What is solid surface? There can be some confusion when it comes to explaining Solid Surface worktops as a lot of people automatically think wood, stone/granite, it is actually a resin composite most commonly acrylic or polyester based. There are various Solid Surface worktops available these days, Maia, Smartstone, Mistral, Encore, Apollo Slab to name a few.
There are some really good benefits in having a solid surface worktop, I have listed a few below with a quick description:
Any light scratches, fades or marks can usually be removed simply with a scotchbrite pad and water moving in circular motions, then buffed up with countertop magic and a dry cloth. If the scratches are a bit deeper and still visible you can repeat the initial sanding process which will bring your surface back to life. In the worst case a new piece of the surface can be patched in with seamless joints, so keep any sink or hob cut outs as they might come in handy at a later date.
Joints and edges are done in the same way as laminates with the exception of using a two part colour matched glue/adhesive which is self hardening, once set (usually takes around 10-20 min) the area is sanded and buffed up giving you an inconspicuous joint, which will then give your surfaces a ‘one piece’ look.
Unlike granite and stone worktops solid surfaces are non-porous meaning that there will be nothing soaked into surface e.g if you spilt a glass of red wine on a granite worktop and left it it would be absorbed into the top and stain it, this will not happen with solid surface which in turn makes it extremely hygienic, solid surfaces are used in many food establishments, labs & hospitals.
There are lots of variants on the make up of the worktops throughout different brands, Most Solid Surfaces will be a certain thickness of the solid surface on a chipboard core e.g Maia Worktops have a 3mm top layer on 39mm & 51mm core making up 42mm & 54mm boards.
In the past year or so more and more solid surfaces have become available all with same concept however very recently a new surface has come onto the market, it is the same material however there is no chipboard core it is a completely solid acrylic/polyester top available in 30mm (Apollo Slab Tech) & 25mm (Mistral & iOstone).
The good thing about this type of solid surface is that it is now completely flexible when it comes to cutting in curves, drainer grooves, undermounting sinks and even profiling the edges. this is made possible due to not having a chipboard core, you wont need to worry about water getting into the core and swelling the top or having to edge and intricate curves which has proven to be very difficult on chipboard cored worktops.
All in all Solid Surface is a very stylish and practical worktop not only for kitchens but any surface in your home.
One tip I will give when it comes to finishing solid surfaces, however tempted you may be, try not to over polish the tops, even though they will look very nice in a high gloss finish they are a lot harder to maintain and will show scratches/marks more easily especially on the darker surfaces, this doesn’t mean you cant have it polished up till you can see your reflection in it just be aware of the maintenance aspect of that finish.