Quartz countertops are not only for the super wealthy anymore. There are more and more manufacturers and brands all the time, so quartz has become a more affordable and incredibly popular material for kitchen and bathrooms around the country. Quartz provides a strong, durable feel that comes in many styles and colors to suit any personal taste. It is not completely natural like granite, but it is an engineered stone that is just as strong and resistant to heat, chips, and other damage.
Quartz Countertops 101
While certain qualities and benefits can vary from brand to brand, there are some consistent similarities with all quartz products. In fact, every single quartz countertop on the market is currently manufactured using the Breton company’s Bretonstone technology. This has been the case for more that 50 years. Breton sold licenses to the technology and the machines needed to manufacture the materials to 52 separate companies. While each license holder has made their own modifications over the years, they are all derived from the same place.
Approximately 93% of a quartz countertop is made from the mineral. That is why quartz products are so distinct from other products. They look very natural. Other countertop materials that are not stone slabs have a 60-70% mineral content. This can lead to the surface feeling a bit soapy or sticky.
When going through the process of manufacturing quartz, certain elements are removed. These are the weaker minerals and any impurities in the stone. That leaves only the strongest surface left. This in turn leaves quartz countertops as stronger and more durable than granite countertops. Granite slabs are not manufactured, so imperfections and weaknesses are not removed from the stone.
Water Absorption Rate
Water can cause major damage to your household good, and quartz is unfortunately no exception. However, it is hard for water to absorb into it. Absorption is what will cause water damage and stains to your countertop. Quartz has a lower water absorption rate of 0.5%, meaning that it does not retain water very easily. Stains happen when a liquid has absorbed into a material and cannot be removed, or at least cannot be removed easily. Because of the low water absorption rate, quartz is very resistant to stains and water damage.
Resistance to Heat
While quartz countertop are slightly resistant to heat, it is only up to about 360 F. It can only be a very short period of time as well. If you place a hot frying pan on a quartz countertop and leave it there it can definitely cause damage. There is a common belief that quartz is as close to indestructible as you can get, but you still need to be careful. Make sure to use pot holders and other accessories to keep pots and hot materials off of your countertop.
Unlike slab granite, quartz will usually be installed in pieces that needed to be attached together. Good installation specialists will make the seam look as small as possible, but it won’t be invisible. They will also seal the seams so that liquid and gunk cannot get stuck in between slabs.
Nowadays there are many options when it comes to choosing a countertop. Quartz is a great choice for most homes, but the best thing to do is consult a specialist to choose the right product for your home.