A broadly applicable method requiring no more than a single step facilitates the preparation of large area super hydrophobic or super hydrophilic surfaces on a variety of substrates such as such as glass, metal, plastic, paper, wood, concrete and masonry. The technique involves the free radical polymerization of common acrylic or styrenic monomers in the presence of porogenic solvents in a mold or on a free surface. The material can be semi- or fully-transparent and either super hydrophobic or super hydrophilic depending on the choice of the monomers. Because porosity and dual scale roughness are intrinsic bulk properties of the monolithic materials and not only a surface characteristic, the polymers can be powdered to produce a super hydrophobic powder or otherwise fragmented and attached to the surface of any object to render it super hydrophobic or super hydrophilic. The surface properties of the porous material may also be altered locally by photografting with selected monomers.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENTAL SUPPORT
 The invention described and claimed herein was made at least in part utilizing funds supplied by the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231. The Government has certain rights in this invention.