In the first of our new feature, ‘We ask the experts’, we focus the spotlight on Corian. Corian is a solid surface and one of the most versatile material in the world of Interior Design, as this surface material can be made into any size or shape – and for any purpose. This suits the modern design world’s requirements; with customization and flexibility at the heart of creative design. Many thanks to Jon Olson, communication manager at Kitchen Associates for providing us with his expert insight, tips and opinion in this feature.
Things you need to know about Corian before you consider using it:
Corian is a nonporous material, thus very resistant to stains, odors, bacteria and germs. This makes it suitable for all types of residential and commerical use. It’s also easy to repair, should the unthinkable happen, meaning you don’t need to replace the entire surface to make good any problems that may arise.
In the case of countertops, all Corian tops should come with a cove backsplash. Not having to worry about a silicone seam on your backsplash helps with cleaning and makes for a very custom look. Getting rid of the unsightly silicone seam that comes with the installation of countertops is just one reason why you might want to consider Corian over traditional granite tops.
When making your color selection you should consider that certain dark colors may show the light scratches that occur with everyday use. I like to recommend a matte finish for Corian countertops. With everyday use your countertops will develop a very natural luster over time.
Corian sinks are affected by something known as ‘thermal shock’. This means they can react adversely to temperature extremes. While it’s outside of most everyday use cases of our materials, it wouldn’t be a good idea to fill your sink with ice and then pour in boiling pasta.
Once an order is placed for a countertop, Corian schedules the making of a template. Many of the more advanced Corian resellers use a process called electronic templating. They basically take a series of pictures of the layout with a special camera. This allows for a precise fit every time. You also have the advantage of not having to rip out your old countertop until the day of installation.
The tops are cut out of sheets of Corian 1/2″x30″x145″. Special glue that matches the Corian surface material is used so you achieve inconspicuous seams. (The seams are almost impossible to see, but from a technical perspective it’s better to say inconspicuous, instead of invisible). Depending on the size of the countertops they may have to be brought in pieces and ‘seamed’ on site. A good quality installation team will use tools that hincorporate the use of dust extraction systems, for a dust-free installation.
Lead times vary. Kitchen retailers and fabrication shops are usually 12-14 days. Box stores can be up to 21 days.
Budgetary considerations before using Corian
A Corian top costs about the same as a high-grade granite top. It’s like buying a car. The more you add, the higher the cost.
Avoid cutting directly on or putting hot pots and pans directly down on a Corian surface. Ask your Corian reseller to supply cutting boards to use.
When using something such as a scotch brite pad to remove a blemish you shouldn’t just apply it to a single area. It is recommended that you use the scotch brite on the entire surface area to maintain an even sheen.
We recommend Softscrub with bleach when cleaning our surfaces. In fact it’s okay to use the scotch brite pad when cleaning with Softscrub.
Ask the fabricator fulfilling your order to sand your countertop up to 220 grit or 60 micron. Poor sanding finishes can mean small scratches are left and these can obviously fill with dirt and spoil the look of the countertop. This would apply to a Corian sink, so be sure to have the sink finished in the same way as the countertop.
There are several common mistakes you can avoid when working with Corian surface materials. These include:
– Not leaving enough room for expansion and contraction.
– Improper supports on overhangs of over 12 inches.
– Not using cleats on seams from the underside.
– Failure to use a Corian certified fabricator.
Additionally, the best value and prices for Corian products can be found at Kitchen retailers. Box stores are not cheaper. Because box stores have to sell in large volume, quality is often sacrificed.
I’m seeing a trend in Four different areas.
– Cove backsplash and tile cove backsplash
– Corian cabinet doors
– Corian custom sinks
– Corian thermoforming (see video below)
Until recently, Thermoforming was not typically used in kitchen designs but more recently designers are looking outside of the traditional materials and understanding the flexibility it can provide in terms of their designs. I like to say “Corian is the only surface with unlimited design potential” mostly because its the only surface that can be thermoformed to meet specific design requirements.