SYNTHETIC SOLID SURFACE COUNTERTOPS PART 2

When considering materials for your kitchen countertop, it's good to keep maintenance and longevity in mind, we'll take a look at four of these synthetic countertop materials.

Laminate arguably has the widest range of looks, edges, and finishes for kitchen countertops. You can mimic anything you want, and borders add another layer of customization. Laminate is a good option for slippery hands. It won't chip or crack if pots are dropped on it, and its softer surface is less likely to break a plate than granite or concrete.

Except for a few tile options, laminate also comes at an unbeatable price. Unfortunately, it's not the most durable, as scratches and blemishes can't be buffed out. If you are careful about cleaning and cutting, this could be a good option for your kitchen. If cutouts are still a concern, consider it an opportunity to install a small amount of a more durable counter surface in heavy-duty areas.

Solid surfaces have a flexible look and can be adapted to many kitchen styles. They are strong and consistent in appearance throughout the slab. The damage can be buffed away, so it can recover from rough kitchen use. However, while it is durable, it is not invulnerable. Being resin plastic at heart, these countertops are easy to clean and do not change over time.

The tile is affordable and very resistant to cutting and heat. Tile colors and patterns are widely varied. It can be a shortcut to the stone look, a chance to showcase art, or an area of smooth bright color. It’s worth buying quality tile; cheap tile made for walls can be scratched easily while dense ceramic tiles are more resistant to moisture damage.

Concrete countertops have been growing in popularity, quality, and range over the last few years. Quality and durability depend on the skill of the craftsperson. This hand-crafted element of creation is what makes concrete countertops so highly customizable. You can build kitchen features like drainboards.

You can have durable heirlooms or mementos embedded into them for a different way to enjoy your memories. Depending on sealant, concrete can stand up well to stain or heat, but other types of kitchen wear are harder on it. Cracks are part of life with this countertop material, which otherwise is very long-lasting.

The importance of having adequate equipment to cut dekton and porcelain

Dekton, among other alternative stone materials, continues to grow in popularity for applications such as countertops, flooring, and both interior and exterior wall cladding. Being a hard dense product, it is crucial to use appropriate tooling during the fabrication process. Carlos Sustaita, production director for STA Granite, provides several important tips of advice for those working with compact sintered stone.

Why do products such as Dekton need special/different tools than those that are used for cutting granite and marble?

Material hardness is the key to understanding why you need different tools to fabricate Dekton. The material has a
very high density (ultra-compact), which means that if you don’t use proper tools, you can either break the tool or the material or even worse, damage the machinery.

The cutting process requires trimming the edges to release tensions. Then you have to follow cutting recommendations, which include using plenty of water, the proper speed, feed rate, etc. Once you follow the rules, it’s a piece of cake.
When doing edging on Dekton, What is the difference in the process compared to a natural stone?

In this sense, Dekton’s edge is very easy to work with since the material is very homogeneous, and it is easy to get very good results. Any fabricator can do it well on the first attempt.

What are some common mistakes that fabricators are making when it comes to cutting this material? And, what are some common mistakes with doing edging or doing sinkholes or something?

The main mistake is trying to fabricate Dekton as if it was a granite or quartz composite. You will fail if you use the same tools, speed rates, and so on. Another common mistake is trying to cut Dekton in uneven support. It is a common source of problems too.

Sometimes people ask about what machine is best to cut Dekton. I believe the key is not the machine but the tools and proper maintenance. I have seen people with very modest equipment doing amazing things and the other way around.

7 Keys for Cutting Ultra-Compact and Sintered Dekton and Porcelain Materials

1. Water

It may seem too simple or too intuitive to matter, but less than adequate water AND hoses positioned incorrectly is the most common error causing headaches among cutting these materials.
2. Check your table level

One of the more overlooked aspects of successful cutting is, to the degree that your table is not level in the horizontal plane, vibrations will occur. This unevenness can result in chipping and likely breaking the edge of your slab.
3. Buy the right blade

As cliche, as it may sound, choosing the right blade for the material you are processing, is critical.
4. Removing tensioning strips

While each manufacturer of ultra-compact and sintered porcelain materials may, or may not have tensioning strips built into the perimeters of each slab, if they are not removed before cutting, the slab is at higher risk of cracking or breaking.
5. Feed rate and RPMs

Using the same feed rate and RPMs you may be accustomed to when cutting other materials can be a recipe for trouble. Unlike fabricating more common materials such as marble and granite, we’ve seen the most success cutting ultra-compact and sintered porcelain materials when following a systemized approach is used.
6. Avoiding Plunging

While plunge cutting tends to be of little concern for most sawyers when cutting ultra-compact and sintered porcelain materials it can pose big problems resulting in cracking or breaking your slab.
7. Cutting Sinks

Projects requiring a sink cut-out can be an obstacle many fabricators dread. Since we already know plunging is not the ideal way to go about this, what are your options? When preparing a sink cut-out, it is advised to drill each of the four corners with a 1/2” core bit before to start initiating cutting.
TIPS FOR WHEN REMODELING YOUR KITCHEN PART 1

TIPS FOR WHEN REMODELING YOUR KITCHEN PART 1

With your remodeling goal in mind, take some time to identify what’s important to you. Read More
SYNTHETIC SOLID SURFACE COUNTERTOPS PART 2

SYNTHETIC SOLID SURFACE COUNTERTOPS PART 2

When considering materials for your kitchen countertop, Read More
SYNTHETIC SOLID SURFACE COUNTERTOPS PART 1

SYNTHETIC SOLID SURFACE COUNTERTOPS PART 1

Speaking of kitchen countertops, let's talk about synthetic Read More
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