In my last couple of posts I showed a lot of our countertops and I realized I never did a follow-up post to the installation. We've lived with them now for a couple months, so I can also share my opinions on solid surface in the kitchen, (since we installed solidsurface ourselves in the bathroom upstairs and have been living with that for a year and a half).
For a reminder, after switching from our original plan for granite, we went with Corian Rain Cloud from Home Depot. We couldn't be happier with our choice. To be perfectly honest though, we've never had so much counter space, so we're probably still in the adjustment period of so much space to use, regardless of what it's made of!
I will say that I was a little concerned with the pattern, especially since it was a directional pattern. Knowing I would have 2 corner cuts I was worried that it would look very obvious. To add to my worries, the day of installation Mike was texting me throughout the process and informed me that the overhang for the peninsula would also have a seam since the width was wider than the sheets used. I was beyond nervous coming home that day.
The base is white, with gray "veining", (not really sure what to call them), and some brownish spots as well. I was worried the brown would look weird, or dirty, but it's actually great for picking up the brown accents throughout the space, as well as hiding dirt, go figure!
The corner seams are nearly invisiable, and since we have things in the corners, you really can't see them at all.
The overhang seam is a little more noticeable, but only if you're looking for it.
For the most part the gray veining blends, but there are a couple spots where the gray has a definite cut line exposing the seam.
I've highlighted the seam and pointed to one of the obvious spots that shows the cut more prominently.
While I made the final decision on the pattern, (Mike signed off obviously), Mike was in charge of all the small details. As I've mentioned before, he worked in a counter shop in high school, so he's aware of the more minute details that I didn't even know to address.
When he sent out our requirements for quotes, he knew to include the overhang information, eased edging, and the sink information of under-mounting. He was present for the templating, and the installation. I would have had no idea about the over hangs on the edge of the peninsula, or the other side where the counter is next to the door, but he knew these things and made sure to communicate to the installers.
My only requirement was for the edge to be thick to give it a more "stone-like" look. The edges are 1 1/2" thick and look very substantial, and with the simple eased edge profile, it looks more like a slab of stone.
The other concern was out of all the materials and patterns of solid surface, Rain Cloud was very soft. It's kind of velvety to the touch almost. I know this is weird, and I didn't even notice it until I did some research and found Lindsay from Little House Blog discussing Carrara Marble alternatives. When I touched all the samples, I could see exactly what she meant. I was worried that it would never feel clean. We obviously went for it anyways, and I'm happy to report it I like the satin, almost velvet feel. It doesn't have a shiny finish that I think I would prefer, but it's very nice, and different.
Being solid surface we haven't had any staining issues, or problems cleaning it. I have found that liquid spills leave shiny spots which I can see if the light hits it a certain way. For instance I recently found an area with a circle about 3 inches wide of very tiny shiny dots all around it. I wiped it up with my new favorite go-to counter spray, Mrs. Meyers, (in basil scent), but I couldn't for the life of me figure out where it came from, or how it was made. A couple days later I watched Mike pour some Sprite into a tumbler, and realized the tiny dots were the carbonation bubbles, which explained why there was a 3" spot in the middle where the glass sat. Not a big deal at all, but I've gotten used seeing little shiny spots from where water or some liquid has dried. I just wipe it up and move on. Obviously, a shiny surface like granite wouldn't show this, but on the flip side, a different material would have different maintenance issues of it's own!
Overall we're really happy with the counters, and I'm not embarrassed to admit that I've been known to pet them from time to time.