Corian vs Hard Surface Countertops


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Old 03-08-05, 05:39 AM
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Question Corian vs Hard Surface Countertops

I am considering replacing my old laminate type kitchen countertops with either Corian type or a hard type surface like Silestone. What are the pros and cons of each of these type surfaces? Are there any other type surfaces that I should look at-both the above are very pricey? Thanks for your opinion and suggestions.
 
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Old 03-08-05, 05:47 AM
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Countertops are a personal choice and largely driven by your budget. If you have access to Consumer Reports they did an excellent comparision of countertops late last year. Some basics are granite has a beautiful natural look to it but it must be sealed periodically. Also, try to go to a place where you can pick out the slab so it has the coloring you like. Silestone offers more options than granite and does not need to be sealed. But it has a uniform look and the edges can chip. Personally, I like the look of the granite much more. There are a lot of options for Corian but it cuts and knicks easily. It is also not much cheaper (if any) than granite or silestone.
 
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Old 03-08-05, 06:02 AM
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TigerDunes,

I used to recommend Granite. Too many complaints and most were that few know it does require maintenance. I have gone to a natural quatz - Silestone is just one but you get what you pay for. As Hammylinky mentioned what you don't get in looks with Silestone to match the granite looking appeal, you make up for it in minimal care and are extremely durable. Do some research on the products available and see what best suits you.

The engineering and finishing phases of quartz-counter manufacturing are virtually the same throughout the industry, which means companies like Cambria, DuPont, and Cosentino can all offer warranties for up to ten years on their products. Also, since these countertops are engineered using a controlled process, quality-control measures exist for quartz that are not possible for natural granite countertops.

Good Luck!
 
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Old 03-08-05, 06:53 AM
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Another, less expensive option that might work for you is using quartz-countertop material tiles.
i'm not a big fan of ceramic countertops due to the groutlines getting dirty, but with these, you can keep your lines
to the smallest. (1/16?) Also, they sell them in smaller sizes so you can get creative with two or more colors for your backsplash.

If you do decide on corian-type material though, don't get a one piece kitchen sink.
pots and pans will mark and nick and scratch that stuff up terrible.


My $0.02.
 
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Old 03-10-05, 07:39 AM
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How about this for an option. (If still available). The laminate manufactures used to sell a laminate that was solid color all the way through, rather than a colores top surface and a sandwiched paperlike body. This was an upgrade to normal laminate and on a stone/granite pattern with a polished finish no seems where visible because it was the same color/pattern all the way through. This was more costly than the standard laminate, but way less that the real deal...Check it out. You get the look without the price!
 
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Old 03-10-05, 08:07 AM
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From a homeowners perspective, I prefer Silestone. Before doing the kitchen, we decided to try out both silestone and granite in two of your bathrooms. Silestone, as an engineered product offers more options (many of which are natural looking when viewed by themselves, i.e. not next to a slab of granite). In addition to the benefit of having no maintenance, silestone also has day-to-day benefits. Granite, expecially honed/shined shows every water spot and will develop a film from most cleaners. To look great, the granite needs special cleaners and/or a squeegee (sp?). That's not a huge problem in a bathroom, but could be a pain in a kitchen with more counterspace.

An option for consideration is the new "rock solid granite" which is an engineered product using quartz and epoxy. It is very thin and is applied on top of existing countertops. It's about 25% cheaper, and looks fantastic. Of course, I can't say I've seen it in application (we have to raise our countertops, so it didn't make sense to build a plywood counter then have the product applied), however, if you aren't altering the layout of your current counters, it may be something worth considering.
 
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Old 03-10-05, 10:23 AM
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One limitation with the granite overlay is the lack of edging. It goes over your existing countertop so whatever you have now you are stuck with. I think the edging is key for granite because it gives the countertop a great look. Just something to think about.
 
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Old 03-17-05, 07:25 AM
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I recommend Silestone or Granite

I used both in the past year. Granite in the Kitchen and Silestone in a Bar. I used the Granite in the kitchen as it is less expensive and holds up better on heat. I had read with Silestone that there was a risk of discolorization if a Very hot item (Pan/Pot) was placed on it. I liked the looks and low maintenance of Silestone, however, that I did use it in my bar where there was less material required and no chance of hot items being placed on it.

Mark
 
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Old 03-29-05, 06:43 PM
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I've heard that although it has an extremely high melting point, the quartz composites can crack if hot pots/pans are put on them. This is the first I've heard of potential discoloration... I mean, this isn't a $400 laminate counter; it's going to run upwards of $5k for me to do my kitchen with quartz and I just want to make sure it lasts a lifetime

Are there any differences between the companies besides the patterns? I was under the impression they all licensed the same manufacturing process, but didn't know if they were literally identical, or if there were significant enough differences to pick one over the other simply on brand name. We've looked heavily at Avanza, Silestone, Zodiac and Cambria, and have narrowed it down to two shades of Cambria we really like (well, there was one Avanza we really liked too, but it was way more expensive...).

Edit: Quoth the Avanza FAQ:
http://www.avanzausa.com/productinfo/care.aspx
---------------------------------------------------------
Avanza is also heat-resistant and will not scorch under normal cooking temperatures

...

NO SURFACE IS INDESTRUCTIBLE

As with any surface, Avanza can be damaged by exposure to strong chemicals and solvents. Do not use products containing trichlorethane or methylene chloride, such as paint removers or furniture strippers. Avoid abrasive cleansers containing high alkaline/PH levels.

In the event of accidental exposure to any of these damaging products, thoroughly rinse with water as soon as possible.
 
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Old 03-29-05, 07:33 PM
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Grover,

I think what it comes down to is this,

If you like it, you buy it
If you buy it, you have to understand how to take care of it
If you understand it, you have to accept the responsibility of it

We all look at what is on the market. We have many choices?

Affordability means compromises. To many, we only can buy what we an afford. We are impatient at times and buy what the trend is, not realizing the trend does not live in my house, I do. We seek to purchase things not yet proven but in theory, seem intriguing.

I could come up with many reasons why one product is better than another, would it make a difference to you? No. Would it to me? Possibly. Can I afford the beauty of granite - maybe, but does acquiring granite mean it is indestructible? Hardly.

No matter what you buy, there comes a point where you must learn how to take care for it. Many buyers today love the beauty but sometimes beauty is only skin deep. Our desires seem to take us beyond rational and reasonable expectations. We even fail to read the warranty or guarantees. The surprise is when we get home and it fails our expectations.

We have countertops that require no maintenance but require care. We have countertops that require maintenance and still require care.

We talk of hot pans, cleaning agents, knives but what product is available to be totally impervious to all of this and more? None. So with that being known, it comes down to looks, then the price tag, then reality.

Debates on what is good, better or best is purely a buyer’s choice.
 

Last edited by Doug Aleshire; 03-29-05 at 08:18 PM.
  #11  
Old 05-30-05, 02:58 PM
lundeby
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Cleaning Silestone with Mineral Spirits

I posted a detailed response in another thread so I will not repeat it:
http://forum.doityourself.com/showthread.php?p=782808

However, we've used mineral spirits a few times to clean really hard to remove stuff from our Silestone. The installers used mineral spirits to clean the joint filling stuff. They wiped down the entire surface to make sure no adhisive was left.

Finally, they recomended a razor blade at a sharp angle and mineral spirits for cleaning tough problems.

I'm sure there are problems that will permanently damage it but we've not found them.

The second time we asked the installer about the new news about hot pans. He indicated there had been cases of flaking presumably due to regularly setting hot pans that had just come from the stove. He had not run into any cases personally. However, the recomendation had been changed to "don't".

I really wish I got something for recomending this stuff to people but I don't.

Bruce
 
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Old 06-04-05, 07:33 PM
RichDandG
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if corian scratches it can be sanded and you will never know.
 
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Old 06-04-05, 08:53 PM
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Corian is a popular brand name for a solid surface material. There are many others that tend to offer the same advantages at a lower price in the solid, synthetic surface countertop options. You can find helpful info on this website at http://doityourself.com/kitchen/kitchencountertops.htm If I had the $$ and had an option, I would pick solid surface and shop for the lowest price and not be brand conscious.

Before proceeding with your countertop material research, keep in mind that hot pans should never be placed on top of any countertop material. If you want that option, then you need to look at stainless steel.

Granite is expensive, holds up to heat (I wouldn't set a hot pot on it because I am overly cautious and there have been fracture reports.) It tends to require lots of maintenance, including periodic sealing, absorbs stains, can crack, and there is a limited range of colors available. If you have your heart set on granite and budget is an issue, then you can opt for granite tiles. The major problem with granite is that folks simply don't know how to maintain it and keep it sealed. If you know what you are doing and are diligent with maintenance, granite is wonderful and beautiful despite it's expense.

Engineered quartz (composed of quartz particals) is available in a larger range of colors than granite and has a nonporous surface that resists scratches. Brands on the market are DuPont Zodiaq, Cambria Quartz, and Silestone and others. These products tend to be popular because of stain resistance and acid resistance and easy maintenance, but they are expensive, too.

There are many solid surface countertop manufacturers. Yes, scratches can be sanded/buffed out. If you take the proper precautions, this would never be necessary. There are many companies who provide these products : Avonite, Corian, and Swanstone and others.

I grew up on Formica & their new solid surface is very price competitive and very wonderful. I have one in my kitchen. Solid surface comes in many colors and patterns (some colors & patterns more expensive than others. It can come seamless if that is your desire, and it is stain resistant (not stain proof). Because these products are a meld of polymers & resins they are vulnerable to hot pans and stains which can damage the surface. Yes, they are moderately expensive as compared to granite.

We still have folks who like ceramic tile counters because of easy cleanup and cost. They tend to take hot pans, be easy tro clean, have a wide range of color, texture and design. Complaints tend to be uneven surface, stained grout, and expensive if going with custom tiles.

Laminate counters bear trademarks such as Formica and others. They're made of plastic-coated synthetics with a smooth surface that's easy to clean. Plastic laminate is easy to maintain, durable, and inexpensive. But, it scratches and chips and it can not be repaired and harsh chemicals can remove color. It tends to have seams that show in mitered corners. And, there is no way that it can withstand heat or harsh chemicals of cleaning products.

Wood countertops are also available. They are easy to clean and maintain and can be sanded and re-oiled or refinished. You have to deal with water damage and stains and maintain scratches.

Stainless Steel? Very contemporay and industrial looking. Heat resistant and durable, of course. But, these countertops tend to be expensive. They can dent. You can't cut on it, but you should not on any countertop.

I am not a fan of soapstone counters because they are so soft and tend to stain. I don't care how smooth they feel. They require constant sealing with mineral oil and may darken and crack over time. Soapstone headstones have lost the imprints of the graves they mark in historic cemeteries. So, it seems they simply erode over time.

I would not recommend marble for a kitchen surface. It's not because of cost. It's lovely, but high maintenance when it comes to keeping sealed. It's a limestone and anything that contains acid like juice, wine, champagne, tomatoes, etc. will etch it. I also don't recommend it for bathrooms because of high maintenance and so many cleaners that contain acids. Like granite, if you don't know how to maintain natural stone, you don't want to go there. It tends to be high maintenance. And, not all granites are created equal and may be high in limestone content. If shopping, go to stone yard with a cup of ice water as if you are thirsty and drizzle drops to see how absorptive sample are.

If you like different types of counter materials, you can mix and match. You can use a different type of top on island or baking center or chop area. Remember, marble stains and is high maintenance as are other natural stone products.

Concrete is a new kid on the block. These tops tend to exceed most budgets. They are heat and scratch resistant, can be color-tinted, and provides a look that no one else has. But, besides the expense, it can crack (very common) and is high maintenance because it has to kept waxed or sealed with a sealant.


To answer your questions, if budget is an issue, go low with plastic laminate, move up with solid surface, and beyond to natural stone with maintenance issues.
 
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Old 01-03-06, 09:05 PM
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Smile Advantages of Corian

The previous post by twelvepole is outstanding. Every countertop material has its advantages and disadvantages, and there is no single choice that is best for everyone. I've been in the countertop business for 23 years, and have dealt with almost every type on the market. All I know about concrete tops is what I've read, though. I've never sold one.

I do want to point out some of the advantages of DuPont Corian, which is my personal favorite. I have it in my home with no regrets. No countertop material has greater design flexibility. An infinite variety of edge details and sculptural effects are possible. Well over 100 colors and patterns are available. Some resemble granite very closely, without its disadvantages.

No countertop is more sanitary than Corian, though stainless steel is equal in this regard. Corian offers integrated sinks bonded to the underside of the countertop in a completely smooth and sanitary fashion. Almost all other countertop types have an unsanitary "dirt catcher" between the sink and the countertop.

Corner seams are invisible and sanitary with Corian, if the installer is skilled. Seams are glaringly obvious and unsanitary in granite, engineered stone, plastic laminate and butcher block. As for ceramic tile, it is a sea of unsanitary grout lines. It's pretty on a backsplash, though.

What about competing brands of solid surface materials? Some are mediocre, and some are pretty darned good. One of the real advantages of DuPont Corian is their comprehensive ten year warranty. Let's face it, there are a lot of flakes installing countertops. Do you trust yourself to evaluate the cheap choices? Do you want the job backed by a company that's only been selling countertops in the U.S. for three or four years? Or do you want to do business with a solid U.S. company that's been headquartered in Delaware for well over 200 years?

Things do go wrong with Corian as with any material, but problems can be repaired with outstanding results.

If you really don't like Corian, I won't argue with you. Buy something else, and you very well may be happy with your choice. But if Corian's advantages intrigue you, do the research and consider the best. Start at www.corian.com. No one can rival DuPont Corian for customer satisfaction.

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