Learn How To Remove A Corian Countertop Without Breaking It

Going for a new countertop is an excellent way to give your kitchen or bathroom space an updated look. With its aesthetically appealing and long-lasting finish, Corian solid surface countertops make it simpler to get daily tasks like cooking done without worrying about damage.

Modern kitchen with corian countertop

However, while Corian is resistant to water damage, it is not safe from wear and tear. Over time, scratches from your knife sets can make these surfaces look dull and less smooth. When your countertop material begins looking like it needs a refresh, you can easily remove it without the help of a professional. In this article, we cover everything you need to know to perform this home improvement project. 

What is a Corian countertop?

Corian commonly referred to as a “solid surface” is an artificial stone. It was engineered to replace naturally occurring materials such as granite countertops

Corian or solid surface countertops are made from a blend of acrylic polymers and natural minerals. This acrylic mix is poured into moulds that ensure the surface is consistently solid, inside and out. 

Epoxy and marble countertops are similar to Corian. However, Corian is easier to maintain and clean as it is a non-porous surface. Furthermore, Corian comes in over 100 colours and various patterns that can be easily formed into virtually any shape. 

Corian VS Quartz countertops

The term “Corian” is a generic brand name by DuPont, used for surfaces made of polymers. On the other hand, quartz is a natural stone typically used as a countertop material.

As with Corian, quartz is a composite material made with a mix of epoxy resins and natural minerals. These engineered surfaces are well-known for their stylish appearance that can be customised to look however you like. Compared to high-end materials like quartz, Corian is significantly less expensive.

Both Corian and quartz are stain-resistant. This doesn’t mean that stains could never happen! Be extremely cautious to avoid setting hot pots or pans down on quartz or Corian kitchen countertops as they are not heat resistant. 

Scratch resistance is the main area where quartz outperforms Corian. Countertops made of Corian are extremely scratch-prone. When selecting materials for home improvement, both quartz and Corian are excellent choices. 

Elegant Modern kitchen with corian countertop

Removing old Corian countertop – 5 easy steps

Typically, Corian countertops are installed directly onto cabinets using adhesive and screws. These cabinets are made of smaller components, attached together to form longer pieces. Since the side panels extend down to the floor, it is easier to use a pry bar to begin the removal process in this area. 

The countertop and cabinets are wedged together by a wrecking bar. To break the adhesive holding them together, you will have to carefully wedge the pieces and remove the countertop. However, cover your work area with a tarp or plastic before you begin to contain any dust collection. Also, remove everything from the cabinetry and drawers, clearing out any items and appliances that could get in the way. This will help minimise the mess you make. 

If you have a faucet, kitchen sink or a cooktop on your countertop, disconnect the water and gas lines as well. This includes garbage disposal systems. Then, follow these five easy steps to remove your countertop.

Woman cleaning her kitchen countertop

  1. To inspect your countertop for screws and adhesives, remove the upper drawers or open the cabinets. Some countertops are secured in place with screws that extend all the way to the base of your cabinet. Use a screwdriver or gun to unscrew all fasteners. 
  2. Look for any backsplashes around the top or near the wall of the countertop. The top of your counter is made of the same material as the backsplash. If the backsplash is a separate component, simply remove it. However, if it is attached to your countertop, use the slotted edge of a pry bar to break the adhesive holding it together. Begin at the top edge of the backsplash, working downward and repositioning the pry bar until it is completely removed.   
  3. If your countertop has additional fixtures, such as an under-mount sink, you’ll have to remove these as well. Using a chisel or putty knife, gently dislodge the fixture from the countertop by wiggling it. Remember to be careful with the putty knife. To loosen up any build-up from dried up adhesive or mortar underneath, use a caulk softener to remove it. Then, carefully remove the fixture.
  4. Look for the exterior panel of the cabinet on any edge of the counter. Then, place the claw of your wrecking bar right above the outer panel of your cabinet and use a hammer to wedge it in. Before prying, use caulk to soften any remaining adhesive. Let it sit for at least an hour before you begin removing the countertop. Some countertops are too large to be removed in one piece. In this case, use a reciprocating saw, such as a circular saw, to cut it up into smaller pieces. Working from one end to the other, gently lift the countertop from the rim using your wrecking bar. Avoid using excessive force and take your time to protect yourself and your cabinets. Pry and wedge only above the exterior of your cabinet panels, staying away from weaker areas such as right above doors and drawers. Don’t pull up on the end, as this could shatter the entire countertop
  5. Once the countertop is separated from the drywall and cabinets, it’s time to lift and remove it. This step is significantly easier when you have an extra set of hands to help you out. You can now reuse your old Corian in other DIY home improvement projects and upgrade your cabinets with a new countertop!

Corian countertop with wooden cutting board

FAQs

How to reuse old countertops made of Corian material?

After removal, you can resurface old countertops to put them to use again. First, spray the surface with water. Then, use a hand sander with grit sandpaper to work your way across the countertop in long, circular strokes. Concentrate on scratches, changing the direction of your sander to avoid leaving any noticeable marks. As you resurface, keep spraying the countertop with water. These surfaces can then be repurposed as a workbench or for storage in your garage or basement. 

How to clean Corian? 

To remove most build-up or residue from Corian countertops, all you need is warm soapy water. You can also use mild bleach, ammonia-based products or counter cleaners. However, avoid using window cleaners as they leave a waxy layer on Corian surfaces. For most cases, we recommend bleach.

A woman wearing rubber gloves holds a bottle of bleach to get rid of limescale in the toilet

Can you easily break Corian? 

You can chip Corian, but breaking it entirely is unlikely. If your Corian counter chips or cracks, use epoxy and light sanding to repair the area. 

What are laminate countertops

Corian and laminate countertops are the most popular options on the market. Unlike Corian and other mineral-based materials, laminate materials are made of a wood core wrapped in several thin plastic sheets. This makes them weaker in comparison to natural stones, such as granite and marble. These surfaces are also less water and stain-resistant, which is why they are inexpensive, but they are also easy to paint yourself

Can you transform old countertops without replacing them?

There are several ways to revamp old counters without having to remove them entirely. For example, you can try laying marble tiles, painting them with granite or changing the colour with cement to give them a refreshed aesthetic.

Close up of corian counter top
Removing a countertop may seem like a tedious task, but with a little patience, you can easily DIY the process. Switching up your countertop may be the breath of fresh air your home needs to give it a whole new look. Remember, ask for help if you feel like you’re not up to the task as you could end up hurting yourself or cracking your cabinets.

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