The right countertop can make your kitchen a beautiful yet cozy environment. Your kitchen should be a place where you enjoy spending time, but it should serve its purpose well. Countertops are not only an important aesthetic component, but they also need to stand up to repeated use and should last for years.
When it comes to types of countertops there are many to choose from. It can be hard to make a choice but the goal is to have a countertop that is attractive, durable, easy to maintain, and reasonably priced. Of course, there’s no one countertop that achieves all of these objectives, but some countertops do check most of these boxes.
Natural stone countertops have become popular in recent years, more for their visual appeal than their functionality. While still making a stunning visual statement, quartz kitchen countertops lack the problems that most stone countertops have. The porosity of natural stone allows water to penetrate the surface and capillaries carry water throughout the rock. Impurities in water can be carried within causing stains and also weakening the stone. Quartz countertops, on the other hand, are free of these problems, which makes them a great option for anyone who appreciates the powerful statement that stone makes but are wary of the problems. Quartz countertops are unique in several ways, here are some interesting facts that you might not have been aware of.
Although quartz countertops often come up when discussing natural stone, quartz countertops are not the same as natural stone. Quartz is not a stone but rather is a mineral composed of silicon and oxygen. Not only is quartz a mineral rather than a stone, but quartz countertops are not cut from a single piece of material. While marble, granite, and slate countertops, for example, are made from quarried stone slabs, quartz countertops are made by combining the ground up mineral with resins and pigments. This is a benefit however as quartz countertops have all the advantages of natural stone without most of its drawbacks.
Wider color range
Because quartz countertops are made of the ground up mineral and are not cut from a single piece of material, they require a manufactured finish. While around 90% of a quartz countertop is made of ground-up quartz, the remaining 10% is comprised of resins, polymers, and pigments. The use of pigments at this stage enables manufacturers to create a potentially endless variety of color options. While natural stone countertops are limited to the colors found in stone around the world, engineered stone can be engineered in both its structure and its appearance. Quartz countertops can be created to look like other types of stone or even concrete.
Durable but forgiving
Quartz kitchen countertops are unique in the sense that they possess some of the characteristics of stone and some of the characteristics of synthetic materials like plastic. The significant quartz composition gives these engineered countertops the hardness and the strength of stone. On the other hand, the composition contains enough resins and polymers to make it slightly flexible. Unlike natural stone, quartz countertops are not prone to cracking and chipping in the same way. Quartz countertops are the best of both worlds, hard as stone yet not rigid or prone to cracking.
Natural stone countertops appear to be smooth but in fact, are porous and even have tiny capillaries that can carry water into the stone. For this reason, natural stone countertops require the application of a protective sealant at least every few years. The unique composition of quartz countertops creates a smooth surface that is not porous. Quartz kitchen countertops do not require the troublesome application of sealers. The staining that is a problem with natural stone is a non-issue with quartz countertops, thus they are generally much easier to care for and maintain.
Unlimited design potential
As with color options, natural stone countertops are also limited to the patterns found in nature. The veins within marble are a result of the metamorphic process the stone undergoes in nature. Being a synthetic material allows for quartz countertops to be created with whatever pattern is desired. Quartz kitchen countertops can be designed to have the appearance of natural stones like marble or granite, but can also be given the appearance of other materials like concrete. While quartz can be designed to look like many different materials, in most cases it will outperform the material it imitates.
Quartz is clean
The porous nature of natural stone countertops makes them prone to build up and the collection of bacteria. Even when sealers are applied, the surface of these countertops is not entirely smooth. The way that quartz countertops are produced, means that the resins and polymers used to create them act as a sealer. Not only do they make for a smoother surface which doesn’t collect bacteria, they completely impervious to water or any contaminants. While many stone countertops are not suited for the use of acid-containing cleaning products, quartz countertops do just fine. Their resilience means that they can stand up to all of the cleaning products making them easier to clean and less susceptible to bacterial buildup.
Natural stone countertops like marble are called metamorphic rocks. These rocks are created when heat and pressure are applied to existing igneous or sedimentary rocks. The man-made process by which quartz countertops are created is not entirely dissimilar from this natural process. Quartz kitchen countertops are also created by using existing quartz minerals which have been ground finely. Once combined with polyester resins and pigments, pressure and heat are applied to create the engineered stone product.
In more than one way, quartz kitchen countertops are the best of both worlds. They possess the greatest qualities of natural stone like strength and durability. Unlike natural stone they are forgiving and not prone to cracking. Quartz countertops come in many colors and patterns, they’re extremely sanitary, don’t scratch, and have the same stunning visual appeal as natural stone.