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Solid Surface is very consistent in pattern and color and has the biggest variety of colors and styles. Some color variation can occur from slab to slab but it is generally not noticeable. Color samples are accurate in color and pattern for making countertop selections.
Solid Surface is a non porous material that is virtually impervious to permanent staining. It is this and other aspects of solid surface that make it the most hygenic materials for the home.
Solid surface is available in any gloss level desired, however the standard finish is matte which requires far less maintenance. The matte finish will acquire a satin patina over time. Solid Surface has an extremely smooth texture with little or no variation.
Solid Surface is heat resistant, but will scorch, discolor and possibly crack when exposed to concentrated high heat. Never place hot pots or concentrated heat sources (i.e. electric fry pans, toaster oven, crock pots) directly on counter. In these cases a trivet must always be used.
Solid surface is a relatively soft material that is more prone to scratching rather than chipping and cracking. Excessive force on unsupported areas can cause cracks and sharp objects will cause scratching. A cutting board should always be used for cutting and chopping. Solid surface is one of the only materials that is fully repairable/renewable. Repairs of almost any size can be done virtually unnoticeable by a certified service company.
Solid Surface has highly inconspicuous seams particularly in patterned colors. In some of the viening applications you may notice where two pieces were joined together because of their patterns but you will not be able to feel any seam.
Color & Pattern
Because stone is a natural product it is highly varied in colorations and pattern. Even counters cut from the same slab of material can vary greatly in pattern and color. The patterns can also be directional which can cause some adverse affects at seam and corners. Many colors of granite require a slab selection to ensure proper customer satisfaction. Only certain colors are consistent enough that selections can be made from color samples.
Porous materials that are prone to staining and require regular sealing (at least yearly). With sealing and daily upkeep, permanent stains can generally be avoided.
Highly heat resistant and will not burn or discolor due to extreme temperatures. Natural stone can have natural internal fissures that can become cracks due to sudden temperature changes (thermal shock). For this reason it is never recommended to place hot pots directly on your counter; use a trivet.
Stone will not crack or chip on its own accord; however it is very prone to cracking/chipping when force is applied. Also internal fissures make natural stone more prone to cracking and chipping than other products. Some common causes of cracking are; people stepping on their countertops, sitting on unsupported portions of counter, excessive pressure/weight put on narrow pieces of counter (i.e. fronts of sinks, cooktops) and settling of cabinets. Cutouts that leave very little counter surrounding them create great potential for cracking and are therefore not recommended. Chipping can occur when the material is hit by sharp or heavy objects (particularly metal) especially along the edges of the counters. A pot hitting the edge of the sink cutout is a common way in which chips are caused. Granite is very hard and resistant to scratches, while marble is extremely soft and scratches very easily. A cutting board should always be used for cutting and chopping on all natural stone counters. Repairs can be done but generally are noticeable (quality of repair dependant upon the size of area and on color & pattern of material).
Natural Stone products primarily come in a high gloss finish but in some colors a honed or matte finish is available. Due to the varying mineral composition of each stone, some colors may appear to have “dull” spots in the finish. A honed finish counter will show fingerprints and grease spots more than with a gloss finish and therefore require additional maintenance. Come with a high gloss finish that can vary greatly in consistency due to the various minerals that compose natural stone. Natural stone products have a fairly smooth texture, however due to the material composition rough spots (pits and fissures) may be present to varying degrees depending on color and slab.
Highly visible seams, particularly in colors with veining patterns.