When it comes to kitchen countertop materials, marble and solid surface (also known as “Corian”) are some of the most popular solid surface countertops at fairly similar price points.
However, marble and solid surface countertops have very different pros and cons that might make you choose one over the other.
Here we take a look at marble and Corian countertops, explaining what they are, how they’re made, and what their best qualities are in terms of heat resistance, scratch resistance, design, durability, and more.
So, marble vs solid surface countertops – which one should you buy for your kitchen? Let’s find out!
What is Marble?
Marble is a natural stone that is extracted from quarries, most of which are located in Europe. After the natural stone is extracted, it is then cut into slabs and finished so that it becomes a countertop or whatever else you might use it for.
Often used in bathrooms and kitchens, marble is known as a “status symbol” countertop material. Because of its classy look and associations with the Italian Renaissance, it’s regarded as being quite fancy, particularly if you go for more expensive versions like Calacatta Carrara and White Statuario.
Depending on where marble is quarried from, it will have a slightly different color and appearance. It comes in various colors, but it’s most famous for lighter whites and off-whites with distinctive soft veining.
But what about cultured marble?
You can also buy cultured marble, but beware that this is very different to regular marble. It is made from fragments of marble engineered stone (or other natural stones) mixed in with resins, pigments, and polymers to create custom-made laminate countertops in various colors and patterns that are supposed to resemble real stones.
It’s similar to how quartz countertops and solid surface are made.
Cultured marble tends to be cheaper than real marble, and these have some added benefits like more consistent patterns and more versatility. It also has better stain resistance than the real thing. However, it doesn’t quite have the same opulent feel as the real stone.
It’s also worth noting that it won’t increase your home’s resale value too much.
What is Solid Surface?
Similar to quartz (an engineered stone), solid surface counters are a man-made material made from quartz dust, ATH (Alumina Trihydrate), acrylic, and then various resins, pigments, and polymers.
You may know solid surfaces by the name “Corian”. This is the name given to them by the DuPont™ company that first invented solid surfaces in the 1960s.
Solid surface materials are designed to be almost seamless (literally with no visible seams) and usually have very low maintenance compared to natural stone countertops like marble.
Similar to an engineered stone like quartz countertops, these counters come in a variety of colors and designs and are totally non porous, helping to keep stains, mold, and bacteria at bay.
These solid surface countertops can be designed so they’re plain white, multicolored, or designed to mimic a natural stone countertop (similar to cultured marble and quartz countertops).
Marble and Solid Surface Countertop Comparison Chart
Marble vs Corian – How Do They Compare?
So how do marble vs corian surfaces measure up when you pit them against each other? Here we look at some of the key differences of marble vs corian:
When it comes to heat resistance, Corian is the clear winner over marble. Corian is heat resistant and will withstand temperatures up to around 650°F (340°C) while marble can only withstand temperatures up to around 480°F (248°C).
This means that Corian performs better when you put hot baking trays on it, for instance. However, both of these solid surface countertops are not ideal for hot pots and pans, which can reach very high temperatures if they’ve just come off the stove.
If you want a countertop surface you can put hot pans onto, look for quartz and granite countertops.
Corian is designed specifically to be stain resistant, so it’s quite rare than these countertops ever stain. However, lower-grade cheaper versions may be prone to some staining, so make sure you buy high-quality products.
On the other hand, marble countertops are famous for staining all the time – this natural stone is porous, meaning it has small pores that allow liquids and bacteria inside. You get around this by sealing the marble – using a special liquid that soaks into the countertop to “fill in” the pores and make it less prone to stains.
So if you’re looking for a countertop that won’t stain, Corian is the better bet. I would also recommend quartz and granite for this too.
Corian counters scratch easily, but you can usually buff out the scratches without much effort. As such, Corian counters may be ideal if you are prone to damaging your kitchen! Simply keep it clean, treat it well, and buff out any scratches. It’s pretty low maintenance.
On the other hand, marble requires a lot of maintenance because it’s prone to scratching and staining. You need to regularly seal marble every 3-6 months, which is much more often than you need to seal other natural stones like granite (every 1-5 years).
If you want a countertop that’s easy to look after, go for Corian. There is a detailed discussion on Corian countertops how to clean you can also give it a read!
Solid surface (Corian) is one of the best countertop surfaces if you’re going for modern, unique shapes and styles. It can easily be molded into twists, turns, swirls, and backsplashes, helping to create a very unique solid surface countertop design for your kitchen.
Corian can also come in various different countertop colors and design options, from plain white to imitations of granite, quartz, marble, and other stones. It’s definitely the most versatile surface material out of the two and professional installers can make it so that it’s basically impossible to see seams or grout lines, which is nice.
However, marble’s flat matte finish, soft colors, and distinctive natural veining have been a statement piece of royalty and luxury for centuries now – you just don’t get that with surfaces like Corian.
When finished with the right edge styles, marble can massively elevate the look of your kitchen compared to other countertop options. Well-maintained marble may also elevate the resale value of your home, whereas Corian doesn’t tend to have that effect.
Free Countertop Chart
We Compared Marble, Granite, Laminate, Solid Surface and Quartz Countertops!
Pros and Cons of Marble vs. Solid Surface Counters
- Unique natural stone design
- Chic and opulent look
- Quite scratch-resistant
- Lasts for decades with proper care
- Adds resale value to your home
- STAINS EASILY
- HIGH MAINTENANCE
- HARD TO REPAIR
If you see a marble countertop in someone’s home, it’s likely that they’re trying to impress you. Marble is actually one of the weakest natural stone used for kitchen countertops, yet it’s prized for its natural beauty.
Marble will scratch fairly easily and will let stains in if you don’t seal it regularly every 3-6 months, so it’s quite a high maintenance kitchen counter.
Still, if you’re willing to put the effort in with all the sealing, cleaning, and maintenance, then marble stone countertops can make your home look very impressive indeed.
You can even get things like granite marble, designed to mimic the look of a granite countertop, and cultured marble, an engineered stone designed to resemble real marble.
- Very consistent design
- Various patterns and colors on demand
- Can be made to resemble marble/granite countertops
- Flexible curves, twirls, twists possible
- Low maintenance
- SCRATCHES EASILY
- SCORCHES WITH HOT POTS
- CAN BE EXPENSIVE
Corian surfaces can be made to resemble quartz, marble, and granite countertops, as well as various other engineered or natural stones. They have a very consistent design that you can request in a variety of colors and patterns, whether you’re trying to mimic granite, marble, or just keep it plain white.
These countertop solid surfaces are naturally stain-resistant thanks to their man-made blend of resins and polymers, helping them to keep stains and mold at bay. They’re very low-maintenance counters in general – you basically just need to clean them regularly.
One thing to bear in mind is that unlike granite and quartz, Corian will scratch fairly easily. This can usually be buffed out without much effort, but it’s worth keeping in mind that surfaces like quartz and granite are much tougher if durability is your main concern.
Many people buy Corian countertops when they’re considering cultured marble, granite, or quartz because Corian can often be cheaper depending on what you’re going for. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that Corian counters don’t add much value to your home, whereas surfaces like marble, granite, and quartz often do.
Is Corian more expensive than marble?
When you’re looking at price, Corian vs marble are actually very similar in cost.
- Corian costs $50 to $120 per square foot depending on the quality
- Marble costs $50 to $150 per square foot depending on how rare it is
So these two countertop surface materials are actually very similar in price, though marble arguably looks more expensive and adds more value to your property.
Which one should I buy?
Marble vs solid surface material? Well both have their pros and cons. While Corian is stain resistant, modern and heat resistant. quartz is luxurious but needs high maintenance. If you want a surface that is fairly durable and easy to clean, go for Corian. It has pretty good scratch resistance and heat resistance, with the stain resistance qualities of quartz. Corian can also be custom designed to look similar to marble, quartz, or granite at your request.
It’s very versatile!
On the other hand, if you want your space to feel luxurious and you don’t mind the higher level of maintenance, go for marble. Although less durable than granite, quartz, and corian, marble has an undeniable elegance that elevates the aesthetic of kitchen and bathroom countertops alike.
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