New materials come into the market all the time, but we have to know about them to take advantage of the benefits they bring to our houses. In this ideabook, we share information on one of these novel materials, Corian, which is much talked about, but it is possible that you aren’t clear about what it really is. We’ll tell you what it is, what it can be used for and the best places to use it.
Corian is a synthetic material developed by DuPont for solid surfaces. It consists of 1/3 acrylic resin (PMMA) and 2/3 aluminium hydroxide (aluminium trihydrate). In addition to this technical information, we will show you how it can contribute to the design of a home’s interiors. Being aware of its characteristics, advantages, disadvantages and costs, will be useful when you are decorating the interiors of your house. You will get a better idea of what Corian can offer before you invest in it for your home.
With a bit of research, we can say that the first formulation of the product goes back to 1963, when it was made by the scientists of DuPont Don Slocum and George Mann. The material was marketed as Corian in 1967, and two years later, production of Corian plates began at DuPont's Yerke factory in Buffalo. In 1970, the formulation of the product was changed to what it is at present, making the material more resistant to acids. The new formula also makes it translucent, increasing its possibilities for decoration. In 1974, the first moulded objects were made, and in 1981, invisible joint adhesives appeared. By 2004, the first models with colour images embedded within the material were seen.
Corian as we know it today, is a material with the most outstanding qualities due to the ease with which it can be moulded, the possibility of eliminating visible joints and its translucent capacity, not to mention its hardness and resistance to abrasion.
i. Corian is a material suitable for exteriors as it is not affected by ultraviolet radiation.
ii. Pieces of Corian material can be joined with special adhesives that eliminate joints, allowing us to create objects of great dimensions that have a seamless appearance.
iii. It is not porous. Any minor damage can be eliminated by rubbing the surface with non-abrasive cleaners or by sanding down. As a homogenous material, Corian surfaces can be restored by sanding, just as we do with wood.
iv. It is an inert material, and in case of fire, the gases produced due to its combustion are non-toxic.
v. It is easy to work with Corian using carpentry tools, and it can be used to create bas-reliefs.
vi. It is translucent, which allows us to use it in lamps, innovative furniture designs as well as retro decorative elements with illumination, like we see in the image below.
vii. It is completely waterproof and antibacterial, which makes it a good option for hospitals, laboratories, restrooms, surgery rooms and other sites that require 100% hygiene.
Like any product, Corian also has its disadvantages. The first of them is its cost, but we must also mention the others:
i. When used as a countertop, it has another drawback – deformation when very hot elements are placed on it (although it is said that it can withstand up to 205°C).
ii. It gets scratched quite easily. Its hardness is equivalent to that of hardwood, but is inferior to stones like the granite or other synthetic compounds with a mineral base.
iii. It is sensitive to certain chemicals such as acetone as well as some types of solvents.
The maintenance of furniture constructed from this material is minimal since it is not porous and resists stains as they do not penetrate the surface, making it easy to clean. Due to this advantage, and the absence of joints, Corian surfaces are great for minimal cleaning and for hindering the growth of germs. These characteristics also make this material ideal for sterile environments, such as operating theatres. Therefore, you can use it in your bathroom or kitchen for total peace of mind, but bear in mind the point mentioned earlier that it cannot withstand very high temperatures without suffering damage.
Corian comes in a variety of colours and models. When designing fixtures with Corian, the cost varies depending on whether the furniture is straight, such as the professionally-designed one in this image, or if it has curves, special design features or unusual widths. Even so, the price of the material is in the average-high range, but is more reasonable if we opt for standard sizes, for example, by choosing worktops with 60 cm width. While its cost is the main handicap of this material, if you consider that its warranty is 10 years, it is worth the investment.
In a modern kitchen, the surfaces and countertops can be spectacular if done with Corian. The colours and models from which you can choose are varied, so you can combine the Corian with the design of the tiles or coatings that you have on the walls and floors.
You should be careful, as in the case of countertops made from other non-stone materials, not to place containers straight out of the fire, since excessive heat can cause stains or deformations of the surface. For this reason, it is advisable to use heat protectors always to place very hot pans to prevent possible damage to the surfaces and furniture made of Corian.
Corian is manufactured both as plates and preformed pieces. For the plates, the mixture of aluminium and resin is poured on a moving tape of steel that crosses a tunnel of cold. Once the mixture is cooled, the edges of the sheet are trimmed with standardized measurements, the ones most commonly used for bathroom countertops. The common thicknesses of the material are 6 and 12 mm.
Bathroom fixtures such as sinks and bathtubs can be made with this material. Corian sinks are made from moulded pieces and are often integrated with the countertop to appear as a single element. In addition to rectangular shapes, they can be round, oval or designed in any way. Its installation is like that of any ceramic or glass washbasin. In bathrooms, it is a major advantage that the Corian pieces are not porous, as it makes them totally impermeable and guarantees that it will not retain any germs.
If you want to modernize the living room of your house using this material, as in the picture above, you can design a sofa with a Corian base and place comfortable cushions on it to give a sophisticated and stylish air to the room. These types of designs can fit well with the style and size of almost any room. The bases are resistant, easy to clean and maintain, and when combined with textiles you can create a very modern, original and innovative decoration.
See Trendy living room ideas for more inspiration on designing a unique space in your home.