If you like the look of a granite countertop but balk at the weight and the cost of the real thing, Avonite might be for you.
Just as Du Pont's Corian (Dale Baldwin, Jan. 12, 1986) gives the look of marble while providing the ease of fabrication of wood, so does Avonite provide the look of granite, onyx, marble and parchment.
Made by the Avonite Co., 12836 Arroyo St., Sylmar 91342, this product goes Corian one--or maybe 17--better by coming in 17 granite and stone colors, according to Marvin Wernick, vice president.
I talked to Wernick at the Avonite booth at the annual convention/exposition of the National Assn. of Home Builders last month in Dallas.
On display were several countertops, complete with sinks and faucets, to show the possibilities of the material.
The most popular color--to the surprise of Wernick and just about everyone else in the San Fernando Valley-based company--is black. The photograph accompanying this column shows a black Avonite "granite" countertop combined with a black Kohler sink. The effect is beautiful!
Both satin and polished finishes are available in granite, parchment stone, marble or black onyx textures, Wernick said.
A modified polyester plastic, Avonite is 30% lighter than Corian and 60% lighter than stone. It is available in 3-by-10-foot sheet stock in thicknesses ranging from 3/8 inches to 3/4 inches, with the 1/2-inch thickness the most common.
"Avonite cuts like a hardwood, throwing off chips instead of powder," Wernick added. "At seams and joints, it can be fused together with a special fusion material that literally welds the pieces so that joints are almost invisible."
Hilton and Sheraton hotels are using Avonite, as are many kitchen and bath designers, he said. Another use is in custom furniture, where the material gives designers the high-tech look so popular today.
Although Avonite brochures warn that the countertop shouldn't be used as a cutting surface, the literature adds that nicks and scratches can be removed with sandpaper and the kind of polishing compound used to restore automotive finishes.
Avonite is the manufacturer and does no fabrication of countertops or other projects itself, but the firm will be happy to recommend qualified fabricators to readers of this column, Wernick said.