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A Comparison of Solid Surface and Granite Countertops

Most people believe that replacing kitchen countertops is a good way to improve the function and appeal of the kitchen, and by extension, the home. However, it can be difficult to decide on the material to pick for this. Many options are available, and two of them are granite and solid surfaces.

Some people advocate for solid surface as the better option to granite countertops, while others hold by granite as the undisputed winner for this purpose. Homeowners planning to upgrade their kitchens could face a difficult choice, as kitchen countertops cost a significant amount of money. A comparison of solid surface and granite countertops could help in making the right choice.

What is a solid surface?

A solid surface material is a type of manmade material made primarily of various natural materials and acrylic resins at a 2 to 1 ratio. It first came out into the market in 1967 when DuPont introduced the Corian brand of slid surfaces for residential and commercial use. Corian is the most recognized brand of solid surfaces, but it is not the only one

What is granite?

Granite is a natural stone, and the most abundant rock in the world comprising more than 85% of the Earth’s crust. It is an igneous stone, meaning it formed out of magma or molten rock under the surface of the Earth under great heat and pressure over millions of years.
The composition of granite varies, depending on the area of formation, and the minerals in the mix determines the color and appearance of a granite. However, true granite always contains quartz, one of the hardest minerals on earth and usually white or colorless. The quartz content of granite ranges from 20% to 60% and gives granite its durability. A higher quartz content, of course, means a more durable product.
Granite producers obtain granite from quarries, where they cut blocks of it, which they process further into slabs for countertops and other forms. While granite is available everywhere, the most common sources of granite slabs in the US come from Brazil, Italy, Spain, and the US.

What is the cost?

Solid surface and granite countertops cost about the same in most cases, with installed prices per square foot ranging from $40 to $65. Cost variations will depend on the brand in the case of solid surfaces, or the source in the case of granite. Rare and exotic granite slabs might cost upwards of $200 per square foot, so if budget is an issue, you should choose from commoner varieties of granite.
Installation can also affect the overall cost. Solid surfaces tend to be heavier than granite and break more easily during transport and installation, so contractors might charge more for their installation. Reputable remodeling companies will include installation in their free quotes for granite countertops and may even throw in a free sink and edge treatment.

Which looks better?

It would be hard to choose between solid surfaces and granite in terms of beauty because both are attractive in their own way. Solid surfaces began life as granite lookalikes, so many brands carry designs that look very similar to granite.
However, natural stones such as granite are rather inconsistent in color and design, so no two slabs are identical. The opposite is true of solid surfaces, which are always consistent. Some people have a problem with such uniformity, preferring the natural beauty of natural stones. Other people find the erratic appearance of granite too distracting and welcome the predictability of solid surfaces. Ultimately, the perceived beauty of solid surfaces and granite boils down to personal preferences.

Which has a better return on investment?

Most people associate granite countertops with fine living, so investing in them is a good move. Granite is also very durable, so they will last a long time. Solid surfaces are also durable, but not as durable as granite. You can cut solid surfaces quite easily with standard rotary saws. To make cutouts for granite countertops, you need industrial-grade equipment and skilled fabricators.
The association people make about solid surface countertops is also not so favorable, as early examples of solid surface countertops did not have the quality it has today. When it comes to return on investment, granite countertops are the safer choice.

How hard are they to maintain?

Maintaining solid surfaces and granite is easy, as they both require just regular dishwashing soap to keep them in good heart. However, solid surfaces are non-porous, so they are largely stain-resistant. You will not need to seal kitchen countertops made of solid surfaces.
On the other hand, solid surfaces are not heat-resistant, and they scratch easily. These are major maintenance issues for homeowners, which is why many choose granite, which is highly resistant to heat and scratches. If you use your kitchen with any regularity, you will want to choose granite for kitchen countertops.

Which is better for kitchen countertops?

Overall, granite is the better choice when it comes to kitchen countertops. Solid surface countertops are still a viable option for homeowners that rarely use their kitchens for heavy cooking, but granite is generally the safer, more versatile choice.
It is also important to choose the right remodeling company to install your granite countertops for you. The expert remodelers of Fairfax Kitchen Bath have the experience to do it seamlessly.

Fairfax Kitchen Bath services the DC, MD and Northern Virginia metropolitan areas. We are a Class A, licensed and insured contractor, registered in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

We guarantee you will love it for life. We sell only top-quality products for all your kitchen remodeling needs, including granite and marble slabs from impeccable sources as well as quartz stones manufactured by leading brands in the industry.

When you contract with us, you can be sure you will get a quick turnaround on your products and receive it much faster than ordering what you need from big box stores. We specialize in fabricating kitchen countertops to specifications and installing them within budget and on time.
We carry the products you need for your kitchen renovation, including sinks, faucets, natural and engineered stone slabs, shelves, tiles, backsplashes, knobs and pulls, hardwood flooring, and kitchen cabinets. We carry only the top brands for these products, such as Schrock Cabinetry, Silestone, Blanco, Kohler, and Mosaic Décor.

Visit our site for an online inquiry or our showroom for a one-on-one consultation. Our free estimates and consultation services come with no obligation, so act now!

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Picture of Sam Kazanci <br/><span id="position">Owner</span>
Sam Kazanci

Sam Kazanci is the owner of Fairfax Kitchen Bath Remodeling. He has experience to build and remodel the kitchen and baths with his team and the author of fkb blog: You can find Sam on LinkedIn and Twitter.