Project Description

What is Quartz?

Before I get into the pros and cons, it’s important to understand exactly what quartz is and how manufacturers produce quartz countertops. Many people believe that quartz is a man-made material, but that’s not true.

Quartz is a natural mineral composed of silicon and oxygen, and, according to Geology.com, it’s the most abundant mineral on Earth.

The confusion around whether quartz is natural or man-made stems from the fact that quartz, which is the main component in quartz countertops, a natural mineral, but quartz countertops are engineered by man.

Manufacturers make quartz countertops by grinding natural quartz into dust and combining it with other natural and synthetic materials such as polymers, resins, and pigment.

The resins and polymers bind the quartz together, making it hard and durable while pigments are added to give the countertop colour.

Natural quartz makes up about 90% of the final product, while the other materials make up 10%.

Pros of Quartz Countertops

Quartz countertops have many advantages, including durability, appearance, and stain-resistance. If you’re thinking about picking quartz but need an extra nudge, here’s a comprehensive list of the reasons you should consider quartz for your countertops.

Durability

One of the main reasons people buy quartz countertops is because they are ultra-durable. If you’re looking for a material that won’t crack, scratch, or get chipped easily, quartz is the way to go.

Also, they could offer an unlimited variety of designs by adding pigments and other materials during the manufacturing process.

Fortunately, Breton’s vision came to fruition, and today, quartz countertops are one of the most durable surfaces you can have in your home.

On Mohs scale of mineral hardness, which geologists use to measure the hardness and scratch-resistance of minerals from 1 to 10 (10 being the hardest/most scratch resistant), quartz is rated 7 out of 10. For contrast, diamond is rated 10, and marble is typically between 3 and 5.

Just because quartz is durable doesn’t mean it’s indestructible. It’s possible to scratch or chip quartz but, due to its hard composition, the chances of damage occurring from regular, everyday use are minimal

Appearance

Another advantage of quartz countertops is its variety of elegant, sleek, and modern designs.

Quartz countertop manufacturers can create nearly any design and colour you want with pigments and other types of materials like recycled glass and metal flecks.

Unlike with natural stones such as granite, with quartz, you’re not limited to the designs that Mother Nature provides.

Quartz countertops can be customized to go with any cabinet material, cabinet colour, backsplash, and flooring. In addition to traditional stone-like designs, solid-coloured countertops like the one in the picture below are becoming extremely popular, especially in modern homes.

If you’re looking for the durability and low maintenance of quartz but want the veining and uniqueness of natural stone, most manufacturers have designs that look almost identical to granite and marble.

Below are two examples:

Bottom line—with quartz, you can get any design you want, and the possibilities are virtually endless.

Non-Porous

Unlike natural stones that have microscopic pores throughout, engineered quartz countertops are non-porous.

Porous materials allow liquids to seep beneath their surface, which can lead to staining, discolouration, and irreversible damage.

Even worse, germs and bacteria can make their way into pores, making it difficult to clean and disinfect. Because of this, homeowners with natural stone countertops are required to keep them properly sealed.

The process of sealing countertops is relatively easy but who wants to add another to-do to their home maintenance checklist when they don’t have to?

With quartz, you don’t have to worry about any of that. Since it’s a non-porous material, you don’t need to seal it, and you never have to worry about liquid or bacteria penetrating the surface.

This leads to my next two advantages of quartz countertops, stain resistance, and low maintenance.

Stain Resistant

Due to its non-porous composition, quartz countertops are extremely resistant to stains.

Countertop stains commonly occur when liquid from a spill penetrates the pores of the stone. Granite and marble are more susceptible to staining due to their porous nature.

If you look closely at older kitchens with stone counters, you’ll likely notice white spots, discolouration, and fading, especially if the owner forgot to reseal the surface every few years.

Here’s a look at a subtle, but noticeable stain on a marble countertop that is nearly impossible to remove.

Since quartz is non-porous, there is no way for liquids to seep in and cause stains, even if you forget to wipe up a spill right away.
For most homeowners, but especially for families with young children, this is a major selling point.

Consumer Reports conducted a test where they put splotches of different substances such as vegetable oil, coffee, and grape juice on quartz and granite countertops and let them sit for 20 hours.

While both materials showed high resistance to stains, quartz was more resistant to stains compared to granite in several categories, including beet juice and food colouring.

Although quartz is stain-resistant, it’s not stain-proof. The resins and pigments that make up 10% of quartz countertops can react with certain chemicals and lead to damage.

Avoid contact with bleach, high pH cleaners, permanent markers, paint, paint remover, nail polish remover, glue, and oil soaps. Exposure to these materials could damage and stain your quartz countertops.

Low Maintenance

One of the main reasons people buy quartz countertops is because they require little to no maintenance.

All this talk about sealing granite countertops, forget it. With quartz, you never need to worry about sealing and cleaning is a breeze. You simply wipe them with soap and water.

With other materials, especially marble, you have to pay close attention to every substance that comes into contact with it, but with quartz, there’s not much to worry about and not much to do.

After all, you’ve got plenty of home maintenance projects to worry about; your countertops shouldn’t be one of them.

Versatility

Quartz is a fantastic material not only for kitchen countertops but also for bathrooms, fireplaces, bars, and any other area of your home. It’s an extremely versatile material due to its durability and variety of colors and designs.

Quartz countertops in a bathroom

While other materials are limited by their design and ability to withstand certain elements, quartz has nearly limitless applications.

Cons of Quartz Countertops

So far, I’ve covered all the wonderful aspects of quartz countertops, but before you call your contractor and order a bunch of stabs, you need to understand the downsides. Here are the reasons you might want to pass on quartz countertops.

Price

If you’re on a tight budget, you might want to consider other materials besides quartz. All the great aspects of quartz—durability, non-porous, ability to custom design—come with a cost.

The price of quartz countertops ranges between $70 and $180 per foot run, including installation, but the actual cost depends on the quality of quartz, style, design, and type of edging.

The number of slabs and finishes will also impact the cost. The more cut outs you need for sinks, soap dispensers, and fixtures, the higher it will cost.

Appearance

Quartz can be customized into almost any design imaginable. The versatility of its appearance is a distinct advantage; however, if you’re looking for the truly unique look of natural stone, you might be better off with granite or marble. Modern technology has enabled manufacturers to mimic the look of natural stone with engineered quartz, but it’s impossible to match the smooth waves and veining you get with the real thing.

Natural Granite Slab

Also, depending on the color and style, it can be more difficult to disguise the steams where two slabs meet, especially with light color countertops. Darker colors can mitigate this issue, but they’re still more noticeable than they are with granite.

Quartz countertops seams

Most people love the appearance of quartz, but others say it looks fake and cheap. Bottom line—with quartz, the design options are virtually limitless, but it’s difficult to match the truly unique and exotic patterns you get with natural stone.

Susceptible to Heat Damage
Quartz is heat resistant; however, the resin and polymer fillers are not.

Exposing quartz countertops to hot cookware could melt the resins and cause permanent discoloration and damage. White spotting and cloudiness are sure signs of heat damage.

Quartz countertops heat damage

Some experts claim quartz can handle up to 300 degrees without damage and while others say they can only handle 150 degrees.

The exact temperature threshold depends on the quality. Regardless, to be safe, you should always put a pad or trivet between hot cookware and quartz countertops.

According to reports from homeowners, even the heat of warm dishes taken straight out of the dishwasher and set on top of quartz countertops can burn the resin binders and cause permanent damage.

Bottom line—if heat damage is a major concern for you, you might want to consider granite. Granite is practically heat-proof and can handle direct contact with cookware that is up to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Installation Is Difficult
Installing quartz countertops is not an afternoon DIY project. It requires skilled professionals to measure, level, and secure the slabs to the cabinets or island.

Quartz is more challenging to install because it’s extremely heavy, ranging between 20 and 25 pounds per square foot. Installers need to ensure the foundation is structurally secure and strong enough to handle the mass of the quartz.

Installers also need to carefully position each stab to minimize the visibility of steams. Depending on the pattern and colors, this can be a simple or extremely difficult task.

Made for Indoor Use Only
Quartz countertops become discolored with extended exposure to direct sunlight, so if your building an outdoor kitchen, choose another material.

The UV light will fade the pigments and leave your countertops with an unsightly yellow hue.

Even direct UV light through a window can fade the colors over time, so be careful choosing quartz for sun-drenched rooms with large windows.

Bottom Line: Are Quartz Countertops Worth It?
In my opinion, the pros of quartz countertops clearly outweigh the cons. It’s ultra-durable, stain-resistant, non-porous, low maintenance, and comes in nearly limitless elegant, modern, and natural designs. There’s not much to dislike about quartz countertops.

The main downsides of quartz countertops are their price, appearance (if you desire the look of natural stone), and lack of resistance against heat damage.

If its appearance and lack of heat-resistance aren’t deal-breakers, you can get free estimates on the materials and installation costs from local contractors by submitting this form on HomeAdvisor.com. There’s no easier way to get instant, no-obligation quotes from local contractors and installers.

What Do You Think About Quartz?
Do you have quartz countertops, or are you thinking about installing them soon? What do you like and dislike about quartz? Have you encountered any of the issues I covered in this article? Let us know in the comments and thank you for reading!

Source : https://prudentreviews.com/quartz-countertops-pros-cons/