When it comes to countertops, granite is the champion. MSN reported in 2012 that a whopping 75% of new kitchens included granite countertops. But if granite is the champion, the #1 challenger has to be quartz and for good reason. Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of quartz countertops.
Quartz has been manufactured for countertops since the 1960s, largely in Europe. It was only after the turn of the century that quartz, and granite, began to catch on here in America. Engineered quartz has a 5% market share in the U.S. and a 9% share of the Canadian countertop market according to JPMorgan. Globally, engineered quartz has grown roughly 16% per year over the last decade. Here are a few reasons why:
Color and texture choices. Quartz, the mineral, is the second most abundant underground material on Earth and makes up 93-95% of quartz countertops. The remaining 5-7% of a quartz countertop is a combination of natural pigments and resinous binders, which can be manipulated to produce the precise color or custom look individual buyers want. Also, unlike a natural granite countertop that can vary in color and pattern even within the same slab, the manufacturing of quartz countertops makes it much more likely that the color and pattern will be a consistent match throughout the slab.
Durability. Did you know quartz rates higher on the hardness scale than granite? It is exceedingly scratch resistant, and it’s difficult to chip or crack — even if you tried to.
Non-Porous. This is an important feature in favor of quartz. Non-porous surfaces are stain resistant so juices, vinegar, oil, wine, and other stain-inducing items won’t pose a problem on your countertop. Non-porous surfaces also won’t carry bacteria, so you are assured your quartz kitchen or bathroom countertops are clean and hygienic after washing with just soap and water.
Virtually no maintenance. Quartz never requires sealing, buffing or polishing. Ever. Warm soap and water is all you’ll ever need to clean your quartz countertops, whereas granite tops will require a polish, reseal, or even a recondition in order to retain its new shine look.
Potential damage. Any countertop can be chipped or cracked with excessive force, and quartz is no exception. While quartz is heat resistant, surfaces can be damaged by sudden and rapid temperature changes, as well as direct sustained heat applied to it. The use of a hot pad or trivet is always recommended.
Price. Quartz is still one of the most expensive options out there, similar to the cost of granite. It can cost as much as $70-75 per square foot. It is recommended that you shop around before settling on a price for quartz countertops, as prices do vary and deals can be had.
Quartz countertops have similar features and as strong a record of performance as granite countertops. Why not look to quartz before going granite