What Does Non-Porous Mean, and Why Does It Matter?

Posted by James Marshall

Jun 1, 2012 7:59:00 AM

We hear the word nonporous used a lot as a selling feature for countertops and other kitchen necessities, but do we really know what this term means? And if so, is it really all that important? Furthermore, is it properly spelled non-porous or nonporous? I will attempt to briefly address these important questions in this article.

porous surface

Nonporous Defined

Nonporous simply describes something that is not permeable to air, water or other fluids. If a surface such as a countertop is nonporous, it simply cannot contain any air or water within it. Pores are minute openings or crevices that allow air and water to flow to and fro; nonporous surfaces do just the opposite. It's almost as if they hold up a 'Do Not Enter' sign to air, water, bacteria or whatever else that might wish to intrude. And the air, and water, and bacteria are forced to listen. You've likely noticed that concrete sidewalks, rocks, and stones seem to change color after a rainstorm. Although not quite as dramatic as the image above, they do appear darker because they are porous, and the pores have allowed the water from the rain to enter.

Why Nonporous?

It's likely beginning to make sense why we might not want these pesky pores to be implanted in our kitchen countertop surface. Nonporous countertops assure us that undesirable substances cannot penetrated the surface. Should we wipe the top of a nonporous counter with a dry cloth, we can know that it is dry all the way through. We know that water is not lurking inside the countertop somewhere, providing the much needed moisture for mold to flourish. We can be assured that bacteria are not hiding beneath the surface since nonporous countertops are antimicrobial by design. Many nonporous countertops are manufactured today including solid surface Corian, and the many quartz products like Cambria, Zodiaq and Silestone. There are many attractive porous countertop options as well, but you can find nonporous surfaces that provide both beauty and safety.  

Nonporous or Non-porous?

I've often wondered this myself, and most dictionaries seem to ignore this important word altogether. However, after an exhaustive search, I did find it officially spelled nonporous at dictionary.com. So that is the spelling I chose to use throughout today's post. 

Topics: Countertops, Antimicrobial Countertops

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