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rgruby

Corian vs. Silestone countertops

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Corian has been suggested to me as a possibility for the countertop in our hopefully soon to be renovated kitchen. I know this has been covered a bit in the various kitchen renovation threads, but I'm wondering if a dedicated thread on this topic would be helpful.

I'd love some info on the pros and cons of going with corian, particularly compared with Silestone.

Thanks,

Geoff Ruby

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I'd say the biggest con to using Corian, compared to Silestone, is that you can not place a hot pan onto the Corian without damaging it. Silestone is a stone product and will not be damaged by heat that way.

As someone who's had tile countertops most of my life (which are also heat resistant), I'm very used to placing hot things down and would not like to have to worry about that. If it doesn't bother you, then don't worry about this. Get out the trivet or hot pad.


"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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Compare the price of granite to Corian. I would not be surprised if they are comparable, depending on the type of granite, of course. "Black Galaxy" granite will cost you a pretty penny, but "Uba Tuba", or some of the "Pearls" should be comparable to Corian.

In my experience, once people go to granite countertops, they almost never go back to anything else. I can't speak intelligently about Silestone, as I have no experience with it.

I did kitchen and bathroom remodeling in a previous life.

Peace,

Steve


"Tell your friends all around the world, ain't no companion like a blue - eyed merle" Robert Plant

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We have Silestone on our countertops in our kitchen --- we've been very happy with it in the 2 years since our kitchen was remodeled.

Very durable and attractive surface, although it was very expensive.

kitchen1.jpg

That being said I do NOT reccomend using Home Depot Expo to do your kitchen redesign and contracting. They are very slow, hire inexperienced kitchen designers and unreliable contractors. If you want to buy the countertops thru them, fine and dandy, but dont have them be your kitchen designer.

Additionally, the Silestone "brand" of quartz countertops that Home Depot Expo has a monopoly on is not the only quartz surface you can buy -- there are competitors of equal quality out there now that any kitchen design specialist should be able to procure for you.

If you want to read our entire sordid, 7 month kitchen redesign experience with Expo Design Center, read here:

Remodeling the Perlow Kitchen


Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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I'd say the biggest con to using Corian, compared to Silestone, is that you can not place a hot pan onto the Corian without damaging it. Silestone is a stone product and will not be damaged by heat that way.
This is not correct.

First of all, no matter what you have for a countertop, you should NEVER put a hot pot on it. Use a trivet fer crissake! Seriously though, "temperature shock" can cause dammage to any surface. I've seen a Caesarstone (same as Silestone) countertop with a crack in it after someone place a hot pot on the exact place where a frozen turkey once sat. It's such a problem that most manufacturers mention it specifically in their warranty.

I've had Corian for almost 3 years in the kitchen and have had to place hot pots directly on the countertop twice (emergency situations - hands were burning!) and I had no damage. If the countertops had suffered some damage it could have been repaired ... so well in fact that you wouldn't be able to see the repair.

Quartz countertops like Silestone, Caesarstone, Zodiaq, etc can scorch. Granted, you have to have a screamin' hot pot, but the polyester used to bind the quartz will scorch under extreme conditions. If this happens no repairs are possible.

So here in a nutshell is the comparison I make with my clients:

CORIAN - Pros:

  • Repairable
  • Invisible seams (inconspicuous is the word DuPont uses)
  • Seamless Corian Sinks
  • Won't stain
  • 10 year transferable warranty

CORIAN - Cons:

  • Looks "artificial"
  • Easily scratched (but easily buffed out ... if you like to buff :cool: )

QUARTZ- Pros:

  • Natural Looking
  • Won't stain
  • Difficult to scratch
  • 10 year warranty (Silestone. Not sure about the others)

QUARTZ- Cons:

  • Seams are visible
  • Not repairable
  • Fewer colours than Corian

I chose Corian primarily because it had a colour that worked with my design. Both types of surfaces (and granite too) will essentially perform the same in the long run.

A.

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Tell us about Granite and soapstone Daddy A. You the man.


Edited by winesonoma (log)

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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Comparison chart?


Edited by winesonoma (log)

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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Tell us about Granite and soapstone Daddy A. You the man.

Please? Pretty please with sugar on top (or Parmigiano Reggiano, if you'd prefer that)?

MelissaH


MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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If Daddy-A is going to do a comparison chart (please oh please) can you include poured concrete?



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I have corian and have yet to have it look like 'new', but it is still good looking. What the hell do I have to do to do to make it 'not marked'??

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How about slate?


Get your bitch ass back in the kitchen and make me some pie!!!

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I'm not happy with my choice of Corian. I wish I had done granite. In addition to the cons noted above by Arne -- that it looks fake and scratches easily -- I would add that it feels fake. I'm not just talking about the fact that it feels like plastic and lacks that awesome cool-to-the-touch feel of stone. I mean it feels flimsy when you pound on it in real-world cooking. A big inert mass of granite is an excellent surface for pounding a veal chop. You try that on Corian and it doesn't give you anywhere near the same kind of support. Most of all, though, I'm annoyed that I picked an ugly color. What was I thinking? The nice thing about granite is that it doesn't seem to exist in ugly colors. Corian, however, is manufactured in something like a million ugly colors. Silestone seems a lot more like granite, but I really don't get the point. Why expend all that effort to make artificial granite when real granite exists? What's next, artificial sand? It's not like we have a granite shortage. Practically the whole damn crust of the planet is made of the stuff. Just dig some up and make it into a countertop for crying out loud.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I believe the Silestone/Caesarstone/Zodiac/whatever brand choice over granite is that you don't have to seal the quartz products like you do a granite to prevent staining. Granite is porous (some varieties moreso than others) and must be sealed to prevent staining.


Get your bitch ass back in the kitchen and make me some pie!!!

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Corian is for looking at, not using. It marks if you so much as touch it with a sharp metal tool, or put anything hot on it. Think of it as having countertops made of candle wax.

Granite is for using. Looks great as well. Lasts forever. Many high end restaurant kitchens now use it as the surface of choice. Only disadvantage is that things break if you drop them on it, and knives blunt if you cut on it a lot without a chopping board. The granite is much harder than the knife.

The black granite I use is impervious and doesn't need sealing. A qick wipe and its clean and shiny. Marble and the like do need sealing and also stain.

If you use thin granite (1/2 inch) supported on marine ply its not that expensive or heavy.


Edited by jackal10 (log)

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Absolute Black is good for not staining etc without much sealing but some of the lighter colored granites can and will stain without proper and repeated sealing.


Get your bitch ass back in the kitchen and make me some pie!!!

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Corian is for looking at, not using. It marks if you so much as touch it with a sharp metal tool, or put anything hot on it. Think of it as having countertops made of candle wax.

Granite is for using. Looks great as well. Lasts forever.  Many high end restaurant kitchens now use it as the surface of choice. Only disadvantage is that things break if you drop them on it, and knives blunt if you cut on it a lot without a chopping board. The granite is much harder than the knife.

The black granite I use is impervious and doesn't need sealing. A qick wipe and its clean and shiny. Marble and the like do need sealing and also stain.

If you use thin granite (1/2 inch) supported on marine ply its not that expensive or heavy.

Jet black granite--1"--great. Except for fingerprints and other Kitchen CSI events and telltales--hell for a Virgo.


from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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I'm sure someone mentioned that Corian doesn't stain, but that's not entirely true either. My parents have a Corian counter with integrated sink, which is white, and I stained that sink several years ago with turmeric and its still there. I'm sure I can sand/buff it out, but it most definitely stains.


Get your bitch ass back in the kitchen and make me some pie!!!

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It's so easy to remove a stain from corain. I have their qurartz white, the very brightest, whitest. My heavily used breakfast island is the same...once a week, a little soft scrub and its pristine. The seamless sinks are great. As far as its strurdiness, I would suggest that either the installation or the cabinets that the corain was installed on are not as sturdy, rather than the product itself.

other benefits...holes can be drilled, and outlets indside cabinets keep cords out of the way. I have two indentations in my countertop, one nearest the double ovens, and one near the island cooktop, with standard size butcher block boards inserted. Great work seurfaces, along with solving the hot from the oven negative. Under one of the the cutting boards, I have some of that spongy shelf paper to keep it steady when cutting...the other one fits more snugly so its not an issue. ( my dad sanded a larger board to fit inside the indentation..drilled a hole with a pull string in it, so its easy to lift up. genious, he is, I tell ya.)

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Here are a couple of random observations. I have Silestone counters and I love them. They're a pale limestone sort of color, several years old, and despite some very heavy use they are stain free and look beautiful. What I discovered was that regardless of the material, a sizeable chunk of the cost is in the labor -- removing old countertops, leveling, installing a plywood base, making cuts for sinks and faucets, etc. The square foot cost of Silestone or even granite vs. Corian seems well worth the extra outlay. Save money by using a standard edge treatment, price out having your own people remove and haul away the old countertops, and install your own faucet. By the way, I was over at my neighbor's house recently and their 3-year-old Corian countertops look really dreary - scratched, dinged and sort of "hazy." Hope this helps - good luck!


Eliza Cross

"A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion."

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I don't know that it's an installation issue. I've used Corian counters in plenty of kitchens, including in the pastry kitchen at Lespinasse where you know they installed it right and it sits on a very heavy stainless base cabinet. In every case, I've found it to be "springy" or "bouncy" when I've pounded on it.

I don't like to have to modulate my cooking behavior on account of the properties of the surfaces in the kitchen. I can do it, of course -- it's not tremendously inconvenient just to put a cork trivet down before you put a hot pot down -- but when you add up all the little hassles in most kitchens cooking becomes more obsessive-compulsive than pleasurable. Give me a stovetop that's solid enough such that I don't have to care how hard I slam a skillet on it. Give me a countertop that I can pound a veal chop on without spring-back or transfer of vibrations to the whole rest of the house. Give me stuff that works.

I'm no conspiracy theorist, but I've got to think that DuPont and Cosentino and the others have pulled off a major marketing ploy. People are paying more for fake granite than for real granite, and real granite is better. I think by now I've heard every argument against granite and they all seem utterly unconvincing. Does anybody have granite and not like it?


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Corian has been suggested to me as a possibility for the countertop in our hopefully soon to be renovated kitchen. I know this has been covered a bit in the various kitchen renovation threads, but I'm wondering if a dedicated thread on this topic would be helpful.

I'd love some info on the pros and cons of going with corian, particularly compared with Silestone.

Thanks,

Geoff Ruby

I have Corian in the bathroom, but got Silestone for the kitchen ...

I've had the Corian for 15+ yrs, and it's ok for the vanity, but honestly it doesn't look so great after all these years - it does need a buffing, too.

I could have had either granite or Silestone for the kitchen - the prices were comparable, but I went with the Silestone because the pattern I chose worked best with the travertine floor I already had.

And we're talking a *lot* of Silestone; including a really double-wide peninsula. The install was ... well, I don't even know how they did it, with these heuuuge heavy pieces, but it's gorgeous. Yes, you don't have to seal it. Scorchability? I have Other Arrangements for landing hot pots next to the stove - which is why my 15 year old white formica countertops (which disappeared in the kitchen makeover) were still pristine.

Yes, there's a seam ( or maybe 2) but it's invisible, truly. I'm very pleased with the way it turned out, both the way it functions and the way it looks.

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Y'all want a chart???? I'll look into it. With all my spare time it should be up by Christmas! :laugh:

I don't know that it's an installation issue. I've used Corian counters in plenty of kitchens, including in the pastry kitchen at Lespinasse where you know they installed it right and it sits on a very heavy stainless base cabinet. In every case, I've found it to be "springy" or "bouncy" when I've pounded on it.

Steven - the "springy-ness" can be easily addressed in its installation. Corian's only 1/2" thick so it will be springy over larger spans. It just needs more support beneath the countertop.

Having said that, I use my trusty 1.5" thick end-grain maple butcher block for the more serious pounding and hacking. If I were a pastry chef (wasn't that in Fiddler on the Roof?) I would most definitely have granite or marble. No question. In kitchens I have designed for professional chefs, I use at least 2 different countertop materials.

One other point about Corian ... unless things have changed recently, Corian and stainless steel are the only materials that have earned the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) 51 compliance for food contact applications.

I'm no conspiracy theorist, but I've got to think that DuPont and Cosentino and the others have pulled off a major marketing ploy. People are paying more for fake granite than for real granite, and real granite is better. I think by now I've heard every argument against granite and they all seem utterly unconvincing. Does anybody have granite and not like it?

Well, I'll agree with you 100% on the DuPont front with respect to their pricing. Zodiaq is the same stuff as Silestone, Caesarstone (the machinery used to manufacture all comes from one company) but costs much more, at least in this market.

As far as performance goes ....granite is porous until it is sealed. That's no theory, it's fact. The chemical compound used to seal granite breaks down over time, thus leaving granite susceptible to staining and contamination (There was a serious outbreak of salmonella in Florida about 15-20 years ago that was a result of improperly sealed granite. The Corian people still site it today as a reason to go with their product. Silestone has gone so far as to add MicroBan to their material.)

Quartz countertops like Silestone are non-porous and look as much like granite as a man-made product can (IMO). Therein lies the difference. Is it worth the cost difference? That's up to the individual. I've had two granite countertops "fail" in my career ... one shattered because the client found his own supplier and went with cheaper "architectural grade" granite (normally used for vertical applications), and the other was a really bad pinot noir stain on a Giallo Santa Cecelia top. Both situations would have been avoided with Corian or Quartz.

A.

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I'm just a lowly renter but could someone weigh in on concrete? A close friend is pursuing this and has done one for a local restaurant.

My understanding of the benefits is that it remains watertight, and though it also needs sealing has more variation and colour customization than other things on the market. Fairly cheap too as long as it's reinforced and mounted properly. And of course it can be shaped however the client wants.

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OK, here's my concrete story. Built our house about eight years ago with a friend and concrete specialist as GC. We poured 4,000 lb. mix right on the fresh floor of my new garage with wood forms. The counter was heavily reinforced with rebars and 6x6' mesh (because of the sink cutout). It was colored (by me) with concrete stain and finished with several heavy coats of polyurethane.

After eight years it is supremely structuraly sound but the finish has failed miserably. The poly just does not stand up to day in day out use. I have never cut directly on it but simply moving things around on it after time wears it out. Were I to do it again I would integrally color the mix and the poly the surface. My surface coloring cannot be blended with later coloring attempts. Integral color would be easy to maintain with periodic application of polyurethane.

Redoing the entire kitchen as we speak (with granite countertops).

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Granite needs to be resealed, but resealing granite is a cinch and can be done with cheap, over-the-counter products every few years (whenever water stops beading up on the surface). I'd say, having done it once for a friend, that it's easier than buffing Corian.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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