Thursday, April 26th, 2012 by Travek Inc.
In Part 1 we wrote about granite countertops. This week our focus is QUARTZ COUNTERTOPS, the second in a series of articles on countertops.
Ever since the 1920s, Formica was pretty much a standard choice for countertops. About ten years ago natural stone surfaces were introduced and have been very popular. Now in recent years, engineered quartz has been becoming more and more popular, and stands to be one of the three most popular types of kitchen counter materials.
Quartz is a brilliantly beautiful countertop, and can be found in many upscale homes. When you compare quartz to solid surface or granite, they may appear to be almost the same. They are not. Quartz is made up of a mixture of 93-95% organic materials and 5-7% polymer resin, whereas solid surface is completely man-made and granite is 100% organic or natural.
Quartz is a very low-maintenance, natural stone-look countertop. One of the huge selling factors for its popularity is that it can be bought in a variety of colors. Color has been added to the resin to make it coordinate with almost any color of the spectrum.
The best of the features do not stop at the color of the countertop, though. Quartz is a very strong and durable material. It is so durable that most manufacturers offer a better warranty than they offer for granite. It is also a very non-porous surface, so the countertops do not stain as easily and are even more sanitary than granite.
One of the drawbacks of quartz is that you do not have your own unique piece from the quarry, as you do with granite. (For many, the uniqueness of granite is almost a piece of art in their homes.)
Quartz can be damaged by heat, and so it is always advisable to use a hot pad or trivet when placing hot pots or pans on the counter.
With quartz, just as with other natural stones, you have a variety of edging options. Because it is more flexible to work with and is held in place using glue and epoxy instead of screws, quartz can be used on larger wall surfaces such as backsplashes and shower enclosures, and the fissures and seams are often more invisible than they are with natural stone.
Cost-wise, quartz is going to be more expensive than laminate and along the same price lines as your natural stones.
Even though quartz is more durable, installing it is still not something we recommend for the average homeowner or handyman. The companies that make and sell it have their certified people install it.
Typically quartz countertops are something that are bought from a certified distributor, which will send someone out to the home to measure and inspect. Quartz is quite a bit heavier than other stone surfaces, and the structure (cabinet and floor) has to be taken into consideration. Therefore, it is important that the person who is ordering and installing knows what to look for.
Once the product has been ordered and received, the distributor will send an installer. Ordering and installing quartz countertops is usually not something that you do from start to finish in only a day or two; there is some wait time involved.
At TraVek, we typically do countertops in conjunction with remodels or at a minimum, cabinet replacement. If you are only replacing countertops, it will be more cost-effective for you to go directly to the distributor or one of the major home and garden centers such as Home Depot or Lowes. Some of the more common brands would be Zodiaq, Silestone and Cambria.