White solid surface countertops can be a blank slate, inspiring creativity, style and designer quality in your workspace.
Yet they are functional as well, offering many manufacturing and laboratory environments a strong, dependable choice for their spaces.
With all the choices in countertops on the market, are white solid surface countertops a good idea for your workspace?
When White Solid Surface Countertops Are A Good Idea
Solid surface countertops offer a clean look while providing several important protections. Considering laboratory countertops can be a significant investment, you want to make sure the material you choose offers the look and durability you need.
Sleek and pristine, a white finish offers a high-end look, while the construction of solid surface countertops provides a long-lasting addition for your workspace.
Solid surface countertops contain a non-porous, homogeneous material that consists of the same composition throughout. Solid surface is similar to plastic in that it is usually made from a resin and features a filler material. The end result is around 66% minerals and 33% binding resins.
Resin materials can vary from acrylic to polyester and plastic. The mineral portion often depends on what you envision for the countertop’s final look. This portion also typically includes aluminum trihydrate (ath). This fine white powder gives solid surface countertops their smooth appearance.
So what makes solid surface countertops a good idea, especially if you are looking for a clean and sleek white finish?
Solid surface countertops generally feature invisible seams. That means several pieces can be molded to fit perfectly together and used across a large area of countertop space.
While white countertops may seem ordinary, when it comes to solid surface counters, they can be quite extraordinary. There are several shades of white that are visually appealing and will inspire the interior design in you.
Manufacturers can also design solid surface countertops to take on the appearance of white marble and natural stone, as well as can add special finishes like gel coating, gloss, matte and textured appearances that offer subtle patterns.
Manufacturers may also provide a wide assortment of edge treatments and inlays that create customized looks.
Because the solid surface is homogeneous, it fares better when hit, knocked or bangedcompared to multi-layered countertops like laminate countertops. When minor damage does occur, workers can easily repair it by sanding the damaged area out with sandpaper or an orbital sander.
Solid surface countertops have an extremely low porosity. This promotes a cleaner, more sanitary workspace because moisture and bacteria are unable to seep into the countertop surface. So, surfaces with low porosity are much less likely to harbor bacteria and viruses.
Offices and labs that require hygienic areas like doctors’ offices and dental offices can benefit from using solid surface countertops.
Protection Against Bacteria, Mildew And Stains
Solid surface countertops are commonly found in the food service industry and in food labs. This is due to the fact that this material offers extensive protection against bacteria, mildew and stains because of its low porosity feature. This water-proof feature keeps bacteria and mildew away while offering excellent protection against stains.
Solid surface countertops do not require extensive care when it comes to cleaning. In fact, they are easy to clean using soap and water or a mild cleaner. Because they are waterproof, they are also generally stain proof … even on white surfaces.
Staff should not use harsh chemicals to clean solid surface countertops, as they can damage the surface. Yet you may still disinfect surfaces using the recommended 1:100 ratio for disinfection. For every gallon of water, use 5 tablespoons of bleach.
You can read more about proper maintenance for your solid surface countertops in our article, How To Clean Solid Surface Countertops: Do’s And Don’ts.
When White Solid Surface Countertops Aren’t A Good Idea
While white solid surface countertops can upgrade any workspace, they aren’t always the right fit for every workspace.
No matter which color you choose for your solid surface countertop, you’re going to have to weigh a few disadvantages that come with this type of material:
- Not heat resistant: Solid surfaces can discolor or crack when they come in contact with heat. For work environments that regularly use open flames or other heat sources, this can be problematic.
- Not chemical resistant: If your laboratory regularly deals with harsh chemicals, you may want to choose a surface material that offers a higher level of resistance, such as chemical laminate.
- Can scratch easily: Although solid surface countertops can withstand some impacts, it doesn’t fare well when it comes to scratches since it is softer than other materials like epoxy resin.
- Aesthetics can suffer: While this material’s seamless lines are a big selling point, because solid surface countertops can scratch easily, their aesthetics can suffer. This is especially true when glossy finishes are used.
If your lab performs medical testing, it is important to consider the dyes that you use as well. Although solid surface countertops are generally resistant to stains, you may have to use more elbow grease to remove dyes, blood or other stains that may occur in labs.
For solid surface countertops with matte or semi-gloss finishes, you can use cleaners made with oxalic acid to remove brown stains. For stains from dyes, blood and other substances like vinegar, you can use a damp cloth and a small amount of mild abrasive cleaner.
However, if you have a high gloss finish, it is best to seek professional help from repair companies that will use sanders and low-speed polishers to create uniform finishes. A manufacturer or professional countertop repair company will then refinish and polish your countertop to return it to its high-gloss finish. This process can be more time intensive and possibly more costly if you do not have access to these tools and need to hire professional help.
If your solid surface countertop has scratches or cracks in it, it is important to address those imperfections as quickly as possible, as dyes can seep into the cracks where it can be more difficult to remove any stains.
If you have a tight budget, white solid surface countertops may not be the best choice as well. While they can range greatly in price, anywhere between $50 and $200 per square foot, that price range still falls on the higher end when compared to other materials commonly used on industrial workstations.
However, the advantages that solid surface countertops provide often outweigh the costs, especially if you’re looking for a particular finish or appearance.
For example, white marble provides a luxurious look. Marble countertops generally fall in a similar price range as solid surface countertops at between $40 and $200 per square foot. Yet marble countertops are more porous, so they more readily absorb liquids and therefore run the risk of staining.
The Benefit Of Working With An Experienced Company
It can be difficult to weigh which type of material is a good idea for your workspace. You must take into consideration not only the type of environment your countertop will be subject to, but also which customizations you want to see come to life.
An experienced manufacturer or supplier can work with you to determine whether solid surface countertops are right for your business, and if so, some of the different features that can make this bright and vibrant white finish become a centerpiece in your workspace.