Quartz is a manufactured material used for countertops that has recently gained popularity due to its solid and semi non-porous qualities. Don’t be confused when one says quartz is man-made though, the quartz stone is very natural and abundantly found in nature. The process of making a countertop out of quartz is where the manufacturing comes in. Quartz stone is ground into dust and combined with resins and polymers to form a slab which is then installed as a countertop!
Among it’s obvious benefits there are some drawbacks to this reliable counter choice. There are so many different options now from natural stone slabs to manufactured stone and even poured concrete that quartz touches on a lot of qualities of each all wrapped into one material. It’s always important to consider what the counter will be going through when choosing a material so here are some pros and cons of choosing quartz!
Why Quartz is a Good Choice
Because quartz is a manufactured stone it can come in a very wide range of colors and textures. When you think of marble there is a very distinct pattern and color range you think of and upon inspection there is a finite array of options to choose from when actually shopping for a stone. The same goes for granite, slate, and other natural stone. Quartz is an attractive option because it can really match or compliment any kitchen due to its manufactured and custom nature.
Quartz is a tremendously durable material it’s comparable to granite and concrete however, it has more give than these natural counterparts that won’t chip or crack as easily and it won’t need to be sealed like a granite slab would. On the Mohs scale of hardness (the scale is 1-10, 10 being a diamond) quartz ranks a 7.
Due to the non-porous quality of quartz, stains are very unlikely. Liquids won’t have a chance to seep into pores like they could in marble or granite, upon a close inspection to most natural stone counters one is usually able to find many white spots or discoloration especially in older slabs because of the porous qualities of the stone. Do not allow contact with paint remover, nail polish remover, paint, oil soaps bleach, glue, high pH cleaners, and permanent markers. Contact with these materials can harm and blemish your quartz countertops.
Granite, marble, and concrete are all porous materials. The benefit of a quartz countertop is that it will not absorb liquids and when you clean a quartz stone you won’t need to worry about bacteria and viruses lingering in the pores of the stone after. Granite needs to be frequently sealed over time to maintain its abilities and marble needs to be sanded down to return to its original look as it will wear over time. This is not something that is necessary to the maintenance of a quartz countertop.
Many people choose quartz because of its versatility as a surface. Bathrooms, kitchens, and fireplaces are all great places to be done in quarts because of its durable and low maintenance qualities.
The Downside of Quartz
Upon installation quartz is a bit costlier than other counter materials. This may deter many renovators but considering in the long run the maintenance costs associated with this stone are less than a marble or granite. As previously mentioned these natural alternatives will eventually require to be resealed and/or sanded eventually to retain their original look and luster because they are porous and marble especially is a soft stone that will show knife cuts and scratches over time. However, most quartz distributors offer a generous warranty on their products so if anything should happen, you’re probably covered.
Although quartz is a very durable stone and is very difficult to damage and crack, if it ever does break the repairs are next to impossible to complete without noticing it. The drawback here is that if the counter is damaged then it will typically need and entire replacement.
One drawback to a quartz top is that in comparison to granite or concrete it’s not as resistant to heat. This is important to consider in a kitchen or a bathroom where hot cooking utensils or hot hair tools are being used. Be wary with a quartz counter when placing hot dishes without protection!
This one is very simple but because quartz is man-made the size isn’t as flexible as a natural stone. Oversized slabs aren’t as frequent as a natural oversized one. It’s easier to see the seams between two pieces of quartz as it is to see between two pieces of granite or marble. Lighter colored quartz makes the seam that much more noticeable than darker alternatives.
Quartz is susceptible to UV damage and can fade if left in direct sunlight. Outdoor kitchens should be done in another material and interior areas with a lot of natural light and direct sun might be at a slight risk as well.
You must use a flush-mount, drop-in, or under-mount sink with this type of countertop. Using another type of sink may cause extreme cracking or breakage of the stone which could cause an entire replacement.
Because there are so many different options now for materials the decision isn’t as clear cut as it used to be. When weighing options keep in mind that the price will be reflected not only at the checkout but in three years’ time when granite will need to be sealed and marble needs to be sanded and concrete needs to be polished. Counters are an investment in your home and should be thought of as such!
Overall quartz is an extremely sleek and stylish choice for a counter. The pros, for the most part, outweigh the cons, especially for a typical single family home. Durable, versatile, low maintenance, and versatile make this manufactured option a very smart choice when installing a new kitchen. After calculating a budget and considering the type of traffic that’s coming through the area definitely factor quartz into your decision making when choosing a countertop material, the initial installation and purchasing cost may be alarming but further down the line it will be cheaper to maintain and much lower maintenance time-wise than a natural alternative!