When it comes to selecting the perfect kitchen worktop, the abundance of options can be overwhelming. With countless materials, it can be challenging to determine the best fit for your needs. We provide our customers with two distinct surface options: quartz and solid surface. Both offer a range of benefits and unique characteristics, making the decision challenging. But what sets these materials apart? Let's delve into the key differences between quartz and solid surface worktops.

Quartz or Solid Surface / Acrylic Worktops

What are they made from?

One obvious difference between quartz and solid surface is the material from which they are made. Quartz worktops are engineered stone surfaces that combine natural quartz crystals with resins and pigments. Quartz is a man-made surface manufactured using mostly natural quartz aggregate and made purposefully as countertop materials. Typical quartz countertop colours are composed of approximately 90-94% inorganic components, namely quartz silica and aggregates such as mirror chips. Modern production designs have enabled quartz surfaces to replicate natural counterparts such as marble and granite accurately. The result is a durable and low-maintenance material that mimics the appearance of natural stone.

Solid surface material is made from acrylic polymer and alumina trihydrate. Initially created by DuPont, Corian was the original brand of acrylic kitchen worktops, although other competitors have entered the market including our own Gemini Solid Surface. The material is best known for its seamless joints and integrated sinks.

Gemini Solid Surface has been developed to deliver all the benefits of acrylic at the highest quality, is built to last and is resistant to chipping. Solid surface withstands more intensive fabrication and can be thermoformed to create more defined design features. This material is often a non-porous, seamless surface that can be easily shaped and fabricated.

Similarly, to quartz worktops, solid surface worktops are available in various colours and patterns, providing design versatility and a uniform look.

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Care and maintenance

In terms of care and maintenance quartz worktops are known for their exceptional durability. It is highly resistant to scratches, and heat, making it ideal for busy kitchens. Quartz worktops are also non-porous, which means they do not require sealing and are resistant to bacteria and mould growth. Cleaning quartz surfaces is simple and we provide a care kit at installation to keep your worktops looking their best.

Like quartz worktops, solid surface worktops, are also durable and scratch and stain resistant. However, they can be more prone to heat damage than quartz. But minor scratches and scuffs on solid surface worktops can be easily repaired by sanding and buffing the surface. Similarly, to quartz, solid surface is non-porous, making them hygienic and easy to clean- making them an ideal option in the kitchen.

Quartz cleaning

Visual aesthetics

Visually quartz worktops offer a natural stone-like appearance with consistent patterns and colours. The engineered nature of quartz allows for a broader range of colour options, including vibrant hues and patterns that mimic the look of marble, granite, or other natural stones.

Quartz worktops provide a luxurious and timeless aesthetic to any kitchen and there is a style to suit every space. While quartz slabs are renowned for their natural beauty, it's important to note that when multiple pieces are connected, visible joins may be present.

Compared to quartz, solid surface worktops excel in providing a seamless and smooth surface, creating a modern and sophisticated aesthetic. The material's standout feature is its ability to seamlessly integrate sinks and countertops, eliminating the need for visible joins. Like quartz, they are available in a wide variety of colours and patterns, allowing for creative design possibilities and the worktops will have a uniform and integrated appearance throughout your kitchen.

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In terms of finishes, quartz and solid surface materials offer different options:

Quartz countertops are often preferred with a polished finish, which creates a high gloss look. This finish enhances the natural beauty of the quartz, giving it a sleek and luxurious appearance.

Solid surface countertops, on the other hand, typically have a more matte finish. This finish provides a subtle and understated look, adding a touch of elegance to the kitchen while maintaining a smooth and non-reflective surface.

The choice between a polished or matte finish ultimately depends on personal preference and the desired aesthetic for your kitchen. Whether you prefer a glossy and reflective surface (quartz) or a softer and more subdued appearance (solid surface), both options can complement various kitchen styles and create a visually appealing design.

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Food preparation

Quartz and solid surface materials provide several tactile benefits for food preparation:

Quartz is similar to natural stone and tends to remain cool to the touch. This characteristic is advantageous for food preparation tasks that require working with ingredients at optimal temperatures.

Solid surface materials, on the other hand, take on the ambient room temperature. This property makes them comfortable to work with, as they do not feel excessively cold or hot during food preparation.

Solid surface and quartz materials exhibit remarkable resistance to staining agents and chemicals commonly used in cooking, such as those found in curries. This resilience ensures that the surface remains in excellent condition, even when exposed to heavily pigmented or acidic ingredients.

Installation

Installation methods

In terms of installation, quartz worktops are typically heavier than solid surface worktops, requiring professional installation. They are cut and fabricated to fit your kitchen's specific dimensions, which may involve more precise measurements and potentially longer installation times. However, once installed, quartz worktops provide a durable and long-lasting solution.

Although Solid surface worktops are relatively easier to install due to their lighter weight, they will still require professional installation. They can be fabricated and installed with seamless joints, allowing for a continuous and integrated look. Solid surface worktops offer more flexibility in terms of customisation, as they can be thermoformed and shaped into various designs.

Ultimately, the choice between quartz and solid surface worktops depends on your preferences, budget, and specific requirements for your kitchen. Consider factors such as durability, maintenance, aesthetics, and installation process to make an informed decision that suits your needs and style.

Quartz or Solid Surface?

Still can't decide? Speak to a worktop designer who will talk you through all your options in more detail and can send you some samples in the post.

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