Step aside granite — quartz is here to stay.
Engineered quartz has dethroned granite as king of countertops and is the countertop of choice in 2017, according to a survey by the National Kitchen and Bath Association.
It’s really no surprise. Quartz is popular for several good reasons.
Why Quartz Countertops Are So Popular
One of the most attractive attributes of quartz countertops is that they’re nonporous. This quality alone adds bacterial resistance for sanitary meal prep, moisture resistance for quick cleanup and stain resistance. Which, you know, comes in handy for those times when your kids pour their own juice.
Another attractive feature is the nearly limitless amount of colors and styles available for quartz countertops. Whether you want a bright pop of magenta or the look of granite in your kitchen — without the need to reseal it — there’s a quartz countertop with the look you want.
Some quartz countertop manufacturers even let you choose from several different finishes to complement your choice of design style. A shiny, super-smooth finish, for example, fits well in a sleek modern setting. A suede-like matte finish is great for contemporary kitchens. A pitted finish that feels and looks like rock blends perfectly into a rustic look.
Whatever your style, there’s a quartz countertop that will seamlessly meld into your space.
These countless selections are possible because unlike granite, marble and other natural stone tops, quartz countertops aren’t slabs of quarried rock. Instead, they’re manufactured from crushed quartz.
How Engineered Quartz Countertops Are Made
Engineered quartz countertops consist of 90 percent quartz crystals. These crystals are minerals that make up other stones, such as granite, and aren’t stones in their own right. In fact, the quartz used to make engineered countertops often comes from crushed or waste granite, marble and other types of natural stone.
This crushed quartz is mixed with resins and pigments, and then molded, cured and polished to form a slab. This engineered stone slab can then be cut, edged and finished in the same way as natural stone.
Manmade Quartz vs. Natural Stone
Let’s look at how quartz measures up to quarried countertops such as marble and granite. Here’s a list of the pros and cons of engineered quartz in comparison to natural stones:
- Easy to Maintain and Clean: The resins used in the manufacturing process seal in the quartz and create countertops that never have to be resealed. This prevents spills from easily soaking in and germs from making their homes inside your countertop. Most natural stone countertops, however, must be sealed before use, then one to four times per year to maintain germ and spill resistance.
- Consistent Color and Patterns: Since quartz countertops are manmade, the colors and patterns are uniform. When you buy natural stone, especially if you order from a sample instead of picking out a slab, it may surprise you at how large the variation in colors and patterns are within the same piece of rock. Nobody likes big surprises when it comes to an important focal point like countertops.
- Customizable Colors and Patterns: As was mentioned earlier, the color options for quartz are nearly endless. If you like bright blue, you can get it. If you like a marble look but don’t want to seal it four times a year, you can find a quartz countertop that replicates the look of marble. Natural stones are beautiful, but Mother Nature is the one who decides their colors and patterns, not you.
- Cost-Effective Investment: Quartz is just as durable as natural stones, but it’s also just as expensive upfront, sometimes more so. Depending on what style you want, quartz can cost more per square foot than natural stone — but the payoff comes later. The money saved from never having to seal a quartz countertop adds up over time and can save you money overall.
- Sensitive to UV Rays: Quartz countertops, unlike natural stone, will discolor when exposed to the sun’s rays. This may mean that part of your countertop near a window would fade over time, while another section keeps its color and would result in noticeable differences in your countertops. This sensitivity to the sun also excludes quartz from outdoor use.
- Repair Can Be Difficult: Quartz is tough, but just like natural stone, it can chip under the right circumstances. The difference is that it’s easier to reapir stone and the repair is less noticeable.
- Less Heat Tolerant: Since engineered quartz is composed partly of resin, it can’t take as much heat as a stone countertop. Make sure to keep hot pots and pans off the surface.
- Sensitive to Some Household Products: Quartz and natural stones are equally sensitive to chemicals and cleaners that are either highly alkaline or highly acidic. Be careful when choosing cleaning products.
There are pros and cons to any countertop you choose. Just be sure to select the one best suited for the way you use your space, and you won’t go wrong.
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Hey! I'm Megan. I am a dog-lover and enjoy exploring the outdoors. Your Wild Home covers a lot of topics, including (but not limited to) home improvement, home decor, construction, real estate, and sustainability. I enjoy writing in third-person and I am addicted to chocolate, coffee, and terrible puns. Learn more on my About Me
Quartz Countertops: Are They Right for You?
Step aside granite — quartz is here to stay. Here's what you should know about shopping for and installing quartz countertops in your home.
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