kitchen remodel

Solid Surface versus Granite Countertops

Some people claim that solid surface is a better material for kitchen countertops than granite. This can present a problem for many homeowners that tend to think of granite countertops automatically as the best thing for their kitchens. They worry over making the wrong choice, since putting in new countertops is a big expense. To put these fears to rest, let us compare the two competing materials. Here is a showdown of solid surface versus granite countertops.

Granite defined

granite slabA majority of people know nothing about granite except that it is the most popular material for kitchen countertops. Granite is a natural stone like marble, but it is much more abundant. In fact, it is the most prolific of the natural stones in the world, making up as much s 87% of all rocks.

Granite is an igneous rock, which means it formed from slowly cooling magma under the Earth’s crust under tremendous heat and pressure, making it extremely durable and quite beautiful. Granite producers cut huge blocks of granite from the ground, most commonly in Italy, Brazil, Spain, and the US. They cut it further down for various uses, including dimension stone for the home. These dimension stones are the slabs you will see when you visit our showroom, and they are usually just 2 or 3 cm thick. These slabs are hewn and processed until they are ready for kitchen counter use. It is 100% natural, which nothing added or taken away.

Solid surface defined

Corian slab

Solid surface, on the other hand, is a manmade material. It is comprised of roughly two-thirds natural materials and one-third acrylic resins, and it is essentially an engineered product. The most popular brand is Corian by DuPont, and it was also the first solid surface material to come out in the market back in 1967. It is not the only brand, but it is the one most associated with solid surface countertops.



Cost comparison

There is not much difference between the cost of solid surface and granite slabs. There may be slight variations in the cost depending on the brand (for solid surface) or source (for granite), but not a lot. The cost ranges from $40 to $65 for both materials, installation included. Some granite types may go for as high as $200 per square foot, installed, but the most common granite slabs fall within the lower range. In addition, solid surface slabs are much heavier than granite, so they are harder to install, which can add to the overall cost of the kitchen countertops.

Esthetic issues

Kitchen with beautiful granite countertops
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some people prefer the unpredictability and often striking mix of colors, veins, and streaks of granite. Others like the consistent look of solid surface counters more, especially if they are looking for perfectly matching stones for their kitchen counters. Solid surface like Corian make an effort to simulate the look of natural stone, but fail to achieve the uniqueness of the real thing. This is not always a bad thing, as some homeowners find the uneven coloring and varying patterns granite overly distracting. That said, most people still prefer unique to predictable, and choose granite to bring in natural beauty to their homes.


Return on investment

image of home for saleOne of the more common reasons for putting in new kitchen countertops is to increase the market value of a home. In such cases, you need to find out which material will most likely give you a higher return on your investment. Many experts believe that granite countertops bring more value to a home than any kitchen countertop, including solid surface. Some homeowners do favor solid surface countertops, particularly if they are Corian, but they are in the minority. In most cases, the return on investment rests heavily on how well the countertops promote the overall impact of the kitchen on the rest of the home. Because it is so distinctive, granite countertops usually have an advantage over solid surface countertops in this respect.


Maintenance issues

pan on granite countertops
Solid surface and granite countertops are considered safe for use in food preparation, so they are ideal for kitchen use. In terms of maintenance, solid surface require less care than granite because it is non-porous. It does not require sealing and is stain resistant. Granite is slightly less resistant, but still gives a good go at it. The edge of granite over solid surface is heat resistance. Granite countertops have to deal with heat on a daily basis, and it handles it much better than any other countertop material. Heat can damage solid surface countertops quite easily, which makes it a big problem for many homeowners. In addition, solid surface materials are not scratch resistant, which is another big flaw.


The verdict

pan on granite countertopsBased on the facts above, it is clear that granite countertops are still the best choice for the kitchen. Solid surface countertops are a good choice for homeowners looking for an easy match for the rest of the kitchen and simplicity in design where functionality is not much of an issue. However, for the busy homeowner and serious kitchen user with an eye for style, granite is the winner hands down.
The next step is to find a reliable granite specialist to supply and install granite countertops for your home. KNC Granite has a large array of granite slabs from which to choose. You can check actual slabs at our showroom in Lanham, Maryland.

We do not only supply top-quality granite stones, however. We are experts at fabricating and installing kitchen counters or bathroom vanities. And also we specialize in kitchen remodeling and bathroom upgrade projects, delivering on time and on budget.
Aside from natural stones, we carry some of the top brands of engineered stone, including Cambria, Caesarstone, Silestone, and MSI, all of which come with manufacturer warranties. Give us a call or email us for your free in-home consultation and quote.

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