Experts reveal what’s trending in the world of surface material. By Loren Kessell
Sometimes, it’s what’s on the outside that matters. In a world of varying surface options, it’s hard to pinpoint the perfect choice for every client. NKBA spoke to some experts about options and what’s hot in the man-made material sphere. Here’s what they had to say:
1. Quartz Remains Solid
In a constantly changing industry, quartz thrives. It is a timeless option that can be molded to enhance any design, and it continues to be favored.
“Quartz surfacing, like Silestone by Cosentino, has become very popular among both consumers and professionals,” said Massimo Ballucchi, Cosentino Americas executive director of marketing, citing its key advantages over natural stones. “Both marble and granite require regular sealing and maintenance due to their porosity, and still run the risk of staining. Silestone, on the other hand, requires zero maintenance and is non-porous, so its texture is highly resistant to stains that would otherwise wreak havoc on natural stone.”
Summer Kath, EVP of design and business development for Cambria Surfaces, also cited the health benefits of quartz.
“A quartz countertop is classic and beautiful, and homeowners don’t have to worry about cleanliness or bacteria,” Kath said. “You can utilize it in other parts of the house, like the vanity or the bathroom, or as a complement throughout the home.”
2. Thinning Out
Shifting to sophisticated surface material that’s thinner and sleeker recently started trending, according to Karen Kuranda, sales and business development manager for Eastern Surfaces.
“In the last few years, a thinner, sleeker look was introduced by porcelain and ultra-compact products like Crossville, Dekton, and Lapitec,” Kuranda said. “More unique colors requested in granite and natural quartzites gained in popularity, and manufactured quartz products continue to develop more sophisticated patterns.”
Factors such as tariffs and shifting trends led to the uptick in utilizing thinner slabs, and many companies introduced their own solutions.
“New innovations in surfacing materials, like the Thinscape™ Performance Tops by Wilsonart, help to alleviate these concerns,” Tammy Weadock, senior communications manager for Wilsonart, said. “Thinscape Performance Tops are a collection of ultra-thin, engineered composite countertops that are highly durable and water-resistant.”
3. Here, There and Everywhere
Gone are the days that solid surface only served as material for countertops. Applications range from floor to ceiling, and these experts have seen a broad spectrum.
“I’ve seen full wall treatments using our product, and really unique furniture applications,” Kath said.
In the kitchen solid surface finds its way into backsplashes, shower walls in the bathroom and as flooring in all of these spaces.
“No longer are waterfall countertops the standard application for surface materials,” Ballucchi said. “Homeowners have realized that ultracompact materials, like Dekton by Cosentino, are ideal for multiple applications such as shower walls, backsplashes and flooring. We’ve also seen the ultradurable, lightweight Dekton Slim being used for cladding in cabinets, furniture and drawers in kitchens and bathrooms.”
4. Durable and Manageable
Besides looking beautiful, consumers want durability in surfaces for their homes.
“For most clients, it’s one of the top considerations for them,” Rebecca Cartwright, a designer who worked with Wilsonart products, said. “They want to know that it’s going to look the same — just as beautiful today as it will be in five years.”
Taking it one step further, consumers like knowing that if there is an issue with their high-performing surface that they can receive support to correct it.
“We do a lot of research on this, and we found a consumer’s top purchase selection reasons are beauty and high-performance,” Kath said. “Also, having a warranty is important.”
In a fast-paced world, easy maintenance is another key player in surface material decision-making.
“Homeowners are building and upgrading their kitchen and bathrooms with durable, easy-to-maintain materials to last through many stages of their lives, whether it’s anti-slip flooring in bathrooms and around pools or scratch resistant, ultra-durable countertops, flooring and wall cladding,” Ballucchi added.