Searching for a one-of-a-kind countertop? Many cooks are pleasantly surprised to discover the customizable characteristics of solid-surfacing: Inlay designs of wood and metal; contrast solid-surfacing colors to create unique patterns; finish the sides with intricate architectural edges. If you can sketch a pattern for your solid-surfacing countertop on paper, most likely your installer can create it. Best of all, any color or material combination produces a smooth, seamless surface. This aspect, coupled with its sleek look and longevity, makes solid-surfacing a perennial favorite among kitchen designers.
Like laminate, solid-surfacing material comes in a variety of colors and patterns, including faux stone and the ever-popular flecked or speckled option.
A combination of acrylic and resin, solid-surfacing is essentially a hard-core, plastic material that is impervious to water and stains. Solid-surfacing countertops will scorch, and knives can scratch the surface, but because the material is designed for everyday use, it can take a beating and still retain an attractive look. Another benefit is that since the material is a solid block rather than layered, blemishes and discoloring can be sanded out of the surface to an almost-new finish.
Solid-surfacing is not cheap, and it must be installed by a professional, but if you spring for this type of countertop you can expect it to last 20 years or more. Typically, solid-surfacing is comparable to or a little less expensive than stone, ranging in price from $40-$60 per square foot. Installation charges are separate, usually costing up to $60 per square foot.
- Solid-surfacing requires minimal care. Detergent and water do the trick, and because the surface is impenetrable, there is no need for antibacterial cleaning.
- Solid-surfacing has three finishes: gloss or polished for a contemporary look, semigloss for traditional settings, and matte (honed) for timeless subtlety.
- If you use it for your sink and backsplash as well, the finish will be seamless.
- Of all countertop materials, solid-surfacing is the easiest to carve into interesting shapes for islands, tables, and other surfaces.