It seems like every so many years a new building product material comes out that claims it is new and better than every other material in the marketplace. In the case of Quartz counter tops, those bold statements are true. These tops are arriving in the marketplace under numerous trade names including Silestone, Caesarstone, Cambria, Zodiaq, HanStone, and others. When compared side by side, they are essentially the same material but with different formulations from brand to brand. Quartz is an engineered, manmade product that has been popular in the European market for over a decade. In fact, the product made its way to the American market as a result of European manufacturers looking to expand their distribution channels. In the US market, Quartz is the fastest growing category in popularity.
The basic formulation for engineered quartz countertops is 95 percent ground natural stone with 5 percent polymer resins. The result is a super-hard, low-maintenance material with the look of natural stone counters. By using various pigments in the mix, just about every color can be produced. Many homeowners seeking specific countertop colors are drawn to it because of the countless options it provides.
Additionally, quartz countertops have significant features and functions that make it superior to traditional stone counters like granite and marble. For starters, quartz is nearly indestructible. It's incredibly durable, ships well and rarely has damage to breakage issues. While granite and marble are porous materials, quartz is completely non-porous. The result is that it is stain resistant. That means you do not need to panic if cooking oil, wine, acids, and other materials found in the kitchen are accidentally spilled on your quartz countertops. Additionally, this means that you do not need to seal or reseal the counter. It is such a dynamic material that numerous fabricators have begun to experiment with the material to make bath tubs, vertical shower walls and enclosures, sinks, and numerous other applications.
Weight is a factor to consider when selecting quartz counter tops versus granite counter tops. Quartz is denser and thus heavier than its stone alternatives. This means that you may be required to provide additional support for the cabinetry that will be expected to support this incremental weight. Additionally, cost is a factor as quartz is more expensive than granite and marble materials. The adoption of quartz countertops by the major home improvement chains and other mass market channels has driven the price down even lower. In spite of this, it is expected that it will always command a premium price versus other materials. Manufacturers will remind home owners that this premium is justified since quartz does not need to be sealed or resealed and has no maintenance requirements of any sort. Additionally, interior designers love the material since it can be produced in color palettes and variations that granite cannot.
In conclusion, quartz countertops really are a quantum leap versus other materials. It is not just marketing hype, but in fact a technological advancement which made its way from the European market to North America.