Natural stone countertops are beautiful and arguably the focal point of any kitchen. Their beauty is only shadowed by the high maintenance required to keep them up that way. Quartz countertops are an option for homeowners who want to enjoy the refined look of granite, marble or limestone countertops without the high maintenance associated with them.
Quarts countertops are slick looking, durable and low maintenance. They rival granite countertops in popularity and are similar in price per square foot.
Quartz countertops come in a variety of colors and hues (some really off the charts!). While some have sparkles and veins, others have recycled glass and metallic flecks to create a different and unique look. Over the years, color options have greatly increased for quartz countertops and they are now a top choice for homeowners.
Origin of quartz
In its pure form, quartz is colorless or white. Quarts is the 4th hardest crystalline mineral found on earth. It is the most common mineral available making up 12% of the earth’s crust . The soil in which it is found directly affects its coloration. Quartz is imported from all around the world. Some of the major producers of quartz crystals include the United States, Madagascar, Germany, Brazil and Canada.
Engineered quartz countertops
Quartz slabs used to fabricate countertops are made of about 95% quartz which are mined and ground in various sizes. Coarsely ground quartz yields a speckled appearance, whereas finely ground quartz yields a smooth appearance Color pigments and a polyester resin are fused to the mixture under intense heat and pressure to create the solid quartz slab from which the final countertops will be fabricated. Quartz countertops are called solid surface countertops that are man-made unlike granite and marble which are naturally occurring and cut into slabs from which countertops are cut.
The appeal of quartz countertops
Quartz countertops are non-porous, stain resistant and scratch resistant. The resin used in making the slabs is what gives the surface those wonderful characteristics. The non-porous characteristic of quartz countertops prevents stain, bacteria and mildew from penetrating the surface making the surface antimicrobial. Surface stains can easily be removed with a mild soap and water. Abrasive scouring pads and chemicals should not be used as they could deteriorate the bond between the resin and the quartz. Unlike natural stone countertops, they do not need to to be sealed every year.
A word of caution
Extreme heat differential can cause quartz countertops to crack. Even though they are heat resistant up to 300F to 400F, it is highly recommended to use a trivet to protect the countertops surface when handing hot pots.
Do you live in the Charlotte NC area and are interested in getting a quote from PRO-TOPS for countertops? Call us today or fill out our online contact form to request a free estimate or call us to schedule a time to visit our showroom.