5 Products You Can Get From Solid Surface

5 products you can get from solid surfaceYou may not have realized, but Solid Surface countertops can exist almost anywhere. And after we explain all the ways that we can help, you’ll be amazed at what you start noticing. Here are five products you can get from Solid Surface.

Kitchen Countertop

While this is the most obvious product from Solid Surface, it is still worth mentioning. The countertops of your kitchen will make or break your décor. There’s no point in refinishing the rest of your kitchen and leaving old, dated, and even chipped counters. Instead, have a specialist come out and take precise measurements of your space. A counter will then be manufactured to the exact standards needed. You don’t have to worry about finding a piece of granite large enough for the entire kitchen. And you definitely don’t need to worry about cutting any jagged corners.

Bathroom Vanity

Again, a bathroom vanity is one of Solid Surface’s signature products. What’s especially nice about a vanity counter made by Solid Surface is that it will be very easy to clean. You won’t have to worry about germs or bacteria living in your bathroom. Instead, just marvel at the seamless vanity that is sparkling clean.

Bathtub Surround

If you’re taking on the task of a bathroom renovation, a great alternative to tile is the bathtub surround. The exact measurements are taken and a custom surround is built for your bathtub area. Simply put it in place, apply a sealant, and you are done. No messy grout, no having to cut tiny tiles. The end result is fresh, clean, and very modern.

Hotel Reception Desk

When guests check into a hotel, the first thing they are aware of is the reception desk. If you want to set the right tone for your guests, then a gleaming, modern reception counter is a must. No matter how large you need it to be, Solid Surface can custom design the right top for you. Made from materials such as acrylic, polyester resins and pigments, and marble dust, together these materials are formed to create a wide range of natural-looking designs. No matter what your décor theme is in your hotel, find the perfect reception desk to fit in.

Airport Service Area

Yes, Solid Surface can even create the perfect service desk for an airport! No matter what the location is, there is a solid surface product for you. In an airport, there is a need for multiple smooth surfaces that blend in with the business-like tone. Also, all measurements are custom-made. And for large orders, rest easy that the surfaces will match each other. With natural stone, it can be hard to create a large order that all matches together. But at Solid Surface, we can combine the right elements to create airport service areas that all go together.

 

5 Different Types of Kitchen Countertops

5 different types of kitchen countertopsKitchen countertops are often the focal point of any kitchen. Great care needs to be taken when deciding what will look the best in this busy room. Here are five different types of kitchen countertops and what to expect from them.

Stainless Steel

If you are an avid cook, or just a germaphobe, then stainless steel countertops are an innovative way to stylize your kitchen. While they are most often found in restaurants and industrial kitchens, stainless steel is slowly creeping its way into residential kitchens.

The positive side of stainless steel is that it is extremely easy to clean. It is also hardy and indestructible and will last a long time. However, stainless steel can scratch and dent, so the aesthetics may not be what you want over a long time. They are also quite expensive so it’s important to know you want them in your home for a long period of time in order to get your money’s worth.

Butcher Block

Butcherblock, made of different types of wood, gives a nice, warm, and inviting look to a kitchen. Options include bamboo which is sustainable, and maple, which is hardy. There are many different types of designs you can make with butcher block countertops, depending on the type of wood you use and the placement of the grain.
The biggest issue with butcher block countertops is that they require a fair bit of upkeep. To keep them sanitary, they will need to be sealed which has to be reapplied. They also get their fair share of scratches and stains.

Tile

One of the lesser used types of countertops is tile, but because of this, when you see it, it really packs a visual punch. Tile countertops can be all manner of style and material.

With tile countertops, its important to keep the grout intact and clean. Grout can also become discolored over time, so be sure to clean it with water and vinegar. If a tile piece becomes cracked or lose, it is relatively easy to fix, as long as there are extra tiles around.

Natural Stone

Natural stone is considered as on of the more premium types if countertops. Stone types such as granite and quartz need very little upkeep and add a dazzling shine to your kitchen. Marble can also be used, and while its natural design is a great focal point, it is more likely to crack or chip.

If you have the budget for a complete kitchen reno, natural stone is usually where that money ends up in.

Solid Surface

If you want the look of a high-end natural stone countertop, but don’t want to invest in the expensive materials, then a nice alternative is a solid surface countertop. These products are man-made to look like their natural kitchen countertops. They can be found in a variety of styles and colors to suit all kitchen décor. Solid surface countertops are easy to clean and will last for a long time.

How to Restore a Solid Surface Sink

How to Restore a Solid Surface SinkDo you have a solid surface sink which has seen better days?  Something that looked spectacular when it was first installed, but over the years, has become dull and tarnished?  Have no fears – often, all a solid surface sink needs is a solid cleaning and some restoration work, rather than replacing the entire unit.  With a little elbow grease and a little know-how, you can get your sink looking great once again.

One of the benefits of solid surface is that it’s a non-porous surface, meaning that stains won’t penetrate deep into your sink or countertops.  However, regular abrasion from dishes, pots and pans can still occur, which can cause that smooth luster to dull and fade.   Thin, built-up layers of grime and gunk can also adhere to the roughened surface, further dulling its look.  Some simple maintenance, however, can get it back to looking spic and span once again.

Tools

For a basic restoration, you’ll want to gather some simple tools before you begin:

  • An abrasive cleaner with bleach, such as Comet.
  • A scrubbing sponge
  • An abrasive pad, if you’re in need of especially deep cleaning
  • A small plastic bristled brush

Cleaning Powder

After wetting the sink, take your cleaning powder and spread it liberally all over your sink basins.  You’ll want to leave it on the surface for a couple of hours.  That allows the bleach to have time to act on that caked-on food gunk, breaking it down and making it easier to clean.

After those few hours, you’ll want to scrub the sink down with the scrubbing sponge.  It’s a good idea to wear gloves during this part of the restoration; the chemicals involved aren’t necessarily dangerous, per se, but they really do a number on exposed skin.  For tighter areas around seams and drains, the scrub brush will probably be easier to use, and will help remove any residual staining.

Deep Scratch Repair

If you have any very deep scratches, simply using the cleaning powder will not be sufficient to restoring your sink.  At this point, you’ll want to break out the sandpaper.

One of the benefits of solid surface is that the pattern and color goes all the way through the countertop—it’s not just on the surface layer.  Therefore, many scratches can actually be sanded out without damaging the look of your sink.

Start with a 400-grit piece of sandpaper, and see if that works.  If the scratch remains, continue with more aggressive grits, even down to 60-grit.

The Toughest Scratches

If you’re an expert DYIer, you can handle even deeper scratches than that, though that’s a much more complicated process than simple cleaning and sanding.  An old rotary tool, equipped with an aluminum oxide bit, can be used to polish out deep scratches.  A diamond cutting wheel can be used to cut a deep groove right on the dark marks, which will remove the scratches but will require them to be filled back in again, using epoxy.

Final Steps

Once you’ve restored your sink, be it with cleansers, sandpaper or epoxy, it should look good as new again.  You can keep it looking newer for longer by regularly cleaning it with an abrasive cleaner and pad – it’s much easier to stay on top of cleaning regularly rather than making a major project out of it every few years.

Our trained professionals here can help you if you don’t feel confident dealing with the deepest scratches.  If you want the benefit of experienced contractors with years of experience, or simply need some more personalized advice on how to continue, please don’t hesitate to contact us.  We’re glad to help with the fabrication, installation and maintenance of solid surface material, and we promise to bring the absolute best experience to each and every one of our clients.

DYI Solid Surface Countertops

DIY Solid Surface CountertopsInstalling solid-surface countertops yourself can be a challenging task for even the most avid DYIer.  This is why so many professional services exist – to help navigate all the challenges and issues the layman is likely to encounter when trying to get a professional, long-lasting look in their countertops.

If you are an avid DYIer, however, and want to tackle the task yourself, we’re here to give you some basic advice and a guide to some of the procedures involved.  If you’re attempting this yourself, these are handy tips to getting started.  If you’re hiring a professional, like the experts at Solid Surface Canada, then this guide will tell you what to expect when the contractors begin work.

Level the Base Cabinets

Countertops rest directly atop the cabinets below, and solid surface countertops are no exception.  If the cabinets aren’t of a consistent height, then the countertops will not lie flat when finally installed.  That could lead to cracking and other structural damage, as well as simply not giving you a uniform work surface to deal with!

If sections of your counters are too high, a belt sander or coping saw can be used to trim them down to size.  If they are too low, simple shims can be used to raise the countertop, keeping the height consistent over the length of your counter.

Add the Necessary Supports

Sometimes there will be gaps in your cabinets where you’ll want your countertop to go.  Maybe you’re installing a new dishwasher or a small refrigerator – you’ll want your countertop to run over them, but you won’t have cabinets below to provide support.  You can use 2×2 lengths of wood, called “cleats”, for support.

Screw the cleats directly into the wall, or into the cabinet bases on either side of the appliance.  You’ll want to ensure that these cleats are out of sight, so they don’t interfere with the aesthetics of your kitchen.  You’ll also want to ensure that their location won’t interfere with the installation of the appliances later.

Countertop Installation

You’ll want to use painter’s tape along the top edge of your countertops, to prevent the glue from sticking to them.  Then, apply a bead of quality construction adhesive atop the cabinets, and gently set the solid surface countertop onto the cabinet tops.  This may require two people to ensure everything is laid down gently and smoothly; it can often be too bulky for a single person to complete this task.

When you have the countertop properly aligned, simply push down on the countertop, causing it to bond with the adhesive.

Sink Installation

Most sinks come with a template for cutting.  Using this template, carefully sketch out the pattern on the countertop that you’ll be cutting.  Make sure that the back of the sink will be a consistent distance from the wall, and that it’s set back far enough so that the sink avoids the base cabinet.

Then, use a hole saw to create a starting place, and a jigsaw to actually cut out the opening for the sink.  You’ll want to apply plumber’s putty around the lower edge of the sink to ensure a water-tight seal before setting the sink into the hole.

Push the sink down firmly, and remove any putty that squeezes out.  Your sink should come with clamps; use them to secure the sink to the countertops.  After that, it’s a matter of just installing the faucet and attaching it to the plumbing.

Conclusion

It’s a complex task, but with the proper tools and expertise, you can successfully install your own countertops.

If, however, you want the benefit of experienced contractors with years of experience, or simply need some more personalized advice on how to continue, please don’t hesitate to contact us.  We’re glad to help with the fabrication and installation of solid surface material, and we promise to bring the absolute best experience to each and every one of our clients.

Solid Surface Countertop Brands

When you’re deciding on solid surface countertops, you may be surprised to see the wide variety of brands available.  Different companies offer their own unique solid surface styles, each with their own selection of colors, finishes and other options.  It can be a bit overwhelming for the first-time buyer, but each brand offers its own strengths and weaknesses.

DuPont Corian

Solid surfaces were invented by DuPont in 1967, and its Corian brand was, for many years, the only brand available, until their patent ran out and competitors can enter the market.  The original solid surface is still a very solid choice.  It comes in a wide variety of styles and colors, and is still the leading brand in the industry.  Corian is backed by one of the best warranties in the industry, and has a proven track record of durability—it’s still the gold standard among solid surface brands.

Wilsonart

Wilsonart is best known for its laminate countertops, but they’ve been involved in the solid surface industry for over a decade and make some fine options.  Their main selling point is their variety; Wilsonart offers more than 80 colors and patterns to choose from.  They used to have quality control issues, offering a “solid surface veneer” that cracked and shattered, but their current offerings are much better in quality and definitely worth considering.

Samsung Staron

When you think “Samsung”, you think televisions and mobile devices, not countertops.  However, Samsung’s Staron brand is one of the more attractive solid surfaces available on the market.  Their Tempest line of semi-translucent metallic finishes has them stand out from the pack; they’re not like any other brand on the market today.  Their more traditional offerings promise to give you Corian-style quality at cheaper prices.

Avonite

Avonite offers both polyester-based and acrylic-based solid surfaces, and pioneered a new technology allowing them to create incredibly long sheets of acrylics.  While you’re likely not in the market for a 300-foot kitchen counter, it goes to show you that they’re an innovative and established company.  With both the polyester and acrylic options, Avonite gives customers the widest range of budget choices, as polyester-based solid surfaces generally are cheaper than their acrylic-based counterparts.  That doesn’t mean they’re of lesser quality, however; polyester tends to stand up against harsh chemicals better and can achieve a higher polish.

Formica

Like Wilsonart, Formica is better known for its laminate countertops, to the point where “Formica” is often used as the generic term for laminate.  However, they’ve been transitioning into the world of solid surface, and have come out with some exciting colors and styles in recent years, and are a rapidly-growing name in the solid surface world.

There are many other brands available, with Hanex and LG HI-MACS getting their fair share of use, as well.  Ultimately, the choice for best surface to use will depend on your precise requirements.  An expert solid surface professional can help make sure you’re making the right choice for your home.

Cleaning a Solid Surface Countertop

Cleaning a solid surface countertop is quick and simple—an easy, stress-free task that can help extend the life of your countertops and keep them looking and feeling like new.

The first thing you’ll need to do is to remove any dirt or other standing residue.  This can be done with plain soapy water or a standard ammonia-based cleaner.  Be sure to rinse and wipe dry the counter after this step; it will help remove any loose particles from your countertops.

Hard water can leave unsightly marks on your countertops.  Help prevent them by wiping your surfaces dry, both after spills and after cleaning.  This prevents the hard water from sitting on your countertop, staining the surface.  If you do end up with hard water spots, however, ordinary vinegar can remove most of them without too much trouble.

For more stubborn stains, you can use a diluted mixture of water and bleach for cleaning, or denatured alcohol applied to a cotton cloth.  Avoid stronger, acidic products—using a toilet or oven cleaner on your solid surface countertop can cause damage, and are not recommended.  When you’re done cleaning, be sure to rinse with plain water and wipe dry.

To disinfect your countertops, a mixture of one part water and one part ordinary household bleach is recommended.  Again, rinse with clear water and wipe dry when you are finished.

Integrated solid-surface sinks can be cleaned in the same way as your countertops, or with standard liquid cleansers.  Make sure to rub over the entire sink to help blend in the finish.

The best way to keep your countertop clean, of course, is to avoid stains and damage in the first place.  Use trivets or hot pads under hot pots and pans, electronic cookware and anything else hot.  Prolonged exposure to extreme heat can discolor your countertops.

You should also avoid exposing your countertop to harsh chemicals.  Paint removers, oven cleaners and similar products can eat away at the surface of your countertop.  If you do accidentally spill some on your countertop, rinse immediately and thoroughly with cold water.

Do not cut items directly on your solid surface countertop, as that can scratch your surface.  Instead, use a cutting board.  Also ensure that you’re running your faucet if you dump boiling water down your solid surface sink; the extreme heat could cause discoloration.

One of the major benefits of solid surface is the fact that it’s a continuous pattern all the way through, rather than just on the top level of your countertop.  That means you can remove minor cuts and scratches with a simple wet abrasive sponge.  Simply rub it in a circular motion over the scratch or cut until the renewed area blends in with the surrounding surface.

Making a solid surface countertop

ss5A solid surface countertop is one of the most functional and durable surfaces out there.  It’s versatile and easy to maintain and comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns.  Whatever brand you end up going with, solid surface countertops are a great selection for your kitchen or bathroom.

As there are numerous brands that make solid surfaces, the manufacturer and exact composition of your solid surface countertop can vary.  Generally, it’s an acrylic, epoxide or polyester resin, which is then mixed with various pigments to produce a wide variety of colors.  It can either be cut into sheets or shapes or injected into a mold to produce a more decorative design, complete with any decorative touches right from the initial creation.

Polyester-based solid surfaces are generally cheaper, and will provide a higher-gloss finish.  They’re less likely to have the perfect seam you’re hoping for, though, so many people chose the newer acrylic-based solid surfaces.  They cost a little more, but are less likely to chip and crack, and are easier to join together in a seamless fashion.  No matter which type of resin your brand uses, it will likely arrive at your builder in a solid sheet.

Your contractor will take these sheets of solid surface, in your chosen color and style, and cut them to match the size and shape of your countertops.  Then, they will bind them together using a color-matched epoxy.  The pieces will be clamped close together, and then left to dry.  The contractor will then sand off the excess epoxy and polish the area.  This creates the illusion of the countertop being one consistent piece rather than multiple pieces joined together; because solid surfaces have the same color and patterns all the way through, they can be sanded down to match without losing their aesthetic value.

It’s really a very simple process when handled by experts who know what they’re doing.  From formation to installation, a solid surface countertop is specially designed to meet all your countertop needs, from aesthetics to health and everything in between.  When you get a solid surface countertop, you know you’re getting a durable work surface that will last you a long time without significant upkeep.  For many design projects, a solid surface countertop will end up being the way to go.

What is a solid surface countertop?

ss3The phrase “solid surface” can be a bit confusing when you’re first learning about countertops and their potential materials.  After all, aren’t all countertops a solid surface?  However, when your contractor or renovator uses the phrase “solid surface countertops”, they’re referring to a specific man-made surface that has brought a significant new option to kitchen and bathroom renovations.

Solid surface countertops are artificial, man-made surfaces, typically made from acrylic and polyester blends.  It was developed in the 1960s by DuPont, and known as “Corian”, though now you can get solid surfaces from a variety of different companies, including Samsung’s Staron, LG’s Hi-Macs and ECO.

It’s called “solid surface” because, if you take a cross-section of it, you’ll find the color and pattern evenly distributed all throughout the material, as opposed to just being on the top layer.  Solid surface is homogenous in material and color, and just as durable and sanitary as natural countertops.  It was designed to be a versatile and adaptable material, fitting whatever needs you may have.

Solid surfaces are designed to be non-porous, so bacteria and stains can’t seep into your countertops; that means you don’t need to especially seal them.  They’re designed to resist stains to keep their color and pattern fresh for as long as possible, as well.

Solid surfaces also are seamless.  Because they’re designed and manufactured, they can be combined with color-matching epoxy to bind them together.  Because the color and pattern go all the way through, you can then sand and polish the joint to be seamless without losing any aesthetic value.  This really isn’t an effect you can achieve with most natural materials; so the seamless look of solid surface is one of its defining visual characteristics.

That same depth of color and pattern makes solid surfaces uniquely repairable and renewable.  If you get a minor cut or scratch, you can actually buff it out with a scouring pad—or, in more serious cases, a sander—without actually damaging the aesthetics of the countertop.

Solid surfaces like Corian are also thermoformable.  That means it becomes flexible when heated, allowing it to be shaped and formed into any shape imaginable.  It’s easy to work with and to get into just the right shape and style to match your design and architecture.

There are a variety of different brands of solid surface, each with their own pros and cons, from cheaper, polyester-based solid surfaces to more durable acrylic-based surfaces.  Whether you stick with the original Corian or go for one of DuPont’s rivals, solid surfaces have been a beneficial and convenient choice for countertops for a half century and counting.

Solid surface countertops pros and cons

ss2When you opt to install kitchen countertops, there are dozens of different kinds of surfaces to choose from.  One of the most popular is a solid surface, like DuPont’s Corian or other similar brands.  The man-made surface has several significant pros over more natural countertops like granite or marble, though it comes with its drawbacks as well.  Here are some solid surface countertops pros and cons to help you make your decision.

Pro: Solid surfaces are durable

Manufactured to the highest standards, solid surface countertops can remain in place for decades with proper installation and occasional maintenance.  They resist impacts, stains, mold, mildew and bacteria better than natural surfaces; they’re engineered to last a long time, and specially designed to better resist wear and tear than natural surfaces.

Pro: Many choices for style and color

Because it’s manufactured, you can get a solid surface countertop in nearly any color or style you can imagine.  There are dozens of colors readily available—everything from mimicking a natural feel of concrete or marble to bright, unique colors to give your kitchen or bathroom its own custom feel and shine.  You can find a color or pattern to match essentially every architectural style or design choice you can imagine.

Con: Solid surfaces can scratch easily

Granite or marble are very difficult to scratch, as they’re some of the hardest substances in nature.  Corian or a similar artificial surface, however, is somewhat vulnerable to being damaged if you use sharp knives directly on its surface, rather than on a cutting board.  Similarly, hot pans can also damage your solid surface countertops, leaving burn marks and other imperfections more easily than on natural surfaces.

Pro/Con: Standard Colors

Every piece of marble is unique, so you know that your countertop will be one of a kind.  Solid surface countertops, almost by definition, are mass-produced, so while there are plenty of colors and patterns to choose from, it won’t really be unique—someone out there will have the same pattern and color you do.  That can be a negative if you want a really unique signature look for your countertops.  On the other hand, if you have to replace a section of a marble countertop, it’s very obvious, because you won’t be able to find another piece that exactly matches the damaged section.  With something mass-produced like Corian, you can be sure that you’ll get an exact match if you ever have to replace anything, keeping the look of your kitchen or bathroom consistent.

A solid surface brings a good balance of good lucks, performance and cost efficiency to your home.  They’re definitely one of the most versatile options you can pick when making your countertop selection.

Questions to Ask When Soliciting Quotes for Solid Surface Countertops

solid surface countertops“Solid Surface” is a man-made material commonly used for countertops in both residential and commercial settings. Due to its ability to mimic the look of natural stone like granite it generated great demand right from the time of its introduction in 1967. Today Corian, Wilsonart and other brand name solid surface countertops account for a significant percentage of the countertop business. In spite of its popularity however, care must still be taken when purchasing solid surface in order to ensure you get a top-notch product installed by solid surface experts. In this post we’ll take a look at some of the questions you’ll want to pose to solid surface companies before picking one.

Solid Surface Countertops: Clarifying the Purchasing Process

While plenty of home design and decoration trends have come and gone in the days since Corian first hit the market solid surface has retained and even expanded its market share. Still before you decide to plunk down your hard-earned on solid surface countertops there are a few questions you’ll want to ask the prospective seller/installer.

  • How long have you been installing solid surface? – Installing solid surface requires a slightly different skillset than installing granite, quartz or marble. If the seller/installer has little or no experience installing solid surface it’s easy for them to make mistakes with the details or possibly damage the material in subtle ways that may invalidate your warranty.
  • Do you sell Acrylic or Polyester Solid Surfaces? – This is a distinction many people are not aware of but it’s important to ask about in order to ensure you’re getting what you want. In short, polyester-based solid surface is more brittle than acrylic and more likely to chip or crack. Acrylic by comparison exhibits greater tensile strength and can be reshaped (that is, bent under heat) to fit almost any application.
  • Can I keep the waste material? – Typically when installing a solid surface countertop the installer will need to cut a hole in the slab to make room for the sink. Ask them if you’ll be allowed to keep the cut-out. Why, you say? Because the cut-out can be fashioned into a matching cutting board. Some companies will ask you to pay extra, though many will not.
  • What kind of warranty will I get? – You should get a generous warranty from the manufacturer on the solid surface itself but you’ll also want a warranty against defective workmanship. That’s because if the installer messes up the installation in some way that compromises the material it will likely void the manufacturer’s warranty, under the “physical abuse” clause.

Solid surface countertops are the affordable alternative to prohibitively expensive natural stone like granite. But they’re more than that. They’re also a design element of extraordinary flexibility and a sure fire way to add the finishing touch on any kitchen or bathroom remodeling project. If you’re in the market to replace your countertops you owe it to yourself to investigate this incredible material. Contact Solid Surface.ca in Toronto on 416-346-5612 to find out more.