Author Archives: Rachel

How to Choose a Sink For Solid Surface Countertops

Karran Seamless Undermount Stainless Steel - Dual Single Bowls

Karran Seamless Undermount Stainless Steel – Dual Single Bowls

Feeling overwhelmed by all of the sink options available? Well, it’s time to take a deep breath and relax. We’re here to help you focus your decision and hone in on the sink material and style that will fit your needs best for your Corian® or other brand of solid surface countertop.

To start, take a moment to consider what’s most important to you with regard to the new sink you are going to install in conjunction with your solid surface countertops. Where is your sink going to be placed—in a kitchen, bathroom, wet bar, laundry or even laboratory? Is your decision driven by design and aesthetics? Is it based on the fact that you want a new sink that is going to be durable and stand the test of time? Or perhaps an antiseptic environment and ease of cleaning are your prime outcomes?

It’s important to focus on what benefits are most important to you and what takes priority as you design your parameters.

We’ve identified three key considerations when choosing your new sink: the type of sink, whether or not to top mount or undermount it, and if undermounting it, whether or not to do a seamless undermount.

Time to pick your basin!

Type of Sinks Available

There are currently four types of materials that sinks are constructed from: solid surface, stainless steel, granite or quartz composite and cast iron. Pros and cons arise with each option available, such as cost, durability, aesthetics and antiseptic properties. Consider the pros and cons of each type.

Solid Surface (Acrylic) Sinks

Karran Seamless Undermount Solid Surface

Karran Seamless Undermount Solid Surface

Solid surface sinks offer a wide range of benefits. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce (2000), they (along with other composite sinks) are rising in popularity and use. They are molded from an acrylic resin with added fillers and colors and are the same color throughout. Because of this, any chips or scratches can be sanded out without causing any permanent damage or marks. Similarly, although solid surface sinks can discolor after extended use, this discoloration can be easily removed by scouring the basin with a cleanser, like Comet.

From a décor standpoint, standard solid surface sinks are currently offered in a handful of colors, like white, off-white and bone, to name a few. If color is a factor in your sink choice, then you might consider quartz. For the more design-adventurous, solid surface sink basins can also be creatively developed through thermoforming at the manufacturer.

Solid surface sinks, undermounted to your solid surface countertop using a seamless undermount approach (see below), are one of the most hygienic sink options available; meeting NSF 51 food equipment sanitation certification standard for “Splash Zone” and “Food Zone” applications. While this approach is not technically “seamless”, it is a bonding process that causes the two surfaces to come together so there is no support for the growth of bacteria and mold and no water penetration.

Lastly, if high heat is a factor in your sink usage, you might want to consider a stainless steel or cast iron option.

Granite or Quartz Composite Sinks

Karran Quartz Undermount Sink

Karran Quartz Undermount Sink

Also a composite, granite sinks are molded using ground up quartz pieces, quartz dust and acrylic resins and is the same color throughout. Similar to solid surface sinks, granite can also discolor with extended use. Although you can scour the surface and remove minor stains, excessive abrasion can lead to non-removable scratches.

Granite composite sinks are offered in a wide range of color options, with unique design features. This allows you to choose from a wide range of color contrasts, grains and patterns.

Cast Iron (Porcelain Enamel) Sinks

Cast iron sinks have a glass (also called porcelain enamel) surface, which is applied to the cast iron or steel basin and then fired at high temperatures. The glass color layer sits on top of the cast iron or steel. This glass layer is offered in a wide range of colors—such as black, brown, blue, gray, red and white, etc—based on the manufacturer’s options. It’s also important to note, the porcelain enamel surface can scratch and chip, which is non-repairable.

Stainless Steel Sinks

Karran Stainless Steel Seamless Undermount Double Kitchen Sink

Karran Stainless Steel Seamless Undermount Double Kitchen Sink

Stainless is made from different thicknesses of stainless steel (usually 18 gauge but can range from 16 to 23 gauge) Remember, the lower the gauge (thickness), the more durable the sink will be. Scratches can be removed or masked by using abrasives such as sand paper or steel wool. Always be mindful to go “with the grain.” All previous styles (solid surface, granite and cast iron) can chip, whereas stainless will dent permanently.

In general, stainless steel is a rugged, durable material. And, when it comes to antiseptic properties, stainless steel can also meet NSF 51 certification.

Top Mount (Drop-In) or Undermount?

Karran Stainless Steel Seamless Undermount Vanity Bowl

Karran Stainless Steel Seamless Undermount Vanity Bowl

Ease of Use – Top mounted sinks create a lip or edge, which prevents the easy sweeping of countertop debris into the sink while undermounted do not. Installing a top mounted sink will require caulking around the edge between the lip of the sink and the countertop. This prevents water from running under the rim.

Food Safety and Hygiene – Because of the caulking requirement, top mounted sinks provide a location for bacteria and mold to reside. Undermounted sinks also produce a seam that needs to be caulked and cleaned regularly.

Undermount Sinks – Standard or Seamless?

Karran Undermount Stainless Steel Sinks

Karran Stainless Steel Seamless Undermount

There are two types of undermount sinks—seamless, and one where the edge of the countertop extends beyond the inner edge of the sink, creating a visible joint.

In the typical undermount installation where the seam is visible, the sink can be glued or mechanically fastened under the countertop or both. The weight of the sink will dictate the method of installation, based upon the manufacturers recommendation. The joint between the top and bowl (on the sink bowl side) is typically sealed with silicone or caulk. Keep in mind that this area will need to be routinely cleaned to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold.

Karran Stainless Steel Seamless Undermount

Karran Stainless Steel Seamless Undermount

A seamless undermount is where the bond between the sink and the countertop is completed using an acrylic-based adhesive that hardens into a non-porous surface. The area of the seam is then routed and sanded so the countertop surface flows together with the sink surface. When the countertop and sink are the same color this joint is virtually invisible.

Solid surface and Karran stainless steel sinks can both be undermounted seamlessly. All types (granite and cast iron included) can all be undermounted in a non-seamless fashion.

Ease of Use & Hygiene – Seamless undermount sinks are easier to maintain and keep the most hygienic since there is not a caulk line to trap debris, bacteria and mold. This is an important consideration for sinks being placed in food preparation areas, dental and medical offices and other areas where an antiseptic environment is desired.

Learn how to install the various types of sinks in our Countertop Fundamentals instructional guides.  Sinks, sink adhesives, mounting kits and other sink accessories can all be purchased at


5 Things You Never Knew You Could Do With Corian® or Solid Surface

Bend It, Curve It, Twist It, Round It, Shape It…

Need a curved backsplash or solid surface countertop, a rounded shower stall, or a tub with a recessed soap dish or shampoo holder? Have you come against a situation where you need to bend solid surface materials around an odd corner or curved wall? Or perhaps you want to set your creative juices to work on a flowing design that includes free-form waves or columns? …No problem. Thermoforming is your answer!

What’s Thermoforming?

In the simplest terms, thermoforming is a process of heat-shaping synthetic material. And one of the greatest advantages of many solid surface materials is their ability to be heat-shaped in relatively few steps.

Innovative solid surface materials like Corian®,  LG HI-MACS®, Samsung Staron®, Wilsonart™ Solid Surface, Formica™ Solid Surface, Hanwha Hanex®, Avonite®, Meganite, and Mystera (to name a few) now offer the greatest flexibility (excuse the pun!) to make your creative vision come to life. What was once a complicated and time-consuming process through the carving, chiseling, or steaming and bending of materials like stone, granite or wood, is now made easier. Flexible when heated, these solid surface materials can be thermoformed into many shapes. With the proper heating elements and molds—dictated by the size and outcome of the project you are attempting—you can now bend, curve, twist, round-out and shape many solid surface materials into the desired contour within minutes.

People Prefer Curved Contours…

Incorporating curved features into your designs can even result in a boost in the desirability of your product.  As it turns out, flowing curves are just as aesthetically pleasing and desirable in man made designs as they are in our natural environment… and science has proven it. In a study conducted at Harvard Medical School1, it was discovered that people gave visual preference to items with curved contours over sharp-angled contours.

What does this mean for you? Introducing curved contours into your work and surrounding environment can directly influence the preferences, first impressions, or overall comfort of anyone who sets eyes upon it!

Ready to start bending, curving, twisting, rounding, or shaping?

Check out the details of how to get it done and read more about the technical application of thermoforming in our “Working With Solid Surface Guide – How to Thermoform Solid Surface”.   Pay particular attention to the one-of-kind thermoforming table contained within—the only resource of its kind where you can find comprehensive specifications for nearly every kind of solid surface material that exists at this time.

We look forward to hearing about your curved creations and experiences in the comment section below.


1 Bar, M., & Neta, M. (2006). Humans prefer curved visual objects. Psychological Science, 17(8), 645-648.

Wilsonart Launches 2013 Solid Surface Collection, Inspired by Cityscapes

The beauty of Wilsonart® Solid Surface brings the glamour of the city lights indoors

Wilsonart Solid Surface Announces 2013 Colors

Wilsonart® Solid Surface released 8 new designs taking as their theme the rich textures,

surfaces and sparkle of the urban landscape. Cityscape, their choice of name for the collection, seeks to add drama and elegance to your residential and commercial space.

As a desirable and affordable alternative to granite and other stone surfaces, this Cityscape collection is sprinkled with quartz and mica like acrylic chips that provide a spark.

This glittery look allows it to easily play a starring role in your classically designed or modernistic space. Or, if it is used as cladding for a high-rise building next door, the cityscape out the windows of this elegant space takes on a new urban appeal.

Wilsonart Solid Surface is naturally resistant to fade, heat, bacteria, mold, mildew and most stains, and is, renewable and repairable. When solid surface sheets are joined together with solid surface adhesive, they become a seamless non porous surface which helps with compliance with NSF/ANSI Standard 51 food contact requirements, making solid surface one of the few surfaces that is safe for food contact and preparation.

Keeping food clean is almost as essential as having clean indoor air which it is also certified to have with their UL GreenGuard Gold certification.

The colors in the Cityscape collection are designed to complement a range of materials like wood, metal, glass and laminate making them the perfect backdrop for sleek and modern accessories in contemporary spaces.

The new colors include:

Garnet Glitz

Gold Glitz

Night Stars


Paris Fog

Chipped Chocolate

Maple Harvest

Avalanche Melange

Wilsonart Solid Surface is backed by a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty and is available at kitchen and bath dealers, home centers and local fabricators nationwide.

About Wilsonart

Wilsonart LLC is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and distributors of high pressure laminates and other engineered surfaces used in furniture, office and retail space, countertops, worktops and other applications. The company operates under the Wilsonart, Resopal, Polyrey and Arborite brands and has achieved success through a combination of outstanding service, high-quality products and a focus on continuously redefining decorative surfaces through improved performance and aesthetics. For more information, visit or connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

Wilsonart is a registered trademark of Wilsonart LLC.