Countertop Choices: Pros and Cons
Solid Surface Countertops (Corian, Staron):
Durability: Medium hardness, but very durable
Longevity: 25-30 years, impervious to water
Appearance: High-end look, no visible seams or joints, flexible design options
Scratch resistance: Medium scratch resistance, and scratches and stains can be removed, leaving the countertop looking good as new.
Maintenance: None required.
Cost: Medium to High.
Hygiene: Very hygienic, seamless and nonporous.
Undermount Sinks: The ideal application for undermount sinks. Fused solid surface sinks are also an option.
Link: Information regarding care and maintenance of solid surface countertops.
Link: Solid surface edge details Sheet 1
Link: Solid surface edge details Sheet 2
Laminate Countertops (Formica)
Durability: Relatively soft material, corners and edges vulnerable to chipping.
Longevity: 10-15 years, although it is somewhat susceptible to water damage if water leaks through the seams, which may cause bubbling and lifting and shorten its lifespan.
Appearance: Clean look, visible joints and seems, greatest choice of colour options, countertop shape somewhat limited.
Flexibility: Relaminating at a later date to change colour is a viable option for economy and practicality.
Scratch resistance: Least scratch resistant option, scratches cannot be removed.
Maintenance: No maintainance required.
Hygiene: Relatively hygienic but less so than solid surface due to seams and scratches.
Undermount Sinks: Not an option with a laminate countertop as water damage and lifting of laminate will eventually ensue.
Durability: Very hard, very durable
Longevity: Lifetime, impervious to water
Appearance: High-end natural look, limited design options, visible seams, Flexibility: Fixed
Scratch resistance: Difficult to scratch, but if scratched scratches can be difficult to impossible to remove
Maintenance: Sealer must be applied at 5-10 year intervals
Hygiene: Relatively hygienic but has exposed joints and natural pitting
Undermount Sinks: Suitable for undermount sinks