Corian is not a quartz countertop, but rather an acrylic-based solid surface material made by the company DuPont. While Corian and quartz countertops share some similar properties, they have distinct differences when it comes to composition, appearance, performance, care and maintenance.
What is Corian?
Corian is a solid surface material made from a combination of natural minerals and high-quality acrylic polymer. It was first introduced by DuPont in 1967 and consists of about 1/3 acrylic resin and 2/3 natural minerals. The minerals commonly used in Corian are alumina trihydrate (ATH), which is derived from bauxite ore, and silica.
Some key features of Corian solid surface include:
- Non-porous – Corian is non-porous so it does not need to be sealed to prevent staining. Liquids and spills will bead up on the surface rather than soak in.
- Renewable – Corian can be easily repaired, resurfaced and renewed because the material is solid all the way through. Damaged sections can be sanded down and polished to look like new again.
- Thermoformable – Corian can be heated and molded into unique shapes and designs. This allows for seamless appearance options like integrated sinks.
- Wide color palette – Corian comes in over 100 colors from solids to patterns allowing design flexibility.
- Durable – Properly cared for, Corian can last for many years. It’s stain, heat, scratch and impact resistant.
Corian has traditionally been used for countertops but has many applications including bath and shower walls, vanities, kitchen sinks, flooring, work surfaces and more. It’s commonly found in both residential and commercial settings.
What is Quartz Countertop?
Quartz countertops are engineered stone surfaces made from crushed natural quartz crystals combined with resin binders. The quartz content typically makes up over 90% of the material. Pigments are added for color options.
Some features of quartz countertops:
- Non-porous – Like Corian, quartz won’t absorb stains and liquids. No sealing is required.
- Durable – Quartz is harder and more scratch resistant than granite. It stands up well to heavy usage.
- Low maintenance – Quartz resists staining, etching and heat. Routine care involves simple cleaning with soap and water.
- Consistent patterning – The manufacturing process allows more uniform speckled patterns not found in natural stone.
- Limited color options – There are far fewer color variations available with quartz compared to Corian solid surfaces.
Quartz has surpassed granite as the most popular material for kitchen countertops. It combines aesthetic appeal with excellent functionality.
Key Differences Between Corian and Quartz
While Corian and quartz share some performance similarities, there are several notable differences between the two materials:
- Corian – Made from acrylic polymer and natural minerals. The main minerals are ATH (aluminum trihydrate) and silica.
- Quartz – Made from at least 90% ground quartz crystals combined with resin and pigments. Does not contain any acrylic.
- Corian – Available in over 100 colors including solid hues along with stone-like and patterned options. Colors go throughout the material.
- Quartz – More limited color palette focused on speckled stone-like patterns. Veining is superficial.
- Corian – Has a smooth, soft to the touch feel. Warm and inviting for residential kitchens.
- Quartz – Feels harder and colder than Corian. The stone-like aesthetic has more industrial vibe.
- Corian – Can be seamlessly joined to create a continuous appearance. No visible seams around sinks etc.
- Quartz – Requires seams between slabs. More difficult to achieve a seamless look.
- Corian – Can withstand heat better than quartz. Hot pots and pans are generally fine.
- Quartz – More prone to heat damage. May need hot pads for protecting surface.
- Corian – Resists scratches from normal use but can be scratched by sharp objects. Easily renewed.
- Quartz – Extremely scratch resistant surface that maintains appearance better under heavy usage.
- Corian – Higher end price point, especially for custom designs. More premium than quartz.
- Quartz – Fairly affordable mid-range option. Lower cost than most granite or Corian.
- Corian – Used for diverse applications beyond just countertops including fixtures, furniture etc.
- Quartz – Primarily used for kitchen and bathroom countertops. More limited usages.
Corian Pros and Cons
Corian offers some unique advantages but also has a few drawbacks to consider:
- Seamless installation options with integrated sinks/bowls
- Easily repairable and renewable surface
- Superior heat resistance
- Softer, warmer feel than quartz
- Broad range of colors and patterns
- Doesn’t require frequent resealing
- Can be shaped into curves
- Expensive material and installation cost
- Scratches and cuts require sanding/polishing
- Not as scratch resistant as quartz
- Limited number of fabricators
- Fewer color choices than granite or quartz
- Joints more visible than with quartz
Overall, the biggest benefits of Corian are the unique seamless appearance, heat tolerance, and renewability. The downsides are mainly the higher cost and lower scratch resistance compared to other materials.
Quartz Countertop Pros and Cons
Quartz also has some key advantages but a few limitations to be aware of:
- Excellent scratch and stain resistance
- Requires very little maintenance
- Consistent speckled stone-like patterns
- More affordable than granite or Corian
- Tolerates heat better than most laminates
- Easy care – soap and water cleaning
- Limited color options
- Visible seams between slabs
- Can be damaged by excessive heat
- No ability to sand or renew finish
- Little color variation within slabs
- Less custom fabrication options
Quartz’s extreme durability and low maintenance are its biggest perks. Drawbacks mostly relate to aesthetics like less color choices and visible seaming between slabs.
Corian vs. Quartz: Which is Better?
There is no definitive answer to whether Corian or quartz makes the “best” countertop material. Each has advantages that make it suitable for different needs:
Consider Corian for:
- Kitchens where you’ll prep and cook regularly
- Seamless, unique designs
- Homey warmth and soft aesthetic
- Renewable and repairable surface
Consider Quartz for:
- Low maintenance and heavy usage
- Uniform stone-like patterns
- Contemporary sleek aesthetic
- Budget-friendly durable option
Same benefits include:
- Non-porous and resistant to stains
- Easy cleaning with just soap and water
- Resilience to scratches, heat, impacts
- Lack of sealing requirements
Your choice comes down to your budget, kitchen usage, design taste and priorities. Corian and quartz are both excellent options that will enhance your home’s value.
Caring and Cleaning Corian vs. Quartz Countertops
Proper care is important for both Corian and quartz surfaces. Here is a comparison of cleaning recommendations:
For everyday cleaning:
- Corian – Use soapy water, ammonia-based cleaner, or dedicated Solid Surface cleaners. Avoid strong chemicals.
- Quartz – Clean with mild soap and water. Quartz-specific cleaners optional. Avoid abrasives.
- Corian – Diluted bleach solutions or isopropyl alcohol can sanitize the surface.
- Quartz – Use a quartz-safe disinfectant. Avoid bleach which may discolor surface.
- Corian – Scrub stains gently with baking soda/water paste or use Soft Scrub cleaner. May need to sand for difficult stains.
- Quartz – Apply a quartz stain remover and let sit before rinsing. Stubborn stains may require professional help.
- Corian – Hot pots/pans usually fine. Use trivets for very hot items.
- Quartz – Use hot pads and trivets to prevent potential heat damage.
Avoid exposing either material to harsh chemicals like paint removers, oven cleaners etc. Follow the manufacturer’s care guidelines to maintain the beauty of your countertops.
Cost Comparison: Corian vs. Quartz Countertops
Corian and quartz have significantly different price ranges:
- Total installed cost – $80 – $120 per sq. ft.
- Material cost – $50 – $75 per sq. ft.
- Pros install cost – $30 – $45 per sq. ft
- Total installed cost – $40 – $100 per sq. ft.
- Material cost – $30 – $70 per sq. ft.
- Pro install cost – $10 – $30 per sq. ft.
The cost depends on factors like design complexity, edge profiles, integrations, and local labor rates. In general Corian is 50-100% more expensive than a mid-range quartz option.
However, cheaper quartz can still outperform laminate while premium quartz costs overlap with lower-end Corian pricing. Corian offers more design flexibility which comes at a cost premium.
Is Corian truly seamless?
With expert fabrication, Corian can be made into seamless countertops and applications like integrated sinks. However, there is a limit to how wide a surface can be before requiring a barely visible seam. Seaming is far less apparent than with quartz or other materials.
Does Corian stain easily?
No, Corian’s non-porous surface resists staining quite well with proper cleaning. Prolonged exposure to strongly colored substances may stain the surface requiring sanding/polishing but day-to-day stains can be removed with little effort.
Can you cut on a Corian countertop?
Yes, Corian stands up well to being cut on compared to many other materials. Use cutting boards to preserve the finish and avoid deep scratches. Minor knife marks can be sanded out if needed. The renewable surface makes Corian very knife-friendly.
Does quartz need to be sealed?
No. One of the advantages of quartz is that it does not require sealing like natural stone. The resin binder makes quartz non-porous so liquids don’t soak in. Proper cleaning is all that’s needed to keep quartz pristine.
Is quartz fade resistant?
Quartz has excellent UV resistance properties. Long-term exposure to sunlight should not cause any fading, discoloration or other damage. This makes quartz ideal for outdoor kitchens or other applications with sun exposure.
Can quartz chip or crack?
Quartz is very resilient but not completely immune to damage. Impacts from heavy objects may cause chips or cracks. However, due to quartz’s strength overall, chips and cracks are less likely than with more fragile material like marble.
In summary, Corian and quartz have significant differences when it comes to composition, appearance, fabrication, durability, and costs. Corian acrylic solid surfaces offer unparalleled design flexibility with a softer, warmer aesthetic. Quartz engineered stone brings extreme scratch resistance and no-fuss maintenance at a lower price point.
There is no universally superior material – the right choice depends on your priorities and needs. Both Corian and quartz make excellent, long-lasting countertop options that add value to any home. Carefully compare the pros and cons to decide which material is the best fit for your kitchen vision and lifestyle.