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Before You Buy - Solid Surface Countertops

Solid surface products are the newest among countertop and wall tile options, and rank as one of the most popular today. They offer an array of countless designs and color options in not just countertops, but integrated sinks, backsplashes, shower and tub surrounds. Solid surfaces are known for their durability, easy maintenance and their capacity to be renewed. This is the only type of counter you can actually sand out light scratches to rejuvenate its appearance.

Being a man-made product there are a wide range of colors and finishes. Finishes range from matte to high gloss, each having its own maintenance instructions. Be sure that the sample you see in the design center is the finish or gloss level that you are purchasing.

Although solid surface products are extremely durable there are some misconceptions that make them seem indestructible. These products are not completely resistant to high heat. A hot pad or trivet is necessary to prevent discoloration to your counter. Nor are they completely scratch resistant, so using a cutting board is recommended.

When selecting a color for your high-use countertops, such as in the kitchen, it's best to stay away from the darker colors as they will enhance scratch marks.

Solid surface materials may require seaming depending on the size of the area. Seams will be slight in appearance and will typically run from edge to edge and or on the edge detail.

It is the responsibility of the homeowner to maintain the silicone caulked areas, such as where the backsplash and the countertop meet, to prevent any potential discoloration or separation over time.

Product Information - Solid Surface

Solid surface products are designed for a lifetime of good looks and easy care. For the busy household or for the homebuyer who appreciates clean lines and durability, solid surface products fit the bill. Offered as countertops, integrated sinks, backsplashes, shower and tub surrounds they are manufactured from acrylic resins and/or polyester plastics with mineral fillers.

  • Manufactured into sheets that are typically ½” thick that can be formed into seamless designs or layouts that have nearly invisible seams.
    • These products can accommodate large areas however in some instances seaming is necessary.
    • Seams are joined with a color-tinted adhesive which becomes less noticeable after it is sanded
  • A vast selection of colors to choose from with finishes ranging from matte to high gloss.
  • Although white and black are gaining in popularity, the neutrals are still the big winners with the stronger colors being used on islands, inserts in edge treatments or on backsplashes.
  • Perfect in the kitchen as these countertops can stand up well to daily wear and tear.
  • Resistant to bacteria and mold.
  • Non-porous material that resists many common household stains.
  • Although known for their durability, these products are not indestructible.
    • Use of hot pads or trivets on kitchen counters are necessary.
    • They are not completely scratch resistant
      • Darker colors show scratches more than the lighter colors
  • A choice of edge treatments.

Known for its Easy Maintenance

  • Can be cleaned simply with soapy water or an ammonia based cleaner.
  • This is the only counter where light scratches or burns can be sanded away to rejuvenate its appearance because the color and pattern run through the entire product.
  • Difficult stains can be cleaned with an abrasive cleaner and a green Scotch-Brite pad.

The Value of Upgrading

  • Wider selection of colors and designs
  • Wider selection of edge treatments
  • Options to incorporate matching sinks, backsplashes and surrounds.

Countertop Maintenance - Solid Surface

Solid Surface products are best known for their easy maintenance and their capacity to be resurfaced to keep them looking new.

For general daily cleaning you can simply use soapy water or an ammonia-based cleaner. For a more thorough cleaning use a damp cloth and any household detergent, such as Soft Scrub® or Fantastik®. Sealing is not necessary for solid surface products.

To remove most stains such as hard water deposits, minor burn marks, and minor scratches use an abrasive cleanser or a 3M Scotch Brite® Pad. For more stubborn stains and scratches you may use fine sandpaper to resurface your counter eliminating the stain or mark. Be sure to refer to your manufacturer's instructions for the correct sanding process for your counter's finish.

As durable as solid surface products are they do have their limits. Do not use your new countertop as a cutting board, it will show marks if done directly on the surface. Be sure to use hot pads or trivets when placing hot pots or pans on the countertop. Do not spill nail polish remover, oven cleaners, drain cleaners, lacquer thinner or paint removers on these products, it will stain or discolor the surface. If a spill does occur, quickly flush the surface with water.

It is the responsibility of the homeowner to maintain the silicone caulked areas, such as where the backsplash and the countertop meet, to prevent any potential discoloration or separation over time.