When it comes to choosing countertop materials for kitchens and bathrooms, quartz and Corian are two popular options. Many homeowners wonder if quartz costs more than Corian. The short answer is yes—quartz countertops are generally more expensive than Corian. However, the pricing depends on several factors. In this article, we’ll compare quartz and Corian on cost, appearance, durability, maintenance and more to help you determine which material is the better choice for your home improvement project.
What is Quartz?
Quartz countertops, also known as engineered stone, are made from crushed quartz crystals combined with resin and pigments. The quartz content typically ranges from 90-94%. Polymer resins make up the remaining 6-10%.
The resins bind the quartz particles together to form a durable, non-porous surface. The pigments added during manufacturing provide the vast array of colors and patterns available. Brands like Caesarstone, Cambria, Silestone and Viatera are leaders in quartz countertop manufacturing.
Benefits of Quartz:
- Extremely durable and scratch-resistant
- Easy maintenance
- Resists heat and scorching
- Available in wide range of colors/patterns
- Non-porous – does not require sealing
What is Corian?
Corian is a solid surface material made from acrylic polymer and alumina trihydrate. It was first created by DuPont in 1967 and continues to be manufactured under the Corian brand name today.
Corian is composed of about 1/3 acrylic resin and 2/3 natural minerals. The minerals give it the look and feel of stone, while retaining the flexibility of acrylic. The non-porous material can be fabricated into seamless countertops and sinks.
Benefits of Corian:
- Seamless, integrated sinks available
- Renewable – scratches/damage can be sanded out
- More flexible for shaping/design
- Available in wide range of colors
- Non-porous – does not require sealing
Cost Comparison Between Quartz and Corian
Quartz countertops range from $80-$150 per square foot installed. Corian runs $40-$100 per square foot installed. Due to it’s higher mineral content, quartz is more expensive.
The exact price depends on factors like:
- Brand – Higher end brands charge more
- Color/Style – Unique colors and patterns cost more
- Edge profiles – Decorative edges like ogee & bullnose increase price
- Thickness – 1 1/4″ thick is standard. Thicker options cost more.
- Fabrication – Complex designs require more labor time
- Installation – Hiring a pro vs DIY; simple vs. complex project
Both materials are considered premium countertop options, priced above laminate but below natural stone. Quotes from fabricators are the best way to compare project costs for quartz vs. Corian.
Appearance: How They Compare
Quartz and Corian offer homeowners extensive choices for colors and patterns. This allows them to complement any home’s decor.
Quartz patterns can look like natural stone with realistic veining, flecks and movement. There are also solid colors and abstract options. Matte and glossy finishes are available.
Corian’s solid colors tend to have a more uniform, smoother appearance. It can also be crafted into unique designs like embedded sinks. Special effects like illuminated edges are possible.
While quartz seeks to mimic stone, Corian’s look is more man-made. It offers sleek, contemporary aesthetics alongside traditional colors like white and neutrals. Ultimately, visual preference is subjective.
Quartz and Corian are both marketed as durable, low-maintenance materials resistant to scratches, stains and heat. However, quartz is harder and more resilient.
On the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, quartz ranks 7 out of 10. Corian is around 3-4. For reference, diamond ranks highest at 10 on the scale. The higher rating means quartz is less prone to nicks, cuts and scratches from knives or abrasive cleaners.
Heat resistance is excellent for both surfaces. Hot pots and pans won’t damage either material. However, quartz can better withstand direct, extended contact with extreme heat.
Overall, quartz’s harder composition gives it the edge for longevity. But Corian is still a very durable option for busy kitchens.
Due to their non-porous nature, quartz and Corian don’t require sealing. This makes maintenance easy.
For regular cleaning, all that is needed is a soft cloth, warm water and mild soap. Occasional use of sanitize cleaners approved for stone surfaces can disinfect.
Though resistant to scratches, its best to use cutting boards instead of chopping directly on quartz or Corian. Bleach, alkaline and acidic cleaners should also be avoided as they can damage the surface over time.
If scratches occur on quartz, the marks are permanent. Light sanding may help smooth them out. Corian has the advantage of being renewable due to its flexible acrylic resin. Light to moderate scratches can be buffed or sanded out of the material.
Which is Better for the Environment?
Eco-friendly homeowners may have concerns about potential health or environmental impacts. Here’s how quartz and Corian compare:
- Quartz contains high percentages of natural stone, but also uses polymer resins. Resins can release VOCs, but today’s quartz emits low levels that meet regulatory standards.
- Corian is made from about 1/3 acrylic resin. Some acrylics use compounds like methyl methacrylate that may irritate eyes and skin. Corian meets regulations for safe use.
- Recyclability – Both materials can be recycled. Corian has a program to recycle old countertops into new product. Some quartz can be crushed for use as construction aggregate.
While neither is perfect, both meet safety standards for indoor use. Talk to manufacturers about your concerns. Choosing greener production processes or brands can reduce environmental impact.
Pros and Cons of Quartz vs. Corian
To summarize key differences, here’s an overview of the pros and cons for quartz and Corian:
- Extremely durable
- Resists scratches, heat, stains
- Easy maintenance
- Wide variety of colors/patterns
- More expensive than Corian
- Marks and scratches are permanent
- Some environmental concerns
- Less expensive than quartz
- Can renew surface from scratches
- Flexible for seamless designs
- Recyclable into new product
- Not as hard or scratch resistant
- Limited color options compared to quartz
- Contains acrylics some find concerning
Which is Better for Your Countertops?
Choosing between quartz and Corian comes down to your budget, preferred appearance, and how the countertops will be used.
If you prioritize natural stone aesthetics, quartz replicates the look beautifully. If you want a sleek, contemporary style, Corian offers that option.
For heavy-use kitchens, quartz is the more durable choice long-term. But Corian can better hide small scratches from daily wear-and-tear.
From a budget perspective, Corian is more affordable when comparing the same amount of square footage. Higher-end quartz brands can cost up to 3x as much as Corian.
Both are great choices that provide style and low-maintenance functionality. But quartz countertops are considered more premium due to the higher quartz content. Carefully compare samples and quotes before deciding if quartz’s higher cost is worth the investment over Corian for your home.
Frequently Asked Questions About Quartz vs. Corian
Shopping for new countertops and weighing quartz vs. Corian? Here are answers to some often asked questions:
Is Quartz More Expensive Than Corian?
Yes, quartz typically costs more per installed square foot than Corian. Exact pricing varies, but expect to pay $80-150 for quartz and $40-100 for Corian. The extra durability and appearance of natural stone comes at a higher price.
Does Quartz Stain Easily?
No, quartz resists stains quite well. Its non-porous surface makes it unlikely for stains to penetrate or adhere. However, some liquids like wine or oil can leave temporary marks if not wiped up quickly. Overall, quartz provides excellent stain resistance.
Is Corian Good for Kitchen Countertops?
Yes, Corian makes an excellent countertop material for kitchens. It stands up well to daily use and resists stains, scratches and heat. The ability to renew Corian from damage is a bonus. Seamless installation of sinks is another perk. Overall, Corian is less durable than quartz but still a smart kitchen option.
Does Quartz Add Value to Your Home?
Yes, quartz countertops typically increase a home’s resale value. Quartz is a premium material that buyers prefer over cheaper options like laminate. Along with other upgrades, new quartz counters in the kitchen especially can boost a home’s market value. They also impress buyers with beautiful, low-maintenance appeal.
Is Corian Going Out of Style?
While not as hot as quartz right now, Corian remains a relevant choice. It’s been around for over 50 years and manufacturers continue innovating new colors and styles. Homeowners looking for sleek, contemporary designs are keeping Corian trendy. It may not resale quite as well as quartz but still looks modern when kept updated.
Does Heat Damage Quartz?
Quartz can withstand brief, intermittent contact with hot pans or dishes fresh out of the oven. But direct, prolonged heat exposure from appliances like crockpots can damage quartz. Trivets or hot pads should be used. Compared to other materials, quartz does boast excellent heat resistance overall.
Can You Repair Quartz Countertops?
Unfortunately, quartz cannot be repaired or renewed since it’s a manufactured blend of natural stone and resins. Scratches and marks on quartz are permanent. The good news is quartz is highly scratch-resistant. Maintaining the surface properly also limits damage over time.
Does Quartz Stain Like Marble?
No, quartz generally doesn’t stain like natural marble countertops. Marble is very porous, so stains can easily soak in. Quartz’s non-porous surface makes it unlikely stains will adhere. However, some liquids like wine can temporarily stain quartz if not wiped up fast. Overall, quartz provides far better stain resistance.
Is Corian Cheaper Than Granite?
Yes, Corian is often cheaper than natural granite. Materials cost per square foot for Corian ranges $40-100 installed. Granite slabs cost $60-150 per square foot installed. Corian is easier to fabricate into shapes which also lowers installation time and labor costs compared to granite.
After comparing quartz vs. Corian countertops, a few key differences stand out:
- Quartz is more durable and scratch-resistant due to its higher mineral content. It provides an excellent stone-like look as well. But quartz also comes at a higher price point.
- Corian is the more budget-friendly option. It excels at a contemporary style in seamless installations. Minor scratches can be removed from Corian unlike quartz. But quartz is still the harder, longer-lasting material.
- For environmental impact, both meet safety standards. But quartz incorporates more natural stone. Corian has an edge regarding recyclability.
Choosing between them means weighing your priorities – budget, aesthetics, durability and maintenance needs all play a role. For many homeowners, the superior strength and stone-like beauty of quartz makes it the ideal choice despite the higher cost. But Corian remains a quality option, especially when sleek style and affordability are the top concerns.