Problems of Not Having a Solid Surface CountertopCooks have long been trying to find the perfect countertop material. At one time, wood or butcher block were favored materials, but one problem with wood is that it is porous.
Ceramic tile has those much-hated grout lines which make it impossible to roll out large sections of pie dough. Even the popular granite and marble options are not perfect: they are expensive, prone to cracking, and can even be damaged by hot pans.
Composition of Solid Surface CountersSolid surface countertops are about 33% inorganic binding resins and 66% organic (minerals). Contrast this with quartz counters, with are about 7% resins and the rest minerals.
Beyond Formica and the LaminatesLaminate surfacing, a nearly 100 year old material, came to fore in the 1960s as the premium surface for countertops. Mostly known as the brand Formica (also Wilsonart is a major manufacturer), laminate is a minimally heat resistant "sandwich" of paper or fabric impregnated by melamine resin.
Designs and colors were no longer limited to the imagination, and completely smooth surfaces were now possible. But the downside of laminate is that it easily chips, it burns under hot pans, and the core material (usually composition wood) is not very strong.
Solid Surface BrandsPopular brands of solid surface countertop materials include:
Qualities of Solid Surface CountertopsReichhold, a supplier of resins for the solid surface countertop industry, indicates that there are a number of qualities, including
- Non porous - keeps bacteria away, promoting a cleaner and more sanitary countertop.
- Strong - unlike laminate, the plastic goes all the way through, and thus resists impact better.
- Scratches can be sanded out - by far, the greatest advantage of solid surface countertop material.
- Wide range of designs possible.
- Wide range of colors possible - infinitely "tint-able"