How to Tell if Countertop is Quartz or Corian

Physical Appearance


  • Has a sparkly, granite-like appearance with flecks of mica, quartz, and mirror-like particles.
  • Comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns that mimic natural stone like marble or granite. Popular options include white, gray, black, beige, and brown.
  • Has a matte to glossy finish depending on the specific brand and variety.


  • Has a solid, uniform appearance without the sparkles and patterns found in quartz.
  • Comes in a more limited range of solid colors like white, bone, gray, and black. Can also be found with subtle speckled patterns.
  • Has a velvety matte finish.

Material Composition


  • Is an engineered composite made of roughly 90% ground quartz crystals combined with polymer resins and pigments.
  • The quartz content makes it very hard and scratch-resistant.


  • Is an acrylic-based solid surface made of acrylic, aluminum trihydrate filler, and pigments.
  • Does not contain any natural stone. The all-acrylic composition makes it prone to scratches and cuts.



  • Extremely durable and scratch-resistant. Not easily damaged by knives or abrasions during daily use.
  • Stain-resistant to common kitchen stains like wine, coffee, and oil.
  • Can be damaged by excessive heat or force. Not fully heat or scratch proof.


  • Softer and more prone to scratches, cuts, and damage from daily wear and tear.
  • Stain-resistant to common kitchen stains but can be stained by highly pigmented substances.
  • Vulnerable to damage from excessive heat. Not heat-proof.



  • Higher priced, typically ranging from $80-150 per square foot installed.
  • More expensive than laminate but competitive with many natural stones.


  • Mid-priced, averaging $40-100 per square foot installed.
  • Less expensive than most quartz and natural stone options.



  • Can be seamless for a continuous look.
  • Most reputable quartz brands use extremely tight seams virtually invisible to the eye.


  • Seams are more visible since the solid acrylic material expands and contracts.
  • Seams are typically filled with an acrylic caulking that matches the countertop color.



  • Very difficult to repair quartz once damaged.
  • Professional resurfacing or replacement may be needed for significant damage.


  • Can be sanded and refinished due to its softer, acrylic composition.
  • Minor scratches and damage can often be buffed out.



  • Has a smooth, cool, stone-like feel, although not as cold as natural stone.
  • Less porous than natural stone.


  • Has a warmer, softer feel than natural stone or quartz.
  • Semi-porous surface.

Heat Tolerance


  • Can withstand some heat but not hot pots or pans directly from the stove or oven.
  • Pros recommend using trivets and hot pads to protect quartz.


  • Vulnerable to heat damage from hot pans, pots, and appliances.
  • Requires frequent use of trivets and hot pads for protection.



  • Simple cleaning with soap and water or stone cleaner.
  • Requires minimal maintenance to look like new.


  • Needs frequent cleaning to remove residues from the porous surface.
  • Prone to retaining stains if not cleaned promptly.

Resale Value


  • Holds its value well and can increase home resale value.
  • Can last decades with proper care.


  • More prone to visible wear over time.
  • Less valuable on the resale market than natural stone or quartz.



  • Contains high percentages of recycled content.
  • Quartz scraps can be recycled and reused.


  • Contains no recycled acrylic.
  • Sheets can be reused during fabrication but not consumer recycling.

Popular Brands


  • Caesarstone
  • Cambria
  • Silestone
  • Viatera


  • DuPont Corian
  • LG Viatera
  • Wilsonart Solid Surface

How to Tell at a Glance

Here are a few quick ways to tell quartz and Corian apart:

  • Look for pattern and sparkle – If it has granite-like speckles and shimmers, it is likely quartz. Solid colors indicate Corian.
  • Check for seams – Tighter, nearly invisible seams point to quartz. More visible seams are a sign of Corian.
  • Mark it with a pen – If the ink leaves an impression or stain, it is softer Corian. Quartz is stain-resistant.
  • Feel the surface – Quartz feels like cool stone while Corian feels softer and warmer.

The Bottom Line

While quartz and Corian share some similarities, quartz is the harder, more durable material made of natural stone chips while Corian is an acrylic-based solid surface prone to more wear and tear. Examining the appearance, durability, seams, and feel will help identify if your countertop is high-end quartz or mid-range Corian. Both require some care to keep looking their best, so be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning and protection. With this guide, you should now feel confident in being able to discern quartz from Corian countertops.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better, quartz or Corian?

Quartz is better in terms of durability, scratch-resistance, and long-term value. However, Corian is the better choice if you prefer the softer, warmer feel or need to closely match an existing countertop.

Can you cut on quartz or Corian?

It is possible but not ideal to cut directly on either material. Quartz holds up to cutting better, but using a cutting board is recommended for both countertop types to prevent damage over time.

Is heat bad for quartz or Corian?

Excessive heat can damage both materials. Quartz has higher heat tolerance but still requires trivets for hot pans. Corian is quite vulnerable to heat damage and readily shows signs of damage if unprotected.

How durable is quartz compared to Corian?

Quartz is much harder and more durable than Corian due to its high quartz content. It resists scratches, stains, and daily wear and tear much better. Corian is prone to damage from cutting, lack of care, and general use over time.

Can you repair quartz or Corian damage?

Minor Corian damage can be sanded out, but quartz is almost impossible to repair. Replacement may be needed for significant quartz damage. Some Corian repairs are DIY-friendly, while quartz requires hiring a professional.


Identifying if a countertop surface is quartz versus Corian is relatively straightforward once you know what to look for. Key differences in appearance, composition, durability, seams, heat tolerance, and price point provide clues to tell the two materials apart. While quartz generally provides a higher-end look and greater resilience, Corian can also be a good option depending on your needs and budget. With proper care and maintenance, both can provide beauty and function in your kitchen or bath for many years. Taking a few minutes to discern quartz from Corian using this guide will ensure you understand the type of countertop you have or are considering purchasing.