Most people are familiar with quartz countertops, and many homes have them in their kitchens and bathrooms. They are popular mainly because they are readily available in a wide range of colors and designs, AND they are very durable. However, quartz countertops are fascinating for quite a few other reasons. Here are some fascinating facts about quartz countertops you probably did not know.
Different brands, one process
All engineered stones use a patented process called Bretonstone, no matter the brand name. The process describes way to manufacture stone-like products using heat and vacuum compression of different materials, and most of these products are dimension stone.
The owner of the patent is Breton S.p.a., a company based in Italy. It has been allowing companies to use this process since its development in 1963 and has over 50 companies around the world as its licensees. This includes companies like Silestone, Cambria, MSI, and DuPont. While each company might distinguish their brands with unique features, there all use the Bretonstone process.
The Bretons have nothing to do with it
You might think that the name Bretonstone refers to the Bretons, a group of people in Brittany, a region in France. However, it has nothing to do with the Bretons, or even France. The development of the Bretonstone process was in the Castello di Godego in Italy by Breton S.p.a. The company name is a derivative of “brevetto,” the Italian word for patent, and Toncelli, the last name of the inventor of the process, Marcello Toncelli.
Engineered stone may not have quartz
Most people associate “engineered stone” with “quartz stone,” but not all engineered stones have quartz. While all engineered stones use the Bretonstone process, the process does not specify the use of quartz. Licensed companies can use any material they want and still call their products engineered stone if they use the Bretonstone process. This includes anything from recycled materials to semi-precious stones.
However, companies that produce quartz stone must use quartz materials as the main component in their products. Top quartz stone brands have a minimum of 90% quartz, with the balance made up of resins and pigments. The quartz is what makes quartz countertops so durable, so such a high percentage of the material in the mix is highly desirable.
Cambria is one of the more recognized brands of engineered quartz in the US. However, you might find it fascinating that the company only began producing slabs for quartz countertops in 2000. Prior to that, the company was making cheese for the Kraft Company and other commercial clients.
The Davis family has been processing dairy in their native Minnesota since the 1940s, first as the St. Peter Creamery, and later Davisco Foods International. The family diversified into different industries, including the engineered quartz business, which they acquired in 1999. Today, Cambria is one of only two US companies that manufacture quartz countertops.
Quartz countertops are green
Quartz countertops comprise a high percentage or quartz materials, most of which are waste products f from processing quartz minerals. These include pebbles, dust, and rocks that would otherwise end up in landfills. Quartz countertops do not come from quarries, and they are highly durable, so they last for a very long time.
Aside from reusing waste materials, quartz stone also uses pigments and resins that are partly or wholly natural, such as the industrial grade vegetable oil Biolenic resins used by the Breton company. Because it reduces, reuses, and recycles waste material, it qualifies as a green product.
Quartz stone is multipurpose
While most people primarily associate quartz stones with kitchen countertops ad bathroom vanities for residential purposes, the biggest clients of quartz companies are commercial establishments. They provide much larger quartz stone slabs than you would find for residential use to make walls, floors, and countertops in shopping malls, office buildings, and airports. This is certainly progress, as Marcello Toncelli could only produce small 12 x 20-inch slabs back in the day, and 50-inch long slabs for kitchen countertops only came out in the 1970s.
Quartz stone for its own sake
The main reason for quartz stone companies was to produce alternative materials to natural stones that looked enough like them to pass a casual glance. Early attempts were good enough to gain traction with consumers, so they came up with better facsimiles.
Ironically enough, as quartz countertops became more popular, homeowners began to favor designs that did not attempt to mimic the look of marble or granite. They began to appreciate quartz stone for its own sake, choosing colors, designs, and textures that are nothing like natural stone.
Born, not made
Fabricators cut edge profiles into natural stone. That is not the case with quartz countertops. Manufacturers typically offer models in different edge profiles because they produce the slabs complete with these edge profiles. You can only choose an edge profile offered by the manufacturer for certain models. Generally, you would not have the option for very complex edge treatments with quartz countertops.
Quartz stone for kitchen countertops is a relatively recent entry in the market, so it is not surprising if you were not aware of these fascinating facts about quartz countertops. These should help you decide if quartz countertops are a good fit for your home, and the need for a reliable countertop specialist to help you decide.
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 DuPont Korian as well as granite and marble slabs. You can visit our showroom in Sterling, VA to see the products before you buy.
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