Last Updated on March 10, 2021 by Filip Poutintsev
People give meticulous attention to detail while selecting a countertop as it serves not only as a functional standpoint but, also, as an important show piece. It plays a demanding role as the workplace where all the food preparation are done and it, also, has a hand on enhancing the aesthetic of your kitchen.
With the sheer number of options in the market place, trying to choose the best countertop can leave you perplexed. But with proper research, finding the one that fits your style can be a piece of cake.
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If you’re a nature lover who’s ready to invest for aesthetic purposes, then quartz countertops are the best option for you. These are the perfect low maintenance countertop with immense durability and are, also, non-porous, stain-resistant and easy to clean. On top of that, they’re made from one of the hardest material and are available in a wide variety of colours from earthy browns, creams, blacks to even apple green.
Quartz countertops are also referred to as engineered stone as they are a mixture of ground-up quartz and synthetic resin or colourant, manufactured under high pressure and temperature. About 90% of the mixture is crushed up granite, marble or other industrial waste and the other 10% is polyester resins and pigments.
Since quartz countertops are relatively new to the industry, people are yet not fully aware of the advantages and disadvantages quartz countertops have to offer. With that in mind, let’s explore its strengths and weaknesses.
History of Quartz Countertops
Quartz is one of the hardest minerals and is the second most abundant mineral on earth. The utilization of this mineral began when an Italian inventor named Marcelo Toncelli, developed a process for solidifying quartz slabs for countertop surfaces.
In 1963, Toncelli established a company named Brevetti Toncelli which continues to be a top supplier of engineered-stone making equipment. His innovative ideas and designs quickly gained popularity over Italy and slowly attracted homeowners from all around Europe.
It took some time to reach to the U.S as these quartz countertops looked similar to the readily available natural stones. But, eventually around the 1900s, many were seen inclined towards it. By 2004, the sales in the U.S increased by 60% in a year and its popularity continues till this date.
Pros of Quartz Countertops
Quartz countertops have numerous advantages from its attractive appearance to durability. Here’s a comprehensive list of its advantages to help you decide whether countertops are the one for you or not.
1. High Durability
One of the glaring advantages of quartz countertops is its long durability. Even if you’re a pet owner or you have children then with this countertop, you won’t have to worry about getting any scratch or cracks on the material. This is because the scratch-resistant of quartz is high. In fact, on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, where 1 is the least hard and 10 is the hardest, quartz is rated 7/10.
However, this doesn’t mean that it’s completely indestructible. You might get cracks and scratches eventually but the chances are low.
2. Low Maintenance
Another reason for its popularity is the fact that it requires little to no maintenance. Usually, most natural stones and woods require proper sealing but with quartz countertops, you can easily scrub with water and soap to wipe off the stains. In fact, its durability is so good that many companies give a long term warranty- even for more than 10 years.
Due to the resin binders present in a mixture, quartz countertops don’t have microscopic pores so there’s no way for liquids or anything you spill to enter beneath the surface. Even more importantly, there are risks of germs and bacteria entering the pores on other countertops whereas in quartz they can’t make their way through the surface, making it more sanitary.
Also, with other porous countertop, homeowners need to seal it from time to time to prevent discolouration, staining and damages. However, with quartz countertops, you won’t have a deal with it as no harmful substance penetrates through the surface.
As quartz is non-porous, liquids and other substances can’t enter through the surface easily. Cleaning the countertop, even if you spill red wine, can be easily done. For contrast, other countertops made of granite and marble would require sealing every 2 or 3 years because of discolouration and damage due to stains.
However, it doesn’t mean that quartz is completely stain proof. So, try to prevent the contact of most chemicals, glues, bleaches or paints.
5. Design Friendly
Another reason why quartz countertops are a reasonable investable is that it’s available in different designs which creates a more attractive, modern and sleek look. With a variety of patterns, you can find one that fits your aesthetic.
More so, quartz offers a wide array of colours. So, it’s easier to incorporate it into your interior. Unlike natural stones, there’s no variation in the colour or pattern from the one you see in the store, so you will get exactly what you order.
The last advantage is the versatility of quartz. You can use it for either your kitchen, your bathroom sinks and even floors and walls. The resin binders in the quartz make it flexible enough to bend and shape it.
Cons of Quartz Countertops
Even though quartz offers huge advantages, you should first take a look at its drawbacks before you deciding.
All the advantages mentioned above comes with a price. Quartz countertops are relatively expensive. A square foot of slab costs roughly around $50- $150 and that too might alter according to the quality, style, design and quantity. The more designs and cutouts needed, the higher it costs.
Although it is expensive, its durability is high so you won’t be spending extra money for regular maintenance.
2. Heat Resistance is Low
Although quartz has heat resistance, the problem is that the countertop is a mixture of 90% quartz and 10% other material such as resins and polymers- which are susceptible to heat damage. So, even if you momentarily leave a hot pan directly on the surface, it can damage and leave marks.
Experts claim that the heat resistant depends on the quality and the manufacturer. So, while some countertops may resist up to 300 degrees others might handle, only, up to 100 degrees.
3. Made for Indoor use Only
Although quartz is great an indoor countertop, using it for outdoor purposes might not be the best idea. Direct and constant sunlight dulls and fades away the colour as the polymers and resins react to the chemicals, leaving yellow hue on the surface.
4. Size Limitations
The next drawback of choosing quartz is that you’ll have size limitations. Usually, standard slabs are 132 inches long and 65.5 inches wide, so if you want larger size it requires a seam. But with granite and other natural stones, there’s no limitation on the size.
Comparing the pros and cons that quartz countertops offer, its pros seem to outweigh its cons. Even though it is expensive and targeted for indoor use only, it’s highly durable, requires little to no maintenance and can be the perfect countertop that complements your design and artistic aspirations.