What is a solid surface countertop? (with photo)

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

Solid surface countertops are basically made 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 materials. They are ideal for commercial environments, but can be found in residential kitchens all over the world.

Almost a multitude of patterns and designs can be formed on 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 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 the growth of mold or bacteria. Solid surface countertops are so durable on their own that they usually don’t need plywood as a support.

Heating the resins used to create solid surface countertops liquefies them, making them much easier to mold into difficult shapes such as countertops. Dyes help bond polymers and acrylic resins on solid surface countertops. Since these countertops are primarily created out of plastic, the seams and sinks are easily melted in place during installation to create a single large multi-piece surface.

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While they are relatively resistant to stains and scratches, these countertops are not immune to stains and scratches. Removing stains and scratches, however, is relatively easy on a solid surface countertop. As these countertops are all the same color, scratches and blemishes can be easily polished or sanded.

Perhaps one of the biggest disadvantages of this type of countertop is that it is generally not very heat resistant. These countertops will burn or warp easily and quickly in the presence of excessive heat. Placing a hot pot or pan on a solid surface countertop will quickly cause damage to the countertop. Heat is also known to discolor these countertops. While stone countertops are perhaps the most difficult 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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