Five Unique Solid‐Surface Countertop Materials

The following list is compiled from reviews, trends, and contractor opinions. It describes five unique countertop materials for a home, based on beauty, value, affordability, efficiency, and use.

Many developers still stress natural materials (treated wood, marble, granite, etc.), but there have been considerable advances in the production of manufactured materials. Most of the following are greener, more economical, and easier to maintain & repair than naturals.

1. Silestone— is a quartz composite manufactured by the Cosentino Group, one of the largest manufacturers of natural quartz surfaces in the world. It is a produced material, largely dependent on the natural beauty of quartz, but altered in hue and pattern.

2. Terrazzo — was originally developed by Venetian workers using marble chips set in clay, with a goat milk sealer, for use in the 1920s. Since then, many advances have been made in the manner of manufacture and construction. Today Terrazzo utilizes finished concrete with exposed marble chips to create a unique, beautiful, and relatively affordable. Terrazzo can be lovely and unique, with the same timeless beauty, only now paired with eco-friendliness.

3. Corian — is the name of DuPont’s Solid Surface Material. On a technical level it is made up of alumina trihydrate & acrylic polymer, and was first developed to replace human bones. When heated up to 300 F it can be thermoformed into nearly any shape, making it ideal for unique and unusual spaces. Furthermore the entire material maintains consistent color and particle distribution, so you lose none of the pattern or beauty by shaping it. Along with this benefit, any nicks and scratches can be buffed out, and any later additional joints can be made invisible with a Corian two- ‐ part acrylic epoxy.

Kitchen Countertop courtesy of Dupont

Corian® Witch Hazel/Licorice Kitchen Image Courtesy By

4. Swanstone — is a plastic-based manmade composite, first developed in the 60s by the Swan Corp. Since then it has become a very popular solid-surface material, and its unique high pressure manufacturing has created a product that is both durable and long-lasting. Furthermore, the latest Swanstone items are considered to be green products both for their longevity and for their low impact processing. The oils and solvents used in the creation process are reused and reprocessed.

5. Formica — is the most popular name in plastic laminates. Most homes still have this style of countertop verse the trend toward natural and quasi-natural countertop materials. Formica has long been the industry leader in laminates, and since its development in 1912 (it was originally created for electrical insulation as a replacement to the mineral mica—hence the name "for mica"), has been improved in terms of longevity and processing.

Whether you are trying for uniqueness, greener alternatives, or just easier maintenance, the manufactured solid surface materials can be wonderful alternatives for your new or remodeled kitchen space. Whichever you choose, remember to utilize a qualified professional for the best installation and longevity.

Since 1974, the Waldhauser family has built Kenwood Kitchens into one of the most recognized companies in the industry providing professional kitchen and bath design, remodeling, and installation. Kenwood Kitchens is Maryland’s premier kitchen design company.

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