Granite vs. Solid Surface: Why Stone Beats Plastic
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Choosing a new countertop is a decision that requires careful thought before taking the plunge. Not only because you’ll be seeing it every day, but also because you’ll be using it daily. However, with so many options out there, it can be hard to know which countertop material is right for you.
To help guide your decision, let’s compare two of the most popular countertop materials in the market right now. Here are all the things you need to know when choosing between natural granite and solid surface:
Natural Granite and Solid Surface: What's the Difference?
Granite is a natural stone formed deep within the Earth millions of years ago. After it is extracted from the quarry, it is cut into slabs and is polished to create the final product we all know.
On the other hand, solid surface is a human-made material made up of mineral dust, resin, and coloring pigments. It can easily be fabricated to create seamless applications, such as countertops and vanity tops. Invented by DuPont under the brand “Corian,” it is now produced by various manufacturers worldwide.
While both granite and solid surface are beautiful materials, some key differences between the two may influence your decision.
There’s no denying that the beauty of a natural stone is incomparable. Depending on its origin, granites can vary in appearance significantly. Moreover, they appear in a wide range of color and pattern combinations—from black, gray, blue, green, beige, and red.
As a natural material, granites have varying shades, veins, specks, and flecks that make every slab truly unique. It’s a design feature that makes this particular countertop material a conversational piece in any kitchen.
Unlike granite, solid surface materials have a uniform appearance that provides a sleek and modern touch to any home. Depending on the manufacturer, its surface can either have a plain, solid color or resemble granite or marble.
As a synthetic material, the possibilities are endless in terms of color and veining. Solid surface materials allow you more flexibility in terms of design and range of applications.
More importantly, they can be installed without any visible seams for a clean and uninterrupted look.
In terms of durability, these two materials differ in so many ways, too. Check out the pros and cons of granite and solid surface when it comes to resilience.
Natural granite is a highly durable countertop material. It resists chipping and scratching that may occur any day in the kitchen. You’d actually need to use a cutting board during meal preparations as its surface can dull your knife blades. That’s how hard it is.
What’s more, it can withstand extreme temperatures. Hence, you need not worry if you accidentally place your hot pan or pot on the counter. Overall, your granite countertop should serve you a lifetime of service in the kitchen.
Unlike natural granite, it is fairly easy to scratch a solid surface counter because of its composition. Thankfully, any scratches or stains can usually be easily remedied by buffing them with an abrasive pad specially made for the task.
However, be wary as it does not cope well with extreme heat. The solid surface can be scorched or warped once a hot pan is placed on it. Always use a trivet or a hot pad during meal preparations to prevent such damage on your counter.
Range of Applications
Both materials are commonly used as countertops and vanity tops, but their applications go far beyond these work surfaces.
Because of its high durability, it’s no surprise that granite is widely utilized in various applications for residential and commercial spaces. This natural stone is generally used for wall cladding, pool coping, pavements, monuments, and more.
Indoors, granite can be installed as floor tiles and in fireplaces. Its natural beauty complements other design elements, be it indoors or outdoors.
Solid surface can be thermoformed, creating rounded shapes and three-dimensional curves. As such, it can be used in a wide range of applications and designs, especially for commercial purposes.
A solid surface can also be used at home in shower walls and tub surrounds, thanks to its high water resistance level.
Price is always a consideration in every home improvement project. As in every aspect, there is also a distinct difference between natural granite and solid surface in terms of cost.
Bear in mind, however, that where you buy your materials can also impact the cost. For example, slab yards and wholesalers will offer much more competitive prices than most home improvement stores.
Depending on its type, granite’s cost can vary considerably. Salt and Pepper (18 mm. thickness), the most common and most affordable granite, costs Php1,600 per square meter. Other granites, however, can fetch as high as Php5,000 per square meter or more. It all depends on the stone’s rarity and size.
The labor, skill, and time required to produce, fabricate, and install granite add up to the cost, as well. As with most things in life, however, you get what you pay for. With granite, the result is a beautiful and durable work surface that will last you a lifetime.
Though the upfront cost may be higher than using alternatives such as ceramic or porcelain tiles, you’ll never have to replace your granite countertop ever. Moreover, it increases the value of your home, making a good return on your investment.
Like natural granite, the cost of solid surface varies depending on the manufacturer, color, texture, and thickness. But, on average, a 12 mm thick solid surface slab cost around Php5,000 per sqm.
In terms of return on investment, a solid surface, theoretically, should last a lifetime, as most imperfections can be buffed away. However, most, if not all, solid surface countertops don’t reach a year without getting scratched in the kitchen. Sure, it can be repaired, but why bother investing time and money on repairs? There are other countertop materials that are scratch-resistant.
With something that gets as much use as a kitchen counter, no one wants a material that’s going to be hard to clean. Fortunately, both natural granite and solid surface are easy to clean and maintain.
Use a specially formulated stone cleaner on your granite counter all the time. Avoid using soap and water as the solution can dull the shine of your counter. Please keep it away from acidic and alkaline cleaners, too.
Moreover, reseal your granite countertop as needed to minimize the risk of staining. However, if you end up with a stain on your counter, clean it up with a baking soda poultice.
Soapy water is also a great option for cleaning solid surfaces, although you can use an ammonia-based product too. To avoid getting water spots, it’s always recommended to dry your solid surface countertop thoroughly after cleaning using a clean, dry cloth. It would be best to avoid glass cleaners, as these can leave an unpleasant residue on the surface.
Natural granite and solid surface are both premium countertop options that can look fantastic in your home. But before you decide, it is important to understand the key differences between the two. Ultimately, the best choice for you comes down to your taste, lifestyle, and budget. If you need some advice about your countertop project, we’d surely be happy to help.
At our slab yard in Balintawak, we hold a wide range of countertop materials to compare your options with ease. Our knowledgeable staff is always on hand to give your expert guidance and answer any questions you may have. Alternatively, please reach out to us through our contact form, and we will get back to you as soon as we can.