Since we launched the original Monolith Basin system in 2012, we have seen many imitators emerge in the market. Too often, we hear of the challenges they present at specification, installation, and post hand-over. We chose to write this 5 part comprehensive guide to give specifiers the core requirements for longevity, whichever solid surface basin you choose to specify. We believe that the true sustainability is found in product longevity, complemented by a focus on materials. Apart from knowledge of the 10-year warranty that Corian provides, an educated specification requires a knowledge of the fabrication methods of solid surface trough basins to ensure that the wash trough will last for years after post completion, resulting in a satisfied client.
ContentsStarting with an understanding of the core principles & properties of the material, followed by the manufacturing process for quality solid surface basins. This guide also covers a definitive specifiers checklist, and ways to speed up your basin specification workflow in Revit, whether using standard size multi user basins, or creating a custom solid surface wash trough.
- What is Solid Surface?
- Why Use Solid Surface in the Washroom?
- How are Solid Surface Basins Manufactured?
- Solid Surface Basin Specification Checklist
- Increasing Speed of Specification for Solid Surface Basins – Workflow Tips
1: What is Solid Surface?In 1963, the concept of solid surface was arrived at by a group of engineers and researchers from the DuPont™ Chemical Company. Don Slocum, who was working at Dupont ™ at the time, wanted to create a material with the following properties:
- Non porous
- Stain, chemical and fire resistant
- Solid all the way through
- Void of air bubbles
- Hard enough to be used as a work surface
- Easily repairable
- Rich and pleasing look
- Had a consistency of pattern and colour
- Finally, it had to be able to be worked with standard woodworking tools.
2: Key Benefits of using Solid Surface in the Washroom
Easily repairableIn addition to the ability to be able to invisibly repair Corian, through sanding and filling in. This factor also allows the basins to be invisibly seamed on site to allow very long lengths and complex shapes to be used. We have created Corian trough basins up to 8 metres long at the Splash Lab, and basins that go around corners.
Non-PorousCorian is completely non-porous, so unlike natural stone requires no additional sealing. This is particularly important in washrooms and other high moisture areas, as the integrity of the material can never be compromised.
Colour AvailabilityWith Corian and the advent of many other solid surface manufacturers, there are hundreds of colours available for use in creating your trough basin. Please always check with your manufacturer before specifying a colour, as certain colours, including some of the darker colours can be more prone to scratching, and some of the more patterned finishes cannot be seamlessly jointed.
Consistency of Pattern & ColourThis is key where multiple sheets and batches may be being used in a single washroom. Although, as with any material, you may get a very slight variation batch to batch, it is very consistent in terms of finish. This is true from the simplest colours such as Glacier White through to something more complex such as Grey Onyx.
Hard WearingSolid Surface is a hard wearing and resilient material. Any scratches can be easily buffed out with a small amount of sand paper, making it look as good as new. This is crucial, particularly in high traffic washroom areas, such as airports and shopping malls.
3: How are solid surface basins manufactured?The steps in solid surface basin fabrication are extremely important, in order to create a consistent product as a repeatable process. At The Splash Lab, each Corian basin is processed through 4 stages, each requiring a trained eye, and attention to detail.
CutEach basin is drawn out in CAD/CAM to achieve maximum cutting efficiency on the CNC, with all the parts being nested. Once the solid surface arrives in sheets from the distributor, it is checked and placed, jigged and cut on the CNC saw to precisely machine the sheets to tight tolerances. These parts are then taken off the machine and all rough edges are removed by hand to ensure the assembly team have clean parts to work with.
AssembleThe assembly team dry fit the parts. Once satisfied, the parts are glued and clamped in place for several hours to achieve a strong joint.
FinishEach basin is hand finished by a master craftsman, ensuring all joints, surfaces and edges are perfect. This involves a mix of hand tool and power tool work to achieve the precise finish required.
Quality Assurance & PackingAt the final work station, each basin is submitted to a detailed quality check, including joint integrity, water proofing, and a close look at the surface finish and basin geometry. Once the basin has been signed off by production management, the basin should be carefully placed into robust and transport proof packaging, along with any support and drainage components. We also include a solid surface care kit for the client maintenance team.
4: Solid Surface Basin Specification – ChecklistThere are 5 key areas we recommend specifiers pay close attention to when specifying solid surface trough sinks:
Timber FreeThe number one element to avoid is timber. We can’t stress this enough. A traditional fabrication of a solid surface sink uses timber in 2 places – both of which must absolutely be avoided if your client would like their Corian sink to last more than a decade.
- A timber sub frame.
- Ply backing on the Corian basin