How to Tell Between Corian and Quartz Countertops


Corian and quartz are two popular countertop materials that have some similarities but also key differences. Knowing how to distinguish between the two can help you make an informed decision when choosing countertops for your kitchen or bathroom remodel. This guide will examine the composition, appearance, performance, care and maintenance, and cost of Corian vs. quartz countertops to highlight the key factors that set them apart.



Corian is a solid surface material made from acrylic resin and alumina trihydrate, which is a derivative of bauxite ore. It was first developed by DuPont in 1967 and is sometimes referred to as a “cultured marble.” The acrylic and minerals are combined and heated to create a solid, non-porous surface that can be molded into seamless countertops and sinks.


Quartz countertops contain ground natural quartz crystals combined with polyester resins and pigments. The quartz content typically makes up 90-94% of the material, while resins act as a binder. The resins allow the countertops to be molded into shapes while retaining the look and feel of natural stone. Quartz is non-porous, acid-resistant, and durable like granite but requires less maintenance.



Corian has a smooth, matte finish that is completely uniform in color and patterning throughout the material. It comes in a wide range of solid colors and tones from neutral whites and grays to bold hues like red and blue. Corian can also be made to mimic natural patterns like granite using small flecks of color blended in the material.


The natural quartz crystals give quartz countertops a sparkly, granite-like look. Tiny specks of mica can reflect light and make the surface shimmer. Quartz comes in a diverse array of colors and patterns from solid tones to dramatic veining that mimics marble and granite. The patterns are blended throughout the material so they won’t fade or wear away.


Heat Resistance

Both Corian and quartz can withstand moderate heat exposure. However, direct contact with very hot pans or appliances over an extended period can damage both materials. It’s best to use trivets or hot pads when placing hot items on either surface. Quartz is slightly more resistant to heat damage than Corian.

Scratch Resistance

Quartz scores higher on scratch resistance than Corian and is comparable to granite. Corian is prone to scratches, cuts, and gouges from sharp objects. Quartz resists damage from sharp knives or abrasive cleaners. However, excessive pressure can cause scratches.

Stain Resistance

Corian and quartz are both non-porous, so they resist staining from spills and liquids. Neither material will absorb stains like wood or granite might. However, highly pigmented substances like wine, coffee, or tomato sauce can stain if not cleaned up quickly. Overall, quartz offers higher stain resistance.


Quartz countertops are very hard and durable, while Corian is slightly more prone to damage from impact or heavy objects. With proper care, both materials can last for many years of daily use. Quartz rates higher on hardness and durability.

Care and Maintenance


Regular cleaning with soap and water is all that’s needed to keep Corian looking like new. Avoid abrasive cleaners that could lead to scratches. Corian can be sanded and re-polished to remove minor damage, but deeper gouges may require a professional fabricator.


Quartz requires very little maintenance. Simply wipe with a soft cloth and mild soap and water. Avoid harsh chemicals. Resealing and polishing are not necessary. Due to its durability, quartz rarely needs repairs.

Cost Comparison

Corian is generally the more affordable option between the two. On average, Corian costs $40-60 per square foot installed. Quartz starts around $80-100 per square foot installed. The specific type, color, and pattern will impact the final price. Quartz is costlier but offers increased durability and scratch/stain resistance.

Key Differences

  • Corian is a solid surface made of acrylic resin while quartz contains ground natural quartz crystals.
  • Corian comes in solid matte colors while quartz has an earthy, speckled appearance.
  • Quartz rates higher for hardness, scratch resistance, stain resistance, and durability.
  • Corian requires more maintenance and can be repaired by sanding and polishing. Quartz needs minimal care.
  • Quartz is the pricier option but offers greater longevity and resilience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which material is better for heavy usage?

Quartz is the better choice for heavy usage areas like kitchen countertops. It stands up to cutting, hot pans, and daily wear and tear better than Corian.

Can you repair scratches in Corian and quartz?

Minor scratches in Corian can be sanded and polished out. Deep scratches may need professional help. Quartz is highly scratch-resistant, so small scratches are rare. Significant damage is difficult to repair.

Does Corian or quartz add more value to a home?

Quartz countertops generally offer a higher resale value. Their durability, easy maintenance, and resemblance to natural stone make them appealing to potential buyers. Corian is seen as more outdated.

Can you cut directly on quartz or Corian counters?

It’s best to avoid cutting directly on either material. Use a cutting board instead to prevent scratching and damage over time. Quartz can withstand light cutting better than Corian but should still be protected.

Does Corian or quartz need to be sealed?

No, neither material requires sealing. Both Corian and quartz are non-porous, so liquids don’t penetrate them. Avoid using sealants or waxes, as these can build up over time.


While Corian and quartz share some traits, quartz stands apart when it comes to performance, durability, and maintenance. Quartz offers superior scratch, stain, and heat resistance compared to Corian solid surfaces. However, Corian provides an affordable option for anyone on a tight budget. Considering how you will use your countertops, as well as your budget and style preferences, can help determine if Corian or quartz is the right surface for your home. With their attractive colors and patterns, both of these non-porous materials can be great choices for countertops that stand the test of time.