Are Quartz Countertops Worth the Hype?
Posted by Hughes Group Blog Team on Wednesday, July 15th, 2015 at 11:48am.
When you start looking at remodeling your kitchen, you’ll probably run across quartz countertops. Quartz is becoming a popular material, and it’s competing directly against granite countertops. But when the price of quartz is comparable to, or greater than, granite, is there a real benefit to using the engineered material to create your countertops?
Quartz is an interesting material, because it’s not actually just quartz. It’s a composite material made up of quartz, pigments, and resins. While there are natural stone elements, it’s not a natural stone surface like granite. Instead, it’s an engineered stone. Is quartz worth looking at, and should you choose it over granite?
What Quartz is Made Of
Although it’s commonly just referred to as quartz, it is kind of misleading. Granite countertops are called granite because that’s what they are actually made of. When you have a granite countertop, you know that the granite was mined from a quarry and cut into a slab from a giant chunk of the stone. You’d assume that quartz would be the same.
You’re part right. Quartz is actually called quartz composite because it’s made up of other materials, and bound together using either polymer resins or cement. Colored pigments are mixed in to create beautiful colors and patterns. Quartz composite can be made to look like pretty much any natural stone. It’s engineered, so the fabricators can do pretty much whatever you’d want. But quartz composite is typically only around ninety percent quartz. The rest of the mixture is the resins and pigments.
What’s most interesting is that quartz countertops aren’t always made completely out of quartz. There are other stone, or stone-like, materials that can be mixed into quartz composite. These include: granite, marble, or even ceramic, silica, and glass. It all depends on the fabricator, and the quality. However, quartz is neat, because it uses recycled products. Most of the stone mixed into the composite is leftover waste from, say, granite countertops.
Features of Quartz
Because quartz is an engineered stone, it does have some really good qualities and features. Quartz is an incredibly hard surface, and because it’s made by mixing in resins, it’s not a porous surface. This means it won’t stain nearly as easily as granite does. Plus, the resins also act as the sealant for quartz, meaning you’ll never have to reseal it, unlike granite.
Quartz also looks great. It can rival natural stone in appearance, and it will never fade, unlike dyed granite. The color is mixed and sealed with the resin and quartz. This also allows for some unique colors and patterns that you wouldn’t find in natural stone. Quartz also maintains the deep, natural appearance that you would get from natural stone.
If you don’t want any imperfections, quartz can be a solid choice. Granite naturally has flaws and imperfections, because it’s pulled straight from the earth and cut into slabs. While imperfections can add character, they can also cause the granite to crack. Because quartz is an engineered stone, it rarely has flaws. The flaws are simply engineered out because of the process. This also makes quartz countertops incredibly flat and smooth.
Talk About Price
If you were hoping to save money by using an engineered stone, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Quartz is about even in regard to cost per square foot when compared to granite. In some cases, quartz can even be more expensive. This is due largely in part to one company holding the patent for the creation of quartz composite. The patent is licensed to other companies. As long as you’re careful, do your research, and trust reputable brands, you will get your money’s worth. Quartz can last a long time, and requires far less maintenance than granite.
Is Quartz Right for You?
Only you can answer that question. If having a completely natural stone as your kitchen countertop is important, then you won’t want to use quartz. Quartz composite isn’t made with completely natural stone. However, the benefit of using an engineered stone means no flaws or imperfections, the color won’t fade, it won’t stain as easily, and it’s far easier to maintain.
Quartz is a solid competitor of granite, and it shouldn’t be dismissed outright. Consider your options, and see what’s out there. If you want a high-end kitchen, quartz should be a consideration, as it’s a terrific surface for kitchen prep and cooking. Just know that all quartz isn’t created the same. Be sure to use a quality fabricator, and do your research. Before you know it, you’ll have a beautiful kitchen countertop in your new Boise home.