Natural stone surfaces decorate more and more kitchens today, and the engineered quartz countertop has become a popular choice added to the selection of granite, marble, soapstone and concrete surfaces.
Hard and Scratch Resistant
Quartz counters are made with almost 100 percent quartz and provide a nonporous countertop that's durable and almost twice as strong as granite. Quartz is a crystalline mineral composed of silicon dioxide. It's a common mineral, but as a countertop surface it is naturally scratch resistant. This makes it an ideal choice for any kitchen or bathroom. Quartz hardness ranks a 7.0 on Moh's hardness scale. The Moh's test for hardness is measured by a test that determines the scratchability of a mineral. You'll find that only diamonds, topaz, and sapphires rank higher than quartz on the Moh's scale.
Engineered Quartz Countertop
Some quarts countertops are constructed of quarried slabs of natural stone, but today an engineered quartz product is manufactured by mixing about 95 percent ground quartz with 5 percent polymer resins. This process brings about a very hard countertop with a natural stone look that is not only low maintenance but available in a number of color choices to go with any décor.
To get the vast number of color choices when manufacturing an engineered quartz countertop, pigment is added during the production process. Individual manufacturers offer a selection of colors unique to their company. These color choices are a great way to add an attractive bit of color that ties together the total look of your kitchen or bath. The following companies offer an array of color choices in these countertops:
The beautiful color choices provided by these countertops are a plus, but looks aren't everything. The superior hardness of quartz makes this countertop a good choice because it is not porous like granite. With today's busy lifestyles, quartz is becoming a popular choice for many homeowners because it is resistant to stains like coffee, wine, vinegar, lemon juice and other common stain-producing products. And because of this nonporous surface, these counters do not have to be sealed in order to keep their shine. Another benefit is that these countertops are very difficult to scorch. However, the use of trivets and hotpads are still recommended.In comparison to solid natural stone counters like granite, quartz is almost maintenance free. Just wipe it with warm water to clean.
When it comes to installing a quartz countertop, it's important to note that as an engineered product, these counters weigh more than granite. It is best to hire a professional to install them unless you have experience working with them.
If you do choose to install it yourself, quartz makes a better choice than most natural stone counters because it is easier to cut and handle without causing damage. However, hiring a professional for the installation process will probably cost less in the long run because you will experience less waste or broken slabs. Most of the time, if you buy your quartz countertop from a reputable dealer they will provide installation as part of the purchase.
Countertops and Your Budget
As you decide on the look you want for your kitchen, today's choices provide options that help to stay in your home improvement budget. Take the time to research these options. Things to consider should include:
- Maintenance requirements
Take the time to visit your local home improvement store to get expert advice and to answer your questions as you select your countertop. Choosing a quartz countertop will give you a custom look with the color of your choice, and an easy to care for product that works with a busy lifestyle.