S|365 Designer Lab – Materials & Finishes: Surfaces
Determining what type of countertop surface is best for your project can get confusing and overwhelming, especially since there are so many types available. For today’s S|365 Designer Lab, we invited Engineered Surfaces Specification Specialist Kirsten Solly from Wilsonart to discuss popular options and their respective advantages.
Start with budget, intent, and care expectations.
What is your budget & timeline?
What is your design intent, aesthetic?
Where is it? Kitchen, restroom vanity, other?
What is your expectation for care & maintenance?
Determine which type of surface is best for your project.
Install High Pressure Decorative Laminate (HPDL) for countertops, cabinets, doors & walls.
Short lead time, most economical & versatile, with 100’s of design options.
Edge profile is important: self edge, post form top, or decorative.
Durable & easy to clean with scratch-resistant & anti-microbial options.
Sustainable = up to 34% post-consumer recycled content.
Install THINSCAPE Performance Top for countertops & backsplashes.
Low to mid-level pricing, with less fabrication over Solid Surface or Quartz.
“Sister” to laminate in 12 designs with sleek European profile edge.
Readily available ½” thick paper/resin panel, no substrate required.
Next-level durability & performance = dense, non-porous, impact, scratch & moisture-resistant.
Install Solid Surface Acrylic Top for bathroom vanities & tub/shower surrounds.
Available in 50+ designs at multiple price points.
Not as hard as Laminate, THINSCAPE or Quartz, but offers a soft, warm feel.
Smaller sheets than Quartz & requires specialized fabrication/installation.
Renewable & repairable surface = easy care, long-lasting durability, no sealants.
Install Quartz for high-use countertops & backsplashes.
Hard engineered material = 97% quartz stone & 3% resin and colors.
Higher cost point in variety of designs, marble & natural stone looks, terrazzo, and contemporary aggregates.
Requires specialized fabrication & comes in larger slabs; consider for long-term installations.
Easy care = non-porous, stain, scratch & impact resistant, no sealant required.
Budget, function & aesthetics drive selections: High-use kitchens may need a harder, non-porous surface such as THINSCAPE or Quartz whereas a guest bathroom or modest-use space can perform nicely with an easy-to-clean Laminate or Solid Surface option, all without compromising style or budget.
Special thank you to our guest contributor, Kirsten Solly!