When you’re remodeling your kitchen, selecting your next countertop might be a delight or a huge mess. You start searching and you soon realize there are more options than you can process at a time, and worst, sometimes you can’t even grasp the difference between one and the other. Such is commonly the case on the Corian vs quartz debate.

They are both man-made materials, manufactured countertops made to somehow present a viable and solid alternative to stones. It’s easy to see why someone would mix them up. However, apart from that, their look, performance and cost are quite different.

We will never stress enough that choosing the right countertop material is about selecting something that matches your lifestyle and personality just as much as looks itself.  So to help you understand which of these 2 options is your go-to we will examine on this article all of their differences, pros and cons.

Corian vs Quartz: Differences Explained

Let’s dive into the particulars about each of those materials.

Solid Surface Countertops, AKA, Corian

kitchen outfitted with corian countertop

Corian is actually a brand name associated with solid-surface countertops. It’s one of those cases where the material gets constantly called by the name of the brand that made it popular. With that said, we will be reviewing here facts about all solid-surface countertops, not merely those branded Corian.

The material was first introduced in 1967 as an alternative to the then really popular plastic laminate countertops. Corian countertops soon got popular too, since they offered the obvious advantage of being solid, which allows for the installation of undermount sinks and the creation of more elegant kitchens. 

Solid-surface countertops are the result of a blend of natural minerals (~66%) and synthetic polymers (~33). Such a mixture allowed for a cost-effective solid material that’s able to at least resemble the look provided by natural stone countertops, especially granite, a trend that has lived for decades.

While Corian countertops got really popular in the 80s, they’ve been recently overshadowed by the popularization of quartz and the fact that granite is now way cheaper.

Engineered Stone Countertops, AKA, Quartz

Placed on a more premium range of the price spectrum comes quartz, also a man-made material, but one that seeks to offer the benefits of natural stones without their few disadvantages. Make sure not to confuse it with quartzite, a natural stone, which is a completely different material.

Quartz, an engineered stone, and its process of fabrication, was an invention of Marcelo Toncelli in the ’70s, his idea was patented and trademarked by his firm Breton. Nowadays, although over 50 companies worldwide are licensed to manufacture and sell quartz slabs of different designs, all of these products share the same traits of Breton’s patent.

Quartz countertops are manufactured by joining roughly 90-95% quartz crystals with polymers and pigments. The best quartz countertops are usually at least 93% pure ground quartz.

It’s exactly because engineered stone is mainly formed from quartz crystals, which is a natural material with high hardness, that it’s able to perform similarly to actual stones (which by the way are also composed of a lot of quartz).

As we’ve mentioned, many brands supply engineered stone and solid-surface countertops. As confusing as it may sound, Corian (the brand owned by DuPont) also offers a line of quartz countertops.

However, the traits of the materials supplied by all brands are similar enough so that we can make a proper comparative analysis of both materials, regardless of who fabricated it.

Appearance Differences

Both Corian and quartz are manufactured in an extensive range of colors, patterns and finishes. However, Corian, being the option that relies more on synthetic materials, will appear to be more artificial.

On the other end, quartz visuals are stunning and more realistic. Some quartz brands are able to mimic natural stones almost perfectly. Other exotic options offer unique takes on other materials, such as concrete, for instance

When it comes to appearance quartz takes the best out of solid-surface countertops in almost all aspects except for one. Seams.

Similarly to natural stones, quartz is fabricated and transported in slabs. And although you can find huge slabs of quartz for your project, that will make it really expensive, plus there’s a limit to how large a slab can be. Large quartz projects will present seams.

Corian, on the other hand, can be molded in place and completely avoid seams, or hide them better.

Maintenance Differences

Both Corian and quartz countertops require few to no maintenance at all. We’re talking about day-to-day cleaning and that’s it.

That’s not to say they will both last the same, as we will see in our next section.

Durability Differences

Corian will not offer the same performance and durability as quartz.

Quartz is able to resist scratches, mold and mildew. Corian will unfortunately be easily dented, scratched from knives.

When it comes to heat resistance, both the materials can be damaged by hot pans, however quartz can still endure it better.

Both materials are really stain resistant, however they can be discolored by strong chemicals.

The one area where Corian actually performs better than quartz is outdoors. Corian can be installed outdoors, quartz can’t or its colors will fade.

Usability Differences

When it comes to day-to-day usage quartz will take the top due to its higher durability.

You will be able to use quartz countertops without worrying much about scratches. And if you come to think about it knifes are handled over countertops every day.

Price Difference

At last, we will talk about this very important topic. Corian is cheaper than quartz however not by much.

According to Home Advisor, Solid Surface Countertops will cost you from 52 to 120 dollars per square foot installed. The same website informs that quartz costs in average 125 dollars per square foot installed.

It’s worth noticing that although Corian countertops are cheaper, they require almost as much investment as granite countertops that cost 75 to 125 dollars per square foot according to the same website. It’s worth considering if that wouldn’t be a better investment since granite is a top performer.

Read Also: Quartz vs Granite Countertops

Who wins the Corian vs Quartz comparison?

As we mentioned in the beginning of this article, it’s all about what fits your budget, tastes and lifestyle better.

However, we can summarize by saying that quartz outperforms Corian (all solid-surface countertops) in all areas, except for price and outdoor usage.

Are you shopping for countertops? If you live in Florida come visit us at Eagle Stones, we will provide free expert consultancy into choosing the best material for your applications.