In the interior design business, many times what drives a project are the visual aspects of it, while cost benefit comes second. This practice, during the last decades, has put the best cost benefit option for countertop material out of the spotlight: quartz. So what are the characteristics of quartz countertops, and what makes them so good?
Let’s discuss quartz right down to its composition, so you can have a full understanding of why it is such a good countertop material. Then we will expand on designs, costs, and maintenance.
Characteristics of Quartz: How is it Made?
For starters, it is important to know that quartz is not a natural stone.
A quartz slab is formed using a combination of crushed up quartz crystals, bonding resins and pigments. Sometimes a small amount of other stones can be added, for design and structural purposes. That mixture then undergoes through extreme heat and pressure, forming a resistant solid material.
And when we say resistant, we mean it. Quartz, to all effects and purposes, is virtually indestructible. On a regular day-to-day kitchen environment, quartz will never chip, crack or scratch.
This high resistance is due to how the resins react when submitted under extreme heat. They become so densely compacted with the quartz crystals that, structurally speaking, they become a kind of stone. That’s why quartz is considered to be an engineered stone.
The extreme heat and pressure of the kilns to which quartz is submitted during its fabrication process, essentially simulate how actual natural stone is formed in nature.
Advantages of Quartz
One of the main advantages of quartz, as we mentioned already, is it strength, for sure. You can rest assured that quartz will last for years and years without as much as a scratch if you take good care of it. But there’s a characteristic that is even more important.
The resins used during fabrication not only makes quartz as resistant as any natural stone can be, they also give it a kind of “natural seal”. For that reason, quartz is a non-porous material, which mean it never needs to be sealed. That is one of the most characteristics of quartz countertops.
Sealing is an important aspect of working with countertops. Porous materials need to be sealed around once a year to become impervious to spills and stains. Having to invest every year in sealing countertops is something you have no way around it. An unsealed porous stone can be seriously damaged if not properly sealed.
With quartz, you don’t need to worry about sealing. Not having to invest every year on sealing makes up for the relatively higher initial cost, making quartz the best cost benefit material in the market for countertops.
And speaking of costs, most common forms of quartz stay around the $60 – $110 per square foot price range, but some unique designs can reach up to $200 per square foot.
It is a common misconception that quartz doesn’t have many options when it comes to colors and designs, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Maybe it was true a few years back, but with recent technologies and several manufacturers in the market, quartz has as many, if not even more, options that any other material would.
Quartz Pros and Cons
Once more, durability is the biggest pro of quartz.
The natural non-porosity of quartz, aside from dispensing the need for sealing, makes it immune to bacteria and germs, being one of the most hygienic options available.
Low maintenance is also a strong selling point, as cleaning quartz couldn’t be easier. A simple mix of warm water and mild dish soap once a week will already do the trick. Other than that, simply soak up spills right away and wipe it with a soft cloth after every use.
Nowadays, quartz can even have exclusive colors and designs tailored for your personal taste, given you find the right manufacturer.
Honestly, there are not a lot of cons to talk about.
From a short-term perspective, you could argue that the high price is a con. But countertops were made to be thought of on the long run, and quartz is a material that will not lose its value over time.
Other than that, quartz cannot withstand high temperatures very well. It is best to always use protective coasters when working with hot pans and materials around it. For that reason, quartz is also not recommended for outdoor use, as it can constantly be heated by the sun.
Acquiring and Installing Quartz Countertops
Now that you know the main characteristics of quartz countertops and some of its pros and cons, you might feel inclined to acquiring one, which is something we highly recommend.
A good place to start is to find a contractor you trust and see what options they have available. If you have no one in mind, a quick internet search on the best quartz brands might give you some ideas.
And speaking of contractor, if you happen to be around Sarasota County, in FL, why not give us here at Eagle Stones a call?
We have been providing the area with the best products and services regarding natural stone, with a high satisfaction rate from our clients.