Corian is a solid surface material made from a mixture of natural minerals and acrylic polymer. It was first developed by DuPont in 1967 and has since become a popular choice for countertops, sinks, bathtubs, shower walls, and other home surfaces.
Some key features of Corian include:
- High durability and stain resistance
- Non-porous, making it hygienic and easy to clean
- Can be molded into seamless designs with no visible joints
- Available in a wide range of colors and patterns
- Can be repaired, resurfaced, and renewed to look like new
Corian is commonly used in kitchens, bathrooms, commercial spaces, and healthcare facilities. Homeowners love it for its appearance, performance, and design flexibility. However, even a material as versatile as Corian has limitations when it comes to painting and refinishing.
Initial Considerations Before Painting Corian
Before deciding to paint a Corian surface, there are a few important factors to keep in mind:
- Permanence of painting – Painting Corian is semi-permanent. While it is possible, it is very difficult to remove paint from Corian once applied. Be prepared to commit to the painted look.
- Loss of original finish – Painting will cover up Corian’s original glossy, smooth finish. The new painted surface will have a matte appearance.
- Maintenance requirements – Painted Corian will need occasional re-coating and touch-ups over time. The paint finish will wear faster than the original Corian surface.
- Voids any warranties – Painting Corian will likely void any existing manufacturer’s warranties. Be sure to check before proceeding.
With proper preparation and technique, Corian can successfully be painted. However, the original non-porous finish will be lost in the process. Consider whether paint will provide the desired look versus alternative resurfacing options.
Composition and Characteristics
Corian is approximately 1/3 acrylic resin, 1/3 natural minerals, and 1/3 pigments. The minerals and pigments vary based on the desired color and pattern of the material. Common minerals used include aluminum trihydrate and silica.
The acrylic resin allows Corian to be thermoformed, giving it versatility of design. It can be molded into a variety of shapes including countertops, sinks, tub surrounds, vanities, and more. Seamless appearances are achievable.
Key performance characteristics of Corian include:
- Heat resistance up to 325°F
- Stain resistance to common chemicals, dyes, and household stains
- Non-porous surface resistant to mold, mildew, and bacteria growth
- Impact and scratch resistant
- Repairable if damaged – can be sanded and resurfaced to look new
Why Corian is a Popular Choice
Corian offers an attractive, high-end look at an affordable price point compared to natural stone surfaces. The rich, uniform colors and patterns add beauty to any space.
The non-porous finish makes it very hygienic and easy to clean. Bacteria cannot penetrate the surface. Spills and stains can be wiped away without absorption.
It is lighter weight than stone, making it easier to handle and install. This also makes it suitable for wall applications.
The ability to create seamless designs gives Corian a very modern, sleek aesthetic. Edges can be smoothly integrated and built into the surface design.
Overall, Corian offers the beauty and performance of stone, with added versatility and practicality. This made it an extremely popular choice for residential and commercial settings.
Limitations Regarding Painting and Refinishing
While Corian is touted for its durable finish, it does have some limitations when it comes to painting and refinishing:
- Not naturally porous – The non-porous acrylic surface needs special preparation to accept new paint.
- Difficult to remove paint – Unlike natural stone or wood, Corian will retain paint within its surface pores. Paint is extremely difficult to strip from Corian.
- Loss of original finish – Painting over the original glossy surface ruins the smooth finish that makes Corian attractive. The new painted surface will not have the same appearance.
- Prone to damage if repainted – Repeated painting on Corian can break down the acrylic binders in the material, leading to breakdown of the surface.
- Voids warranties – Any damage associated with painting your Corian will not be covered under existing warranties.
Painting Corian results in trade-offs between aesthetics, functionality, and practicality. Non-permanent options like wraps or laminates may be better for some applications.
Preparation for Painting
Proper preparation is crucial for paint to adhere correctly to Corian surfaces. Follow these steps to get your Corian countertop or walls ready for painting:
Importance of Surface Preparation
Corian is non-porous, so paint will not easily soak in and grip the way it does on wood or drywall. The surface needs to be abraded so that the paint can mechanically adhere.
Proper prep removes any gloss or sealants, roughs up the surface, and ensures cleanliness prior to priming and painting. Rushing this step can lead to peeling or chipping of the new paint job.
Step-by-Step Guide to Preparing Corian for Paint
1. Clean and degrease the surface – Remove all dirt, debris, oil, and residue using a degreasing cleaner or diluted ammonia solution. Rinse thoroughly.
2. Lightly sand the surface – Use 150-220 grit sandpaper to scuff up and dull the entire area to be painted. This abrades the glossy acrylic finish so paint can mechanically adhere.
3. Wipe away sanding dust – Use a dry cloth followed by a tack cloth to remove all dust left over from sanding. Any debris left behind will cause imperfections in the painted finish.
4. Mask surrounding areas – To prevent overspray onto adjoining surfaces, mask off areas not being painted using painter’s tape and plastic sheeting.
5. Apply bonding agent – Wipe on a thin layer of bonding agent or primer specifically made for plastic surfaces. Allow to dry completely.
The Corian is now prepped and ready for painting!
- Degreasing cleaner or ammonia solution
- Sandpaper – 150-220 grit
- Tack cloths
- Painter’s tape
- Plastic drop cloths
- Bonding agent or plastic primer
- Paint brushes, mini rollers
- Chosen paints and primers
Choosing the Right Paint
Selecting compatible paints is key to achieving a long-lasting finish on Corian surfaces:
What Kind of Paint to Use on Corian?
- 100% acrylic latex – Water-based acrylic latex paints are recommended for painting Corian. They provide good adhesion and durability on non-porous surfaces.
- Enamel paint – Oil or enamel-based alkyd paints also work well. They may provide a harder, more stain resistant finish than latex. However, cleanup requires mineral spirits.
- Avoid epoxy paints – Epoxy paints are not compatible with Corian surfaces. They will fail prematurely.
- Matte or eggshell finish – Flat or matte finishes hide imperfections better than glossy paints. Glossy paint will accentuate any minor flaws in the surface.
Comparison of Acrylic Latex vs. Enamel Paint
Acrylic Latex Paint
- Water-based, so easy soap and water cleanup
- Less odor than enamels
- Dries fairly quickly
- Provides good adhesion on multiple surfaces
- More prone to cracking or chipping if overly thick
- Formulated with oil/alkyd resins
- Harder, more durable finish
- Better stain resistance
- Susceptible to yellowing over time
- Strong solvent fumes during application
- Slower dry time than latex
Pros and Cons of Different Paint Types
Acrylic Latex Pros
- Water clean-up
- Fast dry time
- Good color retention
- Low odor
Acrylic Latex Cons
- Less durable than enamels
- More prone to cracking
- Fades faster in direct sunlight
Enamel Paint Pros
- Extremely durable
- Resistant to scrapes, chips, etc.
- Provides glossy finish
- Stain resistant
Enamel Paint Cons
- Long dry time
- Strong chemical odor
- Yellowing over time
- Difficult solvent cleanup
Priming Corian Surfaces
Before applying finish paint to Corian, it is imperative to apply a primer layer first.
The Role of Primer
Primer serves several important functions:
- Creates a rough, porous surface for paint to adhere to
- Seals the surface to prevent absorption of finish paint
- Helps topcoat paint go on smoothly and evenly
- Improves paint coverage and durability
- Uniforms differences in surface porosity and texture
- Prevents discolorations from bleeding through
Best Primers for Plastic Surfaces
The key is choosing the right primer formulated to stick to non-porous materials like Corian:
- Plastic primer – Sold specifically for painting plastic, it etches into slick surfaces for the best adhesion.
- Bonding primer – Bonds tightly to glossy and semi-glossy finishes. Useful when sanding is not possible.
- Acrylic primer – Acrylic-based primers work well on both plastic and metal surfaces.
- Rust-inhibiting primer – Provides corrosion resistance for bathroom, kitchen, and other wet areas.
Avoid all-purpose primers. They are not designed for use on plastics.
Application Techniques for an Even Coat
- Apply with a high-quality mini roller or nylon/polyester brush
- Roll/brush in thin, even layers. Avoid pooling primer.
- Allow each coat to fully dry before adding another.
- Lightly sand final primer coat with 320 grit sandpaper.
- Two to three coats are recommended for proper adhesion and smoothness.
Proper priming is the secret to achieving professional looking results when painting Corian!
Follow these tips when applying the finish coats of paint:
Detailed Guide on Applying Paint to Corian
1. Lightly sand primer – Gently sand the final prime coat with 320 grit sandpaper to ensure a smooth foundation for paint.
2. Apply first coat of paint – Use a small foam roller or nylon/polyester brush to apply the first thin coat of paint. Work in 3×3 foot sections.
3. Allow paint to dry – Let the first coat dry completely before adding another coat. Check manufacturer’s recommended recoat times.
4. Apply second finish coat – Add the second finishing coat using the same application tools and techniques as the first.
5. Consider a third coat – For bolder colors or more coverage, a third coat may help achieve an opaque, uniform finish.
6. Remove masking – Once paint is completely dry, carefully remove all masking materials. Touch up any overspray.
7. Allow paint to cure – Wait 1-2 weeks for paint to fully cure before heavy use and cleaning.
Tips for an Even, Smooth Finish
- Maintain a wet edge when painting to prevent lap marks
- Work methodically in small sections to avoid drips
- Keep paint roller or brush moving at a steady pace
- Apply thin coats while maintaining full coverage
- Use a small trim brush for cutting in edges and corners
Avoiding Common Painting Mistakes
- Don’t apply paint too thick – can lead to cracking or peeling
- Prevent drips by not overloading the roller or brush
- Maintain proper dry time between coats
- Carefully cut in edges for a neat appearance
- Check for debris between coats – remove before continuing
Take your time with each step for professional paint results on Corian!
Once your Corian surface is painted, follow these guidelines to maintain its freshly painted look:
How to Maintain Painted Corian Surfaces
- Allow at least 1 week for paint to fully cure before regular use and cleaning
- Use only mild, non-abrasive cleaners – avoid harsh chemicals
- Rinse surfaces thoroughly after cleaning – avoid pooling water
- Reseal painted areas every 1-2 years with an appropriate sealant
- Immediately clean spills and stains to prevent buildup
- Avoid abrasive pads, scouring powders, or scrubbing that can damage the paint
With proper care, painted Corian can look pristine for many years before needing touch up!
Can I Resurface My Corian Countertop?
While painting provides one option for updating old Corian, resurfacing may better restore the original finish. Professional resurfacing involves:
- Sanding down damage and stains
- Filling any chips, cracks, or seams
- Polishing with abrasives to restore a uniform finish
- Buffing and resealing the surface
Resurfacing can remove superficial damage and restore the surface to like-new condition. Painting can still be done over newly resurfaced Corian if desired.
Addressing Wear and Tear: Touch-ups and Repairs
Over time, painted Corian may need minor touch ups:
- Spot repair any chips or cracks in the paint using original paint
- Lightly sand damaged areas before touching up paint
- Reseal the entire surface periodically to protect paint
- Address stains quickly before they set and spread
- Periodic cleaning and resealing will minimize abrasion
Avoid excessive scrubbing or abrasive cleansers. Topcoat painted Corian for easier cleaning and to extend the life of the paint finish.
Making Old Corian Look New Again
Does your dated Corian countertop look worn and outdated? There are techniques to make old Corian look fresh and new again:
How to Make Old Corian Look New
Resurface professionally – Hire a company to sand down damage and buff the surface to restore the original finish. This is less permanent than painting.
Apply new edge profiles – Router or replace outer edges for a contemporary look. Square profiles modernize old rounded edges.
Incorporate designs or inlays – Adding built-in designs creates a custom look. Inlays of glass, metal, stone, etc. completely transform the surface.
Change the backsplash – Replace backsplashes in a bold new color or material for dramatic impact. Contrasting textures also give a new look.
Update the sink/faucet – New sink styles and faucet finishes freshen the whole space. Coordinate metals and textures.
Add bold accessories – Vivid accents like towels, rug, curtains diverge attention from worn counters. Avoid matching countertop colors.
Paint a fresh color – Painting over tired old Corian with an on-trend color gives it a complete facelift!
With some creativity and DIY skills, outdated Corian can look brand new again at just a fraction of full replacement cost.
Techniques for Rejuvenating Aged Corian
Over time, Corian can develop a dull, worn appearance from use and cleaning. Try these simple techniques to rejuvenate and brighten up dingy Corian:
Clean thoroughly – Use a degreasing cleaner and scrub with a white nylon pad to remove grime buildup. Rinse well.
Lightly sand – Sand lightly with 220 grit sandpaper to remove stubborn stains and renewal the surface.
Buff with polishing compound – Use an automotive polishing compound and buffing pad to restore gloss and shine. Work in small sections.
**Seal and protect **- Wipe on a penetrating sealer to protect the renewed finish. Reseal every 1-2 years.
Prevent future damage – Use cutting boards, trivets and appliances carefully to prevent unnecessary scratching or burning.
Balancing Aesthetics and Functionality in Older Corian
When working with older Corian surfaces:
- Assess condition honestly – severe damage may necessitate replacement
- Weigh benefits of resurfacing vs. painting or other options
- Consider planned use to determine if painting is appropriate
- Make changes reversible whenever possible in case future owners want to restore to original
- Prioritize renewing high wear areas like countertop edges and backsplash
- Blend any repairs into the existing material for a seamless appearance
- Enhance appearance without compromising practical functions like cutting or cleanability
With some TLC, creativity, and strategic improvements, you can breathe new life into well-loved Corian surfaces.
Enhancing Corian’s Shine
While painting Corian yields a matte look, there are methods for enhancing the original shine for a like-new appearance:
Can You Make Corian Shiny?
Yes! While Corian comes from the factory with a beautifully polished, glossy finish, daily wear dulls the surface over time. Professional resurfacing is the gold standard for renewing a factory-fresh shine. But there are also DIY methods to enhance luster and sheen.
Products/Techniques for Enhancing Shine
Polishing compounds – Gentle polishing creams add gloss when rubbed into the surface using a buffer or by hand.
Protective sealants – Sealants like floor wax help restore sheen while protecting the finish.
Automotive buffing compounds – Very fine buffing pastes can polish Corian to a mirror-like shine. Use care to avoid excess heat buildup.
Household cleaners – Mild abrasive cleaners like Soft Scrub, when used sparingly with a soft cloth, can help enhance gloss. Avoid abrasive pads.
Baking soda polish – Make a thick paste of baking soda and water. Gently rub over the surface using small circular motions. Rinse cleanly.
Olive oil polish – Rub a small amount of olive oil over Corian, allow to penetrate briefly, then polish dry with a soft lint-free cloth.
Pressure washing – In outdoor applications, pressure washing can restore shine to weathered Corian. Use care to avoid damaging the surface.
With the right products and techniques, you can keep older Corian counters looking freshly polished.
Balancing Shine and Durability
When attempting to increase surface shine:
- Work in manageable sections to avoid over-polishing any area
- Apply sealants thinly and evenly according to manufacturer directions
- Check product labels for any ingredients that could damage Corian
- Test products first in inconspicuous areas to assess results
- Buff gently to achieve shine without friction damage
- Limit use of abrasive cleaners that could scratch over time
- Reseal buffed surfaces frequently to maintain protection
Enhancing luster while retaining Corian’s durability and function requires care and moderation. But the results are worth it!
Considerations for Specific Corian Applications
Painting or refinishing Corian requires special considerations depending on where it is used:
Special Considerations for Painting Corian in Kitchens
When painting Corian countertops in kitchen settings:
- Use high quality enamel paint for durability, stain resistance, and washability
- Allow extra dry time between coats since kitchens have more moisture, grease, traffic
- Avoid dark glossy colors that show scratches – opt for medium tones with matte finish
- Topcoat with a sealer suitable for food preparation surfaces for protection
- Touch up paint frequently on high wear areas like near the sink and stove
- Immediately clean spills and drips during cooking to prevent staining
Why Painting Corian Shower Walls Is Not Recommended
Painting Corian used in shower surrounds and tub/shower enclosures is strongly discouraged:
- Constant moisture exposure can cause paint to peel, bubble, or flake
- Trapped moisture between Corian and paint can breed mold and mildew
- Harsh chemical cleaners needed in bathrooms can interact with paint
- Cleaning, scrubbing, and daily use will rapidly degrade a painted finish
Instead, consider freshening up Corian tub/shower walls with color-matched caulking or grout to give the appearance of tile.
Customizing Corian to Match Décor
One advantage of painting Corian is the ability to easily change colors for design flexibility.
- Sample paint colors on a Corian remnant before committing to redoing full countertops
- Opt for neutral base colors that can be readily adapted in the future
- Use accent colors on non-functional surfaces only like backsplashes or islands
- Change paint sheens to match other surfaces – eggshell or satin finishes work with most decors
- Coordinate any added solid surface patterns or inlays with the new paint colors
Paint allows endless options for customizing Corian to seamlessly integrate within planned color schemes and styles.
Recap of Key Points
- Corian can successfully be painted but requires careful preparation and proper paint selection
- Priming is mandatory prior to painting for proper adhesion and finish durability
- Acrylic latex or enamel paints work best for long-lasting results
- Painted Corian requires special maintenance and more frequent reapplication of paint
- Alternative resurfacing methods better preserve Corian’s original finish
- A variety of techniques can restore and enhance Corian’s appearance
- Paint allows for full customization and coordination with décor
While painting Corian does entail trade-offs, with careful consideration of limitations and benefits, outstanding results can be achieved. Take time to properly prepare surfaces, select compatible paint systems, and maintain the finish. Painter’s tape and sample colors enable testing paint options before fully committing. Whether you prefer to paint, resurface, or employ creative renewing techniques, Corian can be restored for many additional years of service.
Experiment and have fun revitalizing your outdated Corian into a custom showpiece!