Myth no. 3 - solid surface is the only worktop material that scratches
On the back of my first blog about debunking myths, where I asked for ideas for future topics, several people, including Arlington Interiors, came back with the age old question "what do we say to people who complain that solid surface scratches?"
My answer is, "you're absolutely right, it can be scratched in certain circumstances, and *show me a material that is used on worktops that doesn't scratch*."
Only last month one of our sales team visited a high-end kitchen showroom. On entering he saw a wide range of worktops on display including granite, quartz and solid surface (Corian® in this instance I'm happy to say). The Corian® worktop was a relatively old installation and when questioned the showroom owner said that he didn't sell any Corian®. In response to the obvious question, "why not?", he said that there was a big scratch on it that was years old so he didn't like showing the worktop to customers.
Searching for the real root of the problem
I could scream in frustration whenever I hear this type of story. After only minutes of discussion a few things became apparent:
- the showroom owner didn't really know anything about the material despite the fact that it had been in the showroom for about 8 years;
- the scratching was quite severe and had been caused by staff dragging a metal display rack for unrelated products across the worktop surface; and
- most, if not all, worktops in the showroom would have suffered similar scratching if treated in this way.
The first point highlights the need for training of showroom staff and education of the general public - the point of this blog, of course.
Point 2 shows that sometimes the best way to answer a question is with another question. It often becomes apparent when you find out the cause of the supposed problem - "my worktop is scratched" - that the homeowner is treating their worktop like it is indestructible.
The final point is perhaps the most important. *All worktop materials scratch*. It's all about perception. For some reason when people plump for a wood or stainless steel worktop, both of which scratch severely when you so much as sneeze at them, there is a general acceptance that this scratching will occur.
When solid surface first came onto the scene over half a century ago, the natural stone industry, sensing a threat to its market dominance, sought to focus on its own perceived strengths and solid surface's perceived weaknesses. The battle lines were drawn around resistance to scratching. Granite, for example, is naturally harder than most solid surfaces but herein lies both a strength and a weakness.
Solid surface is repairable
Because people are told that Granite doesn't scratch then they treat their worktop without thinking about caring for it. The photo I have chosen above is of a piece of granite that has been scratched, easily I might add, by running a key across it. Granite is not indestructible. Solid surface would of course also scratch in the same circumstances; however, whilst repairing the granite is nigh on impossible, polishing out scratches in solid surface is easy and commonplace.
Focus not on the negative but on the positive - *everything scratches but it's not the end of the world if solid surface does scratch*.
Getting better with age
In fact whilst most products wear with age and use, solid surface gets better over time. With cleaning and everyday wearing, a natural patina is formed which adds a lovely lustre to the solid surface worktop. After 30 years your worktop will look better than the day it was put in - what other worksurface can you say the same about?
Choose the right colour for your worktop
I have a black car. I won't have a black car again as it is impossible to keep clean and shows up every minor scratch. The same is true of kitchen worktops. That's why most solid surfaces now separate out those colours that are suitable for use as a kitchen worktop.
All Corian®, for example, is made the same way but some colours will show scratching more than others. Some customers acknowledge this but still choose to put in a darker colour, others choose lighter colours that are easier to live with. My kitchen table is made out of glacier white Corian®. It's covered in scratches if you look very closely but because it's white you don't see them.
Take a deep breath and don't worry about admitting that solid surface scratches
So, it may seem like a strange thing for me to be saying but actually the issue is not that solid surface scratches - it does:
- solid surface can be scratched but show me a material that is used for worktops that can't be scratched;
- minor scratches and scuffs are easily removed by the homeowner, more serious scratches are not a problem either as these can be sanded out by fabricators and the worktop repolished;
- everyday cleaning of solid surface gives a sheen to your worktop that means it will improve with age - a unique property;
- choose a colour that you or your customer are happy to live with - if they are dead set on shiny black then probably solid surface is not for them anyway.
Please do let me know what you think - have I lost all sense of reason or do you agree? There are lots more myths to be debunked......