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How to Finish & Polish Solid Surface Countertops

How can I make my solid surface countertops shine?

Finishing solid surfaces like Staron, Corian, LG HI-MACS, Livingstone, Wilsonart and many others, can be daunting. Customers demand a high end luxury look all at a reasonable cost. However with a little bit of knowledge, practice and the use of the proper abrasives, a high end look can be achieved using these simple guidelines. 

Step 1: Refining the Scratch

 

 

The key to any good finish is understanding how to use the abrasives to create a non-directional scratch that refracts light in a pleasing manner to the eye.  Generally speaking, deeper scratches create a matte finish while shallower scratches create a glossy appearance. 

The starting grit grade is dependent on how rough or deep the initial surface scratches are.  Also poor seam construction can have an effect on what grade to start with.  The tighter the seam, the less finishing required to make it disappear.  The goal is to remove the previous grit grades scratches. Not all solid surface sheets may begin with the final desired finish, however most sheets will only require blending at the seams. 

The rule of thumb for speed and quality.  Always start with the finest grit possible to minimize the number of grit steps to blend the two joining sheets.

General Grit sequence 

  1. 80 grit (for deep surface scratches or seam leveling) 
  2. 120 grit
  3. 150 grit
  4. 240 grit

 

Step 2: Getting the Desired Finish 

Using the previous grades, work up to the desired finish 

Finish Grit Product
Matte 240g

Maroon Scotch-Brite (non-woven disc)

Semi-Gloss 400g

Gray Scotch-Brite (non-woven disc)

Gloss 600g, 800g

White Scotch-Brite (non-woven disc)

 

 

Step 3: Polishing Countertops 

It is also worthy to note that there are many different shades of these final finishes. It may be necessary to refine with polishing compounds and a wool buffing wheel. This is usually the case when doing repair work to existing surfaces or when a very high gloss shine is desired.

 

Of course beauty is in the eye of the beholder and surface finishes are subjective. Practice makes perfect.  Use these as guidelines to match existing finishes (such as repair work) or develop your unique finish for your customers.

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