When it comes to kitchen countertops, bathroom vanities, or other countertops, there are many different materials that you, as a homeowner 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 quartz material.
- 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 pulled out of the ground like granite. Quartz slabs, unlike granite, are designed in factories. Various sizes of quartz are mixed with resin and other materials and undergo the manufacturing process to create a “slab of quartz” that is then turned into countertops.
- Is all quartz the same?
When it comes to quartz plates, no! They are not all the same. Always go with a reputable quartz manufacturer. The highest accreditation that a quartz manufacturer can have is the Breton certification. Breton is a proprietary technology created for engineering stone and any manufacturer or fabricator that is Breton certified is trustworthy.
Although there are certain quality standards for quartz manufacturing, there is currently no governing body to enforce these standards. By purchasing quartz from a certified Breton manufacturer, you will consistently get approximately 93% quartz and 7% resin on each plate. Without a quartz governing body or standards, you can buy a quartz slab from a non-certified manufacturer and end up with a much lower ratio of quartz to resin and whatever other fillers the manufacturer uses.
- What is popular and fashionable 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 shades
Most 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 than polished finish.
A popular trend is the use of quartz colors that include large, wide veins that are designed to mimic the beauty of marble.
Many customers are moving away from the smooth, shiny polished finish and opting for the warmth and soft feel of the suede finish. Unlike a polished finish, suede finishes do not reflect light. (It is difficult to capture this texture with an image; you need to see and feel it to 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 distributors we use the most, all of them Breton certified:
Caesarstone Ltd. – Based in Israel with distribution centers in Canada and the US.
Silestone by Cosentino – Based in Spain, Silestone also has distribution centers in Canada and the USA.
LG Hausys – Yes, LG has a quartz line called Viatera, distributed in Canada and the USA.
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 resistant to stains, which means that no sealer is necessary. Proper fabricators will also place UV inhibitors on the slab, which means that the surface will not be affected by prolonged exposure to sunlight. Quartz is also scratch, heat and fire resistant. In most cases, all you need to maintain your shine is soap and water, or a mild detergent. If necessary, a non-abrasive cleaner such as Vim Oxy-Gel or a mild degreaser can be used.