Comparing Quartz to Solid Surface Countertops: Knowing the Differences

Comparing Quartz to Solid Surface Countertops: Knowing the Differences

[vc_row 0=""][vc_column 0=""][vc_column_text 0=""]When it comes to remodeling your kitchen or creating a custom kitchen, three of the top projects in this space involve the floors, cabinets, and countertops. Selecting the best countertop not only provides you with the right amount of space for prepping meals, but it also gives you a beautiful, functional surface that can withstand daily wear-and-tear while lasting for decades.

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Quartz vs. Solid Surface?

Two popular countertop materials you’ll encounter are quartz and solid surface. Both are manmade materials that have the amazing appearance of natural stone, yet each possesses certain qualities that can affect the longevity and functionality of the countertop. Take a look at the differences between these two materials to decide which one to place in your kitchen.

Solid Surface Countertop Qualities

Solid surface countertops are created by using dust from minerals, such as quartz, that is combined with resins and polymers. When combined with different colors, the surface has a smooth look and matte texture throughout without any variations. The seams nearly disappear into the surface when bonding adhesive is used to give a smooth appearance.

One of the top advantages to solid surface countertops is that they do not have to be sealed to prevent stains. Another advantage to solid surface materials is their strength due to the polymer and mineral dust used throughout the material. Solid surface countertops can be scratched, but the scratches can be sanded out. You should also be careful of placing extremely hot items on the surface as the material can be scorched.

These countertops are priced moderately as costs can range from $35 or more. Once installed correctly by a professional, they can last ten years or more.

Quartz Countertop Qualities

Quartz countertops are manufactured by taking ground quartz and combining it with plastic resin. This engineered material creates a rock-like solid surface. It also has a smooth look, unlike certain natural stone materials that can have varied textures, designs, and colors. The surface is buffed to a smooth, glossy appearance.

Unlike solid countertops, seams are more pronounced on quartz countertops although professional installers can hide them better. A quartz countertop is extremely hard and can withstand scratches. It is virtually maintenance free as it also withstands stains without the need for the surface to be sealed. As with solid surface counters, homeowners should avoid placing hot items on the surface.

Quartz countertops can last for a long time — the life of your home — if taken care of properly. Most manufacturers will offer a 10-year to 15-year warranty. Prices for quartz are more expensive than solid surface countertops as you could pay anywhere from $60 or more.

When debating between quartz vs. solid surface countertops, the best way to determine which to use is to think about the functionality, price, and maintenance of these two types of materials. Then pick the right one that fits your preferences.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Read more Comparing Quartz to Solid Surface Countertops: Knowing the Differences

How Does Custom Fabrication Work?

How Does Custom Fabrication Work?

Sometimes a project requires standard solid surface, quartz, or granite. Other times, a project might need a completely customized approach. When this is the case, you need to know you’ll get what you want without a lot of hassle. Working with Tower Industries to create a completely custom solution for your specific project is just as easy.

For projects, large or small, custom fabrication is an option to fit your unique requirements when a standard product just won’t do the trick. So how does custom fabrication work? Let’s cover the Who, When, What, and How of custom fabrication.

Who

Custom fabrication services are offered to provide surfacing for those who may have already selected a brand or color of product that Tower Industries does not regularly stock. Generally, architects, designers, general contractors, and construction managers tend to be our largest customers in this area, though homeowners have been known to utilize custom fabrication services, as well.

When

For commercial projects, in particular, products and colors are typically selected before the bid stage with little opportunity to change those particulars after-the-fact. By offering custom fabrication services, we are able to provide the desired product to architects and designers, regardless of whether the product is in stock or not. In other words, whatever the product or unique specifications, Tower Industries will work with our customers to provide the needed custom solution.

What

You asked for it; you got it! At Tower Industries, we will do whatever it takes to provide the products that our customers request. Sometimes challenges do exist, but we will work with you to meet the ultimate needs of your project.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the specific materials offered.

  • We are able to provide most brands and color choices of Solid Surface, including Corian, Hanex, Avonite, Formica Solid Surface, LG Hi-Macs, Staron, as well as many other national brands.
  • In need of quartz countertops instead? We can provide almost any brand or color of Quartz, including Caesarstone, Silestone, Hanstone, LG Viatera, Zodiaq, and many other national brands.
  • Regarding granite, Tower Industries can offer any color; and, given enough lead-time, we can special-order slabs in custom sizes, directly from the quarry. Custom granite countertops do have a tendency to become fairly expensive, but regardless of color selection, we will be able to obtain the material for your project!

Even different thicknesses of quartz and granite may be available, such as a 2cm thickness instead of the standard 3cm. In this area, though, supply can be inconsistent, as not all colors are available in alternate thicknesses, or might not be readily available in the immediate or nearby market.

Custom edge profiles are available in both stone and solid surface. It’s important to note stone costs are increased when using a custom profile as a result of the diamond bits required. Solid surface custom edge profiles, in contrast, use carbide router bits typically used for woodworking, which are easier to obtain.

Although custom fabrication services tend to be geared towards large volumes of similar products, for such projects as countertops for hotels or hospitals, we can absolutely produce individual countertops in unusual shapes or with out-of-the-box details.

How

So, how does this work exactly? Tower Industries’ state-of-the-art digital fabrication offers the precision of CNC and waterjet technology for stone fabrication, and the accuracy of CNC technology for solid surface. Better yet, we will consult with any architect or designer who needs additional information regarding the best fabrication techniques to achieve the desired design.

The bottom line is this: Tower Industries will work with project planners to create a custom solution that will meet the specific needs of your project. Our custom fabrication capabilities include designing, producing, and manufacturing just about anything your project requires.

Whether your project requires solid surface, quartz, or granite, sometimes a completely custom approach is necessary. Our Custom Fabrication capabilities mean we can design, produce, and manufacture just about anything you need. From custom edge profiles to unique logo inlays, we can help bring your vision to life. Contact us and let’s discuss how our custom fabrication services can help

 

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Quartz or Solid Surface Countertops: Which Is Right For Your Project?

Since you’ve been searching for the perfect countertop for your project, you might still be scratching your head when it comes to choosing between quartz and solid surface countertops. Although both offer great value, their differences are distinct. While quartz competes more closely with granite and solid surface countertops with laminate, both materials are more durable and affordable than their competitors.

Keep reading to learn about quartz and solid surface countertops, and their pros and cons to help you decide which would be best for your project.

Quartz Countertops

Created using 93-95% crushed quartz with the remaining 5-7% being natural pigments and resin binders, quartz countertops offer a solution to your project that provides the look and feel of granite without the regular maintenance. Exceeded in toughness and durability only by diamond, sapphire, and topaz, natural quartz won’t scratch and is highly durable.

Quartz countertops provide a smooth, non-porous surface with a shiny finish. Additionally, these countertops are heat resistant and can withstand temperatures up to 400°F without a problem.

Pros of Quartz Countertops

  • Highly durable and scratch-resistant.
  • Non-porous and very sanitary. Quartz countertops won’t carry bacteria and are easily cleaned. They are also stain resistant so juices or wines won’t threaten your countertop.
  • Abundant color and pattern options to meet the individual buyer’s desires.
  • Heat resistant up to 400°F.

Cons of Quartz Countertops

  • More expensive than solid surface. These countertops cost about $70-75 per square foot and higher, depending on the color and brand. Prices can vary so always shop around.
  • Seams in quartz countertops will be seen and felt, which can build up dirt and debris.

 

Solid Surface Countertops

Created from acrylic and/or polyester resins, solid surface countertops are man-made and are a much more durable countertop than its biggest competitor, laminate. Although solid surface countertops can chip and get scratched, any minor damages are easily repaired.

The solid surface countertop is typically uniform in color and pattern and is supplied with a matte finish. These countertops offer an affordable and attractive solution to homeowners.

Pros of Solid Surface Countertops

  • Virtually maintenance free.
  • The surface appears seamless
  • Durable and sanitary.
  • Minor damage or scratches can be easily serviced and fixed.
  • More affordable per square foot than quartz countertops.
  • An abundance of color choices.

Cons of Solid Surface Countertops

  • Not 100% scratch-resistant.
  • Doesn’t stand up as well to extremely high temperatures.

By examining the pros and cons of both quartz and solid surface countertops, you will be able to make a better decision for your unique project. Both quartz and solid surface countertops are excellent choices for homeowners and have the durability to bring you and your family years of enjoyment.

Which type of countertop do you think would work best for you? Call us today at 330-837-2216, or contact us here to discuss your needs.

Read more Quartz or Solid Surface Countertops: Which Is Right For Your Project?

Solid Surface Shower Walls: Keeping You Safe

Even though you take showers just about every day, how much time do you spend pondering the walls of your shower? I’m guessing none or next-to-none. But I’ll give you two reasons why it’s worth thinking about them now: (1) shower walls, and solid surface shower walls especially, keep you safe; and (2) germs in the shower can be harmful.

As awful a job as it is, cleaning showers and bathtubs is important to reduce the spread of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Paul Horowitz, MD, medical director of Pediatric Clinics at Legacy Health System in Portland, Ore., was once asked what happens if you don’t clean the shower or bathtub frequently enough.

“Germs can line the walls (of the tub) and you can easily touch the surface and then touch your mouth,” he said. “What’s more, the dead skin cells that sit on the inside of the tub can be contaminated. If someone with a cut or open wound goes in the tub, those organisms can infect that wound and increase the overall load of bacteria.”

Ew.

Now that you’re totally grossed out, let me give you some good news. There is an easy way to get (and keep) your showers clean: install solid surface shower walls.

The case for solid surface shower walls:

1) Non-porous.

There are no seams to allow leakage from your shower into the home structure. Water can be extraordinarily harmful to wood framed homes, most notably from the formation of mold, a toxic substance that is quite costly to test and remediate.

2) Easy to maintain.

You heard what Dr. Horowitz said — as unpleasant as it may be, we need to clean our showers! Wouldn’t you rather clean a solid surface, easily wiped down with a damp cloth or sponge, than scrub the grout lines on a tiled shower wall? One surface, one quick and simple cleaning project.

3) Naturally sanitary and resistant to mold and mildew.

Solid surface is non-porous, so there is virtually no chance for mold or mildew to form, and it is far less likely bacteria will form as well.

4) No dings. Solid Surface is just that: solid.

It is resistant to scratching, damage from heat, cracking, chipping or other “dings” that reduce the quality of your shower experience and heighten your health risk.

5) ADA compliant.

Especially for developers requiring showers for commercial properties, solid surface walls comply with Americans with Disability Act (ADA) requirements.

6) Easy to fabricate and install.

Manufacturers produce them to the approved specifications, and they are easily installed. Without needing the time to painstakingly grout and set tile, or to wait for epoxy materials to dry, solid surface shower walls are delivered in fewer pieces and can be installed much more quickly than other, more intricate, shower wall materials.

7) Customizable.

You can choose the thickness of your solid surface shower walls, the color you want, and they can be cut to fit the custom shower of your dreams.

Now that you’ve spent a few minutes thinking it through, don’t you agree that solid surface shower walls are a safe, convenient solution?

Have questions about solid surface shower walls? Contact us today or schedule a visit to our showroom.

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Not Granite! The Best Alternative to Granite Countertops

As recently as 2012, granite countertops were being installed in 75% of new kitchens. Granite has been the king of the countertops for years, but there are plenty of durable, aesthetic, and practical alternatives to granite to consider before you make your choice.

Some factors to consider when choosing a countertop material include aesthetics, practicality, durability, price, and how it will match the current layout and makeup of your kitchen. Below, in no particular order, are three solid alternatives to granite that may be the better choice for you and your family.

Solid Surface

There are few, if any, more versatile countertop materials than solid surface. A durable option, solid surface countertops can be customized for color, pattern, edging, and anything else you can dream up. Perhaps a backsplash or striking color will provide the look you want – even if it’s a stone pattern that looks like granite! Scratches or abrasions can be repaired so as to be virtually undetectable, and seams are fused together to make them inconspicuous.

 

Natural Stone

If you seek a stone-look, granite is not the only option on the market. Soapstone and slate are also options for a smooth, contemporary feel. Soapstone is among the most durable stones being used for countertops today. It will not stain, and it easily stands up to hot pots and pans – you can set them directly on the stone without worry — and its natural veining gives it a classic but contemporary feel.

Similar to soapstone, slate requires little maintenance, if any. While it typically comes in a matte sheen, it can be easily made to look wet. Any scratches are easily buffed out, and the price is right: as low as $100 per square foot.

 

Quartz

If granite is king, there are signs that quartz is beginning to storm the castle. Widely regarded as more durable than granite, quartz requires virtually no maintenance and never needs to be sealed. A beautiful, polished stone-look, quartz can enliven a kitchen, while also being a practical choice. Install quartz, and never worry about your countertops again. Quartz typically retails for $100 – $150 per square foot.

 

These are just three of the many alternatives to granite out there, so before you demand granite for your kitchen project, be sure to examine all your options!

Read more Not Granite! The Best Alternative to Granite Countertops

4 Interesting Characteristics of Solid Surface Material

Back in July, we talked about why solid surface material is a “solid” choice for your countertop needs. We highlighted the big advantages: the material is non-porous, it comes in a wide array of colors, seams are rarely an issue, it’s easy to integrate with sinks, and cleanup is fast and simple.

But guess what? Here are four other interesting characteristics about solid surface material.

1. Memories may fade, but your solid surface countertop color won’t. 

Kitchen countertops see a lot of action, don’t they? We’re talking lazy Sunday breakfasts with The New York Times crossword puzzle, holiday parties, afternoon homework sessions with the kids, book club with cheese and crackers (and wine!), cooking marathons, coffee with friends, a dumping ground for permission slips, bills, and smartphones…well, you get the idea.

But despite all this traffic, the color of your solid surface counter will withstand the test of time…as well as that wine spill from an over-eager reader of Fifty Shades of Grey (we won’t tell).

Isn’t it nice to know there’s one color in your life that won’t fade?

2. Pow! Kerplunk! Yes, solid surfaces can take ALL THAT.

We’re not suggesting you beat on your solid surface countertops, but let’s face it: accidents do happen. As in, someone drops a plate, a pot, a book, a laptop…sometimes by mistake, sometimes on purpose (those of you with kids can relate, I’m sure).

Here’s the thing: solid surface material can withstand impact much better than other materials, especially granite. However, ANY countertop can be damaged by impact, so don’t abuse your solid surface countertop by any means. Solid surface may also show scuffs and scrapes that happen under normal everyday use. This is where its renewability is so important – these scuffs can be easily removed using materials that you can buy at your local grocery store. See our care and maintenance blog.

3. Moisture doesn’t scare solid surfaces (but it does scare plastic laminates).

Because solid surfaces are, well, SOLID and homogenous, moisture can’t penetrate the material. This is an important characteristic, since moisture is one of the biggest reasons laminates separate and ultimately fail.

4. How unseemly your seams are, dear tile.

Tile is a popular choice in the kitchen, especially for backsplashes, but people tend to forget about All. That. Grout. Why is grout such a problem? Because it requires constant cleaning (you better save those old toothbrushes, folks!). Tile is also prone to cracks (and guess what can get in there?).

With a solid surface material, cleanup is a snap and you don’t need to worry about cracks harboring yucky things like mold, mildew, or bacteria.

So there you have it: four interesting but lesser known facts about solid surfaces. What do you think? Are you convinced this material was made in countertop heaven?

By the way, be sure to check out our solid surface collections: Meridian Solid Surface Acrylic Collection and Meridian Solid Surface Countertops.

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