When it comes to kitchen countertops, bathroom vanities, or other countertops, there are many different materials that you, as the owner and/or designer, can choose from. You can choose from granite, quartz, marble, solid surface, ultra-compact surface, laminate, acrylic, etc. For this article, we will talk specifically about quartz, which happens to be the most popular material on the market today. We answer five of the most common questions we hear about the material quartz.
- Are quartz slabs considered natural stone?
Although quartz itself is a natural mineral made of silicon and oxygen, quartz slabs are not considered a natural stone surface since the slab itself is not quarried from the ground like granite. Quartz slabs, unlike granite, are made in factories. Various sizes of quartz are mixed with resin and other materials and put through the manufacturing process to create a “quartz slab” which is then made into countertops.
- Are all quartz the same?
When it comes to quartz slabs, no! They are not all the same. Always go with a reputable quartz manufacturer. The highest accreditation a quartz manufacturer can have is to be Breton certified. Breton is a proprietary technology created for engineered stone and any Breton certified manufacturer or fabricator is trustworthy.
Although there are certain quality standards for the manufacture of quartz, there is currently no governing body that enforces these standards. When you buy quartz from a Breton certified manufacturer, you will consistently get around 93% quartz and 7% resin in each slab. Without a governing body or quartz standards, you can buy a slab of quartz from a non-certified manufacturer and end up with a much lower ratio of quartz to resin and whatever other fillers the manufacturer intends to use.
- What is popular and trendy in quartz?
Lately, there are several popular trends that have been commonly used in the design community when it comes to quartz surfaces.
White, gray and lighter tones
More kitchens and bathrooms are designed with simple, bright colors that translate to the countertops.
Currently, a popular trend is the use of industrial-looking quartz. Caesarstone and Silestone lead this style with product lines made to look like poured concrete with a rougher finish than polished.
A popular trend is the use of quartz colors that include large, wide veins designed to mimic the beauty of marble.
Many customers shy away from the smooth, shiny polished finish and opt for the warmth and soft feel of suede finish. Unlike a polished finish, Suede finishes do not reflect light. (It’s hard to capture this texture with an image; you need to see it and feel it to really understand it)
- Who are the leaders in quartz manufacturing?
In our day-to-day business at Jade Stone Ltd. and Giada Surfaces, these are the four quartz dealers we use the most, all Breton certified:
caesarstone ltd. – Headquartered in Israel with distribution centers throughout Canada and the US.
Silestone by Cosentino – Headquartered in Spain, Silestone also has distribution centers in Canada and the USA.
LG Hausys – Yes, LG has a line of quartz they call Viatera, distributed in Canada and the US.
hanstone – Hanstone is a Canadian company and the only quartz manufacturer in Canada.
- How much care and maintenance does my quartz surface need?
Compared to other materials, quartz has much less maintenance and care needs. Quartz is non-porous, which makes it stain resistant, meaning no sealer is necessary. The right manufacturers will also put UV inhibitors in the slab, which means the surface will not be affected by prolonged exposure to sunlight. Quartz is also resistant to scratches, heat and fire. In most cases, all you need is soap and water or a mild detergent to maintain its shine. If necessary, a non-abrasive cleaner such as Vim Oxy-Gel or a mild degreaser can be used.