Quartz countertops have become increasingly popular, chosen by home and business owners over granite or marble.
Quartz isn’t like other stone – it’s not natural stone at all, in fact. What are some other unusual characteristics of quartz?
Here are the 10 things you probably didn’t know about quartz countertops.
#1 It’s Not Solid Quartz
Quartz is a man-made material, not a stone found and quarried in nature. Quartz slabs used for countertops are 90% pulverized granite, marble, other stones, ceramic, silica, glass, mirrors or other recycled materials.
This mixture may contain a greater or lesser amounts of quartz – it depends on the manufacturer.
The other 10% is a mix of polymers and resin. All these materials are blended and held together to create a slab that resembles natural stone.
So, quartz countertops are not at all solid quartz. They are a type of engineered stone.
#2 You Shouldn’t Install Quartz Countertops Yourself
For DIYers who like taking on their own home improvement projects, quartz may pose a challenge.
It might be difficult obtaining your own slabs since most companies only sell to certified installers. Furthermore, quartz is extremely heavy.
Moving it without professional help could be risky. You also need a wet saw with a diamond blade to cut quartz. Unless you have provisions for all these technicalities with installing quartz, just go with professional installation.
With professionals, you know it’s done right and you can enjoy your lifetime investment without unforeseeable problems.
#3 Available in Multiple Finishes
Quartz countertops are manufactured, not natural. They are a blend of resin and stone, so the color and pattern options are practically limitless.
If you want countertops that resemble Italian marble, concrete, or just one bright color, it’s possible.
Factories will produce quartz countertops in complementary schemes for you to choose from, inspiring your home design ideas.
Since the slabs of quartz are man-made, the blending process to create certain colors and patterns is consistent.
Quartz is not natural, but it’s possible to add recycled materials when it’s blended. It can, therefore, have a natural stone look, but with added hues that don’t occur in nature.
#4 More Popular than Granite
The trend in recent years has shifted away from granite and toward quartz. The durability and low maintenance of quartz have always made it a competitor.
Homeowners would often seek quartz that resembled granite for these reasons. Now quartz is popular in its own right, and many people prefer to have quartz countertops that don’t resemble any other natural stone.
What are the major differences between quartz and granite? Granite is 100% natural stone. As such, it tends to be more porous than the man-made quartz.
More porous stone requires frequent and proper sealing and has more noticeable stains.
#5 Quartz is Durable
Quartz is a very hard material. It has become a durable alternative to natural stones like marble or granite.
Due to its non-porous nature, it is almost indestructible. It doesn’t show stains or scratches and doesn’t chip or fissure easily.
Quartz should be cleaned daily but doesn’t need to be sealed regularly. The quartz countertops you install in your home should last you a lifetime, with proper care.
Care shouldn’t be too difficult since they’re so low maintenance. (See below for tips on maintaining quartz).
As such a strong material, quartz can take a lot of hits and still look exquisite. Quartz’ durability makes it an ideal option for commercial as well as home kitchens.
#6 Quartz is Produced with the Bretonstone Process
An Italian company called Breton pioneered quartz production in 1963.
Their process included mixing natural stone aggregate with polymers, heating it, removing the air, and producing slabs that resemble hard natural stone. The company trademarked the process as Bretonstone.
Companies all over the world today who produce quartz do so under the original Bretonstone patent. Many adapt the original process to create their own unique designs, like adding mirror fragments or metal filings.
Indeed, quartz can be easily customized to create original looks. But it all started – and continues today – with Bretonstone.
#7 Low Maintenance Countertop
Quartz is porous, meaning it will hold up against stains. It also means no need for sealing like other stones. As such, quartz is also waterproof. One of the only drawbacks to quartz is its low resistance to high heat.
That means avoiding setting hot pans and dishes down directly on the quartz countertop. You should also still clean quartz daily with a mild cleaning agent.
Avoid high or low pH cleaners, though, as quartz will be more sensitive to these.
#8 It’s Not Quartzite
Don’t confuse quartz with quartzite. The latter is a natural material that is quarried the same way as granite or marble.
Like these natural stones, quartzite is porous. It therefore takes more effort to clean quartzite and it should be sealed occasionally.
Quartzite is durable but doesn’t hold up as well as quartz. Since it’s a natural stone, no two slabs of quartzite will be alike.
With quartz, you can more easily match the countertops in your home. The price of quartzite is also highly variable, depending on the market. Quartz is manufactured in abundance, so its cost is relatively fixed.
#9 Quartz Countertops are Eco-Friendly
You know that quartz is a compound stone – mixed together with other materials.
But did you know that these materials are often waste products from the quarrying of other stones and their manufacture into slabs?
Quartz countertops are never made from stones quarried solely for quartz. Quartz also contains recycled materials like glass and ceramic to create unique colors and patterns.
If quartz producers didn’t use leftover stone and other substances, they would go to waste. Choosing quartz will make your home more environmentally friendly.
#10 Quartz Has Many Uses
Quartz isn’t just for your kitchen counters. It’s actually used in a variety of places. Quartz is hardy, so it can withstand exposure to many elements.
Since it’s not porous, it stays clean and wicks away bacteria. This makes it ideal for the bathroom as well as the kitchen. You can add quartz to your shower or laundry room.
Quartz has many commercial uses too. At restaurants, in conference rooms, at bars.
Most quartz produced today is used in flooring for large indoor spaces like shopping malls and airports. You’ve probably walked on quartz before without even realizing it.
Quartz is a surprising material, with unique characteristics. If you’re considering using quartz countertops for your next project, now you’ll have a better understanding of just what exactly quartz is.
Choosing the right quartz countertop is a big decision to make on your own. If you are unsure about choosing a quartz countertop, consider talking to the experts.
The professionals at RSK Marble & Granite have over 15 years of experience. Located in Wilmington, MA, the pros at RSK can help you with all of your countertop needs.
Call us at 978-447-1001 or visit our showroom today.