What to expect when using and joining veined colours

One of the primary reasons why people design using solid surface is its ability to give a ‘seamless’ result, creating a single piece of material without the need for unsightly silicon joins, typical of Quartz/Granite etc. In order to achieve this look, especially when the project has sections longer than a single sheet (3.5M approx), the sections will require joins. There are two types, ‘Factory Joins’ and ‘Site Joins’. These are explained below.

The veined aesthetics of solid surface have random and complex patterns that will allow you to offer completely unique design potentials to your project. While veined colours give a stunning and unique finish, and are of course covered by the 10 year warranty, it is important to understand some of the potential considerations these colours require. The following information will enable you to make an informed decision to the suitability of your chosen colour for your project.

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What Type Join is Best?

When you are thinking about designing a job with a long run using a veined colours (for example a worktop which runs along a full length wall), there will often need be some consideration given as to how the top is fabricated, and where the joins are located. This is done to ensure that the desired final look is achieved.

A standard sheet of solid surface material is 3.6m long and 0.75m wide. If projects comprise of sections longer than this, then a combination of factory and site joins will be needed to create that perfect seamless finish.

Joining solid surface

Factory Join – these are used in the production of the worktop pieces before it leaves the factory. Sometimes a section may need to be wider than the standard sheet size (approx. 750mm), for example when making an island top. In this case, a factory join is made.

Site Join – these joins are needed for practical reasons where either lifting or fitting of the top becomes impossible if made in one piece. Site joins can’t be done in the corners where there are mitred joins. Where this join occurs, there will be a visual break in the pattern where a site join needs to be created.

Veined Aesthetics
Veined Aesthetics

Another consideration needs to be when you are joining the material in other ways, such as with coved up-stands, square up-stands or when joining in corners such as a shower cubicle application.

Coved up-stands
With coved up-stands and veined material, there is another horizontal join to be considered. As in the example to the left (above if on mobile device), you may notice that where the ‘curved’ section is, there is a join between the worktop and the up-stand. This is a factory process.


Square up-stands
With square up-stands, you don’t have the extra join in the back corner, so the material is joined to the top with a standard square join, similar to that done when choosing granite or quartz. This is often a better choice when picking a very heavy veined colour, as it means less joins. The disadvantage is the area where dirt can be trapped in the corner.

Veining direction when fabricating

Mitred Corners.

The direction of the veining will in most instances run the length of the worktops, not the depth, and when changing direction will have whats known as a mitered “L” corner (see pictures below).

Straight vs Serpentine

This join will usually be a straight line where the pattern changes direction, similar to that of say a picture frame. Sometimes we may use a ‘serpentine’ join here, although these are usually used for factory joins where the sheet is being joined for width (see Deeper Tops). Where site conditions dictate the size of the worktops being fitted (e.g. tight stairs or limited lift access) there can sometimes be the need for additional site joins and this can mean occasionally, although seamless, joins are visible at these junctions.

See the photos below for an example of of how this joins may look. As you can tell from the examples, how noticeable these joins are often comes down to the colour. Joins on pronounced veined colours will be more noticeable.  Some colours will be almost impossible to see the join.

Deeper Tops

Worktops with a depth/width (depending on your aspect) greater than approx. 750 mm will need to have a join along the length.  The reason for this is that most solid surface comes in certain widths of material (usually 760 mm).

With veined colours, this join will usually be done with whats called a ‘serpentine join’, shown in the image below. As with all joins, it will be seamless, but not invisible. Depending on the colour, this join may be seen, although the serpentine join allows for the typical veining to be more random and thus potentially mimic the veining to give a more hidden but still seamless join. This will not necessarily be in the center of the top as shown in this example. See the images giving some examples.

Cutting in to the depth of the sheet.

Cutting into the sheet will reveal a different pattern and sometimes a shade shift, such as when drainer grooves/areas are applied.

The reason for this comes down to the way the colours are created by the manufacturer and is what gives it such a beautiful and complex colour. If you imagine it would be the same as cutting down into a natural piece of granite. The pattern in the rock is random in all directions, and it is similar here. On colours where there is not so much veining or those that don’t contain ‘particles’, the colour is more consistent throughout the material.

Please see the photo below to see and example of how this might look. The effect of this depends on the colour chosen.

Veined AestheticsCoved up-stands

One of the most popular choices of those choosing solid surface worktops, is in the detail known as the ‘coved up-stand’. This feature removes the tricky cleaning junction typical in granite and quartz between the worktop and the up-stand or back-splash.

Cutting into the sheet will reveal a different pattern and sometimes a slight shade shift.  Having two pattern transitions in closer proximity such as a coved up-stand can draw the eye to this shift, and this can appear as a stripe.

Below are some examples of where, depending on the colour, coved up-stands can be more or less noticeable. There is more detail on the colours in each photo.

Extreme Veining Issues

On some of the more ‘veined’ colours such as White/Grey Onyx, another factor that needs to be considered is in the ‘shift or fault line’ of the pattern when a site join may sit next to a corner mitred join. If there is veining that runs diagonally across, which is common in many of the veined colours, where the material cut by the sawing/CNC process is removed, sometimes you will get a obvious ‘shift’ in the pattern caused by the removed material when preparing the edges for joins. When our templaters are onsite, consideration will be given to this, but often this can be overlooked at the design stage and needs to be considered.

Eventually everything connects – people, ideas, objects. The quality of the connections is the key to quality per se.

Charles Eames