Solid-Surface Countertops 101
Solid-surface countertops are a popular choice for many homeowners. Better Homes and Gardens contributing editor Danny Lipford explains how to install one in your home.
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Advantages of Solid Surface
Solid-surface countertops are a popular choice with homeowners. They are made from a plastic type material and are available in a wide range of colors and patterns to fit any decor. The durable, nonporous surface resists heat, stains, mold, and bacteria.
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Solid-surface countertops come in several thicknesses ranging from 1/4 to 3/4 inch. Individual sections can be glued together on site to form a seamless surface with no visible joints. Because the color penetrates all the way through the material, a variety of edge profiles can be routed into the surface. Much of the fabrication of solid-surface countertops occurs in the shop before arriving at the job site. This allows much of the delicate work to be completed under controlled shop conditions and reduces installation time.
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When installing solid-surface countertops, a strip of plywood may need to be added to the top of the base cabinets in order to raise the cabinet height and accommodate a thicker edge.
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The sections of countertop are delivered slightly wider and longer than needed so they can be scribed for an exact fit on irregular walls or out-of-square corners.
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A power planer is used to remove material when adjusting the fit of the countertop against a wall.
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Cutouts in solid-surface countertops can be made with a jigsaw.
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Once they have been trimmed and checked for fit, rough edges are sanded and buffed to a smooth finish.
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When everything is ready, an adhesive is applied to the cabinets.
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The countertops are then carefully lowered into place and the adhesive allowed to dry.
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Long sections of countertop are joined together using a special adhesive.
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After the adhesive has been applied, the pieces are clamped together until dry.
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Once the adhesive has cured, the clamps are removed, and the joints sanded smooth using a belt sander.
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Any remaining rough spots are buffed smooth.
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Once the countertop installers have worked their magic, it's hard to tell where the two pieces were joined together.