What Is a Solid Surface Countertop?

Jay Leone

Solid surface countertops are basically made out of plastic. These countertops are very durable and do not promote bacterial growth. The plastic used to make most solid surface countertops is easily molded into a variety of sizes and shapes. Solid surface countertops are strong and relatively easy to clean with traditional cleaning supplies. They are ideal for commercial settings but can be found in residential kitchens around the globe.

Most solid surface countertops are non-porous and resistant to the growth of harmful mold and bacteria.
Most solid surface countertops are non-porous and resistant to the growth of harmful mold and bacteria.

Nearly an endless array of patterns and designs can be formed onto these countertops. A solid surface countertop can even be created to mimic the patterns of natural stone such as granite. Most manufacturers offer solid surface countertops that are either 0.5 inch (12.7 millimeters) or 0.75 inch (19 millimeters) thick. These countertops however, can be designed to many different specifications. Clear finishes are applied to many solid surface countertops.

A solid surface countertop is usually made up of a high percentage of acrylic and polyester. The acrylic in these countertops makes them very durable. The most durable solid surface countertops available contain a high percentage of acrylic. Since they are relatively non-porous, these countertops will not promote mold or bacteria growth. Solid surface countertops are so durable on their own that they usually need no plywood for support.

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Heating the resins used to create solid surface countertops liquifies them, making them much easier to mold into difficult shapes such as countertops. Colorants help bind together the polymers and acrylic resins in solid surface countertops. Since these countertops are created basically out of plastic, seams and sinks are easily melted on-site during installation to create a single large surface out of several pieces.

While they are relatively stain and scratch resistant, these countertops are not immune to staining and scratching. Stain and scratch removal however, is relatively easy on a solid surface countertop. Since these countertops are the same color all the way through, scratches and stains can easily be buffed out or sanded down.

Perhaps one of the greatest drawbacks linked with this type of countertop is that it is generally not very resistant to heat. These countertops will easily and quickly burn or warp in the presence of excessive heat. Setting a hot pan or pot on a solid surface countertop will quickly cause damage to the countertop. Heat is also know to discolor these countertops. While stone countertops are perhaps the most difficult countertops to install, solid surface countertops can also be very difficult to install, which is why installation should be left to professionals.

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