Quartz countertops are a popular option for kitchen and bathroom remodeling. This article aims to provide an overview of this wonderful material and its many advantages.
Quartz vs Quartzite: What’s The Difference?
Quartzite is the natural stone, “quartz” is the artificial material made from finely crushed quartzite mixed with a tough acrylic resin. Even though the two terms are often used interchangeably, they refer to completely different materials, and countertops made from natural quartz vs quartzite have different properties, pros and cons, and require different types of care.
Quartz countertops are available in a huge variety of colors & textures, ranging from those that precisely replicate natural stone, to premium styles that create stunning visual effects.
Why Quartz Instead Of Natural Stone?
Porosity and options. The biggest problem with countertops made from natural stone is the stone’s ability to absorb liquids and thus stain and/or develop bacterial contamination. Quartz surfaces solve that problem by binding the natural stone powder in a solid, non-porous layer of acrylic resin, leaving no cracks or pores which can harbor stains or microorganisms.
Quartzite is found in many places throughout the world, including the United States, United Kingdom, Israel, and Continental Europe. In the US, quartz has been located in Pennsylvania, Washington DC, South Dakota, Central Texas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Utah, Arizona, and Idaho.
British Isles feature a rich supply of quartzite, especially in Wales, Scottish Highlands, northwest Ireland, and other locations. The Precambrian and Cambrian mountains and crags scattered throughout the area provide a rich variety of quartzite in a stunning array of colors and textures.
The natural heritage of quartzite and the resulting quartz surface materials is evident in the names of some of the major suppliers of quartz countertops – Cambria is named after the Cambrian Mountains range in Wales, while Caesarstone is named after the Caesarea region in Israel.
Advantages of Quartz Countertops
Sanitary & Sanitizable
Another major benefit of the seamless surface is that there’s no place for bacteria to hide and grow. Quartz countertops are much more sanitary than granite or marble. This makes them an excellent choice not only for kitchens but for healthcare applications, commercial food preparation (especially for raw fish, chicken, and vegetables), and other situations where cleanliness is not only desired but required. Many of our countertops are even certified for Kosher kitchens.
Quartz countertops are easy to keep sanitized – especially important in the time of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) epidemic. Using a solution of 70% alcohol / 30% water, or a Lysol spray, or a very diluted bleach solution (4 teaspoons bleach in 1 quart of water), you can ensure a clean and germ-free surface.
No Sealant Needed
Unlike granite and marble countertops, there is no need to apply surface sealant, or to periodically re-seal the countertop. With practically zero maintenance, quartz countertops are the best choice for heavy-use kitchens.
Another benefit of the acrylic resin is that it gives just a touch of flexibility to the countertop, enough to resist chipping, cracking, and scratching. In addition, since the color is “baked in” the entire material – even if you do manage to chip or scratch it, it will be less obvious since the same color or vein is underneath.
Unlike many other materials, even significant damage to quartz countertops can be repaired. That’s the good news. The even better news is that there’s a lifetime warranty on most of our quartz countertops, so you have nothing to worry about. In case of damage, we’ll have a repair team sent out to your house, and have the chip or scratch fixed on site and free of charge.
Since quartz countertops are made by mixing finely crushed quartzite with acrylic resin, we can vary the colors and even create veins, textures, and patterns, to match the popular natural stone textures – or even create looks beyond natural. As a certified dealer of over a dozen suppliers, New York Quartz offers 100s of color and texture choices.
Whether you’re looking for a clean, sleek, modern design – or a traditional look that resembles marble or granite – or a funky, colorful geode collection – we have the color and texture to fit your kitchen style. Pure white, concrete, jet-black, sparkly blue, Calacatta Marble, and anything in between, you’ll find it all in our showroom.
Edge Profile Choices
The nature of quartz makes it very “shapeable”, and our in-house fabrication team can create the right edge to match your kitchen design. From the basic squared-off or rounded shapes, to the “premier” edges like Waterfall (shown) and Double Ogee, to even completely custom edge profiles, we can make your countertop look as traditional or as modern as you want.
In addition to standard and premium edges, our in-house fabrication shop can cut a completely custom edge. With our advanced CNC stonecutting machinery, and professionals who have years of experience, there’s no such thing as “too complicated”.
The New Trend
In the 1990s, the hot trend in kitchen renovation was granite countertops. Replacing the wooden and “plastic” countertops of the 1970s kitchens with a luxurious, expensive material, was “the thing to do”, and every real estate listing would make sure to mention granite countertops. However, while granite quarries were resting on their laurels, quartz manufacturers were busy researching and trying out new combinations and processes – resulting in a lineup of materials that take the beauty of natural stone and make it even better! Now, quartz countertops are one of the most sought-after features of the modern kitchen, along with smart appliances and open-concept planning.
Quartz countertops aren’t limited to plain horizontal surfaces. Bold designers combine this versatile material with wood, concrete, metal, and other substances, to create combinations that showcase contemporary shapes and exciting visual choices.
Multiple heights, mitered edges, waterfall shapes, utility niches, and other techniques, can add complexity and depth to a kitchen design – while making it more usable and comfortable.
Consistency & Repeatability
What You See Is What You Get. Since quartz is an engineered material, its color and texture is consistently reproduced, slab after slab. Unlike natural stone, this lets you look at a sample and know that you’re getting exactly that color, texture, pattern, and finish, throughout the entire countertop. There are no color surprises, random inclusions, or “running out” of a color/texture. This is particularly appealing to large-scale projects, such as condo developments, where we can assure perfectly consistent color and texture in every one of 100s of units.
Quartz countertops can be used in the kitchen, bathroom, bar/lounge area, and even as wall cladding and furniture tops. It’s a powerfully versatile material, so you can create consistency of color and texture throughout the home’s design, bringing together the visual statements of various rooms with a common foundation.
This example shows a bathroom counter made from Caesarstone Empira Black 5101 quartz. The rich black color is emphasized by subtle lighter veins, creating a luxurious look that works wonderfully in this contemporary bathroom, as well as the modern kitchen and backsplash.
Home Resale Value
If you’re planning to sell the house in the near future, replacing a laminate or granite countertop with a fresh quartz countertop is definitely a good idea. The cost of the countertop is usually recouped with the increased appeal of the kitchen leading to an increase in the sale price, and can often help the home to sell faster.
Even though quartz is more expensive than the “generic” materials like laminate or solid-surface, its cost is on par with natural stone – quartz is ~$ 75 per square foot, marble is $ 60, granite averages $ 40 to $ 60 per square foot. Considering the lower maintenance (no sealant) and long-term life of quartz countertops, they’re an excellent long-term investment for kitchen and bathroom remodeling – especially when you consider the Lifetime Warranty coverage from our manufacturers, and the Labor Guarantee that covers installation.
Quartz is a more environmentally-friendly material than natural stone. Its mining and transportation impact tends to be less than that of granite and marble. In addition, the premier manufacturers that we work with, always strive to reduce their carbon footprint and water-use impact wherever possible. Some of our countertops are made from recycled stone. Almost all qualify for multiple sustainability points when used in residential and commercial designs – LEED Greenguard, Mindful Materials, Living Building Challenge, and many more. And of course, since a quartz countertop is designed to last the lifetime of the home, it can be seen as a low-impact item that positively contributes to a home’s environmental score.
When you choose a quartz countertop from New York Quartz, you’re not only choosing a beautiful design, but making a powerful conservation statement.
Things To Keep In Mind
Not a DIY Project
Quartz is a heavy material, averaging 20-25 lbs per square foot. This requires ensuring that the base cabinetry can support the weight of the countertop, and a team to handle the countertop during installation. New York Quartz has in-house designers who will make sure the cabinetry is up to par, and a dedicated installation team to deliver and install the countertop.
Quartz vs Sunlight
One weakness of this material is the potential to slightly discolor over time, from exposure to UV rays. If a portion of the countertop is exposed to sunlight while another part is generally in a shaded area of the kitchen, eventually you might notice a color difference. This effect is lessened with quartz countertops that are specifically designed for outdoor use (Caesarstone Solaris, Dekton, etc).
If you’re considering an outdoor kitchen, please consult with our experts and we’ll be sure to recommend materials that are specifically designed for outdoor use.
Alkalines & Paints
Even though quartz is highly stain-resistant, it’s not completely immune. Avoid highly alkaline substances like bleach, ammonia, paint remover, glue, and oil soaps, since they may interact with the acrylic resin and stain or discolor the surface. Also, it’s a good idea to keep permanent markers, oil paints, and other “art supplies” away from quartz countertops. However, even if you do manage to stain a quartz countertop, the damage can often be “buffed out” with specialty cleaners.
Even though it’s not “sensitive” to heat per se (like laminate and solid surface), it’s not recommended to expose any stone surface (quartz, granite, or marble) to repeated differentials of heat and pressure. The expansion and contraction may weaken the material and cause marring or warping. It’s always recommended to use a trivet or silicone mat under hot pots, without placing them directly on the countertop. If you notice white spotting or cloudiness, that’s a sign of heat damage; we recommend contacting our experts for advice on getting it repaired.
Some kitchen designers incorporate a prep area next to the stovetop and the dishwasher, made from more heat-resistant materials, in order to handle hot cookware off the stove and heated dishes from the dishwasher.