Quartz countertops get high marks for both beauty and durability. As a form of engineered stone this type of surfacing combines both the attractiveness and robustness of stone with the benefits that modern technology can bring.
That technology, which includes a resin binder and added colors, gives quartz surfacing benefits that some natural stones don't have. In some ways, it's like getting the best of both worlds.
Determining whether it's a good choice for you depends on your style preferences, cost sensitivity and how you balance it's pros and cons.
It's a great product but it's not bullet-proof, just as real stone has its hangups. If you like the natural, varied look of stone today's quartz products do a great job at doing just that -- looking like real stone.
Quartz countertops aren't just stone imitators. There are colors and patterns that don't look anything like stone but provide a beautiful surface that can add 'wow' to any kitchen or bathroom.
Take a stroll down this page and discover what there is to know about quartz surfacing and whether it's something that might work in your home.
Before we even begin talking about countertops let's first talk about quartz itself.
Quartz is a mineral and one of the most abundant on our planet. It's not a "stone" by itself but one of the ingredients that makes up stone. For example, granite is one form of stone that's made up of several minerals, primarily quartz and feldspar.
So when it comes to countertops the quartz variety isn't "solid quartz", but rather, a combination of the quartz mineral and several other additives. Their makeup is about 93% quartz, with the remainder made up by a resin binder and color additives.
In other words, it's a human-made product. Quartz counters aren't quarried out of the earth and cut into slabs like granite and other stones that are used as kitchen and bath counters. Quartz countertops are one form of engineered stone countertops (which is probably a misnomer in this case since we just established that quartz isn't a 'stone').
The resin binder makes the whole recipe non-porous. It does this by filling in all the cracks and crevasses between the quartz crystals. What you end up with is a very hard, durable and non-porous work surface. Not to mention the fact that they look real nice too.
Some manufacturers advertise their products as "natural quartz"; well, yes, it's natural. But remember that it's natural quartz that's combined with other materials that make up those "natural quartz" countertops. In other words, don't be confused into thinking that it's a slab of quartz that's been taken out of the ground and cut and polished like granite.
The main message you should walk away with here is that quartz countertops are man-made but they're also durable, clean (they don't harbor any evil-doing bacteria) and attractive. All great attributes for any countertop surface.
For example, granite countertops can range anywhere from $30 per square foot to over $100 per square foot. Even lower prices are possible with promotions and sales associated with limited color selections.
Quartz countertops are no different, with costs stretching across a similar range depending on the particular product you choose.
Choose a $35-per-square-foot granite and you'll be paying less than some quartz countertops. On the other hand, choose a $50-per-square-foot quartz product and you'll still pay less than some premium granite colors.
The key is to find what combination of decision factors works best for you; looks/style, cost (including installation) and durability, to determine if granite or quartz is the better choice.
Okay, so we just established that quartz counters are really nice. Does that mean that they don't have any warts? Not exactly. Just about any product you choose for your home comes with an upside and a downside. It's all a matter of weighing the highs and lows and how they appeal to you.
So let's take a look:
There are close to a dozen different brands of quartz surfacing so the natural question that arises often involves how and if they're different from one another. In other words, does it matter which brand you choose?
The short answer to that is "not really." The process used to make quartz surfacing and the materials and machinery used is virtually the same across the various brands. The majority, save for Cambria products, are made outside the U.S. and are manufactured using similar kinds of equipment.
The makeup of the material itself is the same across brands, about 93% of it made up of crushed quartz with the remainder being a combination of a resin binder and pigment.
What sets the quartz countertop manufacturers apart is the quantity and selection of colors and patterns. However, even in that sense, there are still many similarities among the different makers.
The beauty of having several quartz countertop makers is the competition it breeds. The drive to develop new patterns and color or new textures is what makes for more and different style choices.
For example, Seieffe makes OKITE (pronounced "oh-KEE-tay"), a brand of quartz surfacing. One of the unique offerings in their lineup is a product that mimics the variable veined look of marble, something that's not found in other brands. In fact, the process to make it is patented.
OKITE Arabescato Verde
Vibrant colors like those in the Silestone Life! series offer a completely different style direction to a kitchen or bathroom. It's a departure from the stone-look countertop styles that characterize many kitchens and bathrooms.
Silestone Life! Series in "Green Fun" Color
Photo Courtesy Of Cosentino
The way to choose which brand of quartz to go with starts with finding the color and pattern you like. That means checking out what's available from the various manufacturers. Once you've chosen what you like, check its availability in your local area. You can usually find local dealers through the manufacturer's website.
You can find local sources for quartz countertops by using the form below. It will help you find qualified countertop fabricators in your local area.
Remember to keep in mind the installation costs and to go with a reputable and experienced fabricator. If a certain brand of quartz surfacing isn't available in your local area, there's a good chance that you can find a similar pattern from a different brand that is available in your area.
For your reference, here are the quartz countertop brands:
Engineered Stone Countertops - Learn about other types of engineered stone countertops in addition to quartz.
Stone Countertops - Granite, soapstone and others.
Laminate Countertops - There's still a lot to like about them such as durability and low cost.
Solid Surface Countertops - For a seamless look there's no match for solid surface counters.
Wood Countertops - Determining if these warm and beautiful counters are right for you.
Metal Countertops - Stainless steel, copper or pewter.
Composite & Recycled Countertops - Whether recycled paper or glass these countertops are eco-friendly.
Choosing Kitchen Countertops - Find out what choices you have and their pros and cons.