Solid surface countertops are a man-made alternative material for seamless countertops that are made to look like synthetic stone. A huge advantage of these countertops is that they are non-porous, low-maintenance, and come in formable sheets that are able to conform to the area that needs surfacing. Cleaning instructions are easy, too.
What It Is
These surfaces are usually made of acrylic, marble dust, bauxite, epoxy, or polyester resins, and pigment. Sometimes actually called "synthetic stone," it is a popular, in many cases, lower cost choice in new home construction and remodeling.
It is sold under various brand names including Corian, Dekton, Avonite, and Silestone, providing a pleasing option for strength and looks, meanwhile being durable and easy to clean.
When the product first came out on the market in 1967 as Corian, solid surface countertops were not as natural looking, but great advances have been made in their looks to make these surfaces mimic real stone. Now, these countertops can be just as expensive, if not more expensive, than their real stone counterparts.
Solid surface countertops come in a huge variety of colors, making it easy for homeowners to find a style they like, ranging from solid colors to sparkling, marbleized, or granite effect. It can come in a variety of finishes, ranging from matte to high-gloss, although most manufacturers recommend a matte or satin finish for ease of maintenance.
Unlike laminate countertops, solid surface types are seamless. Because of its seamless properties, that means it eliminates gaps and crevices where harmful bacteria can grow.
Cleaning solid surface countertops is relatively easy. Use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe down the surfaces. For dirty or stained areas, use mild dish soap and water. Also acceptable are ammonia-based cleaners such as most glass or general purpose cleaners. Towel dry the surface to prevent water spots.
Removing Difficult Stains
Difficult stains on shiny surface countertops can be cleaned with a liquid, mildly abrasive cleaner, while stains on nonshiny (matte) finishes are easily cleaned with baking soda and water paste. Commercial solid surface cleaning sprays are available for these countertops at most home supply centers. Commercial sprays are formulated to clean difficult stains.
When it comes to preventing stains and scratches, keep excessive heat, sharp knives, and strong chemicals away from the surface.
- Solid surface countertops are resistant to heat, but use a hot pad or trivet when setting a hot pan on the countertop.
- Don't use paint removers, oven cleaners or other strong chemicals on the countertops.
- Use a cutting board. Do not cut directly on the countertop.
- If you should get droplets of nail polish on the surface, use a non-acetone polish remover and then flush the countertop with water.
No regular maintenance is required for solid surface countertops. Should the material become scratched or broken, solid surface can, in most cases, be repaired quickly by a certified solid surface repair company or trained fabricator. Because the surface is solid throughout, a countertop that has undergone years of wear and tear can be refinished.