Solid Surface counters??

raggiemomFebruary 29, 2008

I am getting ready to replace my old formica countertops. For those of you who have or have had a corian type countertop, what are your views on it? I love the look of the sink and the fact that there are no seams and you can buff out small scratches. I also like the look of it over granite.

The one upside to granite is that you can sit hot pans on it. I have even thought maybe doing the main counter tops in corian and the island around the stove in granite. Any thoughts?

Thanks for any help.

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Don't forget quartz as an option! It has the heat resistance value (better than most granite) and the uniformity of corian. The sink is the main difference.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 3:50PM
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I have LivingStone (Corian-like product) and really love it. I do not have a habit of setting hot pans on the counter so that's not an issue for me. Integrated Corian single-bowl sink is a wonderful feature. I didn't do any staining tests or anything like that; counter/sink have been in place about four months so can't yet speak to longevity.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 4:15PM
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I have Swanstone, which is slightly more heat-resistant than Corian. Swanstone is heat-resistant to 375 degrees. Seams on ANY type of counter are heat-vulnerable, because the glues aren't terribly heat-resistant. The danger on solid surface is that the seams are invisible, so you need to remember where they are located!

I just use common sense when putting stuff down. Hot pan lids aren't usually a problem. Small pots I've been simmering aren't either. If I have any doubts I let them cool a bit on the stove, then move them over to the counters by the sink for cleaning. Have had the Swanstone since 2003 with no problems. I love this stuff! And it's wonderful for baking - seems to work beautifully for rolling out dough, and cleans up SO easily. The scraper gets up everything, and I don't have to worry about etching or staining from ingredients or cleaners.

Big heavy pans full of contents hotter than 375 - trivet time!

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 6:23PM
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I've been mulling over the same idea of using a solid surface on perimeter counters and then getting a great granite for the island. Originally this thought was due to budget but after reading a lot on corian, it seems like a surface I might like for the ease of cleaning, etc. I've never had granite so just wondering about disinfecting with a spray - most posts suggest only a drop of liquid soap and water but on my current countertops we disinfect all the time with various sprays.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 8:16PM
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This fall we had a Quartz / Silestone countertop installed in Coffee Brown with a Stone Biscuit (light beige) Silgranit sink from Blanco and just luv them both. The countertop both matches the Jatoba Expresso dark brown hardwood floor we also had installed yet with the little specs of glass in the counter top it is a very nice offset to the solit brown of the flooring.

The sink actually matches our new cabinetry yet the material of the sink also is a nice offset to the quartz countertop. We found that we like to have a lot of different surfaces which complement each other in surface texture as well as, of course, in colours.

We do have lot's of pictures on our blog of our new kitchen in case you are interested.


    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 10:33PM
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I have solid surface counters in this house . . . they're a local brand, or I'd be using them in the new house several states away. I wanted blue, but not "too blue" and this brand had the perfect color. Plus, I could have a sink in a contrasting color, not white or bisque. The sink is actually a speckled reverse of the countertop blue -- reminds me of the old granite-ware used for campfires. I absolutely love the integrated sink . . . no more toothbrush-scrubbing to get gunk out of crevices. My sink shows nothing -- I have to be diligent to remind myself to Soft-scrub it. Before giving up completely, I'm going to check with the local people to see if they'll make me an identical sink, if I can find SS color in a different line that will work.

Re hot pots: I have a serving buffet counter along the far side of my kitchen, tiled in a textured cream-colored tile that matches the cabinets. I had this same tile inset in the SS material next to the stove, so I have a place to set hot pots, cookie sheets, etc. I think it's a 30" base cabinet, and the tiles take up all but about 4" around the edge, I'm guessing. Design-wise, I thought it helped integrate the tile buffet into the rest of the kitchen. Works perfectly. Hope to repeat it in the new kitchen.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 11:35PM
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Love my Corian! Granite just does not thrill me at all, but I'm always one to buck a trend. I loved the contrariness of putting a Corian counter in a custom home.

I am totally programmed to use hot pads anyway ... I'd probably still use them on a granite surface to avoid the sound of the impact.

My mom has adorable red Formica in her kitchen.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 12:17AM
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We replaced our formica with Corian a few years ago. For us it was all about the sink, no visable seams and the fact that it is repairable. Don't be mislead into thinking that Corian is less expensive than granite. Some styles of Corian are actually more expensive than some types of granites. Placing hot pots on granite is over rated IMO. We use trivets and hot plates just out of habit because we always had formica. I do think that granite is beautiful but not as practical as everyone makes it out to be. I like the idea of using granite on the island and solid surface on the perimeter. That way you are getting the best of both worlds.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 12:47AM
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I'm sure some will not agree with me, but I have Corian now and hate it! Absolutely hate it! The "you can buff out the scratch" is NOT as easy as it sounds. IMO everything scratches Corian. I'm tossing it out for Granite if the templater ever gets over the flu. Never again!

I do like the sink, but thats it. I like it because the light doesn't hit and show the hairline scratches that I KNOW must be there.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 12:55AM
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Thanks so much for your opinions. I must say I am glad there is only one negative opinion on the solid surface. Around here, there is really no difference in cost of the granite and the solid surface. The quartz seems to run a little more. I still don't know about doing the island and regular counter tops in two different materials. I am hoping to see some pictures of that to help me decide. You have given me some things to think about.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 10:10AM
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I think Corian is fine but I just don't like the look of it in large expanses of countertop. To me, it looks too monotonous. The great thing about it is that the seams are invisible. I think if you like it, you should go with it. That's why different materials are made for countertops because one size doesn't fit everyone.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 10:27AM
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My sister has Corian countertops in her large kitchen and I just don't like it. They have a lot of counterspace and it just looks a little boring to me. Maybe it's the color they chose. That's my own person opinion, though. They have been happy with it.

Personally, I prefer quartz.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 10:44AM
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I have a combination of Corian and granite as rosalita describes. I've been very happy with the solid surface. It does scratch - not big gashes that are readily visible - more of a patina type thing like you'd get on a stainless sink with use. If you kind of get down and look at the counter in the right light you can see the scratches. The first one you get is more noticeable - after three years mine kind of all blend together. The thing that "bothers" me more is my counter is a matte finish and it gets shiny over time - I have to go over it with a scotchbrite to get the matte finish back. I have the seamless integrated sink which I love - that was one of the things about Corian that I really wanted.

I like the granite too - mostly the appearance of it - my kitchen would be pretty bland without the granite. I don't set hot things on any counters - just not in the habit of doing that - so that's not a plus for me with granite. Mine is a nice pattern that doesn't show anything - which some people would say is a plus. It bugs me though because it's an island where we sit - and I'm always sitting down putting my arm in some kind of yuck that DH didn't wipe up. Since the counter is shiny I feel compelled to dry it with a miracle cloth after wiping it down otherwise it drys with all the water marks showing - if you know what I mean. I also don't care that it feels ice cold to the touch in the winter - not a big deal except that it's at an island were you lean your arms up against it. I also don't like that I can't just spray something like 409 on it. I have it around my cooktop area so I spray something like that on my stainless cooktop - but always concerned about it getting on the granite. I also obsess a bit over DH throwing his keys on the granite island - I think he did cause a little chip in it doing that. I steer him to his landing spot on the Corian.

So, pros and cons to each. For me overall I prefer the Corian. but I'm happy to have the granite for it's beautiful appearance.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 11:10AM
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Can you set your electric fry pan, waffle iron, crock pot, etc directly on solid surface counters, or do you need to set them on a trivet? Are cookie sheets on a cooling rack a problem? Anyone have trouble with pouring boiling water into the integrated sinks? Trouble with boiling water over ice? Do metal pans leave metal marks on the sinks?

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 7:58PM
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I think you should purchase solid sufaces for everything but but placing hot pans on the surface. Baty, matcing the decor etc not for how higha temp the solid surface can take.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 10:47PM
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effie, If you have 'acrylic solid surface', such as Corian or should never use a crock pot directly on your countertops. Put a cutting board underneath it. And anything else that puts out a long term heat. I would probably even put a board under a electric pan or waffle iron, just to be safe.

Two days ago, I met a countertop repair specialist (I'm a KD, BTW). He gave me his card and we chatted for about 10 minutes. He told me that crock pots are the worst for Corian-type products.

Not sure about boiling water over ice, but I have heard that hot/cold situations can create thermal shock and result in a crack.

And yes, I've heard that pans leave marks on corian-type sinks as well. But they shouldn't be difficult to remove.

I don't think most people buy granite so they can set hot pans on their tops. But accidents happen....especially those with kids or the visiting relatives. ;-) Having a top that's heat resistant is a good thing.


    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 11:03PM
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I used a crock pot (and a waffle iron and an electric griddle and a skillet) on my Corian counters for 10+ years with no problems at all.

We have granite in this new house because it was the builder's standard and while I like the idea of it, I miss my Corian, especially the integrated sink.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 11:17PM
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I place my electric skillet directly on the corian. A skillet has decent legs.I do put a glass cutting board under the cockpot. I have never used a waffle iron can't speak about it.

Pans have never damaged my corian sink. I have never had a problem with pouring boiling water into my sinks. I have never poured boiling water over ice, but I have poured the water into the sink followed by ice and cold water to cool boiled eggs for peeling...never a problem

Corian gets full of hairline scratches. I hate those scratches.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 11:40PM
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DW and I both work full-time so we have been using a crock pot during the winter at least twice a week for years. We actually used the crock pot directly on the old formica not even realizing that the counter top could burn. Burning wasn't the problem. The heat caused the glue to melt and formica began to lift. From that point we started place a corning glass cutting board under the crock pot. The glue hardened and the counter was fine. When we had the corian installed we followed the same rule using the glass cutting board. We have also used an electric grill directly on the Corian with out a problem. If your not comfortable with having a solid surface sink you can still get a stainless or porcelain undermount sink.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 11:41PM
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It's Kompy again. If you have solid surface, trust me, just use a cutting board under your crock pot!! You are playing Russian Routlette with your countertops...if you don't!

Let me tell you another story:
My company did a kitchen for a woman back in 1989 or so. She called us about 2 years ago. She claimed her Corian cracked! Turns out she was taking things out of her oven or off her cooktop and putting them directly on her tops....for 17 years!! She didn't have any problems either....for years...but one day, the top cracked!

If you still don't believe me, read the article attached below!


Here is a link that might be useful: If you still don't believe me, read this.....

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 9:43AM
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There have been rare, but at least 1 or 2 postings here over the last few years of people who have in fact had cracks - not fissures, but real cracks - develop in their granite. At least one person cracked it from thermal shock and then THEY were in shock, LOL. Stone by its nature has numerous fissures, and much of what is sold as granite, actually isn't. Fissures can react to thermal shock by widening, hence the rare crack.

Aluminum and cast iron leave marks on solid surface sinks. These marks are less, and easier to clean, than when I used to have the expensive cast iron Kohler Executive Chef sink. Way easier to clean, believe me! My worst problem with the Swanstone sink is rust marks from cans. Those are very difficult to get off, but they eventually fade after a few weeks time. I've told my DH to stop leaving cans in the sink overnight (we have to rinse cans of any food particles before recycling).

And for those who have been using crock-pots on counters for years, be advised that the NEW crockpots run much, much hotter. Concerns were raised that crockpots were cooking food at too low a temperature to prevent bacterial growth, so almost all the new models cook at higher temps than the old ones.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 11:47AM
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Thanks Jkom51. That explains why we have to keep adjusting the cooking time for old recipes in the new crock pot. Also,if you have solid surface avoid placing hot objects directly on the invisable seam. This is the area where cracks and buckling are more likely to happen. Our fabricator informed us where the seam was placed so we never use an appliance in that area even with a trivet. Just remember that all work surfaces have pros and cons. What works for some will not work for others. Select the one that fits your lifestyle and your way of cooking. Don't be influenced by trends or peer pressure.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 12:39PM
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Thanks for all the great responses! I've had formica tops forever so never have set hot pans on them, but I do place crockpots, etc., on them - infrequently, granted - but they have always just been set on the bare counter. I will have to see how warm it feels under them. I keep a glass/corning cutting board beside the stove and put hot pans on it if need be - wouldn't dream of setting them on the counter. Sounds like I can treat the solid surface about the same as formica. I thought the scratches might bother me, but then I noticed my "cultured marble" countertops in the bathrooms and they are covered with tiny scratches that I have never noticed. Since I am going with a white variant, I don't think I'll even notice the scratches.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 1:42PM
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We just built a house and decided to go with Corian again. I love it. I've been putting a crock pot and electric skillets on it for years and nothing has happened. There IS a difference though b/w real Corian and some of the other solid surfaces. I think Corian must be thicker or something. I put Corian in Tumbleweed in our house and it's beautiful. Link below. It's not your normal corian. (Cost more than the granite we priced out bc at first I thought I had to have granite, but this looked better to me.) Tumbleweed is/was part of the designer series.

Here is a link that might be useful: Corian - Tumbleweed

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 8:15AM
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