We've all heard of Corian, and we might even be guilty of using the brand name for all solid surface countertop materials, much like "Kleenex" is often used for all facial tissues. So, what exactly is Corian, and what are some comparable, alternative countertop materials that are out there?
The best generic name we've heard for Corian and its competitors is "solid surface" countertops. Of course, concrete, natural stone, and wood are solid surfaces too. But it's the manufactured countertops that we've generally heard of being lumped under the "solid surface" umbrella. The first two below fall into this category, and the rest are alternatives to solid surfacing:
1: Corian is one brand of solid surface countertop material made by DuPont. It's composed of acrylic and alumina trihydrate and was actually first sold as far back as 1967. It was first developed as a replacement for - get this - human bones!
2: LG makes an acrylic solid surface countertop material that is sold under the brand name HI-MACS. It looks and acts very similarly to Corian.
3: Also by DuPont, Zodiaq is a quartz countertop material. Quartz countertops are dense, engineered stone made of mostly quartz crystal bound together by acrylic resin. You can generally see the quartz aggregate in the material, giving is a distinct appearance from solid-colored acrylic countertops like Corian.
4: Richlite is a paper-based countertop material. It is extremely dense and comprised of paper and phenolic resin. Don't let the paper content fool you - it is so strong and durable that it has been used in the construction of skateboard ramps! We love its matte finish.
5: Trespa TopLab is an epoxy resin material that is generally used in laboratory countertop applications. That attests to its hard-wearing credibility. It is generally substantially more affordable than Corian, but doesn't offer as large a spectrum of colors and patterns.
6: CaesarStone is a quartz material similar to DuPont's Zodiaq mentioned above.
7: 100 Percent by 3Form is a little different from any of these. It's a material made of resin and recycled high density polyethylene (1000 milk bottles in each panel). It has a similar appearance to quartz countertops, but those flecks you're seeing aren't quartz but polyethylene.
Related: Kitchen Design: A Look at Countertop Edge Profiles
(Images: as linked above)