The Ultimate Guide to Corian
If you are looking to replace your kitchen worktops, chances are you are pretty familiar with materials like granite and laminate, but what about Corian?
Corian has been around since the 1960s and is a desirable option for contemporary kitchens. It was invented by the brilliant DuPont™ company who tasked their scientists to create the perfect solid surface material.
What is a Corian worktop?
Want a designer kitchen countertop that oozes luxury and suits your colour scheme perfectly? Corian ticks every box for aesthetic appeal, but it is also a material engineered perfectly to make it fit for purpose in domestic and commercial settings.
The Corian definition? That’s hard to pin down. It’s not entirely natural, nor is it man-made, but rather a hybrid that fulfils many of the functions on your worktop wish-list.
What is Corian?
Corian was created in 1963 by DuPont™, the terrifically innovative company responsible for iconic brands like nylon, Lycra and Teflon.
At their laboratory in Wilmington, Delamere, in the USA a young scientist called Donald Slocum wanted to create a material that fulfilled several criteria.
It had to be:
- A solid slab
- Robust enough to be viable as a work surface
- Could be repaired easily
- Was great to look at
- Easy to install with standard woodworking tools
He had a huge task on his hands, and it took years to perfect a compound that would enable him to meet every one of these demands.
Such was Dupont’s faith in Dr Slocum’s invention that the company began producing it commercially the following year.
If you keep in mind the fact this is a company that has been responsible for innovative materials like high-density polythene fibre Tyvek, commonly used for housewraps to protect buildings from damp during construction, as well as Lycra, nylon and more, it is clear design standards are high.
When Corian was first invented, the only colour available was white. However, that didn’t matter because it resonated with the design ethos of the time which was very much clean and modernist.
Corian definition is essentially ‘solid surface’. It is a manufactured material created from reconstituted pulverised natural materials mixed with polymer acrylic resins at approximately one third resin to 2/3 mineral compound.
For those seeking a more detailed answer to the question: “What is Corian made of?” the main ingredient is alumina trihydrate which is derived from bauxite ore – interestingly one of the main components in the manufacture of aluminium.
The main components of Corian are acrylic resins methyl methacrylate (MMA) and polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), aluminium hydroxide, natural minerals, and pigment additives. This makes it non hygroscopic (resistant to liquid). Indeed, tests have proven that Corian countertops will absorb 300 times less moisture than marble, which is how it gets its reputation for being exceptionally hygienic.
Unlike that other man-made countertop material, laminate, which consists of layers of plastic bonded to particle board, Corian is a solid, hard, non-porous slab.
This means it is more robust and incredibly hardwearing. Not only that, its surface has a sleek finish that makes it suitable for high-end projects.
What form can Corian be purchased in?
Corian is manufactured in sheets with thicknesses of 6 mm, 12.3 mm or 19 mm, making it suitable for a variety of applications.
The 6mm sheets are generally used for wall cladding, while the 12.3mm and 19mm options are the preferred choice for countertops. Which you opt for depends upon the finish you want and if you want a tougher, more durable countertop.
One of the main benefits of Corian is the fact it can be shaped and moulded. This process is called thermoforming. Basically, once it is heated it can be moulded, shaped and sculpted to create beautiful, curved countertops. Because various techniques are used to support and strengthen this adaptable material, it can be used across long spans without losing any of its aesthetic appeal.
Thermoforming Corian to create fabulous worktops, basins, sinks, splashbacks, fixtures, or decorations involves heating the Corian to the correct temperature in a factory. It is then placed on a wooden mould at a controlled temperature and treated in a way akin to vacuum packing to hold it in place until it hardens and sets. The results are truly striking!
Corian is commonly used in places where hygiene is paramount like kitchen worktops and in laboratories, hospitals, schools, dental practices and GP surgeries – anywhere that requires surfaces to be kept free from bacteria.
As mentioned above, Corian absorbs less moisture than other materials and is therefore less likely to become a breeding ground for nasties that cause illness.
What are the beneficial properties of Corian?
Unlike other man-made materials, Corian is extremely hardwearing, and can be compared favourably to granite – its real stone rival. Unlike the latter, it isn’t high maintenance; you’ll need to reseal a granite worktop at least once every couple of years, something that isn’t necessary with Corian.
It also resists staining, chipping, cutting, and scratching which, let’s face it, can easily occur in busy spaces like a kitchen.
As we have already explained, Corian is a no-brainer if hygiene is a priority. Not only is it much less absorbent than many other materials, but it is also manufactured so it doesn’t have any visible joints. While this creates a flawless high-end look, the smoother surface also means there are no areas in Corian worktops where toxic bacteria or fungi can grow.
Can be repaired
If you do get a few surface scratches on your pristine Corian countertop this can be easily rectified with a metallic sponge and a cleaner that is gently abrasive.
Even if the damage to the countertop is worse than just minor scratches, it can be resolved without having to resort to having it completely replaced, thus saving you money.
Corian is an inert material; it does not undergo any physical, chemical, or biological transformation (unless the temperature in your kitchen exceeds 100° C, which is highly unlikely). Even if it is burned, it will not emit dangerous gases. This is what makes it so suitable for worktops in spaces like hospitals, commercial kitchens, and offices.
Comes in different colours
Corian comes in many colours and textures, and you can even have images applied to it using a sublimation printer if you really want to customise its finish.
While Corian is a high-end product, and there are less expensive alternatives if you are on a tight budget, it is more affordable than, for example, granite. Shop around and you are sure to find a supplier like Stone Design UK who can create Corian countertops at a competitive price. At Stone Design UK, we give customers peace of mind by offering a 10-year manufacturer’s guarantee, so you can be assured your Corian designs are worth every penny.
Can Corian be bought in different colours?
Yes! In fact, this is a massive plus when it comes to design aesthetic. Corian is often the first choice of architects and interior designers because of its beauty and versatility. It comes in 90 – yes 90! – colours and finishes which means you can get any look you want as well as all the other benefits we’ve described.
Fancy a stunning red countertop? Or the deep lacquered finish in shiny black? A granite or quartz-look or a marbled effect? From once being only available in white, a whole new world of choice has opened up.
Not only is Corian available in a wide variety of hues, it can be engraved, polished, or textured to create a bespoke look and through a special process can be shaped into basins, sinks, or shower trays.
Where to find Corian countertops
Have we convinced you that Corian is the perfect material for your project?
Why not contact Stone Design UK today and we can take you through a wide range of possibilities.
As suppliers of luxury Corian kitchen worktops to satisfied customers in Cheshire, Liverpool, Manchester, Preston and Wigan we have the expertise to ensure you make the right choice for your next kitchen project.