Is Solid Surface the Right Countertop for You?

Solid surface is a low-maintenance countertop material known for its seamless appearance and numerous available designs, which often mimic the look of natural stones.

Introduced in the late 1960s under the brand “Corian,” it is made from acrylic or polyester resin that can be shaped into any form thanks to thermoforming. It has a consistent composition throughout its thickness, hence the term “solid surface.” Unlike laminates, which feature a thin decorative surface layer, solid surface has a uniform color and pattern evident throughout its entire thickness.

Apart from Corian, other notable brands include “Staron,” “Hanex,” and “Solflex.” It is also often referred to as “synthetic granite” by some contractors and suppliers here in the Philippines.

What are the Advantages of Solid Surface Countertops?

Seamless Appearance

The most significant advantage of solid surface countertops is their smooth, seamless look. Individual sheets or slabs can be connected neatly, creating an almost invisible seam for a sleek, uninterrupted finish. This is a big plus, especially for large, intricate countertop designs.

This feature isn’t just for residential kitchens, though. You’ll often find solid surface counters in many fast food chains, convenience stores, and hospitals.

Solid surface countertop material selection
Solid surface designs are produced by mixing different ratios of pigments and mineral dust.

Variety of Designs

Solid surface countertops offer an impressive range of color and pattern combinations, making them a versatile choice for any kitchen or bathroom. You can find everything from bright, eye-catching colors to softer, more understated earth tones. Some even boast silver flecks or metallic chips scattered throughout their surface.

With a broad range of options, solid surface countertops provide a flexible and appealing choice for homeowners and designers for a more personalized kitchen space.

Repairability

Another great thing about solid surface counters is their durability and repairability. You can quickly remove minor scratches and burn marks with a soft, abrasive cleaner. And even if the damage is a bit more serious, you don’t necessarily need a whole new countertop. A pro can usually fix it by sanding down the surface and giving it a new polish, making it look good as new.

It’s a practical and cost-effective solution for busy households and commercial establishments. After all, life happens—spills, drips, and accidents are inevitable. But these minor mishaps don’t have to be a major headache. You can relax, knowing that your countertop can withstand everyday wear and tear and that most damage can be repaired without too much fuss.

White solid surface countertop Philippines
You can use an integrated sink and a continuous backsplash with a solid surface counter.

Curious to know how much will your counter cost?

What are the Disadvantages of Solid Surface Countertops?

Vulnerable to Heat

While a solid surface has its perks, it also has its drawbacks. For one, it’s not heat-resistant. Hot pots or pans can leave a scorch mark on their surface, so you must always use trivets or hot pads to avoid damage.

Thus, it will require some adjustment if you’re used to more heat-resistant surfaces, like granite or marble. If you do a lot of cooking and are worried about forgetting to use a trivet or hot pad, consider a more heat-resistant option, like natural stone or stainless steel, instead.

Additionally, solid surface is not ideal for outdoor applications as it can fade or warp with prolonged, direct exposure to the sun. Extreme temperature fluctuations may also cause the material to expand and contract, potentially leading to cracks.

Vulnerable to Scratches

Solid surface countertops are generally scratch-resistant but not scratch-proof. Sharp objects, like knives, and abrasive materials, like steel wool and scouring pads, can leave marks on the surface.

Remember: although your counter can handle everyday wear and tear, it’s not indestructible. It’s best to take a few simple precautions to keep it looking great. Use a cutting board when chopping veggies, and opt for a non-abrasive cleaner when tidying up. With a little bit of care, your solid surface counter can stay looking new for years to come.

Lacks the Visual Depth of Natural Stones

Lastly, while solid surface can imitate the look of granite or marble, it doesn’t achieve the same depth and detail as an authentic stone. This lack of authenticity can be a downside, especially if you love the deep, rich color of natural stone.

However, a solid surface might be the better option if you’re more interested in uniformity and ease of maintenance. It all depends on what you value most in your countertop material.

Solid Surface Natural Marble

Solid surface doesn’t quite capture the intricate depth and unique veining of natural marble when examined up close.

Life in plastic, it's fantastic

What are the Applications of Solid Surface?

The solid surface is a flexible material suitable for various applications. Here are some of the most common applications of solid surface:

  • Kitchen Countertops
  • Vanity Tops
  • Reception Counters
  • Workstations
  • Ledges

However, keep in mind that while the solid surface is durable and versatile, it is not suitable for every application. For example, it is not ideal for applications like fireplace surrounds or outdoor kitchens because of its limitations. Always consult a professional if you’re considering solid surface for your project.

How Do You Take Care of a Solid Surface Counter?

How Much Does Solid Surface Cost in the Philippines?

The cost of a solid surface slab can vary, depending on the brand and the complexity of the design you choose. On average, in the Philippines, the price of the material alone ranges from Php 5,200 to Php 7,600 per square meter.

Do note that these figures don’t account for the cost of installation. It’s a significant aspect to consider when budgeting for your new counter. Remember to factor in the installation charges alongside the cost of the material for a complete picture of the overall expense.

Are there Better Alternatives to Solid Surface?

While solid surface countertops offer a range of benefits, they may not be for everyone. If you’re considering other options, you might want to look into granite, marble, and quartz. We’ll explore these three alternatives and discuss why you might want to choose them over a solid surface countertop.

Granite

Granite is a highly durable natural stone that has been popular for countertops for decades. Its unique, granular appearance comes from the cooling and solidifying of molten materials deep within the earth. Each slab is unique, offering a wide range of color and pattern combinations you won’t find elsewhere.

It has several advantages over solid surface. First, granite is heat-resistant. It won’t be easily damaged or discolored by hot pots and pans. Moreover, it’s more scratch-resistant, making it an excellent choice for busy kitchens.

However, some granites, especially light-colored ones, require periodic sealing to protect them from stains. It’s also more expensive than solid surface, but many homeowners consider the cost worthwhile, considering the beauty and longevity it provides.

Marble

Marble is another natural stone that homeowners and designers often choose for its timeless elegance. Like granite, each marble slab is unique, with colors ranging from white, black, brown, red, and green. It has an inherent beauty that no synthetic surface can match, giving your kitchen a sense of depth and luxury.

It’s also heat-resistant, which makes it ideal for cooking and baking. Hence, it’s often used in bakeries and pizzerias to make dough because it remains cool even in hot environments, preventing the dough from overheating.

On the downside, marble is porous, which means it can stain if spills and drips aren’t wiped up promptly. It’s also softer, making it more susceptible to scratches and etching. Lastly, marble is on the premium side and requires regular sealing to maintain its appearance.

Quartz

Quartz is an engineered stone composed of crushed stone aggregates bound by resin. As such, it has the durability and heat resistance of natural stone plus the stain resistance of solid surfaces.

Engineered quartz is non-porous, so you don’t need to seal it, unlike granite or marble. It’s also highly durable, making it resistant to chipping and scratching.

Like solid surface, it comes in a wide range of designs, many of which mimic the look and feel of natural stone.

However, it comes with a higher price tag. Nevertheless, for many, the benefits of quartz outweigh the cost. Its beauty, durability, and required upkeep make it a worthwhile investment for most.

Conclusion

While solid surface countertops offer a seamless look, stain resistance, and a variety of designs, it is essential to consider the downsides of this material. Its vulnerability to heat and scratches can be a deal-breaker to many.

If you’re looking for a countertop material that can withstand the daily wear and tear of kitchen preparations, consider looking into better alternatives, such as granite or quartz. Both excellent materials are incredibly durable, making them perfect for busy kitchens. Remember, the best countertop material for you depends on your specific needs, lifestyle, and budget.

Visit Stone Depot today and check out our wide range of granite, marble, and quartz options for your kitchen and bathroom. We provide high-quality slabs at a reasonable cost. We are located in CebuDavaoCagayan de Oro, and Iloilo City. See you there!

Miguel Aquino

Miguel Aquino

Miguel Aquino is the General Manager of Stone Depot, one of the Philippines' leading suppliers of granite, marble, and quartz. Since 2010, he has been in the stone industry, working for a similar company in Balintawak, Quezon City.

You can find him playing Magic: the Gathering at a hobby store every Friday night.

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