10 Important Differences Between Granite & Corian

When you start to compare corian vs granite it quickly becomes obvious just how incredibly different these two materials are.

Corian vs Granite Summary

Corian is fairly easy to scratch, can’t withstand high temperatures, is almost impossible to stain, and requires no maintenance. Granite is hard to scratch, can handle extremely high temperatures, needs to be maintained with a yearly sealant application, and can stain if you’re not diligent about cleaning up spills.

A chart comparing the major differences between Corian and granite.

Let’s dig a little deeper into their pros and cons, starting with the cost of both options.

Pricing

How Much Are Corian Countertops?

Prices vary depending on where you live but you’ll fairly consistenly find them for as little as $40. With solid surface counters you do get exactly what you pay for, however.

The cheapest option will almost always be the lowest quality. The price and quality increases from here up to about $140 per square foot. Different colors of Corian have a different prices.

Dupont does regularly run promos. You can find a list of their current promotions here on their website.

How Much Are Granite Countertops?

The cost of granite also starts at about $40 per s.f. and can go as high as a couple hundred dollars for rare stones.

You can find very good quality slabs at your local stone yard at the bottom end of the price range. With a little luck you might even be able to find something that costs even less.

Would you like to see other ways to save money on granite countertops? Read this page: How To Save A Bundle On The Cost Of Granite Counters

Composition

What Are Corian Countertops Made Of?

A good example of Corian mimicking granite in the kitchen.

I suspect this is solid surface but it's hard to distinguish Corian vs granite at times because Dupont has done a fabulous job of mimicking natural stone. Image Attribution

Corian, like all solid surface counters, were invented in a labratory. It’s roughly 60% alumina trihydrate (ATH) which is refined from bauxite ore. The ATH is then combined with an acrylic syrup called methyl methacrylate. These two ingredients make up about 98% of the finished product with the other 2% being dyes and other fillers used to give it color and texture.

It's important to know that Corian is a 'solid surface' countertop, manufacturd by DuPont and sold under the brand name Corian. Dupont used to be the only manufacturer of solid surfaces but when their patent expired new competitors quickly popped up. Some of the most popular are Wilsonart, Formica, and Staron.

What Are Granite Countertops Made Of?

Granite is an igneous rock, formed deep in the belly of planet earth. As magma slowly cools underground it solidifies and forms granite. It is made up of a combination of minerals; mostly felspar and quartz but it can contain many other trace minerals as well.

The stone is mined from the earth at quarries in large blocks. They are eventually cut into slabs, shaped, and polished to create a finished countertop.

Heat Resistance

Can You Put A Hot Pot On A Corian Countertop?

No, Corian cannot stand high temperatures. Anything over a couple hundred degrees will burn them. Most burns can be repaired by using fine sandpaper or a scouring pad to remove the damaged material.

To avoid damaging your worktops you should always use a trivet with rubber feet. Also be careful with any small appliances that generate heat like crock pots and electric skillets.

I believe this worktop is solid surface but it looks a lot like quartzite.

Another excellent example of solid surface that looks like natural stone. This one looks like quartzite or possibly marble. It's even possible that is is a plastic laminate. It's very hard to tell from pictures at times so the best thing to do when you find something you love is to bring the picture to your fabricator and ask them to find it for you.

Can You Place A Hot Pot On Granite Countertops?

Yes, any hot pot can be taken right from the stovetop and placed on a granite work surface. There have been extremely rare cases of ‘thermal shock’ where the stone cracked because of the high heat. But it’s so uncommon that I personally never give it a second thought.

Scratch Resistance

Is Corian Scratch Resistant?

No, definitely not. Don’t ever use a knife directly on the surface of Corian without a cutting board. With every pass of the knife you’ll make a small scratch. Scratches are easy to fix but how often do you want to have to lightly sand the surface of your countertop?

Is Granite Scratch Resistant?

Yes, granite countertops cannot be scratched with kitchen knives. Stone fabricators use special blades and tools to work with it and your knives are not made of the same material.

It’s so durable that it will dull your knives fairly quickly, so you do still need to use a cutting board. But don’t worry if your cutting board is in the dishwasher or are at times like me and can’t be bothered to take it out for a quick chop.

A large central kitchen island topped with brown granite.

A large island like this makes an excellent place to do lot's of chopping and cutting. Image Attribution

Stain Resistance

Does Corian Stain?

Because of the acrylic use to make solid surface countertops it is nonporous and stain resistant. I hesitate to say stain proof because acidic foods like tomatoes can stain the surface if left to sit for too long but they won’t penetrate it. If this happens you can easily remove it with a scouring pad.

Does Granite Stain?

Yes, granite can stain if not cared for properly. Nearly anything that you spill on the surface will wipe away completely if cleaned up within a few minutes. Do not allow oils to sit on the surface for long, oil stains are very tough to remove.

A granite countertop polished to a high gloss.

You'll only get a high gloss finish like this with granite. This highly polished surface also helps to keep stains out.

Maintenance

How To Clean Corian Countertops?

Corian was invented by DuPont to be a maintenance free solution. It requires no care other than cleaning with soapy water. It’s safe to use ammonia, bleach, or alcohol to disinfect them as well.

The one thing to never use on them is any sort of abrasive cleanser because it will quickly scratch the surface.

How To Clean Granite Countertops?

Clean granite with warm soapy water daily. Once a week they should be disinfected with a solution of water and isopropyl alcohol at about a 5050 ratio. Keep a spray bottle filled with premixed solution handy, spray it on and let it sit there for about three minutes before wiping it up. Microfiber cloths work worderfully for this because they give the surface a quick buff too.

Never use high or low Ph cleansers on granite. That means anything bleach, vinegar, or ammonia based is out of the question. Over time they can react with the minerals present in the stone and cause the surface to look dull and etch.

Does Corian Need To Be Sealed?

You never have to seal a Corian countertop. The acrylic used to create it prevents stains from being absorbed. A quick daily clean-up is all you need to do.

Does Granite Need To Be Sealed?

Yes, you should seal granite every 12 to 18 months. Some varities don’t ever need to be sealed but it’s a good preventative measure to lock out stains.

Interestingly, over the last few years some manufacturers have begun to include a factory seal that lasts up to 10 years. Click play on the video below to learn more. This video should start at the 2 minute mark where this is discussed but the entire video is worth a watch.

Chip Resistance

Can Corian Chip?

It is possible to chip Corian countertop but it is unlikely. If you do manage to chip your kitchen work surface it can be repaired by filling the chip with an epoxy and lightly sanding the repaired area after the epoxy has cured. If you’re handy you can buy a repair kit and fix it yourself.

Can Granite Chip?

Granite can chip, especially on the corners where they are weakest. Repair kits for natural or engineered stone countertops are sold at local home improvement stores or on-line. The kit will include an epoxy that you fill the chip with and then buff the area after it cures. Be sure to follow the manufacturers instructions closely.

Seams

Does Corian Have Seams?

Corian countertop will have seams if your countertop is large or has an irregular shape. With some colors the seam will be virtually invisible but with other it’s fairly obvious where the seam is. A good fabricator will do a better job of blending seams in and placing them in less conspicous areas.

Does Granite Have Seams?

Granite countertops do have seams if you need more than one slab to cover your cabinets or if you have a long kitchen. A skilled fabricator will be able to make the installation appear virtually seamless.

White cabinets paired with viscount white granite work surfaces.

It would be tough to get a seamless install with a stone with so much variation. This particular granite is called viscount white.

Crack Resistance

Does Corian Crack?

Yes, Corian countertops have been known to crack. When this happens it usually because the installer did not support it as per DuPont’s recommendations. It also is more likely to happen when heat is applied from small applainces, especially at a seam.

Does Grantie Crack?

It’s rare but granite can crack. Most cracks are the result of someone sitting or kneeling on their countertop. Much less rare are cracks caused by thermal shock; i.e. placing a scalding hot pot onto a cold counter.

Health Hazards

Does Corian Have Radon In It?

No, Corian does not emit radon. It meets or exceeds all of the federal manadates for VOC’s aka volatile organic compounds and poses no threat to indoor air quality.

Do Granite Countertops Emit Radiation?

This is a myth fabricated by the granite industries competitors so that they could offer their product as a radon free alternative. There is a grain of truth to to their claims, however.

The fact is that lot’s of things around your home give off trace amounts of radon. Even some foods like potatoes and brazil nuts give off a measurable amount. The amount of radon that is emitted by granite is trivial and does not pose a health risk.

Return On Investment

Does Corian Increase Resale Value?

Even though it costs roughly the same as granite, Corian will not increase the value of your home. They are more desirable than plastic laminates or ceramic tiles and may help you sell your house, but they won’t add to the bottom line.

Does Granite Increase Resale Value?

During an appraisal granite countertops will be valued more highly than a solid surface. You will more than likely get back what you spent on them and you may even make a tidy profit.

But don’t think of them as an investment in your home. Don’t choose granite or Corian for any reason other than you love them and for how they make your life easier in the kitchen.

Did you enjoy this comparison? If you did then I’m sure you’ll like this page that compares quartz vs granite too.

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