What’s the difference between Solid Surface vs. Quartz? They look similar yet different!

Solid Surface and Quartz are the two best premium engineered countertops available on the market. So which one should you choose?


What’s the difference between Solid Surface vs. Quartz? They look similar yet different!

Photo Courtesy of Homeworks Consultancy Singapore

 

What is a Solid Surface?

Solid surface consists of mineral dust (mostly marble) mixed with a variety of plastic resins and pigments. Around 33% resin, 66% natural minerals

What’s the difference between Solid Surface vs. Quartz? They look similar yet different!

Photo Courtesy of Homeworks Consultancy Singapore

Appearance:

  • It mimics the look of stone and has a natural finish.

  • Weight-wise, solid surfaces are lighter compared to Quartz when compared with the same size samples.

Durability:

  • It is less scratch-resistant as compared to Quartz.

  • Use a cutting board so as to avoid damaging the surface.

  • Heavy impact might result in chipping, or in the worst-case scenario, it might lead to some cracks.

  • For light to medium kitchen cooking usage, a solid surface is sustainable enough.

Joint Visibility:

  • Each panel is approximately 2 meters plus depending on the supplier’s product range.

  • The joint line for a solid surface can be sanded smooth to create a seamless effect between each panel.

  • The countertop and its backing “up-turn” can also be “fabricated” as a singular panel for seamless joint, preventing any possible leakage of water into the back of the countertop.

  • It can be thermoformed or worked with curvy, flowing shapes such as moulded sinks and integrated backsplashes.

  • The corners and edging of the countertop can be well rounded-off to provide a smooth touch that isn’t sharp to the hands.

Heat Resistance:

  • It is heat resistant, but anything hotter than 100 degrees Celsius might damage the top.

  • For high-heat objects such as kettles and pans, use a thick cock board to avoid direct contact.

Porosity:

  • Depending on the supplier and product range, as long as stains are not left overnight, they should be easy to clean off. No material is 100% stainless; however, any strong staining agent/chemical/food residue should be wiped off as soon as possible.

  • Easy to clean. Just use a simple disinfectant wipe to keep your countertop clean. The best is to avoid chemicals of any type and wipe them dry with a cloth and water.

  • Usually, contractors will apply a layer of additional sealant above to help maintain the top’s durability.

Maintenance:

  • It can be sanded out and re-polished to remove light scratches and stains.

  • It tends to lose its sheen over long periods of time. Polishing will bring back the sheen again.

  • However, avoid over polishing as after more than 3 times, the thickness due to polishing may lessen.

  • Avoid using any harsh chemicals such as nail polish, oven cleaners, paint removers, thinners, and other strong chemicals for cleaning.

Pros

  • Relatively cheaper than Quartz and have a broader range of design selection.

  • Seamless joint between each panel, no gap when joining of the surface top and backing if designed correctly.

  • Suitable for daily light to medium kitchen cooking usage.

  • More realistic light colour marble effects. Overall it has a more profound “visual depth”.

  • Edges are smooth and rounded depending on designer specifications.

Cons

  • Not as hard or durable as Quartz which is meant for heavy to extreme cooking.

 

What is Quartz?

Quartz consists of about 95% ground natural quartz and other materials with 5% binding resins.

What’s the difference between Solid Surface vs. Quartz? They look similar yet different!

Photo Courtesy of Homeworks Consultancy Singapore


Appearance:

  • It has the ability to mimic the look of natural stones. However, white stone designs often look less pleasing as the impression it creates isn’t very realistic.

  • 33% heavier than a solid surface; thus, Quartz has a slightly more solid feeling when installed

Scratch Resistance & Durability:

  • Quartz countertops are tougher than natural stone.

  • It combines the realistic outlook of stone depending on selection and possesses durability comparable to granite.

  • Durable and more scratch-resistant than solid surfaces.

Joint Visibility:

  • Unlike solid surfaces, Quartz is not seamless. It can still be used as the same material for your countertop and backsplash.

  • However, note that there will be visible joint lines between each panel on the countertop (usually a 1-2mm joint line similar to floor grouting).

  • The countertop surface to the backing panel is made up of 2 separate pieces, and therefore, it will have joint lines again. Over time, should the joint line not be maintained, there might be a chance for water seepage to enter the back of the kitchen cabinet.

Heat Resistance:

  • It has higher heat resistance than solid surface materials. It can take heat up to 204 degrees Celsius. However, it is still not recommended to place hot pans and boiling kettles directly onto the surface.

  • Always use a cutting board for cutting and cock board for hot item contact surface protection.

Non-Porosity:

  • Non-porosity. So, it does not need any sealants and does not need to worry about staining or built-up bacteria. It is also safe for food preparation.

  • Easy to clean. Just use a simple disinfectant wipe to keep your countertop clean. But to maintain material sheen and finishes, it is best to use only clean water and cloth for all cleaning.

Pros

  • Very durable and possesses high heat and scratch resistant for heavy kitchen usage.

  • Recommended for heavy and extreme cooking usage.

Cons

  • Relatively more expensive than solid surface.

  • Edges may be slightly rougher due to the hardness of the material.

  • It does not have a very profound “visual depth” and the light-coloured selection may not look natural.

  • Visible joint lines per panel & separate pieces of joint line between surface top and backing.

  • Range of selections has improved over the past years, but might not be as comprehensive as solid surfaces.

 

Summary


Depending on the intensity of your kitchen usage, you should seek advice from your interior design consultant before deciding which best applies to your interior and spatial needs.


Allowing your designer to know the frequency of cooking, type of cookware being used and cuisines will enable your designer to make recommendations on the most suitable materials for your daily needs while carefully articulating the design details to create harmony between aesthetics and functionality.


Finally, we would like to thank Homeworks Consultancy for providing us with the photos used in this article.



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References: the spruce (website) Aurastone (website)