What Are HI-MACS, Corian and Richlite?
These materials are part of a generic group called Solid Surface. The materials were developed as a practical, robust worktop material for residential and commercial applications. The first one on the market was Corian in 1967.
Why Choose Corian?
Large range of sinks which are sensibly sized and nice shaped, a more sophisticated colour pallet, 4, 6, 12 and 19mm thick sheets available, dark colours show wear and tear, 10 year warranty.
Why Choose Hi-Macs?
Lots of conventional colours plus the Volcanic and Galaxy ranges, 15 year warranty, stronger than most solid surface materials, 3, 6, 9 and 12mm thick sheets available, dark colours show wear and tear, less slippery than Corian.
What is Richlite?
Established in 1943, Richlite produces durable,aesthetically appealing surfaces in a material made of paper composite ideal for countertops,paneling and numerous architectual applications.
Due to its high impact resistance, gouges or cracks are uncommon. Richlite stands up well to anything acidic, but high alkaline products may pull or alter colour after prolonged exposure.
Dark colours of Richlite do not show wear and tear, it can be used to make seamless worktops, it is very strong indeed.
For wetroom floor applications we always recommend HI-MACS by LG as it is less slippery. It is composed of acrylic polymer and aluminium tri-hydrate (a stone byproduct for the aluminium industry). We are happy to work with any of the above materials although each one has its own special talents so we are always happiest when our customers listen to our advice when selecting the correct one to use.
Solid Surfaces aren’t porous, can’t be permanently stained, won’t be damaged by water and are completely hygienic. They can be cleaned with strong cleaners like Cif and Viakal and as the material is not porous there is no need for routine application of special sealant treatments.
Solid Surface is not hard like Granite, engineered stone or glass but it is even more durable. It is not brittle so it doesn’t easily chip or crack.
Unfortunately there is a weakness to these materials and that is that they can be damaged by directly applied heat. You must be careful to put pans and casserole dishes on a trivet or chopping board as they will scorch the the surface. Fortunately, if disaster was to strike we can joint the materials seamlessly, so if you were ever to damage your worktop we could repair it virtually invisibly.
Hi-Macs colour Black is a highly pigmented surface with absolutely no imperfections of colour variation in the surface, it will show up every single scuff, mark, finger print, crumb, scratch etc, etc. We normally recommend it only for non-contact surfaces like exhibition displays. If it is used in a kitchen environment you need to be prepared for it to look worn quite quickly however it makes a practical alternative to slate.
The choice of colour does affect the cost, Corian is split into 4 price bands, typically a Band 4 kitchen would cost 20% more than a Band 1, luckily Glacier White is in Band 1. Hi-Macs saves a little bit over Corian and for me it is a better product as it is a little bit harder, typically 5% less expensive than Corian and with an extra 5 years warranty (15 years plays 10 years from Corian). There are lots of other products and particularly Hanex offer cost savings but they are not as good. For your info. I prefer Hi-Macs to Corian but my Kitchen is Corian Dove Grey, I just love the colour, there isn’t much to choose between them.
I’ve priced in HI-MACS rather than Corian, the best solid surface product in my opinion is HI-MACS, particularly for floors and shower trays. The differences are small but given that the HI-MACS is better and a bit cheaper it shouldn’t be ignored.
However, we can do a perfectly good job using Corian if the colour required is only available in the Corian.