There are many materials used in real estate whether it is a residential or commercial building that has come to stay, examples of such are the heat resistant countertops that are manufactured from a combination of natural minerals and resin. Unlike natural stones like marble and granite, the solid surface countertop is superior because it is made from a solid piece of material.
Other materials like Laminate are merely layered on medium-density fiberboard and so, they can be easily repaired or sanded down if need be. On the other hand, solid surface countertops (Learn: Solid Surface | Preferred Choice for Luxury Countertops) are affordable alternatives to pricier natural stones. Read on to find out more about what are solid surface countertops (Learn: Tips on How to Clean Solid Surface Countertops) (Learn: Top 8 Solid Surface Countertop Manufacturers in 2023).
What Is a Solid Surface Countertop
Beginning with what is a solid surface countertop, is a type of countertop made from a combination of materials, such as polyester resin, acrylic resin, or a combination of both. It is tough and durable, making it ideal for kitchen and bathroom surfaces. It is also available in a variety of colors and designs, making it perfect for any business setting.
In addition, surface countertops are made up of three major elements: the bonding elements, the mineral particles, and the pigments for color. It stands out, especially as a kitchen countertop material, and is known for its quality and durability.
Unlike before, when the only known countertops were Dupont’s products, durable countertops have now become popular for both kitchen and bathroom materials. With a little orbital sander, you can retouch the solid surface countertop without having to replace it completely.
This makes it a perfect mid-range material that is affordable for buyers uninterested in Laminate. It performs better than laminate in resemblance to real stone or quartz, although it lacks the depth of real stones. Many buyers go for the solid surface countertop after considering the pros and cons and comparing it to other materials.
What Are Solid Surface Countertops Made of
The question arises about what is solid surface countertops made of, seeing that it’s gaining so much popularity and gradually becoming the most sought-after countertop due to the mid-range class it belongs to in quality, class, attractiveness, durability, and cost.
These countertops are made of mineral dust and other materials like resins, pigments, and acrylic. As mentioned earlier, resins serve as the binder, and pigments for color while acrylic is the mineral particle added to it.
A follow-up question will be ‘what is the composition of the mineral dust used in making solid surface countertops?’ The mineral dust is derived from marble and the mixture melts when heated before it is poured into the mold to give it the preferred shape.
In addition, this composition is similar to what are Corian countertops made of, just with a little modification. Solid surface countertops are known for their versatility, coming in various patterns, colors, and shapes. Various pigments and mineral dust are combined in unique ways to create a unique solid surface countertop.
Types of Solid Surface Countertops by Materials
There are many types of solid surface countertops from different brands, especially since Dupont’s patent expired and competitors came into the market. However, the general types of solid surface countertops remain the same, which are either acrylic-based, polyester-based, or a combination of both materials. Let’s dive into greater details.
Acrylic-based materials used for solid surface countertops are durable and always have a matte-like appearance. It is much easier to have seamless countertops when using this material because adhesives stick more to acrylic than polyester. Although acrylic-based materials are more expensive than polyester-based countertops, they give value to their price.
In addition, Formica solid surface materials are either acrylic or polyester-based or a combination of both. KKR produces 100% acrylic-based materials that are almost at par with Dupont’s quality of the pure solid surface sheet. Acrylics are great for fabrication works like thermoforming.
Solid surface materials made from polyester-based materials are more affordable in price than their acrylic-based counterparts. It offers more variety in design because of its malleability and brittleness. They look better aesthetically with a glossier appearance and perform better than acrylics when trying to produce countertops with vibrant colors.
In addition, Polyester is UV-resistant, so it lasts longer under harsh weather than acrylics. Polyesters-based countertops are better for aesthetics than functionality. In this industry, there are 2 types of resin as major materials, ISO-phthalic polyester resin (durable and expensive) and Unsaturated polyester resin (less functional and cheaper).
When it comes to Bathroom products, like basins and bathtubs that need to hold hot water occasionally, you must choose a solid surface (Learn: Why Choose Solid Surface Backsplash for Your Kitchen) made from 100% ISO-phthalic polyester resin. This is because bathroom products need to be used frequently in alternating hot and cold environments, when the temperature is extremely hot or cold, the ISO resin can nicely handle a variety of temperature changes and avoid problems like cracks, or shapes.
When it comes to Solid surface sheets, as the usage of sheets is less challenging than bath products, you can use some cheaper resin to control the cost. However, never choose a product made from 100% cheap resin, which will cause you unpredictable problems and a much lesser lifetime when you turn into use in the long term.
A Combination of Both
This means a combination of both acrylic-based and polyester-based materials, it is more like a hybrid composition of both materials to enhance the strengths and water down the weakness of individual elements. They are often used by many manufacturers for specific customized projects that involve some modifications to the technical specifications needed by contractors.
To avoid getting lost in the process of selecting the countertop material combination, you can request the specifications of the selected solid surface countertop before making a decision to buy.
Applications of Solid Surface Countertops
Solid surface countertops can be used for both commercial and residential purposes. Their versatile and durable features make them a sought-after choice for many contractors in the market today. KKR’s durable solid surface products are perfect without any seams. This makes it suitable for various applications like bathrooms, kitchens, hospitality, furniture and furnishing, retail design, healthcare, reception counter, and fabrication techniques.
In addition, sectors like public buildings, hotels and restaurants, shops and exhibitions, and healthcare and educational institutes already have KKR products used in them. Through its advanced machinery, KKR has been able to produce seamlessly-stitched solid surface countertops through its self-made glue. This glue matches the countertop color and maintains the surface finish while enhancing its quality.
Solid Surface Countertops Pros And Cons
Let us a deep dive into the pros and cons of solid surface countertops. Starting with some of the pros of a solid surface countertop:
Pros of a Solid Surface Countertop
Many solid surface countertops have a seamless finish that makes joints impossible to detect. With its thermos-formable properties, it can be shaped into various forms. Specifically for KKR, they offer a self-made glue that is almost invisible in application because they ensure the glue color matches that of the countertops.
Unlike natural stones that are scratch resistant and more durable, they are more porous. However, the solid surface countertops are non-porous and this keeps bacteria and stains away without the need to seal.
Innovation in solid surface countertop production is high, so they come in various patterns, colors, and material combinations. No matter the style, you will always find a solid surface countertop for you.
Application of the solid surface countertop is across various sectors and industries. It is great for the kitchen, bathroom, office, laboratories, and many more. In addition, it is water resistant and super hygienic which makes it perfect for shower walls and countertops.
Cons of a Solid Surface Countertop
Moving on to the cons of solid surface countertops:
Susceptible to scratches
Compared to natural stones and quartz, solid surface countertops are softer and susceptible to scratches. Knives, spoons, and other kitchen utensils can scratch the counter and leave marks on it. These scratches appear white and are not noticeable on white surfaces but might become obvious on other colors.
In addition, these scratches can affect the non-porous surface examples of solid countertops and breed bacteria and moisture. KKR surface finish process takes care of this problem common with solid surface countertops because of its advanced machinery that results in seamlessly stitched surfaces.
Uncertainty about the materials used
Due to the popularity and competition in the solid surface countertops industry, it is unclear to discern the material a product is made of whether it is acrylic or polyester-based. Although KKR ensures all product specifications are rightly stated in their product packs without missing out on any technical detail.
It can be damaged by heat
Although solid surface countertops are durable, they can be damaged by heat. This is because they cannot withstand temperatures beyond 100 degrees Celsius or 212 degrees Fahrenheit. This calls for carefulness with hot metals used in the kitchen because they might scorch or damage the countertop.
However, there are ways provided by KKR to ensure such surfaces can be retouched and repaired without reinstalling them. Even when subjected to temperatures as high as 180 degrees for 20 minutes, KKR solid surfaces remain in their original shape with no change in color or surface finish.
Top Solid Surface Countertops Brands
The solid surface countertops began with a brand name called Corian in 1967. What started its production was an interest to make a non-porous stone-like material. Later on, Dupont’s patent expired, and then other manufacturers came in to make the Corian substitute by asking the question ‘what are corian countertops made of.’ When they got to the question ‘what are Corian countertops made of’, they started making beyond the solid surface countertops.
Some of the top solid surface counterparts brands in the world today are:
- Formica Solid Surfacing
Considerations When Sourcing Solid Surface Countertops Abroad
When sourcing solid surface countertops abroad, there are several important considerations to keep in mind to ensure that you get the best product. Here are some key factors to consider:
Materials: It’s important to choose a material that is durable, easy to clean, and suitable for the intended use.
Size: When ordering solid surface countertops from abroad, it’s important to specify the exact dimensions you require. Make sure to take accurate measurements to avoid ordering a product that is too larger or smaller when compared to what you need.
Sink options: You’ll also want to consider the type of sink you want to use with the solid surface countertop. There are several different sink options available, including under-mount, top-mount, and integrated sinks.
Faucet hole options: If you plan to install a faucet on any countertop, make sure to specify the number of holes you need for the chosen faucet type.
Edge and backsplash options: You can choose from a variety of edge and backsplash options to give the countertop a customized look. Popular edge options include ogee, bullnose, and beveled, while popular backsplash options include tile and full height.
Shape and surface finish: Solid surface countertops can be fabricated into a variety of shapes, from simple rectangles to complex curves. You can also choose from a range of surface finishes, including matte, gloss, and texture.
Custom features: Finally, consider any other custom features you might want for the solid surface countertop. For example, you might want to include an inlaid design or custom color scheme to make the countertop truly unique.
Order Quantity and Lead Time
Order quantity refers to the amount of product purchased from a supplier, while lead time is the time it takes for a supplier to deliver the product. Both are important when sourcing solid surface countertops abroad, as they affect the cost, timing, and logistics of the transaction.
Quality and Certificates
Quality refers to the standard of solid surface countertops, and buyers should ensure that they meet the requirements. Certificates, such as those for safety and environmental regulations, indicate that the product has undergone testing and meets certain standards. This is important when sourcing solid surface countertops abroad.
Packaging and Shipment Management
Packaging ensures that the solid surface countertops are protected during transit, and buyers should confirm that the supplier provides adequate packaging. Shipment management refers to the coordination of the logistics involved in transporting the product. This is important when sourcing solid surface countertops abroad to ensure timely and safe delivery.
In conclusion, a solid surface countertop is a highly durable, versatile, and aesthetically pleasing option for homeowners who want a stylish and functional countertop that will last for many years. Solid surface materials are made of synthetic polymers and natural minerals, and they offer a wide range of benefits such as resistance to scratches, stains, and heat, easy maintenance, and a seamless appearance.
Whether you’re looking for a classic, contemporary or modern look for your projects, solid surface countertops come in an array of colors, patterns, and finishes to suit any taste. By choosing a solid surface countertop, you can add value and beauty to that home or space while enjoying the convenience and functionality of a high-quality countertop.