Sunday, March 16, 2014

What are quartz countertops?

            One of the most common questions I am asked is Which is better, quartz or granite? Before we dive into the differences between the two materials and why you might choose to use one over the other, I thought it would be helpful to know exactly what quartz countertops are.


Quartz countertops, such as Silestone, Cambria and Caesarstone, are composed of about 90% natural quartz, one of the hardest minerals in the world. Quartz is crystallised silicon dioxide (SiO2), which is usually white or transparent, although it can be found in other colors if it comes into contact with impurities during its formation. It is found either in a pure state or present in other compounds. However, because of its extreme hardness and resistance to acids, it is used to make a large variety of products that require precision and top-quality performance. Granite is only about 40% to 60% quartz, along with other softer minerals and impurities.


Can it take the heat? Natural stone surfaces can be damaged by sudden and/or rapid change of temperature, especially near the edges as well as direct and/or sustained heating of the top. Some quartz tops may not withstand the direct transfer of heat from pots and pans and other cooking units such as electric frying pans and griddles, and some crock-pots or roaster ovens and heat lamps. Therefore, the use of a hot pad or trivet is always recommended to prevent heating the product.


Quartz tops are a non-porous surface and highly resistant to stains from coffee, wine, lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, makeup and many other everyday products. Just wash it with warm water, and use a mild soap if desired. Stain resistant, it never needs sealing or reconditioning. The Silestone brand contains a unique bacteriostatic formula they developed that is based on the use of latest generation silver ions to prevent the propagation of bacterias.


Colors! Quartz tops come in a variety of different shades of color, offering a multitude of design possibilities. It’s an excellent option of you want a solid white or uniform color that is often difficult to find in granite. Granite has more of a natural beauty with pattern and color changing from slab to slab whereas quartz is more uniform and manufactured in appearance.


So do you like quartz over granite? What do you like or dislike? Shoot me an email and share your thoughts at

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