You may have come across my previous article, the highly lauded and immensely popular ‘What type of stone kitchen surface is best for me?’. Well if you are designing or remodeling a kitchen, need help picking a work surface but don’t want to go for a stone surface, then this is the article for you.
So without further adieu, here is a detailed analysis of the popular non-stone kitchen work surfaces that are available to you, and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Solid surfacing is made principally from acrylic and polyester and was first made available to the general public under the brand name Corian. It can still be erroneously dubbed Corian today despite being produced by a number of different manufacturers. The big plus for this material is that it is completely non-porous, meaning it requires little to no maintenance (sealing or oiling etc). It can be susceptible to marks and scratches, however these can easily be sanded out.
As it is an artificial material, you can choose any colour or pattern your little heart desires. Also a seamless installation (one solid piece across the whole surface) means that there are no little spaces for grime and debris to build up in. The disadvantages of this choice of surface are that it is not as resistant to nicks and heat damage as stone, it has an artificial look (whether this is an advantage or disadvantage is subjective to taste) and can cost almost twice as much.
Engineered quartz, sometimes known as engineered stone, is the choice for those looking for a good compromise between the look of stone and the low maintenance of solid surfacing. Quartz surfacing is created using a mix of coloured quartz chips and resin. The advantages of this type of surface are the same as solid surfacing- low maintenance and easy to clean. It is also available in a wide variety of colours and styles. The disadvantage of this type of surface is the lack of ‘natural’ variation in the pattern, which can make it look artificial. It can also be quite expensive.
Laminate work surfaces are made from paper and resin blended and then fused onto a particle board. Laminate surfaces have been a popular standard for many years. Traditionally laminate doesn’t have the best reputation as a stylish choice, however strides have been made in recent years as you can now get laminate surfaces that mimic pricier options such as stone.
The advantages of laminate are its low cost and ease of maintenance; it is also quite light so doesn’t require such solid cabinets underneath. The cons are that it is susceptible to burns and scratches and with exposure to moisture over time, it can start to peel.
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