Countertop Corner: Quartz Edition
Deciding on new countertops can be exciting and fun but should also be a carefully considered decision. Choosing the right style and material for your home’s kitchen or bath is essential to the look and longevity you wish to achieve.
Quartz countertops have become a quality option for many homeowners, especially those with families who need strong and durable areas for daily use. However, it is important to be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of your countertop material to ensure that you have decided on the right option for you and your home. If you’re considering a remodeling project that includes updating your countertops, here are some important things to consider about quartz.
In recent years, some homeowners started looking for a lower maintenance alternative to the ever-popular granite. Quartz countertops have quickly become the preferred option due to their versatility and multitude of design and color choices. The material is an engineered stone, making it different from completely natural stones like granite, marble, travertine, limestone, or soapstone. In the industry, engineered quartz is simply referred to as Quartz.
This means roughly 90 to 97% of a quartz countertop, depending on the brand, is made with ground natural quartz and the remaining 3 to 10% is a mixture of resins and pigments. This composition allows for greater control over the color, pattern and durability of your countertop, a feature many homeowners prefer.
Pros of Quartz Countertops
A major advantage of quartz countertops is that they are resistant to mold and bacteria, since they are made to be nonporous. That means your countertops will not absorb harmful bacteria that may come from raw food, allowing you to prepare food and easily clean your kitchen. To clean your quartz countertop, simply use a mild soap and water. The nonporous nature of engineered quartz also means excellent stain resistance. No need to worry about wine, coffee, or tea seeping into the stone and creating long-term stains like granite or marble, just wipe off.
On the Mohs hardness scale, natural quartz ranks a 7 out of 10 (diamond, the strongest stone, is a 10. For comparison, granite ranks as a 6.5-7 also). So naturally, quartz countertops are extremely durable, prohibiting the development of fissures or pits. These strong countertops can last decades and are resistant to scratches and chips on the surface, accommodating your busy family. Quartz countertops may even dull your knives if you were to cut directly on top of it (though we always recommend a cutting board)!
Many people wonder about heat – most quartz countertops are naturally resistant to heat and can withstand moderately high temperatures for a brief period of time without being damaged, but the resin and polymer fillers can be damaged by excessive heat. It is best to use trivets or hot pads to protect the surface.
Quartz far exceeds granite in flexural strength. This translates to better durability for overhangs at seating areas like an island or bar for example.
Consistency in Appearance
Because of the way quartz countertops are manufactured, each slab design will look the same, guaranteeing that the slab you chose for your kitchen will look very near to the sample you saw when selecting finishes. Not only is the consistency of the quartz appearance a plus, but there is a wide range of colors and patterns of quartz to choose from, including designs that can complement traditional and contemporary spaces. There is an option to match every style of kitchen, bathroom or home!
You can find the use for quartz in multiple locations throughout the home, whether it be in the kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, or even windowsills. For your kitchen, we’ve seen quartz used not only for countertops, but for waterfall kitchen islands, backsplashes, desks, bar tops, drain boards and sinks. Moving into the bathroom, quartz can be used for vanities, wall hung sinks, shower shelving and shower surrounds. You can even use quartz to update your restaurant tables and bar, or even for your check-out counters in your local retail store. Basically, quartz can – and is – used just about everywhere due to its versatility and strength!
Cons of Quartz Countertops
While more expensive than laminates or lower levels of granite, Quartz countertops are a luxurious option for your home and are comparable to other mid to high-level natural stone surfaces. The cost for each quartz slab design is consistent and doesn’t vary in price however, whereas slabs of stones such as granite, marble and quartzite can be highly variable in price. You also have to keep in mind that sometimes natural stone materials may be just as expensive or even more expensive as quartz if it is high-end.
Quartz can be very heavy in terms of weight, which makes these countertops an ideal project for professionals to install, and not a counter you should try to install yourself. A professional design/build firm like our team at Tracy Tesmer Design/Remodeling can help should you wish to change your countertops as part of your home remodeling.
Indoor Use Recommended
Based on trends in 2021, outdoor kitchens and bars have become very popular. Unfortunately, while able to withstand ambient temperature variations in this area of the South, quartz countertops are best suited to use inside the home where the resin and color won’t become as faded or discolored by direct sunlight or extreme direct heat. Outdoor spaces are areas where granite or other natural stone countertops excel. If your outdoor kitchen or bar in Hall County or surrounding counties is completely covered by a roof or awning and will receive no direct sunlight, Quartz may still be an option for you.
Quartz countertops can definitely bring an attractive and stylish look to your home. Even though some designs may be more expensive and not the lowest cost option for a countertop, their durability and maintenance outperform many natural stone options. Quartz is thus viewed as the best value for performance and look.
Even if quartz isn’t the right countertop for you, remember to weigh the pros and cons of all options in order to make the best decision for your style and home! Our professionals are ready to help you select countertops for your next kitchen, bath or whole home remodel.