How to Restore Corian Counters
Simple household remedies may suffice, but Westchester Kitchen and Bath's Jay Byrne offers his expert advice on sanding techniques.
littleny | Adobe Stock
This week a curious reader asks for help in how to restore an older, synthetic countertop to compliment her new bathroom hardware.
Q: I got an amazing deal on new bathroom fixtures at the Waterworks sale, but now my countertop looks worn and old next to them. Any idea how to get tiny scratches out of a Corian-type countertop? It’s dark green so the scratches really show up. I’ve tried some cleaning products that promised to help, but they lied. — Anny C. Lucas, Rye
A: By “Corian-type,” we assume you mean the synthetic resin–based material that’s the same color all through, in which case the surface can be restored—that’s one of the selling points of Corian and its ilk. Whether you can do it yourself is up for debate.
If the scratches are light, you might be able to remove them with Comet and a white Scotch-Brite pad. Wet the scratched area, sprinkle on some Comet and rub gently, first in a circular motion and then in the direction of the scratches, taking care to blend the edges of the area you’re abrading with the rest of the surface. Keep checking to see if the scratches are disappearing. When they’re gone, rinse the counter with water and dry it with a clean towel. If you’re left with a dull surface, which sounds likely, you can buff up the shine using Soft Scrub. Or at least, this is one theory being bandied about on the Interweb. You mention cleaning products that lied, so you may have tried this already. But did you persevere? A quick go-over won’t do much.
There are countertop repair kits with color-coded, micromesh pads designed to sand scratches out of Corian. You can buy them on line, or possibly from your local friendly Corian dealer. Or try wetting the scratched area and sanding with a 400-grit, wet-dry sandpaper. Proceed as above.
Jay Byrne, head designer at Westchester Kitchen and Bath in Yonkers, has little faith in do-it-yourself methods. Actually, he’s not that keen on Corian at all. “Back in the '80s when it came out, it was the new thing on the block, but it scratches up,” he agrees. “It’s much better to go with granite or another stone.” And, he adds, the price isn’t that different these days.
Still, if you’re not up for replacing your counters, what to do? Byrne believes any spot repair will show, and that to do the job properly you need to sand the entire surface using an orbital palm sander, going though four or five grades of increasingly fine sandpaper and ending with something “almost like an emery cloth....I wouldn’t attempt it,” he concludes. “You need to call someone who’s skilled in refinishing. If you’re a bit artistic you might get away with it, but you could wind up leaving swirl marks and making it look worse.”
Here are Byrne’s other thoughts on the sanding process: “There’s dust all over the place, tiny particles of polyester resin floating in the air. It’s a synthetic, so your body doesn’t break it down. You don’t want to breathe that in. You have to wear a mask, and a dust mask won’t cut it — you need a respirator. And goggles. And you need really good ventilation. It’s better to use a professional.”
That said, you can always try the easier above methods first, then hire a pro if the results aren't to your liking.
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