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.
- Silestone is produced with a unique built- ‐in antimicrobial protection. It uses Microban which is a proven deterrent to the growth of bacteria which can cause odors, stains, and overall harm to the longevity of your counter. This will remain active for the life of the product. It is not, however, a total replacement for good kitchen hygiene.
- Additionally, Silestone is naturally scratch, stain, and heat resistant. It requires nearly no maintenance, unlike natural stone alternatives.
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.
- Like other poured materials, terrazzo can be easily shaped into whatever you need, no matter how peculiar.
- The concrete is specially designed for kitchen use, and is very durable. Furthermore, everything will be sealed under a (buff-able and reapply-able) layer of a clear sealant.
- Uniqueness. Very few solid surface materials can end up looking as one-of-a-kind as the terrazzo materials. The natural mosaic quality can greatly enhance any kitchen, and instantly turn a dull space into something alive, bright, and patterned.
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.
- One of the major benefits is its non- ‐porous nature. Most natural surfaces still have tiny holes or pores (often invisible to the naked eye). Because of this, even stone surfaces that appear superficially dense, still can allow microscopic organisms to hide out. With Corian there are essentially no pores at all, therefore it is often used in specialized environments, like laboratories and hospitals.
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.
- Swanstone is crack and stain resistant. Because it is consistent in color and texture throughout, any scratches that you do manage to make in the surface can be easily buffed out with no chemicals or other professional applications.
- It is a durable, long- ‐lasting material. Along with the eco- ‐friendly manufacturing process is a commitment to the construction of a product that needs no replacement or chemical maintenance for many years to come.
- Because it is a plastic composite, Swanstone can be poured into any shape imaginable, making it a perfect addition for even the most distinctive, quirkiest shaped countertops.
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.
- Can be shaped in any way necessary, making it one of the ideal materials for distinctively shaped kitchens and backsplash needs.
- Since it is fully synthetic, it can be created in nearly any pattern and color imaginable. Furthermore, it will be consistently colored throughout the sheet; additions, unique inserted shapes, and buffing out scratches are all permissible.
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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