Purists insist that natural stones countertops are better than quartz stones because they come from nature, and that is the best material for their homes. While granite and marble are certainly unique and beautiful as well as durable, quartz stones do held their own in these areas.
As a countertop material, quartz stone has finally outstripped granite as the top choice for homeowners, something that was in the making since its introduction in the 1960s. If you are not sure if quartz countertops are for you, here is all you need to know about them to make the right decision for your particular case.
- Kitchens and bathrooms are the best places to use this durable manmade material
- Engineered quartz is pressure bonded natural quartz materials (pebbles, dust, chips), polymer resin, and coloring agents
- Not the same as solid surface products, which are likewise engineered stones
- Most recognizable brands are Silestone, MSI, DuPont Korian, and Cambria
- Stain proof as it has no pores; does not need a sealer
- Scratch-resistant, very durable, but not heat resistant
- Not suitable for outdoor use as the color may fade and void manufacturer warranty
Some people point out that “engineered stone” is the proper way to refer to quartz stone for countertops, because some companies use materials other than quartz, including recycled stuff and seashells. This is true for engineered stone, but not engineered quartz stone. Quartz stone manufacturers only use natural quartz for the mineral component of their products.
The confusion may stem from the process. All quartz stone products use the same process to manufacture the products, which they use under license. This is the Bretonstone technology, patented by the Italy-based company Breton S.p.a. However, not all products using this process are engineered quartz.
The Bretonstone process is about the method, not the material. It does not specify using quartz for the engineered stone. However, the quartz stone companies use quartz because it has many excellent qualities that make it ideal as the base for countertops. It is colorless or white, which means the manufacturers can make it look anything they like. Quartz is also highly durable and having a minimum of 90% quartz in the mix makes it more scratch resistant than granite, which has only a maximum of 60% quartz.
The invention of the technology behind quartz countertops happened about five decades ago, in the mid 1970s. The inventor was an Italian named Marcello Toncelli, who founded a company called Brevetti Toncelli (Toncelli Patents). Over time, the company underwent a name change to Breton.
The Bretonstone process applies to the production of any type of material from a combination of stone-like materials, resins, and colorizing agents and using vacuum and heat to bind them into a solid and impermeable slab.
The thing with quartz stones from top manufacturers is they look fantastic. They are not technically natural stones, and may not be able to mimic them exactly, but they are beautiful in their own way.
The original purpose of quartz stone is to provide a readily available alternative to natural stones. As they are manmade, manufacturers can make them look very similar to natural stones, particularly marble and granite. It only becomes apparent that they are not, in fact, natural stones, when one notices that the colors and patterns are much too consistent.
Natural stones tend to have unexpected bursts and absences of colors and patterns, which while makes them unique, also makes them difficult to match. This is not a problem with quartz stones, even those with large repeats. There is regularity to the stones that make them easy with which to work and make seamless.
However, the real advantage of quartz countertops is its toughness. It is stain proof and scratch resistant because it is non-porous and has high quartz content. Sealing, which is often necessary for natural stones, is not necessary for quartz stones. In fact, applying a sealer on quartz stone is a waste of time and money as it will do nothing except possibly dull the surface of the stone.
It also helps that quartz stones is available on demand for kitchen countertops and bathroom vanity tops. All you must do is to call your local retailer and ask for a model (provided it has not been discontinued) and you will get it in the quantity and format you need.
This is not the case with natural stones. It is pretty much what you see is what you get. If you want a particular type or color of granite and it is not available in the inventory, you will have order it, wait, and hope you get it.
Quartz countertops tend to be more expensive than granite or marble countertops, but not much more. You can comfortably work on a ballpark figure of $75 and up per square foot, installed. Considering the amount of time and trouble you can save, it is not a bad trade off.
This is all you need to know about quartz countertops to make a decision between it and natural stones. Quartz countertops are an easy choice for you if you want durable, easily available, and beautiful stones for your kitchen. They may not have the uniqueness and depth of natural stones, but they are distinctive in their own way. Either way you decide, it is important to choose a reliable countertop specialist to help you the rest of the way.
Silver Marble Granite is your best bet in the areas of Washington D.C., Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church, Fairfax, Chantilly, Herndon, Centreville, among others. We are your ONE-STOP SHOP for home improvement, and we specialize in the best kitchen countertops in Northern Virginia.
We work only with the best brands in the business, and can offer better prices and faster turnarounds than big box stores. We carry top brands in engineered quartz, including Silestone, MSI, Cambria, and Caesarstone as well as granite and marble slabs. You can visit our showroom in Sterling, VA to see the products before you buy.
Check out our website for some of the best deals in kitchen countertops and other products to make your home a better place. We offer free quotes for the asking. You will be amazed at the deals we can offer you!