Quartz countertops have developed a reputation over the last 50 years as a high-end surface masterial for use in kitchens & bathrooms. Even if you aren't familiar with quartz as a name for this material, you are probably familiar with such Caesarstone, Silestone, Quartz Master, Cambria and others. Whatever the name, it's all quartz.
Is It Really Made of Quartz?
Quartz is a sexy word that implies luster and hardness. In terms of marketing, quartz counter companies are smart to capitalize on this word because of those implications. In simple terms, quartz counters are 90% made up of stone-like materials and 10% of binders that are either plastic-like (polymeric) or cement-based. Of those stone-like materials, quartz is only one of many materials, other materials include: granite, marble & natural stone coming from either crushed waste stone left over in quarries, or recycled industrial wastes, such as fragments of ceramic,silica, glass, mirrors, etc.
These stone-like materials give quartz counters the hardness and lack of porosity needed for the heavy demands of cooking. Some manufacturers also combine antibacterial substances.
The Italian company Breton patented the process of forming solid surfaces from quartz and resins.
All quartz counters emanate from this single company. And this single company was started by one man, Marcello Toncelli. His company's name, Brevetti Toncelli (roughly meaning Toncelli Patents), was condensed to Breton (Bre = Brevetti, Ton=Toncelli).
Numerous companies such as Cosentino (Silestone), DuPont, Cambria and others used Breton’s patent for their countertops.
Benefits and Features
- Great Looks: For many buyers, the chief benefit of the quartz countertop is its natural luster. Unlike laminate, quartz has a deep, almost 3D appearance, much like natural stone.
- Hardness: Quartz is extremely hard and makes for a great work surface. It is largely composed of minerals (contrasted with solid surface material which are about 33% inorganic binding resins and 66% organic minerals).
- Few, If Any, Imperfections: Slab granite is a natural product, ripped straight from the earth and sliced into sheets; it is expected that slab will have imperfections. Installers have an easier time dealing with quartz than they do with granite because it is a predictable material and produces less waste product.
Cost: Compares to Granite
Don't choose quartz because you think it will be cheaper, actually quartz countertops are not a real bargain, even compared to pricey alternatives such as granite. Expect prices to begin at $70 and $110 per square foot for higher quality brands.
Appearance Is Engineered In
Because quartz countertops are engineered, almost any type of color can be brought out in the surface by means of pigmentation. Not only that, but other types of materials such as stone and glass can be incorporated into this quartz-resin slurry.