If you’re considering installing solid surface countertops in your workspace, one of the first questions you’ll have will be the cost.
How much do solid surface countertops cost? The answer depends on a number of factors, although in general, the cost of solid surface countertops can range anywhere between $50 and $200 per square foot.
Why the wide range in price? Solid surface countertops can be customized in a number of ways, whether it is its shape, color or special finishes. Other factors can impact price as well, including installation and shipping costs.
What Are Solid Surface Countertops?
The process behind the construction of solid surface countertops and what goes into creating a customized appearance can help explain why the cost of this material can vary significantly.
Solid surface countertops are made from a non-porous, homogeneous material that maintains the same composition throughout the countertop. Solid surface is similar to plastic in that it is often made from acrylic or polyester resins and features a filler material.
The make-up of solid surface material is around 66% minerals and 33% binding resins. Resin materials can vary, from acrylic to polyester and plastic.
The mineral portion of the mixture depends on the desired final look and may include minerals like marble and granite. The mineral portion also typically includes aluminum trihydrate, which is a fine white powder that is responsible for the smooth appearance that solid surface counters feature.
This mixture chemically cures and is heated to 140 degrees F or more to form a solid material that can be customized to a specific size and shape.
Advantages That Add Value
In addition to customization opportunities, solid surface countertops offer several advantages that add significant value. These include:
- A non-porous surface: This keeps bacteria, mildew and stains away.
- Resistance to impacts: Due to its homogeneous makeup, solid surface fares better than multi-layered tops like laminate countertops.
- Easy maintenance: Solid surface countertops do not require extensive care for cleaning (often only soap and water or a mild cleaner).
- Easy repair: Solid surface countertops are also easier to repair than many materials. When minor damage occurs, it can be easily fixed by sanding the damaged area out with sandpaper or an orbital sander.
These advantages will generally make solid surface countertops more expensive than materials like laminate or butcher block. But what other factors impact the final price tag of solid surface countertops?
Factors That Impact Cost Of Solid Surface Countertops
Because solid surface countertops feature invisible seams, this material can be used across a large area of countertop space. This ability to mold several pieces together or create one large piece that meets a specific size and shape can come with a more expensive cost than other materials like phenolic resin, which averages between $15 and $18 per square foot, or chemical laminate, which runs around $20 to $80 per square foot.
On the other hand, this customization opportunity that creates a clean, aesthetically-pleasing look is highly sought after in labs, manufacturing facilities and even offices and homes.
Here are some additional factors that may influence the average cost of the solid surface countertops:
- Heat resistance: Depending on the desired resistance to conditions found in a workspace, the material can also be heated to around 320 degrees F and cooled in order to improve the countertop’s heat resistance.
- Pigments: When solid surface countertops are constructed, the minerals and binding resins are mixed with a powdered filler (typically aluminum trihydrate) and pigments. Fillers and pigments can mimic the appearance of granite, marble and stone. They can also create colorful designs that range from beige hues to warm golds, rich blues and vibrant reds.
- Special finishes: Finishes can include gel coating, gloss, matte and textured appearances.
- Edging finishes: Certain edges of the countertops like square or eased tend to be less costly than specialty edging finishes like French cove or beveled.
- Added features: Adding items like sinks and backsplashes made out of the same material can increase the cost of your overall purchase.
The specific manufacturer you work with could even impact final costs. For example, shipping distance is an important consideration, because this adds to the cost. Typically, the manufacturer will quote you the shipping cost separately.
Purchasing American-made furniture may reduce shipping costs, as well as lead times since it typically takes three to four weeks alone to ship a product from overseas. That’s before the product arrives at customs (another week at least) and gets on a truck to be delivered to you (another week).
Finally, installation should be considered in your final costs. Most manufacturers will quote the cost for installation separately or have a local distributor quote you. Either way, it’s important to make sure that all aspects of your installation are covered. This includes the removal of your old countertops, if that is required.
Don’t Forget Long-Term Costs
Keep in mind that the purchase price of a solid surface countertop does not always tell the true cost. Factoring the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is important when weighing purchasing decisions.
Total cost of ownership is an estimate that factors in not only the purchase price, but the total cost of maintaining that product over its lifespan. Often, an item with a lower upfront cost isn’t the least expensive over the course of its lifetime.
When it comes to purchasing solid surface countertops, estimating the total cost of ownership may mean:
- Ensuring solid surface countertops are the right material choice in the first place for your application, which can impact whether replacement countertops or upgrades are needed sooner rather than later
- Understanding potential repair costs and whether they are something that can be handled in-house or should be taken care of by a professional
- Taking a closer look at warranties and understanding what is covered and for how long
- Taking into account the cost of shipping, as well as whether the lead time may account for downtime in your lab or manufacturing facility
It’s important to think of the cost of your countertop as an investment, rather than an everyday purchase. It’s equally as important to choose a countertop manufacturer that feels the same … one that prioritizes producing a quality product, offers excellent customer care and provides customization opportunities that meet the needs of your workspace now and in the future.