Talk Me Out of Corian

TJ Smith
3 years ago
last modified: 3 years ago

This is long winded so if you don't like to read, bail out now.

The wife and I bought a new house a a few months ago. Its got about 45 square feet of counter. The kitchen is dated but so what. Its in great shape - solid maple cabinets by Kraftmad with dove tailed drawers no less. Its not going anywhere. It had dome lights in the ceiling so I ripped out the ceiling by myself and than put in recessed lighting and pendants. Than re-sheetrocked it. Came out GREAT. People can't believe the difference.

My family has been in construction for 150+ years, I was the first generation not to go into it. So I am not easily frightened by most stuff and I can do a lot of it by myself.

What does scare me is the new fangled counters. Years ago, I would think nothing of tearing out the counter and just put in new laminate. But apparently laminate is lower than dirt now. With Corian/solid surface being one layer up on the dirt scale. Not liked anymore by anyone. The existing counter is laminate and is delaminating. It was laminated over particle board which of course swelled when it got wet and the kitchen sink itself is a train wreck - the sprayer doesn't work and it leaks. So as I said it needs a refresh.

We started looking at counters and have gotten a headache from it. Before I start let me say I am not putting down anyone that likes a particular material. These are just our opinions, you are entitled to like what you like.

We like traditional Carrara marble but frankly don't want to deal with the maintenance. We cook a LOT, that means lots of spills. We are not OCD about the kitchen looking like no one lives there but we also don't want to deal with the etching and sealing. So even though we like marble we don't like the way we have to take care of it. So yes we are lazy.

An example - I came down yesterday for breakfast and there is my 80 year old father painting watercolor paintings on the counter. The kids were playing with Hot Wheels on the counter and had set up a track while my dad was painting. I had to chuckle when I saw it. Can you imagine doing this with marble? I think not.

So we moved on to granite. Frankly we are not a fan of granite, don't like the speckling and its way to busy in general. Over the years I have continually heard how tough granite is, how it can't be stained, blah, blah. But than I find out, its not quite so maintenance free. Nowhere near as bad as marble but it still can theoretically stain. And it chips and breaks just like the marble. And there are people babbling about how it might be radioactive.

As its so hard I am afraid of breaking our plates and glasses. We have fairly precious Japanese stoneware along with china that we use all the time and have never had problems on laminate. But I have heard over and over that with granite you need to be super careful as you just have have to tap plates and they are toast.

We looked at quartz but I was not impressed with it. Yes it doesn't stain but it still chips like stone and its freaking hard. Which means the plate thing is still there. Some of the colors do look nice but lets be brutally honest - NOTHING looks like real Carrara.

So here we are looking at Corian. Every single person that I have mentioned Corian too said EWWW, its plastic!!!! I said so? Everything around us is made of plastic. I have seen Corian used in labs where no other substance would ever survive on the bench. And Corian survived just fine. Looks pretty much the way it looked when the lab was built. Here is why I like Corian:

-non porous so it doesn't stain.

-no sealing, EVER

-can be made into any shape you want

-no seams

-a ton of colors

-not quite as hard as granite or quartz

-not cold like stone

-can use pretty much any cleaning product on it - no special cleaners

-doesnt fade from sunlight unlike quartz

-easily repaired (yes I know how to use an orbital sander)

So its pretty low maintenance. The downsides from what I can see are the following:

-yes it can be scratched as its softer - but we use cutting boards now. Who cuts on granite unless you want to ruin your knife

-yes you can scorch it - but we already use trivets

Everyone is pushing granite or quartz on us. Babbling how Corian isn't natural, blah, blah. So what - your car or appliances aren't natural either. Its not like quartz is natural either, its made in a factory just like Corian. From what I have read the manufacturing of both Corian and quartz are kind of similar.

So I don't get why Corian is not more popular. Is it that people don't like the look? Or has marketing taken over pushing the natural stone and quartz. I know you can get common granite cheaper (forget the more expensive stuff) than Corian but quartz being cheaper? No way. To me from what I can see - granite is not really a good counter for cooking due to the sealing and stuff. Maybe for baking but for everything else maybe not.

Am I missing something about the Corian? I would have thought that considering its low maintenance and it being fairly tough it would be more popular.

Someone please talk me out of it before I do it.

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