Solid surface products have a lot going for it as an option for kitchen countertops, which makes it a viable alternative to granite. Many homeowners often have to think carefully about making a choice between the two materials. They worry about choosing the wrong material for their own homes as this is a significant investment. Reviews are not much help as those that chose one or the other make good cases for each one. Here we compare granite countertops to solid surface for kitchen countertops to help you make an informed decision.
Granite countertops are popular because most people associate it with upscale kitchens, but most people know little about granite as a s material.
The main thing about granite is it is an igneous rock, and comprises about 80% of the Earth’s crust. It forms naturally over millions of years from magma under extreme heat and pressure. Magma is molten rock, and its composition varies from location to location. To qualify as granite, however, it has to contain between 20% and 60% quartz, an extremely hard mineral. The specific mix of minerals in a particular area determines the color and look of granite.
Its composition and formation makes granite one of the most durable and beautiful natural stones used for countertops. Since it forms underground, suppliers dig it up in large blocks from quarries, and process it into slabs for kitchen countertops. Granite is available all over the world, but most of the slabs available in the US come from the US, Spain, Brazil, and Italy.
Solid surface basics
Solid surfaces are manmade. Manufacturers mix 66% various natural materials with 33% acrylic resins. The most recognized brand of solid surfaces is Corian, a subsidiary of the by DuPont, and the first of its kind produced in 1967. However, it is not the only brand of solid surfaces, although it is still the most popular.
The cost of solid surface and granite is comparable in general, although this will depend on the particular slab. Some solid surface brands are more expensive, while granite slabs from some sources can run you up to about $200 per square foot. On average, however, both types of countertops will set you back between $40 and $65 per square foot.
The real cost difference will be in installation. Most countertop specialists provide quotes for kitchen countertops that include installation. However, as solid surfaces are typically heavier than granite, installation costs may be slightly higher for solid surface slabs, all things being equal.
It can be difficult to make a comparison between granite and solid surfaces when it comes to looks, as solid surface companies make a point of mimicking the look of granite and other natural stones. However, the main issue in this case may be in the consistency of the look.
Granite is a natural stone, so it tends to be inconsistent in color and design. It is literally impossible to find two identical slabs of granite, even if they come from the same original block of granite. Most people consider this a plus, as it makes their kitchens unique. Installers might be less enthusiastic, as it requires consider skill to achieve a seamless look in granite countertops when it becomes necessary to join two or more slabs together.
The opposite is true of solid surfaces, and for any manmade stone for that matter. All slabs from the same model will be identical, which is a boon for installers. This consistency makes it that much easier to match slabs for a seamless look, and makes for a predictable look that is soothing for some homeowners. However, some people consider this uniformity boring, and turn to granite for a more natural appearance.
High quality kitchen countertops could significantly increase the appeal and value of the home, but that will depend on the perceived worth of the material. Most people agree that granite is a better investment, mostly because it is a natural material with a distinctive look and high durability.
While some people prefer top brands of solid surfaces such as Corian over natural stones, these are not in the majority. If you want better return on investment for your kitchen countertops, granite is the better bet.
Solid surfaces and granite are particularly suitable for kitchen countertops because they are food safe. It also helps that maintenance is not a big issue for either material, as busy homeowners definitely prefer kitchen countertops that are low maintenance.
Between granite and solid surfaces, however, the latter requires less care. Solid surfaces are non-porous, which means they do not require sealing to avoid staining. This is also true for some granite slabs. But in general, you need to seal granite countertops at least once during its lifetime.
That said, granite trumps solid surfaces for kitchen countertops because of heat resistance. Solid surfaces are not heat resistant at all, so heat pads and trivets are essential for its continued health. Granite, on the other hand, is extremely heat resistant up to about 600 degrees Celsius.
Additionally, it is surprisingly easy to scratch solid surfaces. In fact, this relative softness is what makes it appealing to DIYers, as you can cut solid surfaces with an ordinary circular saw. Making cutouts for granite requires more skills and specialized equipment.
Overall, granite is a better option than solid surfaces when it comes to kitchen countertops. This does not mean that solid surfaces is not a viable option, but homeowners that want uniqueness, durability, heat resistance, and natural beauty in their kitchen should choose granite countertops.
Cabinet Land Kitchen and Beyond is a local remodeling company with a showroom located in Schaumburg, Illinois. We work only with quality natural stones for countertops as well as the best cabinet brands at the best prices compared to our competitors such as Advance Cabinets and Handsome Cabinets.
We offer free consultation services and quotes, so you can have the benefit of our expertise without spending a dime. Also we service Chicago land and have the expertise and resources to complete virtually any type of countertops and kitchen cabinets – ON TIME and ON BUDGET with top quality craftsmanship that will exceed your expectations.
Make an online inquiry or visit us today to see what we have to offer!