All About Solid Surface
What do we mean by Solid Surface?
We, here at BSF Solid Surfaces Ltd, are proud of all of the products we are accredited to work with, which includes Corian, LG Hi-Macs, Staron, Hanex, Krion, Durat, Avonite, Tristone, Mirostone, in addition to other surfaces.
If you are well versed in the fabrication of Solid Surface, or are just getting interested in the way Solid Surface can enhance your project, large or small, commerical or residential, public or private, we are sure we can assist. We have worked on a large number of diverse and eclectic projects, and there is every likelihood that you will have come across our work, or have produced something akin to what you were considering.
Ok, but do we actually do?
We produce anything you like, within reason of course, from Solid Surface. This can include (but is in no way limited to) counter tops, reception desks, kitchen surfaces, vanity units, bespoke fixtures, walling, architraves, shower trays. The list is endless, and limited only by the imagination.
What is Solid Surface? Why should I choose it for my project?
Solid Surface is a hard surface, man-made stone like material, derived from ATH (Aluminium Trihydrate), mixed with acrylic and / of polyester, which has been formulated so that it can be fabricated and manipulated into counter tops, desk tops, reception desks and so on.
Whilst chemically composed as a ‘man-made’ material Solid Surface itself is, in essence, a composition of ATH formed from Bauxite clay, with an acrylic binder formed from petroleum. Therefore, as a material Solid Surface remains one of the most natural modern materials available on the market, but one which has an unlimited range of abilities relating to shade, form, tone, and translucency. Whilst ‘man made’, Solid Surface materials are exceptionally sustainable – with materials across the suppliers being accredited against BREEAM, LEED, and Green Guard ratings related to the protection of the natural environment.
There are a number of brands of Solid Surface available in the market today, each with a wide palette of attractice colours and finishes.
Isn’t Solid Surface just Corian?
This is a very common misconception about Solid Surface as a material. DuPont™ first released Corian® back in 1967, with its popularity growing across the Shopfitting and Commercial fit-out sectors. Upon the expiration of its initial registration other manufacturers – such as LG Hi-Macs, Staron, Hanex, Krion, Durat, Avonite, Tristone and Kerrock – entered the market offering new and diverse colours and finishes – to the point where BSF can offer more than 600 varieties or colour and style.
So why should you choose Solid Surface over all the other materials available out there? The answer is a simple one – it really boils down to personal choice. Solid Surface might not be the right fit for your current project, but you might like it for something else!
Solid Surface is different! It can be used to create a design that is truly unique to you and your project – as illustrated by the range of projects in our Gallery. It is a modern material, offering a very wide range of colours to choose from – which is ever expanding – so there really is something for everyone! It is a versatile and seamless product, so you can have entire runs of surface without seams, which are “inconspicuous”. There are also a wide range of sinks and vanity bowls available to compliment your surface design – or indeed the chance to have one made bespoke.
Unlike natural stones (Marble, Quartz), and indeed modern variations (Silestone), Solid Surface can be manipulated, edged, is easy to maintain, and can be inconspicuously repaired should the unthinkable happen!
As a Three-Dimensional Thermoforming Specialist we can, and do, shape or curve Solid Surface into difficult and interesting shapes using tools such as our Platten Oven and 3D Fifty Tonne, Water Cooled Press.
What are the benefits of Solid Surface?
Simply – there are lots! In addition to the ability to form complex and unique shapes, and have inconspicuous seams, there are some real key points, outlined briefly below (but not limited to):
- Solid surface being seamless and non-porous means water, liquid and germs cannon penetrate, meaning Solid Surface is a highly sanitary material
- Solid Surface is easy to maintain, and near impossible to stain
- Solid Surface, across all brands, is Fire Resistant to the required Euro Class standards for both droplet and spread of flame
- Unlike natural stone – such as Marble, Granite or Quartz – you can have an array of finished edge details
- Solid Surface is machinable – allowing you to combine the material with an array of lighting effects and inlaying
What's the difference between Solid Surface and other products available on the market?
This is one of the most common questions we are asked.
The thing is there are so many differences between Solid Surface and other common materials you can use (Granite, Quartz, Marble, Laminate, Engineered Stone, Wood, etc) that to outline them all would take quite a bit of time.
So, to assist, we’ve produced the following chart which summarises these differences, and why Solid Surface really is a good material decision for your project.
If you’d like to read more about these differences, and the benefits of Solid Surface are against these other materials, please just click HERE and download a short guide you can read.
Types of Finish & Material Thickness
This is one of the ‘magical’ properties of Solid Surface. Having grown through the Shopfitting and Commercial Fit-out sectors the material is befitting of the craftsmanship principles of classic joinery. This makes it a complimentary finish for all forms of new development and joinery design projects.
Principally the finishes of Solid Surface fall into the following broad categories:
As would be expected these colours are uniform in nature, with no embedded effects. The variety is significant across material suppliers, with many (but not all) having specific references to RAL, Pantone, and NCS colours used across the design and construction industry. For large scale project our material suppliers can even provide bespoke colour offerings. Some solid colours are considered to be more sensitive than others, and depending on its use may be subject to a disclaimer. Please refer to the colour guides here, or just contact us so we can advise and assist further.
Translucent solid surfaces are fantastic for creative unique and innovative spaces and places. By either combining natural light, backlighting, or even CNC patterning, different, distinctive finishes can be achieved in a variety of settings. Translucent solid surface is by no means "see through", however the level of translucency can be controlled either by the layering of material; applying darker solid surface behind a translucent layer; by cutting the thickness of the material surface; or indeed by preparing the colour of the solid surface substrate.
Particulates, mixed with colours, provides a wide expanse of finish options. Some of these provide a similar effect to Marble and Granite, however the effects available are wide ranging and extensive. As the material technology continues to develop so does the visual effects that can be applied through Solid Surface, be these from small amounts of 'speckling'; to wider 'strokes' of a alternative colours. Some materials (for example Corian 'Silverite') even have semi-reflective particulates to provide a metallic effect.
All projects are individual, even if the style of job is similar (for example - countertops). Each and every client requires their unique finish to a project - be this the overall appearance, or something even as simple as an edge detail, or the inlaying of a different solid surface material to create a 2-toned visual effect. Extending on from the principles of classic joinery solid surface can be layered and machined into a number of edge finishes - including Bullnose, Shark Nose, Waterfall, Bevel, Ogee, Receeding, Ovolo, and so forth.
Solid Surface, as a material, is not a load-bearing material and generally comes in 3 standard thicknesses: 6mm 12mm 19mm It is worth noting that not Solid Surface material suppliers provide an extensive range of colour/finish options outside that of 12mm - which is the standard thickness. There are other Solid Surface materials (such as Mirostone) that are circa 20-25mm and do not require a substrate. However, an item fabricated from Solid Surface can be made to 'appear' as thick as you require - combining joinery substrates with the material. Being a non non-bearing material you do need to have a substrate included - such as in the production of countertops, kitchen tops, vanity units, etc., and indeed we would not utilise 6mm material for these purposes. 6mm material is ideal for wall surfaces or vertical cladding - areas which will not receive as much 'use and abuse'. As always, please just contact us to discuss your individual requirements and where Solid Surface can benefit and feature.
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