Countertop Surfaces – Strengths and Weaknesses

Countertop Surfaces – Strengths and Weaknesses

Countertop Surfaces – Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths and Weaknesses

Solid Surface/Quartz/Natural Stone

Solid Surface

Strengths:

  • Non porous – extremely sanitary and resistant to bacteria
  • NSF 51 approved for use in food service areas
  • Damage can be repaired and in most cases repair will not be noticeable
  • Inconspicuous seams
  • Surface can be refinished if it becomes scratched
  • Thermoformable – 100% acrylic surfaces only
  • Class 1 Fire rating – in most cases – some polyesters are not
  • Integral sinks with no caulk line
  • Wide color selection – custom colors are possible
  • Consistent color – what you specify is what you get
  • Good for vertical, horizontal and flooring surfaces
  • Generally backed by a manufacturer’s warranty – not just the fabricator
  • Eco-friendly colors are available

Weaknesses:

  • Can be scratched – dark colors show scratches more than light colors
  • Cannot place hot pans directly on material
  • Does not have the natural beauty (movement/variation) found in natural stone
  • Feels like plastic – some like this, some like the feel of stone
  • Limited use in outdoor environments due to climate extremes (outdoor use generally voids warranty)

 

Quartz

Strengths:

  • Non porous – extremely sanitary and resistant to bacteria
  • NSF 51 approved for use in food service areas
  • Scratch RESISTANT – not scratch PROOF
  • Class 1 Fire rating – in most cases – some quartz are not
  • Wide color selection
  • Consistent color – what you specify is what you get
  • Good for vertical, horizontal and flooring surfaces
  • Generally backed by a manufacturer’s warranty – not just the fabricator
  • Eco-friendly colors are available

Weaknesses:

  • Heat Resistant, but do not place hot pans directly on material it can “ghost” and turn white (stainless steel is the only material not affected by heat)
  • Damage can be difficult to repair
  • Seams will be visible – technology is getting better though and with a good fabricator seams can almost be inconspicuous on smaller particulate colors
  • Does not have the natural beauty (movement) found in natural stone
  • Some design limitations – for instance cannot thermoform….yet.
  • Limited use in outdoor environments due to climate extremes (outdoor use generally voids warranty)

 

Natural Stone – Granite

Strengths:

  • Wide color selection – Natural Movement and Variation can not be matched with man made products
  • Heat Resistant – Slabs that have been treated with resin can “ghost” if they have a hot pan set on them
  • Scratch RESISTANT – not scratch PROOF
  • High end luxurious feel and look
  • Good for vertical, horizontal and flooring surfaces
  • Great for outdoor surfaces

Weaknesses:

  • Porous – Has fissures and cracks inherently – susceptible to staining and harboring bacteria
  • Can be very difficult to repair and expensive
  • Visible seams – the development of top polishing has helped take granite seams to the next level, but this requires a highly skilled installer
  • Color can vary greatly – for instance St. Cecelia can range from a crisp white to a mustardy yellow base color.  Can be difficult to specify off of a sample.
  • Generally not allowed in healthcare or food service applications
  • No manufacturer warranty – 1 year fabricator warranty is standard

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