Kitchens are often the focus of a home remodel, and the materials with which to update your kitchen have expanded. Granite used to be at the forefront, but quartz is a strong contender now. There are seven things you should know about quartz countertops when the time comes to upgrade or remodel your kitchen.
- Engineered Stone
To start with, what are quartz counters made from? Many people assume it is a natural substance, as the name suggests. In fact, many people also have difficulty distinguishing between granite and quartz due to the visual similarity between the two materials. However, it is actually an engineered composite made specifically for the decorative-stone industry. Essentially, it is a combination of crushed quartz and polymer resin.
There is between 90-94% of quartz in this composite, while the resin acts as a binding agent that holds everything together. It also seals any gaps in order to create a more durable product. The end result is a hybrid between synthetic products and natural ones.
If you are trying to decide what material to choose for your kitchen counters, consider a quartz kitchen countertop. For starters, it is one of the most durable materials on the market due to the unique structure of it. That durability doesn’t mean you lose any aesthetic appeal, either. Instead, what you end up with is a beautiful piece of flawless engineered stone that holds up under intense situations.
- Heavy Resistance
The kitchen is an area that goes through a lot. It has food, cooking instruments, pots and pans, and even machinery that helps prepare your meals. To get the most out of your kitchen countertops, quartz may be the best option, as it has heavy resistance to:
- Heat: Many surfaces bubble and warp when in contact with heat. However, quartz is capable of withstanding temperatures up to 399 degrees Fahrenheit without bending or warping. Even if the quartz becomes burned, the surface can be sanded down to remove the scorch marks. Other countertops would need to be replaced entirely.
- Impact: Due to the engineered quality of the material and the resin that binds it together, quartz is heavily resistant to impacts. The resin acts a shock absorber that takes the impact and distributes it evenly before the stone can crack. It’s similar to Kevlar. While it is not a natural stone, quartz can withstand heavy impact without cracking, unlike other materials.
- Scratching: Countertops made of natural stone can be chipped and scratched easily. Quartz is different thanks to the polymer resin mixed in with the crushed stone. This makes it resistant to scratches. In fact, knives will actually be blunted before any true damage is caused to the quartz.
- Low Maintenance
Do you want a kitchen countertop that is relatively low maintenance? Then quartz is a good option. Materials like granite need to be sealed at installation and resealed on a regular basis. However, a quartz kitchen countertop doesn’t require as much upkeep, lending to the assumption that it is nearly maintenance-free.
As an added bonus, it’s easy to clean and keep clean. That means you can be absolutely sure that you are removing the harmful germs that usually cling to other surfaces. There are also not as many rules regarding the type of cleanser you can use on it. Instead, you can use the following to clean these countertops:
- Mild soap and water
- Glass or surface cleanser
- Degreaser for tough cooking-grease residue
- Nonabrasive surface cleaners
As with any countertop, regular cleaning can go a long way in keeping surfaces looking and feeling nice. While a quartz kitchen countertop is less susceptible to stains than a granite countertop, it should still be cleaned on a regular basis to remove spills and germs.
A common problem with popular natural stone countertops is that they are porous. This means there are tiny pores in which particles, liquids and germs can sink into, thereby causing stains and pigmentation. In essence, the natural stone degrades over time. Quartz doesn’t have that issue.
Instead, the polymer resin that binds the crushed quartz together also functions to fill in any microscopic gaps. This leads to less bacteria sinking into the surface and prevents stains from appearing. Spills are easy to clean up without worrying that the material has somehow suffered damage.
- High Price Tag
As with most products of high quality, quartz comes at a higher price than alternative options. Certainly, quartz countertops have become increasingly popular lately and are neck-and-neck with granite counters.
In general, solid surface counters are about 54 percent less expensive than quartz, as are laminate options that are priced about 270 percent cheaper than quartz counters. When compared to granite, it really depends on the size, color and type. However, granite is still slightly more expensive, but not by much. By square foot, quartz can range from $80 to $140, while granite begins at $80 and goes up to $175.
- Best for Indoors
Although quartz is a great option for indoor countertops, such as in your kitchen, you might want to rethink adding it to your outdoor space. Quartz is ultra-durable in your kitchen, but the elements of the outdoors can wear down the material and degrade the surface. This is due to a combination of sun, wind, rain and fresh air that react unfavorably with the crushed quartz and polymer resin.
Prolonged exposure to these elements can have a degenerative effect on the surface and cause warping and cracks. While it is a beautiful material for counters, there are other materials better suited to an outdoor environment, such as concrete or stainless steel.