Solid surface material is any synthetic sheet material that functions as a countertop. A technical description as defined by the International Solid Surface Fabricators Association (ISSFA) is:
“Solid surface material (SSM) shall consist of reacted monomers and resins, mineral fillers and pigments manufactured in sheets of specific thicknesses. SSM shall be solid, non-porous, homogeneous, hygienic, renewable, and, when applicable, may feature inconspicuous hygienic seams. SSM shall be free from conspicuous internal strengthening fibers. SSM is typically fabricated using 1⁄2” (12.7 mm) nominal thick sheets that may be supported by wood or steel members, or SSM-Veneer type, which is applied to the manufacturer’s approved full substrate. SSM must meet or exceed performance standards set forth in ISSFA -2-01.”
http://www.issfa.net/ is a website worth exploring.
An industry that was once dominated by one manufacturer/product (Dupont/Corian), there are now at least six manufacturers and many product lines to chose from. Appendix D lists many of these manufacturers and provides contact information.
Nearly universal among the suppliers is the requirement by the manufacturers to have their product’s fabricators and installers trained and certified by “factory” technicians. So, normally, sub-contractors who specialize in a particular brand of product conduct the fabrication and installation process.
The layout and design possibilities when using solid surface products are only limited by the client’s budget and the planner’s imagination. A broad range of edge details, backsplashes, and sink installation methods are available. Additionally some products can be thermoformed enabling you to build “kidney” or other odd shaped counters.
Courtesy of NARI CKBR education program