There is no Silica in Solid Surface

There is no Silica in Solid Surface

Silica and Solid Surface – A talking point

Talking about silica and Solid Surface has become an important topic to discuss as so many people get Solid Surface confused with engineered stone. In fact, they are entirely different products, that exist in the same marketplace, whilst offering different attributes.

That being said, health is of paramount concern for us all, and understanding the difference between the materials on offer can only be an advantage when deciding on which material to use in your project.

Solid Surface is an amazing design option for your project. It stands out for many reasons, as it is non porous, with antibacterial properties, stain resistant, and can be heat treated to form curves and shapes, and is a healthier option as it contains zero silica.

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This growing awareness of silica related health risks has significantly elevated the importance of using zero silica materials in construction and interior design.

Before we discuss why this is important, it is crucial to understand the main differences between Solid Surface and engineered stone.

Solid Surface vs. Engineered Stone: Key Differences

Solid Surface and engineered stone are often confused as both are man made, hard as stone, worktop materials, however, they are entirely different in their chemical composition and how they are fabricated.

Solid Surface is NOT the same as engineered stone.

Solid Surface is completely silica free, as it is made from a mixture of 1/3 acrylic which is combined with 2/3 natural minerals, that are cured, and combined with pigment and, sometimes, crunched up Solid Surface, to create a hard as-stone, beautiful, hard-wearing, surface material.

In contrast, engineered stone is made from a combination of around 90% crushed quartz bound together using polymer resin and contains an element of crystalline silica.

Silica Concerns and Material Safety

Silica is a naturally occurring mineral, and is a key component of engineered stone. While the actual solid form of engineered stone itself is not hazardous, the dust that is produced during the fabrication and installation poses potential harm when inhaled, which is where the problem itself lies.

The fabrication process involves activities such as cutting, grinding, trimming, drilling, sanding, and polishing to create the final product for installation, which are processes that are unavoidable. Respirable dust, containing crystalline silica, is released during these processes. Prolonged exposure to this dust poses serious health risks, particularly developing a debilitating lung disease known as silicosis.

Many fabricators of engineered stone have invested in tooling and processes to mitigate this risk as much as possible.

This means that choosing worktop materials that contain zero silica has become more important than ever.

Global Impact and Material Safety

Concern about engineered stone has increased over the last few years, and recently Australia took very decisive, and drastic action, in banning the material altogether.

This decision to ban engineered stone came as a response to the rising cases of silicosis that they witnessed among workers in the engineered stone fabrication industry. Silicosis is an irreversible, and incurable, disease that can lead to severe respiratory problems and, in some cases, even death, to understand more about this, you can read more here.


This ban has highlighted the issue in many countries, including the UK, of material safety, and we have now seen the emergence of the first properly documented cases here in the UK, you can read more about this here:

Beyond Health: Practical Advantages of Solid Surface

It has become even more important than ever, when choosing worktop materials, to consider if they contain silica. Using Solid Surface eliminates the risk of silica exposure during fabrication and installation making it a much safer alternative for everyone involved, including fabricators/installers and end users.

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Apart from health considerations, Solid Surface offers many other advantages, both in design and functionality.

Solid Surface can be thermoformed to produce 3 dimensional shapes and amazing curves, and its non porous, seamless surface ensures durability, easy maintenance, and resistance to microbial growth. The diverse range of vibrant colours, edge details, and finishes make it a versatile, ultimate addition to any residential or commercial project.

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This was a very difficult topic to broach, as we have many friends, and colleagues, who work with engineered stone, and are working hard to mitigate the risks associated with silica, taking a responsible view towards their manufacturing processes, however, it is still important for us to ensure that the wider market are aware of the differences between us, as our processes produce an element of dust, and we do not want our clients to be concerned, or confused, about working with us, or with Solid Surface.

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