Never assume that all solid surfaces result in the same performance at your facility. There’s a good reason this assumption may bring grief down the road: they’re not all made the same way.
There are plenty of batch-made products in the marketplace, but by working with a reputable manufacturer, you can be sure to end up with a high-performing, and highly durable, 100-percent acrylic solid surface.
Durability isn’t the only reason to go with a top-quality product. It’s also critical to select a product with consistent color. For starters, this will make it easier to seam pieces together and create consistent color applications across your campus.
But color consistency also means selecting materials where the color isn’t just surface-deep, to ensure the product will look good over the long term. For example, when selecting a product with a veined aesthetic, check with the manufacturer to see if this veining is consistent all the way through the material.
There’s another color consideration to keep in mind. Darker colors are typically going to show more wear, and may potentially require more maintenance over time as a result. That doesn't mean you need to rule out dark colors, but do consider the specific application for which you’re designing.
While lighter colors might generally work better for heavy-use areas, overall any surface product will show some degree of wear over time — and that’s OK. The beauty of this material is its ease of repair. A reputable manufacturer, or a certified support fabricator that understands the unique needs of the healthcare environment, will steer you toward a quality solid surface material that can easily be renewed and repaired.
Of course, when selecting solid surfaces for your healthcare facility, it pays to look beyond aesthetics. Even though creating a welcoming environment through color and other design features can help improve patient satisfaction, infection control efforts have a far bigger impact. And yes, your solid surfaces play a role in reducing infection.
By selecting countertops, for example, with round edges, seamless designs and covered joints, you’re taking a step toward maximizing the ease and effectiveness of cleaning practices.
As with anything else, when purchasing solid surface materials, you get what you pay for. By making low price your first priority today, you may be setting yourself up for high replacement costs down the road.
About the Author: Stephen Finch is North American commercial sales manager for DuPont Building Innovations. He can be reached at Stephen.M.Finch@usa.dupont.com.