just how far you can take it!