Quartz Countertops

speckled quartz countertop cornerQuartz countertops are also known as Engineered stone countertops to differentiate them from natural stone countertops.  Most are made from a high concentration (93%) of quartz crystals, a natural substance, but they are fabricated instead of cut from solid stone.

What are Quartz Countertops?

These stones are designed to look like natural stone countertops.  Quartz countertops make up the biggest percentage of engineered stone countertops but a few other materials can be included in the category of engineered stone countertops.  The two terms are generally used interchangeably in the business.  Quartz bathroom and kitchen countertops contain about 7% non-quartz material including a binder to hold them together and other ingredients to strengthen the material.  Color is also added.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths: Their value is that they have all the advantages of natural stone including durability, hardness and beauty, plus, they overcome natural stone’s weaknesses.  Engineered stone and quartz countertops are easier to maintain than natural stone.  They are not porous so won’t house bacteria and they don’t need to be sealed like granite countertops do.  You’ll find engineered stone and quartz countertops in a wider range of colors than granite, including many that offer more affordability.  The warranty on most quartz and engineered countertops is 10-15 years.  Most granite countertops come with a warranty of just one year.

Weaknesses: Very few.  Since they are engineered, they don’t possess quite the same level of natural beauty that granite countertops do, though they are very attractive.  Their seams are about as visible as granite. Solid surface and laminate countertops offer better seam control.  Because of the advanced manufacturing process and due to the high quality and long-lasting durability of these products, engineered stone and quartz countertops are fairly expensive.  With the strong qualities in these premium countertops, the relatively high cost of $100-$185 per square foot is understandable and you would need to make sure you find a qualified installer to put them in for you.

Who Should Consider Engineered Stone and Quartz Countertops?

These products are an outstanding alternative to granite countertops which are a natural stone product.  If you are concerned about the potential fragility of granite, take a look at quartz and engineered stone countertops.  They don’t chip as easily and they are more forgiving when stressed – they crack less frequently than granite.  Because these kitchen and bathroom countertops require less maintenance, they are a good choice for busy homeowners who don’t have the time for extra house projects.  And because they have a non-porous surface that is easier to clean and won’t hold bacteria and viruses, engineered and quartz countertops are a very good choice in homes with children or elderly residents who may be more susceptible.