Deciding between Corian and quartz countertops for your kitchen or bathroom remodel? Though they may look similar at first glance, these two materials have some notable differences. Here’s a detailed overview of how to tell Corian and quartz countertops apart so you can determine which is the best fit for your home.
Key Differences Between Corian and Quartz Countertops
Corian is a solid surface material made from a blend of natural minerals and acrylic resin. It was first introduced by DuPont in 1967 and remains one of the most popular brands of solid surface countertops.
Quartz countertops contain ground natural quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. Brands like Caesarstone and Silestone helped popularize quartz for countertops starting in the late 1980s.
Here are some of the main ways Corian and quartz countertops differ:
- Composition: Corian is 100% acrylic solid surface. Quartz contains 90-95% ground quartz bound by resins.
- Appearance: Corian has a more uniform solid color and glossy surface. Quartz often has visible quartz speckles and a matte finish.
- Porousness: Corian is non-porous while quartz is semi-porous and needs sealing over time.
- Heat resistance: Corian can withstand temperatures up to 275°F. Quartz should not be exposed to sustained heat over 150°F.
- Scratch resistance: Quartz rates higher on the Mohs scale of hardness, making it more scratch resistant than Corian.
- Price: Quartz countertops tend to cost $80-150 per square foot while Corian averages $60-105 per square foot.
How to Visually Distinguish Corian from Quartz
There are a few visual clues that can help you easily discern Corian from quartz:
Look for speckles and patterns. The small flecks of mineral quartz will be visible in a quartz countertop surface but not in the solid colors of Corian.
Check the finish. Corian has a glossier, shinier finish while quartz has a flatter matte texture.
Look at the edges. Corian can be precisely machined for seamless-looking integrated sinks and edges. Quartz has a more textured appearance on the edges.
Assess hardness with a scratch test. Try scratching an inconspicuous spot with a knife tip or coin. Quartz is harder and more resistant to scratches.
Consider the color uniformity. Corian comes in over 100 solid, uniform colors. Quartz tends to have more variation and movement in its coloring.
Feel the surface warmth. Corian feels slightly cool to the touch while quartz retains more warmth.
Inspecting Details Up Close
To get a definitive answer, you’ll need to look closely at the material details:
Check for a brand imprint. Corian and leading quartz brands like Caesarstone are imprinted directly on the surface.
Examine the seams. Corian seams can be tightly bonded. Quartz seams are filled and more visible.
Look for sink/faucet holes. Corian allows for seamless cut-out sinks. Quartz sink areas will have standard machine cut-outs.
Assess repairs and damages. Scratches and damages can be sanded and buffed out of Corian but may remain more visible in quartz.
Consider the backsplash style. Corian backsplashes are often coved or curved. Quartz will have standard straight edges.
Look at the thickness. Corian is typically 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick. Quartz slabs are generally 3/4″ thick.
Check the edges. Corian edges can be curved and integrated with the countertop. Quartz has defined corners and edges.
When in Doubt, Ask the Experts
If you’re still uncertain whether a countertop is Corian or quartz after a visual inspection, ask the manufacturer or installer directly. They should be able to definitively identify the exact material and brand. Most countertop fabricators will also have sample displays showcasing various Corian and quartz patterns that you can compare to.
With key attributes in mind and a careful in-person evaluation, telling the difference between Corian and quartz should be straightforward. Knowing how these popular countertop materials differ allows you to decide which one best suits your kitchen or bath design needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you repair scratches in Corian and quartz?
Light scratches in Corian can be sanded and polished out as it is a solid all-the-way-through material. Scratches and damage are harder to remove from quartz since the color and pattern go all the way through the slab.
Does quartz need to be sealed like natural stone?
No, quartz does not require regular sealing like granite or marble. However, periodic sealing is recommended every few years to maintain its semi-porous surface. Corian, as an acrylic solid surface, never needs sealing.
Which material is better for the kitchen – Corian or quartz?
Quartz is a great option for kitchens due to its durability, low maintenance, and heat resistance up to 150°F. Corian also performs well in kitchens but has lower heat tolerance above 275°F. Ultimately the choice comes down to your budget and preferred look.
Is Corian cheaper than quartz?
Generally, yes. On average quartz costs $80-150 per square foot installed while Corian ranges from $60-105 per square foot installed. Higher-end designer quartz can get even more expensive.
What’s better about quartz compared to Corian countertops?
Quartz is harder, more scratch resistant, and handles heat better than Corian. It also offers more variety in colors and patterns. However, Corian remains seamless, repairable, and provides a sleeker solid surface.
When deciding between Corian and quartz countertops, consider the key differences in appearance, composition, performance, and cost. Examining the visual clues, surface details, brand markings, and overall qualities will help reveal the specific material. Weighing the advantages and disadvantages of each can ensure you select the right countertops to enhance your kitchen or bath. With this guide’s insights, you can determine whether Corian or quartz is the ideal choice.