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Corian kitchen benchtop & sink: what's your experience?

Hi there,

We’re in the process of planning our kitchen renovation, and are still considering our options for the benchtops and sink. Depending on what we’re going to chose, we may use the same material for the splashback too.

In the shops we’ve been looking at Corian as an option – it has some advantages which we like (e.g. seamless, repairable, can be used for integrated sinks), however, we don’t know anyone who’s got such a kitchen and could tell us about their lived experience with it.

If you have a Corian sink and/or benchtop …

  • What do you like about it?
  • What are the negatives?
  • What do you wish you had knows about it before your purchase?
  • How is it ageing with day-to-day wear?
  • If your Corian sink is white or light-coloured, does it stay nice over the years?

Thanks in advance :slightly_smiling_face:

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From friends which have it, it has a dull (non-glossy) appearance, scratches relatively easy and can be impacted/damaged by hot items.

I know one friend has said they wouldn’t get it again due to the costs and indicated it would be cheaper to get laminated (laminex type products) benches and replace them after 10 years if one gets bored with them or to freshen up the kitchen.

In relation to advantages, one needs to think if they really apply based on one’s own past kitchen experiences.

At the end of the day, it is a personal preference as Corian will last a long time, like other bench surfaces, if looked after when using.

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Thank you, @phb!

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We had a Corian moulded, on bench top sink in one house (previous owners choice).

It was slightly discoloured, but cleaned up somewhat with a mild cleaner and plastic polish. It had numerous scratches and marks that needed regular cleaning to remove dirt, soap build up etc. Not a surface to cut on, or use anything hard or sharp. A poor choice for a sink unless you are obsessive about using rubber mats to protect the bowl and drying area.

Dot Points

  • What do you like about it?
    Nothing.

  • What are the negatives?
    Looks like plastic. Would not use hot water above 50-55C in it and definitely not drain any hot water etc from pots or pans into the sink.

  • What do you wish you had knows about it before your purchase?
    It came with the second hand house. It’s a liability and extra work to maintain compared to Stainless Steel and laminex, or … Depending on condition on the day an expensive item to replace. Non standard dimensions and shapes may require major renovations if you need to replace.

  • How is it ageing with day-to-day wear?
    Scratches, requires regular extra cleaning to remove build up and reduce evidence of scratching.

  • If your Corian sink is white or light-coloured, does it stay nice over the years?
    Discolours - more so where there was the hotest water in the sink. Comparison made with unexposed sections under the tap fittings. Ours was originally white.

A little tongue in cheek.
Perhaps best suited for light entertaining in the bespoke designer house on Sunday afternoons, while all the real preparation is done in the ample sized butlers pantry. There are those who are exceptionally attentive and house proud who might find it a great product.

Thoughts
I’d be interested as an old and broken down Engineer in seeing some surface abrasion/scratch resistance tests carried out on Corian vs other materials. A microscope peak at the scratch test results in section might reveal which materials are more likely to tear and collect bacteria/germs.

There may be some relevant standards or comparison tests available. Choice has always been resourceful at creating a test if required.

A visual assessment of general scuffing or light abrasion, and ease of repair (polishing out) might serve useful.

When someone says a product or material is easy to repair, the immediate question - is it also easier to damage or break?

Experience says good old laminex is more likely to date than need replacing due to wear and tear.

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I haven’t used Corian. When we were designing our kitchen we looked at various solid surface bench tops. They have in common that they are some mineral in a polymer matrix but the details vary. In the end we decided that it came down to looks. If your kitchen is part of your entertaining area and you want it to look great then the additional cost may be worth it. If your kitchen is a workroom it is hard to justify the cost unless you have pots of money and don’t care. If you look after it a laminate top is really quite durable.

I would have liked stainless steel but that is even more pricey. In the end we went with laminate with a coved back. That is the surface curves up against the wall so that there is no crack where the wall joins the bench top to gather dirt. This coving is 10 cm high so most of the mess stays below it. The wall tiles come down on top of the coving. As the join doesn’t get scrubbed much the grout doesn’t rake out and there is no dirty dark line full of crud. This treatment costs a bit more than standard laminate but nowhere near as much as solid surface.

So 15 years later the top is still in good shape. There are a few minor marks but nothing to worry about. I expect it to go another 5 years or more. I re-grouted the joint between the bench and wall tiles about 8 years ago with semi-flexible compound as the standard grout was cracking due to the slight movement of the bench against the wall. If I had done this originally I doubt I would have needed to do anything to it and standard laminate would have had the same problem.

I am not at all attracted to the idea of a composition sink. This is an area that takes hard wear and I have dark fears that only stainless steel will do. I ended up with a deep 2 1/2 bowl sink that copes with big dinner parties etc very well and still looks pretty good after 15 years. If I could be bothered polishing it then … but I can’t.

Why 2 1/2 bowls? We have no dishwasher due to water treatment constraints. One bowl to wash, one to rinse and the half to pour out all the stuff you forgot to pour down the sink before you started washing up. The half is also a good spot for the compost bin during prep.

I’m sorry if you have your heart set on Corian I wasn’t much help but I thought you might like an alternative.

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Thank you, @mark_m mark_m, you’ve raised exactly the concerns that I had in my head about how this material might age.

What they tell you in the shops and on their websites just sounds too good to be true– particularly to the common-sense person who’s done some scrubbing/polishing in her lifetime.

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Thank you too, @syncretic. I had never heard of the coved back option! This is very interesting, and I’ll look into it.

Our small kitchen is an open one, so I’m keen to get a solution that’s nice on the eye too and works with the adjoining dining and living room areas.

From my gut feeling and given the responses here, it doesn’t look like we’ll be going with Corian. I just wanted to make sure I’m making an informed decision based on how this material performs in real life, and how people feel about it after they had it for some years.

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We can all dream.
RIBA - Royal Institute of British Architects.

https://www.granddesignsmagazine.com/grand-designs-houses/511-grand-designs-house-of-the-year

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We bought a home with mottled cream coloured Corian bench tops in th kitchen. I believe that the kitchen is 20+ years old.

If you have a Corian sink and/or benchtop……

  • What do you like about it?
    It looks good.and is moulded up the wall so there is no crevice at the back of the bench. It is generally easy to keep clean. Bleach cleans stains out.
    We increased the size of our induction cook-top. It was relatively easy to cut out a larger slot to put it in.

  • What are the negatives?
    It is porous, and you have to be careful with anything that stains. For example, the light cream coloured sink can get stained if a cast iron pot is left sitting in the damp sink overnight.
    It is a soft-ish material so it can be chip easily. Dropping something on it can cause a divot. Cutting on it with a sharp knife is forbidden.
    While the splashback is moulded up as a continual piece, the side edges don’t seem to be moulded up resulting in crevices next to cupboards.
    Thin sections (horizontally), or sections where there is pressure (like next to the sink plug hole) can crack, Gluing it works, but is obviously a different colour.
    You can’t put hot things directly on the surface. There was a pattern of holes for steel balls next to the cooktop to put hot things onto, but this not user friendly. We put the steel balls away, and are left with a bunch of holes to collect detritus.

  • What do you wish you had knows about it before your purchase?
    We previously had a stone benchtop, and that was more resiliant.

  • How is it ageing with day-to-day wear?
    20+ years on, it still looks good.

  • If your Corian sink is white or light-coloured, does it stay nice over the years?
    Yes. I soak them with diluted bleach, and they are back to new.

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I’ve had Corian benches and sinks for over twenty years, no problems here. I like the way the sink is seamless with the bench, and it’s spacious enough to fit in large dishes. I bleach it to keep it white, quick and easy and does no harm as Corian is resistant to chemicals.
It’s best to have a matte finish as this won’t show scratches as much as gloss. Any finish can be polished if you’re worried about the patina anyway. Like laminate it’s a forgiving surface and less likely to cause breakages.
Very low maintenance. I always use a heat pad on every kitchen surface I’ve worked with except stainless, and wouldn’t cut direct on any bench. Why would you?

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Thank you @meltam for your valuable feedback. Much appreciated :+1:t3:

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Thanks, @moir, I also always use heat pads and cutting boards, probably out of habit, and I guess I’ll keep doing that anyway. Better safe than sorry.
The bleaching is an interesting aspect. I hadn’t thought of that.

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I considered Corian the last time I remodelled a kitchen in a previous house but it appeared too soft to me so I went with quartz which had the appearance of marble without the inherent issues that surface has. It was brilliant and also cost effective and it comes in a wide range of colours and faux stone effects as well as being totally impervious to stains. I will now always use quartz.

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Quartz, ‘engineered’ or man made stone bench tops are made from stone chips, most commonly various colours of quartz. The crushed stone is mixed into a paste with a resin or silicon compound to form sheets of stone. These are subsequently ground to a perfect finish and trimmed into sheets.

Care instructions warn against staining and high temperatures. Fine scuffing and shallow scratches can be polished out. Our current kitchen has Quartz bench tops - 5 years old, and are as good as new.

More recently there’s been numerous serious health concerns (silicosis) including fatalities for employees working with these types of materials. They look great, are cost effective compared to natural stone, and perform well. We’re no longer convinced they are a great product, given the price employees have had to pay to deliver the product into our kitchens. While the WHS issues have been elevated, silicosis is a time x exposure hazard. No one knows how much exposure has occurred or exactly how much is too much until the disease becomes apparent in an individual.

Note
Corian per DuPont is made from an acrylic polymer - plastic with alumina trihydrate (processed mineral form of aluminium) filler. It can be poured into any mould or form you can desire, including custom colours, shapes and sizes. If you have that bespoke bug and the budget to suit? Alternately there are a range of options produced in standard shapes and sizes.

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Hi Uli

We’ve been through more kitchen renovations than we’d like to remember.

We used corian many years back for a sink in order to maintain an old world look. We weren’t impressed. It discoloured. Maybe it’s improved a lot since then.

For bench tops we’ve used marble. It looks great but dishes break easily on impact and you can’t put anything really hot on it. The white versions apparently stain. We used black, which didn’t.

With our first kitchen we used timber and it was really a maintenance nightmare near wet areas. It also looks great … at first anyway. Be good for those people who dine out and regard their kitchen primarily as a showpiece and not to be used for a lot of cooking.

We’ve eventually hit on a combination of stainless steel and timber. Stainless steel around wet areas and the stove and timber in dry areas. The timber softens the look of the stainless steel. If you’re going to actually use your kitchen a lot for cooking stainless steel is ultra practical. You can put hot things on it without worry and if you get a high quality version. It never wears out and is so easy to clean. Sinks can be moulded as part of your bench.

With a well styled kitchen including some timber it can actually look quite stylish. Many kitchen appliances are now stainless steel - so they blend in well. It can be used very effectively as a splash back too.

We wouldn’t use anything else after experiencing how good stainless steel is. We’ve used it in three kitchens now.

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We have corian with a stainless steel drop on sink. I always cut on a board. After three years it’s a good as new

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We’ve had our Corian bench top for 35 years. Still as good as new. Very pleased with it. Worth paying a little extra for.

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We too always cut on a board, never on the Corian. We have looked after it.

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We installed Corian bench tops and splashbacks when we renovated our kitchen 16 years ago and have been very pleased with them. They clean up beautifully with a quick wipe and never stain. (Even the rust from an ancient dutch oven that stains other surfaces just wipes off the Corian.) I am surprised by the comment about showing scratches. I just had a look at ours and had to search for any signs of scratches - there are a few very faint scratches after 16 years! The benches look as good as they did when we put them in. One thing we were told to be careful about is not to put a hot pan direct from the oven or stove top onto the bench top. That is easy to avoid.

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Hi Uli, We’ve had a Corian Benchtop & Splashbacks for 40+ years in our first kitchen.
Our second kitchen was done a year ago using a similar product callen Staron, same finish.
Best product IMO for all kitchens and wouldn’t use anything else.
It’s VERY important to find a good Fabricator thpough, as our first kitchen was done by an incompetent installer.
Our current splashbacks all have a coving applied with a seamless join also a seamless twin sink was added. Can Highly recommend that choice. Our new colour is white with a light grey swirl throughout … but perfectly matched by the fabricator we used. If you live in Melb, and would like to see our kitchen send me a message.

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