Quartz countertops are relatively new to the market, but many businesses and homeowners are quickly adopting them as their new favorite material choice when upgrading kitchens, bathrooms, restaurants, bars, and more. While materials like marble and granite are still very popular, quartz, or engineered stone countertops, have benefits that go above and beyond what natural stone can offer.
Choose Your Design
Aside from being very low maintenance, one obvious benefit to the manufactured stone is that there is a far wider range of color options to choose from compared to natural stone. Not only that, the finish sets off any room with an upscale, modern feel due to its natural luster. Because of the manufacturing process, the look can be controlled, and thus there are far fewer imperfections to worry about.
As well, instead of being held in place with screws, quartz is able to be installed using epoxy which means it can be used for backsplashes, walls, and shower enclosures without visible seams. Keep in mind however that it is heavier than other products and should be installed by a certified contractor or distributor.
Ultra-Durable & Indestructible
With many quartz countertops being made with 93% natural ground quartz and 7% polymer resin, this provides an ultra-durable, nearly indestructible material that is at least as strong and durable as granite and concrete but does not chip or crack as easily. Manufacturers are so confident in the material that they often provide a warranty.
In comparison, marble is much softer and more porous so does scratch easily especially when in contact with something acidic for a long period of time (a slice of lemon for example), loses some of its gloss over time through general use, and stains, especially with red wine and some fruits.
Granite is very strong and even resists stains better than marble. However, one side note that many people are not aware of is the risk of your slab containing veins of naturally occurring radioactive elements. These include thorium and uranium which have a radioactive decay in trace amounts. These materials decay into radon which is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas found in some basements and has the potential to cause lung cancer. Granted, according to the EPA, the levels are often diluted by ventilation, and the levels of other radiation like beta and gamma are generally small enough not to surpass your average annual background radiation doses.
Most natural stones are porous, which allows them to absorb liquid to some degree. Marble is more porous than granite, and depending on the granite you choose, some are more porous than others. More pores means more opportunity for stains. Because of the manufacturing process, quartz countertops are non-porous and do not stain the way concrete, marble, granite, or wood can. Feel free to spill wine, tomato, coffee, or oil, and wipe it completely away without worry. As well, no pores means no places for bacteria to hide, so you can enjoy a like-new countertop for years to come with the added assurance that it is free of harmful bacteria and viruses.
Another thing to remember is that because there are no pores, the countertop does not need to be sealed like natural stone, which is a nice convenience for many homeowners. While granite is harder than marble and more stain-resistant, it will need to be sealed and resealed every 10 years or so, which can become a hassle.
Things to Keep in Mind
The price of manufactured quartz countertops might be a concern for some people, but it is comparable to marble and granite. For those who prefer a more natural look for their home or business, this may not be the right style for you. One other thing to keep in mind about quartz is that it is not as heat resistant as granite or concrete, so you will have to be a bit more careful with hot kitchen pans and hot hair tools in the bathroom. Too much direct sunlight also has the ability to create some discoloration.
As with any building material, engineered quartz has its pros and cons. But for most homeowners and business owners, the benefits of quartz far outweigh many other available materials on the market today.