The Complete Guide to Choosing Between Corian or Quartz Countertops

When remodeling or building a new kitchen, one of the most important decisions is choosing the right countertop material. Two popular options are Corian and quartz. Both make beautiful, functional countertops but have key differences in appearance, performance, and cost.

quartz countertops to help you select the best material for your needs and budget. We’ll examine the pros and cons of each in terms of durability, maintenance, customization, style, eco-friendliness, and affordability. We’ll also overview the unique qualities and compositions of Corian solid surfaces and quartz engineered stone.

After reading this guide, you’ll understand the key similarities and differences between these two countertop materials. Armed with this knowledge, you can make an informed decision on whether Corian or quartz is the right fit for your kitchen or bathroom remodeling project.

Corian Countertops

What is Corian?

Corian is a solid surface countertop material made from a combination of natural minerals and acrylic resin. First developed by DuPont in 1967, Corian consists primarily of alumina trihydrate, a material derived from bauxite ore, and acrylic resin (often called PolyMethyl MethAcrylate).

corian countertops vs quartz

The alumina trihydrate gives Corian its durability and resistance to heat and stains. The acrylic resin allows Corian to be thermoformed, or molded and shaped, into custom countertop designs. Other minor ingredients are added for color and performance. All ingredients are blended and heated to form an impermeable, nonporous solid surface.

Benefits of Corian Countertops

Here are some of the advantages of choosing Corian solid surface countertops:

  • Can be fabricated into seamless, custom designs and shapes
  • Available in over 100 colors and patterns
  • Nonporous surface resists staining
  • Easily repairable if damaged
  • More affordable than natural stone
  • Durable and long-lasting if properly maintained

The customizable nature of Corian is a major benefit. Corian can be molded into flowing curves and ornate edge details. It can be cut precisely to fit the specific dimensions of your kitchen. This allows for unlimited design possibilities not offered by other countertop materials.

The solid surface composition also means Corian countertops can be repaired in cases of damage. Small scratches can be buffed out, and more significant damage can be seamlessly fixed by a professional fabricator. With routine maintenance, Corian countertops can look great for years.

Drawbacks of Corian

There are a few potential disadvantages to weigh with Corian countertops:

  • Prone to scratching, chipping, and denting from knives, pots, etc.
  • Not as heat resistant as stone; can burn or discolor
  • Must be sealed to prevent stains from absorbing
  • Joints between slabs may be more visible
  • Less durable overall compared to quartz

While repairable, Corian lacks the hardness and durability of natural stone. It’s more vulnerable to showing wear and tear from daily use over time. Corian requires careful maintenance and sealing to prevent stains and damage.

Cost of Corian Countertops

On average, Corian countertops cost $40-$60 per square foot installed. Here are some of the factors that influence the total project cost:

  • Number of linear feet needed
  • Thickness (1/2″ is standard)
  • Edge profiles – basic edges vs. decorative treatments
  • Backsplashes, drainboards, or special cuts
  • Accessories like sinks that are integrated into the countertop

More customizedoptions, ornate edges, and accessories will increase the overall price. The total cost of Corian countertops depends on the size and design selections made. In general, Corian is one of the more affordable countertop materials, costing less than quartz, granite, or marble.

Quartz Countertops

What is Quartz?

Quartz countertops, often referred to as engineered stone, are composed of ground natural quartz crystals combined with polyester resins and pigments. Quartz is one of the hardest minerals found in nature, making it very durable and ideal for countertops.

In a manufacturing plant, quartz crystals are crushed into a fine powder. The quartz powder is blended with resins, polymers, and color pigments and poured into molds to form countertop slabs. Major brands of quartz countertops include Caesarstone, Cambria, and Silestone.

Benefits of Quartz Countertops

Here are some of the key advantages of quartz countertops:

  • Extremely hard and scratch resistant
  • Requires very little maintenance
  • Resists stains, bacteria, and common household acids
  • Available in a wide array of colors and patterns
  • Increases value and resale price of home
  • Long lifespan with proper care

The durability of quartz makes it ideal for busy kitchens. Quartz stands up well to heavy use without chipping, scratching, or staining. Unlike Corian, quartz does not need regular sealing. Simple cleaning with soap and water is enough to maintain its beautiful appearance.

Quartz also gives the look of natural stone for less cost. The patterns mimic granite and other types of stone but don’t carry the same price tag. This makes quartz an attractive option for adding high-end style to your kitchen.

Drawbacks of Quartz

The downsides to consider with quartz countertops include:

  • Higher cost than Corian
  • Limited custom shapes and edge options
  • Visible seams between slabs
  • Some patterns show fingerprints and water marks

Due to the manufacturing process, quartz has slightly more limitations in terms of custom edges and fitting shapes. Complex designs may not be possible or will require multiple seams. Some quartz patterns also highlight smudges and fingerprints more than others.

Cost of Quartz Countertops

On average, quartz countertops range from $80-$120 per square foot installed. Variables that affect the total project cost include:

  • Color and style – basic whites vs. expensive exotic colors
  • Thickness – standard 3 cm vs. thicker options
  • Number of seams required
  • Backsplashes, accent walls, or special cuts
  • Edge and surface treatments

Quartz costs more than Corian due to the price of raw materials and manufacturing. Exotic colors, special patterns, and premium brands will push the price higher. Expect quartz countertops to have a higher overall investment than Corian.

Corian vs Quartz: Key Differences

Now that we’ve covered the background of each material, let’s directly compare some of the main differences between Corian and quartz:


  • Corian offers more customization options and unique designs.
  • Quartz provides a wider selection of natural stone colors and patterns.

Corian comes in vibrant solids along with swirls and speckles. But quartz realistically mimics the look of granite, marble, and other natural stones. For the most realistic stone appearance, quartz has the advantage.

Durability and Maintenance

  • Quartz is harder, more scratch resistant, and stands up better under heavy use.
  • Corian requires frequent sealing to prevent stains from absorbing into the surface.

Quartz rates 7-8 on the Mohs mineral hardness scale, making it very resilient against scratches and chips. Corian rates 2-3, so it’s more prone to surface damage from knives, pots and pans, and impacts over time.


  • Quartz has a higher initial price tag due to its quality and durability.
  • Corian provides savings upfront. But quartz may be more cost effective long-term.

Paying more for quartz pays dividends through years of minimal maintenance and long-lasting performance. Corian can look worn over time, requiring repairs and replacement sooner.


  • Quartz is composed of up to 90% natural stone making it an eco-friendly choice.
  • Corian is an acrylic and polymer based solid surface with less natural materials.

At the end of its lifespan, quartz can be crushed up and recycled into other products. Corian cannot be recycled in the same way and ends up in landfills.

Other Factors to Consider

Along with the differences covered already, here are some other considerations when selecting between Corian vs. quartz:

Installation and Fabrication

  • Corian offers a wider range of customized edge and design options.
  • Quartz requires precision cutting to properly fit seams between slabs.

Heat and Stain Resistance

  • Quartz stands up to heat and stains from spills better than Corian.
  • Corian can bubble or discolor if hot pans are placed directly on the surface.


  • Corian availability may be impacted by supply chain disruptions and shortages.
  • There are many reliable quartz suppliers to choose from.

Resale Value

  • Quartz is regarded as a premium material and can increase home resale value.
  • Well-maintained Corian countertops can also add value, but not as much as quartz.

Corian and quartz each have their unique sets of pros and cons. Here’s a quick summary to help you decide:

Consider Corian if you want:

  • Highly customized options with ornate edges
  • Vibrant solid colors and swirled patterns
  • Seamless appearance
  • Lower upfront investment

Choose quartz if you want:

  • Maximum durability and scratch resistance
  • Minimal maintenance
  • Natural granite, marble, and stone looks
  • Increased resale value

For busy kitchens and family spaces, quartz is the best performer, ensuring a pristine, flawless look with heavy use. The strength and longevity of quartz makes it our top recommendation.

However, if your priority is a one-of-a-kind design aesthetic on a budget, Corian solid surfaces give you the most flexibility. Just be prepared for more frequent cleaning and sealing.

We hope this comprehensive Corian vs. quartz comparison has equipped you to decide between these popular countertop materials. Visit a kitchen design showroom to view Corian and quartz options first-hand. With some smart planning upfront, you’ll end up with beautiful, durable countertops that will dazzle for decades to come.

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