A Cut Above – Traditional vs Non-Traditional Solid Surfaces
When choosing a new kitchen or bathroom, many people gravitate towards traditional surfaces; for kitchens and counter tops, these materials often include granite, quartz, hardwood and laminate, although modern designers have begun to incorporate metal and glass. And for bathrooms, enamel, ceramic and in recent times, plastic.
With regards to kitchen surfaces, many of the traditional ones are considered to be high-end and luxurious -granite and quartz in particular. Both materials are hard-wearing and easy to maintain, but they are extremely heavy and cumbersome to fit, and are also tremendously expensive, making them unobtainable for most. Many people that have opted for these surfaces have reported that they can make a room feel cold, or because they are so hard, they have broken or chipped glass and china on it.
While these traditional stone and synthetic stone options have become somewhat outdated recently, the use of hardwood such as solid walnut, has become more prevalent. While hardwood countertops are less expensive than the aforementioned materials, and can create a stunning focal point for the kitchen with a range of colours and finishes, they are known to easily become scratched and stained, and require bi-annual maintenance to keep the damage at bay. The cost of the upkeep can quickly outweigh the fact that it is a less expensive option.
In many kitchens across the world, it is likely that you will find laminate counter tops, an inexpensive material that lends itself to many styles of kitchen, laminate has become a firm favourite when it comes to kitchen surfaces. However, if of a poor quality, it can become scratched, stained, scorched or even melt. These problems not only present hygiene issues, but it can quickly leave a kitchen looking dishevelled and unappealing; when, in total, we spend around three years of our life in the kitchen, we want it to be a space that inspires us and makes us content.
The reason that solid surfaces such as Corian®, Hanex and LG Hi-Macs have become so popular is because not only do they offer the user an almost unlimited choice when it comes to colour, finish, shape and style, but they also provide a surface that it extremely durable, hygienic and easy to maintain. Of course, there are preventions that will need to be put in place to prevent damage from occurring, such as using trivets and heat pads to prevent burning and cutting boards to prevent scratching – but the surface is far easier, and less expensive to maintain should it become damaged. Small stains and scratches can be quickly and easily buffed out using Bar Keepers Friend, while larger patches can be quickly refinished onsite by a professional with minimum interference.
Another reason why modern solid surfaces are being chosen is because of the flexible nature of the material; the way that it is manufactured, means that it is able to fit to any brief, size or specification – opening up design possibilities that may have not been an option with more traditional surfaces.
When it comes to bathroom settings, solid surfaces such as Corian® can provide a significant advantage when it comes to hygiene. The thermoforming process means that often, the pieces are solid, or have inconspicuous seams, meaning there are far less places for dirt to accumulate. The installation of tiles, and marble often uses plenty of grout and has many seams, posing a threat to the level of hygiene that can be maintained. The non-porous nature of modern solid surfaces also means that it doesn’t support the growth of mould, mildew and bacteria – common issues in bathrooms.
Plastic baths have become a popular option, and while these are extremely affordable – they are very easily marked and scratched and comes with significant cost when it comes to replacing – often with wall tiles and shower screens being damaged in the process. Having a bathroom suite manufactured out of a solid surface means that it can remain pristine for years to come, as well as being completely customisable, from shape, to colour and finish. In fact, certain finishes, such as light colours in a matt finish can be selected to minimise the appearance of scratches, should they occur.
While many bathroom suites often come ‘off the shelf’ leaving you limited when it comes to customising certain elements, the same flexible nature applies to the use of solid surfaces in this room and you are presented with the option of an entirely bespoke bathroom to suit your every desire, and even the smallest of spaces can undergo a zen-like transformation.
There are a huge number of benefits to opting for a solid surface over a traditional one, and while it can always be overwhelming when entering unknown design territory, the large range of options at your fingertips with surfaces such as Corian®, LG Hi Macs, Hanex means that you will soon find the material, colour and finish that will suit all of your requirements and leave you with a room that you won’t want to leave!