When it comes to selecting countertops for your kitchen or bathroom, two popular options are solid surface and quartz countertops. Both offer the look of natural stone with some key differences in terms of appearance, durability, maintenance, and cost. Understanding the pros and cons of each can help you decide which is the right fit for your space and lifestyle.

What are Solid Surface Countertops?

Solid surface countertops, sometimes referred to as seamless or acrylic countertops, are made from a mixture of acrylic, polyester, and minerals. The combination results in a non-porous, solid surface material that can be molded and shaped in a wide variety of ways.

Some key features of solid surface countertops include:

  • Seamless look: The material can be fabricated in one continuous piece with no seams, resulting in a smooth, streamlined appearance.
  • Customizable: Solid surface can be thermoformed and molded into customized shapes and edge profiles. Integral sinks can also be created for a seamless look.
  • Repairable: Solid surface is resilient and repairable. light scratches can be buffed out, and more severe damage can often be repaired by a professional fabricator.
  • Large color selection: These countertops come in a diverse palette of colors and patterns. Popular brand options include Corian, Avonite, Gibraltar, and Hi-Macs.
  • Non-porous: The material is non-porous, making it resistant to stains and microbes.

Popular solid surface colors include whites, grays, beiges and patterns that mimic natural stone. The material tends to have a matte to lightly textured finish.

What are Quartz Countertops?

Quartz countertops are engineered stone surfaces made from quartz particles bonded together with resin. Natural quartz is an exceptionally hard mineral, making it very durable as a countertop material.

Some notable features of quartz countertops include:

  • Stain resistant: Quartz resists stains, scratches, heat, and moisture. However, some darker colors may be more prone to showing scratches.
  • Low maintenance: Requires very little maintenance aside from occasional cleaning with soap and water.
  • Durable: As one of the hardest natural minerals, quartz makes an incredibly strong and durable surface able to withstand years of use.
  • Resilient: Quartz is non-porous and resists harboring bacteria and microbes.
  • Heat tolerant: Quartz can withstand heat up to 300°F. However, using trivets is still recommended.
  • Wide color range: Available in natural stone patterns as well as solid colors and bold patterns.

Popular brands of quartz countertops include Caesarstone, Cambria, Silestone, and Viatera. The surface is polished to a smooth, glossy finish.

Key Differences Between Solid Surface and Quartz

While solid surface and quartz share some similarities, there are some notable differences when comparing the two materials:


  • Solid surface is known for its seamless, streamlined look. Quartz often (but not always) has visible seams between slabs.
  • Solid surface offers more versatility in terms of customized edges, integrated sinks, and complex shapes.
  • Quartz is limited to straight edges and typically requires seam placement in corners and along cutouts.
  • Quartz has a glossy, polished appearance that highlights the natural beauty of quartz particles. Solid surface is largely matte.


  • Quartz is one of the hardest natural minerals, making it exceptionally scratch and chip resistant. Solid surface is prone to scratches and scuffs over time.
  • Quartz can withstand hot pots/pans and has high heat tolerance. Solid surface can be damaged by extreme heat.
  • Solid surface is easier to repair than quartz. Scratches can be buffed out and sections can be re-polished.


  • Quartz requires very little maintenance aside from cleaning. Solid surface needs occasional polishing/resealing to maintain its finish.
  • Quartz is essentially stainproof. Some stains can permeate solid surface over time with exposure.
  • Solid surface needs to be cleaned frequently to prevent buildup in seams that can lead to bacteria growth. Quartz resists bacteria growth.


  • Solid surface is often less expensive than natural quartz. The price range is $55-$100 per square foot installed.
  • Quartz ranges from $80 to $140 per square foot installed. More premium options with unique patterns/finishes can be over $100 per square foot.
  • The seamless look of solid surface can have cost advantages compared to the seam placement and edge buildup required for quartz.

Pros and Cons of Solid Surface Countertops


  • Completely customizable aesthetic with integrated sinks/edges
  • Durable yet renewable surface that can be repaired
  • Resists stains and heat fairly well
  • Available in wide range of colors and patterns
  • More affordable than natural stone
  • Easy to clean and sanitize


  • Prone to scratches and scuffs that require polishing
  • Not as heat or scratch resistant as quartz
  • Needs frequent cleaning and occasional resealing
  • Can show seams over time as material expands/contracts
  • Susceptible to damage from harsh chemicals

Pros and Cons of Quartz Countertops


  • Exceptionally strong and durable
  • Resists scratches, stains, heat, and moisture
  • Easy maintenance and cleaning
  • Long lasting; does not need routine sealing or polishing
  • Looks beautiful and elegant
  • Resists bacterial growth
  • Large variety of colors and patterns


  • More expensive than solid surface
  • Limited in terms of customized edges and seamless look
  • Some darker colors show scratches more
  • Requires professional installation
  • Can chip if subjected to blunt force
  • Needs sealing where it meets a sink to prevent moisture damage

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Solid Surface and Quartz

Choosing between solid surface and quartz countertops depends on several factors:

  • Usage: How will the space be used? Quartz is ideal for busy kitchens prone to spills, hot pans, and daily wear-and-tear. Solid surface can work well for more lightly used spaces.
  • Appearance: If a seamless look is preferred, solid surface is likely the better choice. Quartz offers an elegant, stone-like look.
  • Budget: Quartz costs more upfront. But solid surface requires more regular maintenance. Long term costs may be comparable.
  • Durability: Quartz is harder and more scratch resistant. Solid surface requires more routine maintenance.
  • Edge profile: Solid surface allows for full customization of edges. Quartz edges are limited to polished, squared, or simple eased profiles.
  • Color/Finish: Quartz comes in a wide range but is always glossy. Solid surface has many matte options but fewer imitation stone patterns.

No matter which material you select, proper care and maintenance will help your countertops look beautiful for years. Be sure to use cutting boards, trivets, and clean spills promptly to maximize durability. With routine care, both solid surface and quartz can be excellent options for countertops that get better with age.

Frequently Asked Questions About Solid Surface vs. Quartz Countertops

Is solid surface or quartz better for kitchen countertops?

Quartz is generally considered a better choice for kitchens due to its superior durability, stain resistance, and ease of maintenance. However, solid surface can also work well for kitchens that see light to moderate usage.

What is higher quality, solid surface or quartz?

Quartz is regarded as a higher quality material than solid surface due to its strength, longevity, and resilience. However, solid surface remains a durable option under normal use and offers a seamless appearance that quartz does not.

Which is more expensive, solid surface or quartz countertops?

Quartz typically costs more than solid surface. Quartz countertops range from $80-$140 per square foot installed. Solid surface runs $55-$100 per square foot installed. More intricate edge details on solid surface can increase overall cost.

Can you repair quartz countertops?

Quartz is very difficult to repair on your own. Chips, cracks, or major damage requires replacement by a professional fabricator. Minor marks or scratches can sometimes be gently smoothed using fine grit sandpaper.

Is solid surface cheaper than quartz?

Generally yes, solid surface is less expensive upfront than quartz. However, maintenance costs over the lifespan may lead to comparable overall investment. The higher initial cost of quartz pays off in durability and low maintenance.

Do quartz countertops need to be sealed?

Quartz does not require routine sealing like natural stone. However, annual sealing is recommended where the countertop meets a sink or backsplash to prevent moisture damage.

Is solid surface better than laminate?

Solid surface is better than laminate due to its durability, customization, heat resistance, and renewable surface. Laminate is very affordable but prone to chipping, bubbling, and irreparable damage over time.

What is the most durable kitchen countertop material?

Quartz is widely regarded as the most durable and low maintenance kitchen countertop material. It stands up exceptionally well to daily wear-and-tear. Granite is another highly durable option.

Do solid surface countertops stain?

Solid surface can stain, especially with prolonged exposure to certain materials like wine, oils, and dyes. But stains tend to sit on the surface rather than absorb, so they can often be removed or sanded away.

Is solid surface better than Corian?

Corian is the most popular and well-known brand of solid surface material. So Corian and solid surface are essentially the same product. Corian remains one of the highest quality solid surface options on the market.


Solid surface and quartz both make excellent choices for countertops. Solid surface offers a streamlined, customizable look along with repairable durability. Quartz provides superior strength and scratch resistance with an elegant, natural stone aesthetic.

For heavy-use kitchen countertops that need to stand up to years of daily wear-and-tear, quartz is likely the better option. Its strength, stain resistance, and easy maintenance make it an ideal surface for busy kitchens. Those wanting a seamless appearance and custom edge details may prefer solid surface.

Careful consideration of usage, maintenance expectations, appearance, and budget can help determine which material is the right fit. With proper installation and care, both solid surface and quartz countertops can remain beautiful focal points in your home for decades to come.