Curious about Quartz? The New Kitchen Countertop Trend
What is Quartz? Whereas granite, marble, and soapstone, among others, are all natural stone surfaces, quartz is an engineered stone. That said, quartz is not a complete stone imitation. In fact, most quartz counters today are manufactured using a recipe of 93% ground natural quartz combined with 7% polymer resin and pigments to bind the materials together. This process results in a product that is extremely durable and can come in any color. Quartz isn't a new product by any means. In fact, it's been sold for over 30 years and has been in the big box stores for at least 15. It's becoming increasingly popular today because of declining prices and the release of new colors and collections from top manufacturers.
Very Durable with Low Maintenance Many homeowners tout quartz for its durability and claim that it is nearly indestructible. Compared to granite, quartz is stronger, safe from scratches, and very resistant to cracking. Often, manufacturers offer warranties on their quartz products, which is something that is rarely done with granite. In addition to its strength, quartz is nonporous, meaning it’s highly stain resistant — safe from oils, liquid, and most home cleaning products — and never needs to be resealed like granite. This helps keep quartz surfaces clean and bacteria free. I said “nearly indestructible” earlier on purpose because quartz can still be damaged with extreme heat, so you should still keep from setting hot pots and pans directly on you quartz counter surface.
Beautiful, Natural-Looking Appearance Quartz is popular today not only for its durability but for its looks too. Quartz comes in a variety of forms, from solid colors to imitation granite and marble to styles with big gems and crystals. You can easily get the appearance of a natural stone surface like granite, except without any of the worry and maintenance hassle. Additionally, while granite is limited to what Earth’s natural geological processes have created, quartz manufacturers can create any color they want. Homeowners can therefore find colors ranging from common earthy tones to bright greens and deep reds. Like natural stone surfaces, quartz counters come in various edge profiles, depending on the manufacturer. Whatever your kitchen style — contemporary, modern, traditional or other — there’s an edge profile right for you. Quartz is also very flexible to work with, making it ideal for kitchen design. Try using it on backsplashes or other vertical surfaces for unique detail.
Reasonable Prices In the housing market today, solid-surface countertops are in high demand. Quartz is solid-surface and therefore a sound investment for your kitchen that is great for resale value. The price of quartz is comparable to granite, costing anywhere from $50 to $100 per square foot. With a typical kitchen, you’re looking at around $2,000 for a quartz countertop with 40 square feet of counter space. You also don't have to go pick a slab like you would have to with granite. Because it is engineered, Quartz is uniform throughout and without strange variations. As a faux natural stone that doesn’t need maintenance and is extremely difficult to damage, quartz provides value that is hard to beat.
Countertop Trends Many people forget that the countertop is a great element to add personality to your kitchen. Right now, the current trend is an extra thick countertop on the kitchen island, almost doubling the usual 1.25” thick counters to 2.25” thick. This is a great way to emphasize your countertop and make it the focal point of your kitchen. (Note that increasing the thickness does increase the price.) The rest of the countertops should be left at the standard thickness. Another trend we’ve talked about before on our blog is mixing and matching countertops. You can create eye-pleasing visual variety in your kitchen by selecting two different countertop colors or even countertop materials. Consider pairing butcher block with quartz or granite, for example. Your kitchen is a big investment, and you don’t want to end up with a passed-trend look that you don’t enjoy. So any way you go, quartz or something else, make sure you like it and will continue to like it over the next several years.