View Full Version : How do I restore the finish of my corian countertop?

11-02-2006, 08:07 PM
I have looked online, and can't seem to figure it out. I tried, per one suggestion, using some 400 grit sandpaper, but the problem is that I have a semigloss finish, and this leaves the finish dull (don't worry, I tested in an inconspicuous location first). I even went over it with 1000 grit sandpaper, but it didn't appear to bring the gloss back.

I look for coutnertop polish, but it's only coming up with stuff like Countertop magic, which isn't really a polish (a true polish would have abrasives in it), but more of a conditioner (like wood polish, it doesn't really improve the wood, it just makes it appear nicer for a short time).

Are there liquid polishes out there that will do the job? Something else?

Thanks for any and all help.

11-02-2006, 08:17 PM
Try rubbing the dull spots with food-quality mineral oil after you have cleaned the counter tops. Buff well with a soft cloth to get up the residue. We use it at the museum I work at to bring back some of the luster to old, dull metals.

It's completely benign because it wipes off easily, and (as is important in a kitchen) you don't have to worry about it poisoning anybody if it comes in contact with food.

11-02-2006, 08:23 PM
Try toothpaste. Seriously. It's a very, very fine abrasive, used by hobby modelers as a polishing paste. Smear a little on a soft cloth and rub. It may take a while, but you obviously need have no concern about toxicity.

11-02-2006, 10:18 PM
Well, I got a little more patient and used the 1000 grit sandpaper some more, and itlooks like it's restoring the finish in the area I worked on. Now I just need to find 1000 grit sanding pads for my random orbit sander so I can actually make this job doable in a weekend :)

11-02-2006, 10:34 PM
You may be able to get away with 600 or 800. Granite'll take a nice shine at about 600.

11-02-2006, 10:48 PM
Maroon Scotch brite pad on a random orbital sander. Make sure the countertop is really really clean. Then spritz with water and use the pad. It's what the pro's use to get the semi-gloss finish in the first place.

11-02-2006, 10:50 PM
Here's a rather extensive link on the process used to take the surface from factory rough to ready-to-use. You won't have to do most of this as your surface is mostly okay - but it's a good reference.

11-03-2006, 12:47 AM
If you don't mind my asking, how old are the countertops? Are you glad you went with corian? (Building a house in a few years)

11-03-2006, 02:49 AM
You could also try rottenstone (http://woodweb.com/knowledge_base/Buffing_out_a_lacquer_finish.html)

11-03-2006, 09:21 AM
After the sandpaper you might try steel wool. You have to use fine steel wool made for polishing, I think the grade is 000.

Another idea (just a shot in the dark on this one) is to use car wax.

11-03-2006, 10:02 AM
Corian isn't true 'solid surface'. I believe the wear layer -- while thicker than laminate such as FormicaŽ -- is just that: a layer.

So, be careful. It's not like polishing a block of granite or marble. You only have so much material to grind out.

11-03-2006, 10:29 AM
Might I ask if it's just normal wear and tear that caused Corian to need refinishing in the first place or was it subject to an unusually wearsome event? Like Renee, we're deciding on an upgrade surface and would rather know of any pitfalls beforehand.

11-03-2006, 10:42 AM
Well, since you are all so helpful, I've retunred to provide some more answers :cool

1) The coutnertops were there when I purchased the house. I purchased the house from someone who flipped it quickly, so I don't have all the details of the house's history (which is sad, because it's almost 100 years old). They were already somewhat faded and worn when we got them, and we have not taken extreme care with them.

2) I don't even know if it's "real" corian. It's just a solid surface countertop.

3) Car wax will not accomplish what I want, which is to actually restore the finish permanently instead of temporarily.

Thanks again for all your help. I'll be off to Lowe's on my lunch hour to look for some sanding pads.

11-03-2006, 10:45 AM
Corian isn't true 'solid surface'. I believe the wear layer -- while thicker than laminate such as FormicaŽ -- is just that: a layer. We have a Corian lavatory in the bath and counter top in the kitchen.
Corian is a marble dust filled methyl methacrylate ("Lucite") material. It is cast in sheets in glass molds and in something else for the lavatory.
I would suggest not seeking a 'glass like' finish as it will take on a patina of wear over the years.
Deep scratches can not be polished out without creating a depression. Filling might be an option.
Shallow scratches can be polished out with a rotary sander and 1200 grit wet/dry run with a bit of water. Do NOT clean up the mess till done. The removed slurry helps to make the results better.

IF you must have a high polish consult with someone who refinishes automobiles or go to an auto supply co.

Sal Ammoniac
11-03-2006, 12:04 PM
All "polishing" is caused by abrasion. Fine abrasive = high polish. However, the finer the abrasive, the more work it takes. Rottenstone is out; it would take you years. Car parts stores sell (in the auto-body department) a variety of polishing compounds that would probably all work, though they're meant for use with mechanical polishers. Probably the Scotch Brite pads for the orbital sander are the best suggestion.

11-03-2006, 01:37 PM
I'm looking for a semi-gloss (as opposed to matte) finish, not high-gloss, which would get ruined within a week.

However, having just returned from Lowe's, I can say that finding maroon scoth-brite pads is challenging, as is finding sanding pads for an RO sander in anything finer than 220 grit.

Anyone have suggestions for specialty shops which might have some 8-hole velcro sanding pads for my RO sander in grits finer than 220?

Sal Ammoniac
11-03-2006, 01:58 PM
Try Klingspor (klingspor.com). Their website isn't so good for searching for products, so you might ask them to send you a catalogue. I'm pretty sure I remember that they sell exactly what you're looking for, and more.

11-03-2006, 03:58 PM
Corian isn't true 'solid surface'. I believe the wear layer -- while thicker than laminate such as FormicaŽ -- is just that: a layer.

So, be careful. It's not like polishing a block of granite or marble. You only have so much material to grind out.Cite? I have personally sawed through Corian countertops. It's solid.

11-03-2006, 05:13 PM
Try Klingspor (klingspor.com). Their website isn't so good for searching for products, so you might ask them to send you a catalogue. I'm pretty sure I remember that they sell exactly what you're looking for, and more.

Huh, before I saw this, I did some googling, came up with a place called woodworkingshop.com, and just looked at my invoice for 3 sets of 8-hole 5" sanding pads (400, 800, and 1000 grit). It says "Klingspor's Woodworking Shop" so I guess it's the same place. Thanks for the reference.

11-03-2006, 06:09 PM
I would use 600-1000 grit wet-or-dry paper with mineral oil as a lubricant, using a pine cut-off as a sanding block. I use this method all the time on polyurethane-finished wood pieces and the result is a beautiful semigloss sheen.
Without the oil lubricating the sanding process, the finish isn't nearly as smooth.

11-03-2006, 06:10 PM
If you don't mind my asking, how old are the countertops? Are you glad you went with corian? (Building a house in a few years)

You didn't seem to get an answer, so will tell you about ours. About five years ago we had the old tile kitchen and bath counter tops torn out and replaced with Corian. It has been very satisfactory. The pamphlet from Corian that came with it said to use 400 grit and then the Scotch-Brite pad, which we have done. We even had one not-too-deep cut from a knife. The sanding soon removed it without a noticeable depression, and the pad smoothed it to a semi-gloss like the rest, and it can't be seen at all.

We did a repolish with the Scotch-Brite pad just once a while back to give the surfice a little more shine.

We are very pleased with it.

11-03-2006, 06:20 PM
...Corian is a marble dust filled methyl methacrylate...Bauxite (http://amosdesign.cz/en/manufacture-corian/corian/corian/) and polymethyl methacrylate (http://heritage.dupont.com/floater/fl_corian/floater.shtml).

CMC fnord!

11-03-2006, 10:01 PM
Woodworker's Hardware has the best prices I've found for individual sanding disks.

11-04-2006, 03:08 AM
Cite? I have personally sawed through Corian countertops. It's solid.

Indeed. Corian and other solid surfacing materials are full thickness, not to be confused with SSV or solid surfacing veneer.

06-13-2012, 10:28 AM
Corian is a solid service just like granite, It's actually mixed together like concrete is. We've been working with the material for several years and we have done multiple tops, with 0 complaints. When sanding you should start at a 400 grit sand the entire thing off all residue and repeat this process with 600 grit and then 800, after this you should by some counter top wax, wax it then use a buffer to take the wax off. If these steps are done correctly your counter top will be fully restored!

10-20-2012, 11:44 AM
I had a couple of dull spots from using scouring powder to remove some bad stains in my Corian. I used a Scotch Bright no-scratch pad and a very small amount of mineral oil and rubbed it in well. I also did that but with less pressure around the edges of the counter top which were slightly dull. Then I did all the remaining area with a lite once over. I removed the mineral oil with a couple of passes with paper toweling. I then finished up with a product called Countertop Magic and my Corian now looks as good as new with a very even finish even when viewed in critical lighting conditions.:)

Mongo Ponton
10-22-2012, 12:15 AM
I've done many hundreds of square feet of corian. It somehow falls out the back door of Dupont's warehouse.

Wet sanding helps a lot.

From rough I use 100, 200, 400, 600 grit paper and then use automotive rubbing compound and then polishing compound.

All of the paper and compounds can be gotten at Pep Boys or any of those types.

The final gloss seems mostly dependent on how aggressive you are with the rubbing compound.

If you have a crack clean it with acetone and then a bag of ice on each side of the crack for a while. this will contract the material and slightly open the crack. Squirt in some wicking CA glue (super thin super glue), take the ice away and warm things up with a blow dryer. The crack will disappear. you can scrape away the excess glue with a razor.

And the number one rule of corian is "No crockpots".

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