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Kitchen remodels are unfortunately (or fortunately?) a part of home ownership. Even the top of the line kitchens need updating over time. When that time does arrive there are plenty of new innovations and technologies to fill your kitchen to the roof.
However, the most important part of your kitchen has remained virtually untouched by time. A quartz kitchen countertop is a time honored feature that is still a valid choice for a durable and attractive kitchen surface.
What is a Quartz Kitchen Countertop Exactly?
A quartz countertop is an engineered stone countertop. As the name implies, it does contain quartz. However, it also contains a lot of other quarry byproducts such as crushed stone, silica, glass, ceramic and even glass. All of these materials are bound together with resins to make a hard, stone-like material that is formed into sheets. Some manufacturers mix the resin polymers, which are either cement or plastic based, with antimicrobial agents to make the surface germ resistant. The standard quartz counter consists of 93% mixed materials and 7% resin binder.
The Most Popular Brands of Quartz Kitchen Countertops
The process of making quartz countertops was patented by a man named, Marcello Toncelli. His company originated out of Italy and was called Breton. The companies that manufacture the quartz surfaces today, base their manufacturing techniques from this original process that was patented by Breton. There are several companies that make the quartz countertops. The most popular of the manufacturers include Cambria, Caesarstone, and Silestone. DuPont is a well-known name for Corian, but they also dabble in quartz through their company Zodiaq. It is an expensive process to make quartz, so even though there are a few manufacturers, the costs to make the product limits the number of companies that offer it.
Cambria Quartz Countertops
Caesarstone Quartz Countertops
Silestone Quartz Countertops
Zodiaq Quartz Countertops
The Most Popular Colors of Quartz Countertops
The companies that make quartz surfaces, produce them in a number of different colors. The most popular colors vary a bit from company to company. Some companies produce over 100 different colors of quartz countertops. The most popular colors, among all companies, tend to usually be neutral colors of whites, tans, grays, and creams. The natural stone look, that features a tan or beige background with a mix of natural quartz colors, is a popular selection of which all companies have a version. The tans, creams, and grays come in all different shades. Shades of black or slate have gained popularity in recent years, as well as shades of deep, jade-like green. Trends in design cause steady fluctuations in what is considered the most popular color year to year.
White Quartz Countertops
Cream Quartz Countertops
Black Quartz Countertop
How Do Quartz Countertops Compare to Granite Countertops?
Quartz and granite surfaces are often compared as they are the most similar of commonly used surfaces. They are both pricey materials to use. Granite tends to always be a bit more expensive than quartz, but not by a huge margin.
Granite is a 100% natural stone that is cut from a quarry in one large piece. That piece is then cut down to size. Quartz, on the other hand, is made of a majority of natural materials, but is engineered by man. The natural pieces are bound together with resin, which is not natural.
Quartz is easier to maintain. The resin, that is used to bind the quartz materials together, does double duty by also sealing the natural materials. Once quartz is manufactured, it never needs to be resealed. Granite is porous and must be sealed before using. If it is not sealed it is prone to staining and damage. Granite must be resealed every few years to maintain resistance to staining.
Quartz is an engineered product unlike granite which is a natural solid piece of stone. Granite is prone to defects like pits, fissures, and weak areas. These flaws, found in natural stones, are not found in quartz due to the engineered aspect of the material making it more durable than Granite.
The Pros of Quartz Countertops
- Quartz is a very durable material.
- It has a similar look to granite and marble while costing less.
- The resins can be dyed to create a myriad of different colors of quartz.
- Quartz is stronger and more durable than 100% natural stone counters like granite and marble.
The Cons of Quartz Countertops
- It is almost as expensive as granite and marble.
- The dyes inside of the resin are prone to fading and discoloration from the sun or continued use of harsh cleaners.
- It is only heat resistant and not heat proof. A hot skillet can melt and damage the binding resin.
- It is durable, but not indestructible. If it needs to be repaired, repairs can be difficult and expensive.
The Maintenance of Quartz Countertops
Like it was stated before, quartz can be damaged and pieces can chip off. If you are fortunate enough that it is a small piece, glue should do the trick. A larger piece of broken quartz is costly to repair and make sure you use an experienced craftsman. It is a very durable surface, but it is not bullet proof. Abrasive cleaners can easily scratch the resin binding material. Harsh cleaners can also damage, stain, and discolor the resin binder. Each manufacturer will suggest what cleaning agent you should use to prevent scratching, staining, or discoloration.
How Much Does It Cost to Install a Quartz Countertop
Quartz is not a cheap material to use. If you are on a tight budget you should consider alternative materials that might not be as durable or look as good, but they will be considerably cheaper. As with all products, some brands are higher-end and cost more. The prices for quartz range between $60 and $100 per square foot. The cost of the installation is entirely dependent on the size and design of the kitchen.
Quartz is not an inexpensive material to use as a kitchen countertop. However, it is a highly durable material that needs minimal maintenance. It gives a similar high-end look as granite or marble without the problems and costs involved in using the natural stones. The resin, used in creating quartz, seals the natural materials and can be dyed to create custom colors.