One thing about solid surface counter tops and showers that some people do not take into consideration is the way that lighting in a room affects the appearance of the surface.
My most recent case of this is a Corian® shower. The color is Cocoa Brown. There are only 2 walls and there is a shower pan. Just to the left of the shower there is a small window and it is the only outside light coming into the bathroom.
On this particular shower, the wall panels had to be polished to a high gloss. The shower pan also needed to be polished. Because of this, I decided to bring the first wall panel into the shower before making all the cuts for fitting so the homeowner could inspect and approve the polishing job on the pieces.
Before I even had the panel resting comfortably on the shower pan the homeowner said, "Those pieces don't match." Immediately I looked down and sure enough, it looked like 2 very different colors. Now, I knew that they were not two different colors but even though I knew it, for one quick second I even had to second guess the colors between the panel and the shower pan.
Immediately my helper was on the phone with the fabricator (I wasn't the fabricator, I was just helping the fabricator on this job) trying to figure out how they could have made such a mistake.
I had the piece of material that was cut out to allow for the hot/cold controls. I put it on the shower pan and it was the exact same color as the shower pan. However, when we held the cutout up on the wall, it then became the same color as the wall panel. They both looked very different but they were the same after all.
So, what caused the drastic difference in color? The light from that one small window. As soon as the "problem" was noticed, I took a picture. While we were waiting for the designer to show up and inspect things, we went to lunch for about 45 minutes.
When the designer got there, the lighting had changed so drastically in that bathroom that she walked in, looked at it and said, "It looks the same to me." Sure enough, the wall panels looked the same as the shower pan. I went ahead with the rest of the installation and when I was done, the lighting had changed again and once again it looked like two different colors. I turned the bathroom lights on and off and each time the color went from different, back to the same.
Basically, the point of this story is this.
Light can really do funny things to your solid surface material. Window light in particular can play some serious tricks on the appearance of the color and also in the correct light angles, you can see more scratches and smudges and just plain busyness (new word) on your surface.
These light tricks are not unique to solid surface. Natural stone and manufactured stone also have the same lighting issues but for some reason solid surface really seems to get picked on for this. The difference I guess is the "sameness" factor that people expect to see from one piece of solid surface to the next. It should all look alike. Period.
Stone products are natural and therefore everyone automatically knows to expect some variation from piece to piece.
I think the important thing is to make sure that the customer is aware of this issue ahead of time and to expect it to a certain degree. It's all about building the proper expectations and then coming through on those expectations