Solid Surface Counter Manufacturers You Can Rely On

New Custom kitchen with white cabinets and solid surface island.
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Solid surface material gives your kitchen or bathroom counter the solidity and general appearance of stone.  Unlike stone or quartz, it is so easy to work with--lift and carry, cut and sand--that even a homeowner can do it.  While a quality material, ever since DuPont's patent on Corian expired, numerous brands have rushed in to produce solid surface--for better and for worse.  

Often maligned as a "plastic" countertop, this is not true.  Yes, 33% of the countertop is composed of...MORE binding resins, but the other 66% is minerals (a bauxite derivative, along with aluminium trihydrate, a fine white powder that helps the material maintain its smooth consistency).

Here are major manufacturers of solid surface countertop that have been around for years, even decades--half a century old in the case of Corian.

  • 01 of 06

    Operating for over three decades, Avonite is a relative old-timer in the world of solid surfaces.  Avonite's parent Aristech has an impressive pedigree in the world of plastics, having invented something called continuous casting (vs. cell casting) of acrylics, allowing incredibly large sheets to be produced by pouring acrylic on a continuously moving belt.

    This is not to say that you'll ever want a 300 foot kitchen counter.  The point is that Avonite is part of a large, established...MORE family that produces all manner of man-made surfaces; it's anything but a shadowy upstart.

    Avonite offers either polyester (Studio Collection) or acrylic (Foundations) solid surfaces.  Both can be finished to matte, satin, and high-polished (glossy) sheens.

    Why You Might Like It

    Avonite is a favorite of professional kitchen designers.  Avonite 100% acrylic Foundations' "Right Size Capability" program works with contractors and designers to produce massive sheets up to 204" long, reducing seams to next-to-nothing and eliminating trim waste. 

    Avonite, too, excels at providing vertical-ready solid surfaces for wet areas such as showers and wet walls, both residential and commercial.

    Like Corian, Avonite is another U.S.-made product, coming from factories in New Mexico and Kentucky. 

  • 02 of 06

    The grande dame of all solid surface materials, DuPont's Corian is the product that, in 1967, kicked off the revolution.  No more would residential kitchens be limited to laminate.  The point of chemist Dr. Donald Slocum's invention was a surface that is solid through and through.  Laminate is composed of layers; solid surface is homogenous, which means that it can never de-laminate.

    Why You Might Like It

    Corian provides a wealth of information and support for its product.  Unlike other...MORE solid surface companies, which rely on the designers to clue in consumers, Corian is very transparent about its product, from start to finish.  Corian will never be the cheapest solid surface on the market, but selection is copious.  Also, if U.S.-made remodeling materials are important to you, you'll be happy to know that most Corian is made in Buffalo, NY.

  • 03 of 06

    You've probably never heard of Staron.  But there is a good chance that you've got a TV or a mobile device from Staron's ultimate parent company--Samsung. 

    One convenient shorthand is to think of Staron as "Corian, but cheaper."  When Corian's patent ran out, Samsung was one of many solid surface companies to rush in and begin duplicating DuPont's successful Corian formula.  Only as the Staron brand matured did Samsung attempt to branch away from that initial...MORE Corian-but-cheaper formula and try new things.

    Why You Might Like It

    Because of Staron Tempest.  The Tempest collection is especially striking, with its sparkly metallics combined with true depth and translucency.  Tempest is a solid surface that looks much like a quartz surface.

    A Top Encounter, a Huntington Beach CA-based designer, concurs, saying that Staron's Tempest

    has blown away the others in competing in the new arena of engineered quartz products such as Caesarstone, Silestone, and Zodiaq...  Staron TEMPEST looks like engineered stone, but applies all of the most important elements in solid surfacing which are integral sinks, inconspicuous seams and the ability to repair, refurbish and resurface.

  • 04 of 06

    Like many other solid surface companies, St. Louis-based Swan has a long history with other types of home-related "surface" products.  They invented a door-less, curtain-less shower unit called the Shell Shower, which, if viewed from above, is shaped like a nautilus shell.

    Solid surface is not Swan's main line of business, but they have been doing it for a long time:  since 1987.  Many consumers look to Swanstone as a less expensive alternative to Corian or Avonite.

    One benefit of...MORE Swan's diversified product lines is that they are a good source for solid surface integrated sink countertops, especially bathrom vanity tops.

    Swanstone stands up well against high heat.  It is rated to withstand heat up to 450°. This means that the countertop will not singe or melt when you place a hot pot or tea kettle of boiling water on it.  

    Why You Might Like It

    Prices.  Swanstone solid surfaces are often cheaper than those offered by other companies.  If you like to purchase U.S. made products, all Swan products are made in the U.S. in Centralia, IL.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    It seems preposterous:  Formica solid surfaces?  Formica is synonymous with laminate counters; Formica is laminate.  Talk about a clash of two different worlds.

    Long a mainstay of restaurant tables, bars, and kitchen counters, Formica laminate still surfaces the world.  But what about solid surfaces?

    Even though most efforts go towards the laminates, solid surfaces remain a tidy side business for the Formica Corporation.  Currently, the Formica Solid Surfacing division offers 57 colors of its...MORE unique seamless, non-porous material.

    Why You Might Like It

    Formica is transitioning its solid surfaces from polyester to 100% acrylic.  In the past, its attention to solid surfaces has been listless.  Lately, a number of exciting products come out, such as Bottle Glass Quartz, All That Jazz, and Cafe Quartz.  Offerings like these make solid surfaces look less homogeneous and more like real stone.

  • 06 of 06

    Venerable surfaces company Wilsonart has existed for over a half-century now.  Starting in 1956, Ralph Wilson Sr. began producing high pressure laminate in Texas.  Only much later did Wilsonart enter the burgeoning field of solid surfaces.

    The company stumbled when they introduced solid surface veneer (SSV), a 1/8" slice of material that fabricators were expected to glue to a particle board base.  When that didn't work, Wilsonart pre-bonded the SSV to the board and fixed a polymer sheet...MORE to the bottom to protect it from moisture.  SSV was a failure, resulting in cracked counters and a 2004 class action lawsuit that brought in a $23 million settlement to plaintiffs

    Why You Might Like It

    SSV issue aside, Wilsonart is known for being attentive to customers (currently, they have 17 dedicated showrooms in the U.S. and Canada, something you rarely see).  Historically, too, Wilsonart has been innovative.  While most of its creativity is still going in the laminate surfaces direction, hopefully their solid surfaces division will find a way to become a leader, rather than a follower, within the industry.