Today’s solid surface and quartz countertops are offered in an incredible array of colors and textures for aesthetic appeal, and are designed to meet end-user requirements for durability, renewability and impenetrability. Manufacturers have broadened their lines to ensure the choices are virtually endless, and countertops can be designed to fit nearly any specification, style or whim.
According to a recent reader survey by Residential Design & Build magazine, 51 percent of respondents install different countertop materials in the bathroom versus the kitchen. And, the future of countertops looks positive as 54 percent of respondents said that more home-owners will realize the importance of countertops in 2007.
Countertops are available in multiple materials for versatility. Solid surface is a blend of acrylic and polyester resins and aluminum trihydroxide. It allows flexibility in design and application with benefits including reparability, hygienics, and an enormous range of color and texture options because it is a plastic material.
Quartz is a hard and durable material that is stain-resistant, nonporous, virtually maintenance-free and does not require sealing. It can emulate the look of granite, but is available in an assortment of colors and surfaces not found in natural stone.
“Applications for solid surface are far reaching,” says Dale Mandell, national sales manager for Staron Surfaces by Samsung. “Traditionally, a significant market for solid surface is kitchen countertops. The design flexibility, color and texture options, and performance attributes of solid surface are prompting more and more builders, architects, designers and homeowners to choose solid surface.”
“Solid surfacing is simply the only countertop choice that allows kitchen and bath designers to create with a blank slate — it provides ultimate design flexibility,” says Jeff Argus, market development manager for DuPont Surfaces. “It can be thermoformed into custom shapes, routed, carved, sandblasted or laser etched to fulfill any size or shape requirement. It also is smooth, nonporous and virtually seamless, leaving no unsightly grout lines that can be harder to keep clean, as they trap dirt and bacteria.”
Available in more than 120 colors, DuPont Corian can be used for numerous applications throughout the home, including countertops, backsplashes, vanity tops, wall cladding, tub and shower surrounds, desktops and windowsills. DuPont recently updated its Corian Private Collection to include three new colors in the Artisan Series: earth, sagebrush and tumbleweed.
Gemstone Solid Surfaces offers its cost-efficient product in solid and patterned surfaces to satisfy nearly any need. Gemstone’s homogeneous, impenetrable solid surface resists staining, scratching, and will not support the growth of mold or bacteria. The color and pattern run throughout the surface so any nicks and scratches can be easily repaired by the use of a common abrasive cleanser. The company’s Montana Series of colors promises a nearly infinite number of patterns, colors, tones, shading and depth options.
LG Hi-Macs Acrylic Solid Surface is a solid homogeneous sheet or slab with color and design that are consistent throughout. The product also is resistant to stains, moisture and heavy wear. LG Hi-Macs is thermoformable, it can be molded or shaped to fit any design, and the company’s enormous color collection allows the surfacing to blend with any décor or design. The nonporous surface is resistant to bacteria growth, offers the appearance of stone and features a 15-year fully transferable warranty.
Swanstone now offers two more three-dimensional patterns to its collection of solid surface decorative panels. The new Tangier panel features row upon row of vertical rectangles, while the Barcelona has raised and recessed circles set in a variegated pattern of alternating raised or smooth-surfaced squares. The color and texture of Swanstone run all the way through and cannot wear away. Panels clean easily using everyday household cleaners, and the solid surface resists the growth of mold and mildew. The panels are available in a 36-in. by 96-in. size and in 33 colors.