06 Oct Corian Vs Caesarstone: Battle of the Benchtops
Image: Corian Website
Selecting which benchtops to use in your project is a critical part of the design process. A benchtop is what can set the project apart as it’s often where customers, clients, or employees come to rest or interact with your fitout. Whether it’s a point of sale or office kitchenette getting the benchtop right is crucial.
We commonly get asked what the difference is between Corian and Caesarstone. Interested clients like the look of both Corian and Caesarstone but don’t know how each material performs differently and where to use which. We’ll take you through a brief description of how both materials are different.
What is Corian and Caesarstone?
Caesarstone and Corian are in fact manufactured using different raw materials and different processes so even though they have similar looking colours and characteristics they are definitely different beasts entirely.
Caesarstone is a brand of engineered stone surface. It is made up of around 90% quartz aggregates (the sparkly bits), organic pigments (the colouring) and polymer resin (the binder that holds everything together).
Corian on the other hand is a brand of acrylic solid surface manufactured by the company Dupont, who in fact were founded in 1802 to make gunpowder. We are assured there is no gunpowder in Corian benchtops. Corian is made up of approximately 60% natural minerals (bauxite, a sedimentary rock), 35% clear acrylic (the binder) and 5% pigments (the colour).
As you can see both materials are made up from a similar list of ingredients. Essentially a natural rock, a glue and some colouring. However due to the amount and type used they deliver different outcomes. As Caesarstone contains a very high amount of quartz, it has a very strong characteristic. As Corian has a high volume of bauxite (a sedimentary rock) it becomes more workable.
Where to use which?
Both Caesarstone and Corian were manufactured as a benchtop product that can be used in both residential and commercial applications. Both brag about being heat resistant, stain resistant, antimicrobial and hard wearing so therefore the question is, where do you use which?
Personal preference will form a big part of the decision process and may come down to simple aesthetics or design capabilities of the product.
Caesarstone comes in 48 colours to choose from so gives a big variety, it has a very beautiful glossy look and the quartz aggregates pop through to really make the space sparkle. Caesarstone comes in a 20mm thick slab which the stone mason can “build up” (use mitred cuts around the edges) to create the aesthetic look of a thicker bench top. As the product can be mitred the stone team can do “waterfall” end panels and back panels to create impressive feature islands or counters that would make a great feature to any space.
Corian comes in a whopping 180 colour range, almost intimidating for the designer to choose from. It has a range of solid colours and different natural stone look alike benchtops. Similar to Caesarstone it comes in 19mm thick slabs that can be cut and joined to form thicker looking benches and feature islands. Corian also has some colour slabs available in 6mm thick and 12mm thick. Unlike engineered stone, Corian can be thermoformed to create literally any shape, from complex curved counters to really wild designs. Corian has a unique ability to be seamlessly jointed and machined to create items like sinks, baths and even curved wall linings. You can get the fabricator to even router out the back of the Corian in patterns and create backlit designs. It really is a unique product where the designers dreams are the limit.
Surface longevity is of course extremely important. No matter what the application, whether it’s an office, a shop or a front of house service desk, the durability of the chosen material is something that you don’t want to discount when selecting a product.
As Caesarstone is made up on predominantly quartz, an extremely hard natural material, the benchtops are very hard-wearing and durable. However, they too have been known to chip and scratch over time (which all benchtops would). They are also susceptible to cracking due to hot pans etc being placed on them, although they are heat resistant, there are cases when a rapid change of temperature has been placed onto the surface and caused cracking.
Corian is still hard wearing but is made from softer composites than Caesarstone and although being durable is easier to cause chips, dents, scratches etc, the great thing with Corian and solid surface benchtops is they can be repaired easily. Any scratches can be sanded and buffed out on site and any chips can be repaired. Even scorch marks can be sanded out.
Overall depending on the chosen application either Caesarstone or Corian can be a strong durable product.
As Corian can be formed and worked a lot more than Caesarstone the labour cost for Corian can be higher. Both Caesarstone and Corian benchtops will be significantly more expensive than a laminate bench but you are getting a much higher end looking bench with a much longer lifespan and durability than that of a laminate option.
Essentially cost will come down to a combination of yield per sheet and complexity of the job. Any sink/ hotplate cut outs, benchtop joints (where the top changes direction) and edge build ups will all add to the cost.
Corian is available in four sizes from a quarter of a sheet up to a whole sheet, enabling the manufacturer to purchase it in an effective way. For example, if they only needed half a sheet to do the job or if they needed a sheet and a quarter, they wouldn’t have to buy two whole sheets. Corian is available in full sheet sizes of 3658 x 930mm.
Caesarstone is available in 3050 x 1440mm sheets. Which is great for kitchen or standard bench top depths of 600mm as you can get two rips of 600mm out of a sheet whereas with Corian you cannot. Caesarstone is not available in half and quarter sheets so whether you need a small bit or a near whole sheet you have to purchase a whole sheet. Individual manufacturers of benchtops may have offcuts that they could sell at discounted prices but that is up to their discretion.
To put it approximately, if we are talking about a straight run benchtop of 3000mm x 600mm deep with a sink and hotplate cut out in Caesarstone the price would be approx. $2000.00 installed and in Corian the price would be about the same.
Just to make things a tad more complicated; certain colours also cost more.
To know the true cost of the benchtop, reach out to a manufacturer for more information.
The end result
Both benchtops fare very well when compared against each other. If you are looking for a straight forward benchtop or splashback design, colour and aesthetics may be the only determining factor that sways your decision.
However, if you are looking for a serious wow factor by utilising curves, bends and unlimited style, Corian may be what you’re after.
I hope you have enjoyed this article. If you require more information on this article or have a question relating to another topic, please get in touch with us by sending us an email to email@example.com