Replacing a countertop? Chances are you’re caught between quartz and solid surface.
While quartz and solid surface offer great value, they’re also very different from one another. Typically, quartz competes with granite and solid surface with laminates. In both cases though, quartz and solid surface reign supreme—both in durability and cost-effectiveness.
Quartz is 85-95% crushed quartz with a resin binder while solid surface—also man-made—consists of acrylic or polyester plastics. As a result, both are non-porous and highly resistant to bacteria-growth; but quartz is definitely more durable (second only to Diamond, Sapphire, and topaz in toughness). Quartz won’t scratch or chip unlike solid surface counters which do (deep scratches can harbor dirt and/or moisture). Luckily damages are easily serviced through by refinishing a solid surface counter top.
That’s not to say they’re without advantage. Oftentimes, quartz counter tops have seams that crop and divide the stonework around the countertop layout; seams are also present with the addition of edge profiles. Solid surface counter tops are seamless and are therefore resistant to any potential buildup in these crevices.
As for appearance, both quartz and solid surface have consistent, uniform color and patterning but quartz has a polished finish (shiny) while solid surface is matte (not shiny).
At this point in the comparison there’s not much difference between the two besides price and minor aesthetics. So, to break the tie, we’ll turn to heat resistance. Any homeowner knows how messy and chaotic a kitchen can become, especially around dinnertime. While quartz counter tops are relatively heat-resistant (anything over 400F might be a problem), solid surface options have a tendency to warp, melt, crack and/or discolor with even the most temporary contact with hot objects (pots, pans, dishes etc.). Sanding can eliminate all but the deepest scratches, but when it comes to warping and melting, your hands are tied.
So, let’s review:
- Durable, Sanitary, & Scratch-Resistant (Second only to diamond, sapphire, and topaz in toughness)
- Uniform color & patterning (polished finish)
- Heat-resistant (up to 400F)
- More expensive to install than Solid-Surface
- Durable, Sanitary (compared to Laminate), & Seamless
- Easily Serviced
- Less-expensive than Quartz
- Warp, Scratch, and Chip with exposure to heat (Quartz does not…)
- Untended scratches can collect bacteria-growth
- Certain (severe) damages require full-counter replacement
So, once again (with this in mind), quartz wins! While slightly more expensive, quartz countertops are more durable and suited for the abuse that today’s kitchens take. But, if price is a deal-breaker, solid surface counter tops are truly a great second-option. Compared to granite, solid surfaces shine in regards to sanitation, cost, and maintenance.
Quartz and solid surface countertops are rarely compared, but when you consider their relative advantages they’re often the two options that homeowners are stuck choosing between. Hope this quick analysis offers new insight and helps in your decision-making process.
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