Overview of Quartz Countertops
Beautiful, durable, easy to care for and clean, are just a few of the benefits of a quartz countertop. No wonder quartz is among the most popular countertop materials available as a vast majority of our clients prefer quartz versus Granite. When comparing quartz and granite, the biggest difference between the two is that Granite is a 100% rock used for counters while Quarts is not 100%. Rather, it is a mixture of Quartz with man-made resin￼.
So What Makes a Quartz Countertop to Good?
Since it’s introduction to the home, quartz has come a long way! First appeared in Italy in the 1960s, these countertops were developed—by combining ground quartz particles with resins into a slab. It was an alternative to stone that wouldn’t easily crack or break. Despite the resins adding just enough flexibility to do the trick, early quartz countertops were a dull-looking cream and tan.
Over the years, cutting-edge improvements in solid-surface technology has elevated quartz from functional to fabulous. Furthermore, with an abundance of finish choices and endless combinations of color, you’ll likely find something stunning that suits your home. In addition, not only will you appreciate the look of quartz, you’ll find it remarkably easy to maintain! Unlike granite and natural stones, which requires a special sealant and can be finicky to care for.
Whats the science behind it all? To explain, quartz contains 90 to 94 percent ground quartz and 6 to 10 percent polymer resins and pigments. Then, they are combined to produce a granite-hard slab. As a result, you can duplicate the look of mesmerizing marble swirls or earthy natural stone, without all the maintenance. Further more, quartz also resists scratching and cracking to a greater degree than many natural countertops.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Quartz?
Thanks to its non-porous nature, quartz is stain and mildew-resistant, making it a breeze to keep not merely clean but also germ- and bacteria-free. Another advantage is that Quartz also resists heat damage—up to a point. Manufacturers market quartz as able to withstand temperatures up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (one reason it works well as fireplace surrounds).
Of course, one thing to you should know about quartz is to watch out for “thermal shock”. This can result from placing a hot pan straight from the oven or stovetop onto a cold quartz countertop, which can lead to cracking or discoloring. While quartz does resist staining because liquids can’t penetrate its surface, it’s not 100 percent stain-proof. So its important that messes should be cleaned up quickly to best preserve quartz countertops’ original color.
Now, lets talk about price. Probably the biggest hurdle when considering quartz is how much more it costs compared to alternatives. Although, a preformed or laminate countertop will set you back a few hundred dollars, quartz countertops cost between $70 to $100 per sq. ft., installed, comparable to the price of natural stone countertops. Which means for a mid-size kitchen you can easily spend a few thousand dollars for quartz.
Equally important, is if you’re planning a backyard kitchen, steer clear of quartz altogether! Quartz is not suitable for outdoor installation. To explain, what happens is the sun’s UV rays can break down the resin binders and degrade the countertop. Thus, it can lead to fading and eventual warping.
Learn About the Quartz Installation Process
Once you have chosen your style of quartz for your countertop, the installation process is fairly straight forward:
Firstly, your quartz fabricator will come to your home and measure your cabinets to create a template for the countertop. So, expect an average of two weeks for the countertop to be made.
Next, the new countertop installs directly on the base cabinets with adhesive—no underlayment is required. Installers will precisely fit any seams as necessary, filling them with epoxy resin that matches the countertop. Usually, it takes from a few hours to a full day to install a typical quartz countertop.
Finally, the plumber can now proceed with installing under-sink plumbing. However, your contractor may choose to install the back splash first; either way the quartz counter top installation is complete.
How Do I Keep Quartz Looking Great?
Besides the look and aesthetics, the beauty of quartz is how easy it is to care for your new countertop. Keep in mind there are a few crucial do’s and don’t’s you need to know about.
• Wipe up spills promptly with paper towels or a damp cloth. Even though quartz is non-porous, liquids like wine and coffee can stain the surface if allowed to dry.
• During cleaning, use an all-purpose spray kitchen cleaner or mild commercial household cleaner for daily cleaning needs.
• Use a non-scratch nylon pad or sponge to safely scrub away sticky food residue.
• Its recommended to use spray glass cleaner. After wiping your countertop clean, and buff the surface dry with a clean towel for a streak-free shine. Opt for a mild, oil-based cleaner (like Goo Gone) to remove tough ink or dye stains, and then rinse with plain water.
• Immediately tackle tough cleaning spots (such as splattered grease) by spraying your countertop with a kitchen degreasing cleaner and leaving it on for 5 to 10 minutes before wiping away with a clean damp cloth.
• Don’t use, or spill, acidic or high-alkaline products on your countertop. When using house hold cleaners, quartz tolerates cleaners in the mid-pH range, but products that fall on either end of the pH scale can dull its luster.
• Avoid spills from drain cleaners, oven cleaners, acetone (fingernail polish remover), paint remover, solvents, bleach, dishwasher rinse agents, and any products that contain trichlorethane or methylene chloride. Take a better safe than sorry approach: If you don’t know for sure that a product is appropriate for quartz, don’t use it.
• Keep abrasive cleaners or scrubbers away from your quartz countertop. Scouring powders and steel-pads can scratch and dull the surface.
• Refrain from using a metal knife to remove hardened food items, such as stuck-on candy-making spills. Instead, use a plastic putty knife to gently scrape them away.
• Using your quartz countertop to chop and dice foods is discouraged. Instead, use a separate cutting board to prevent knife marks on the countertop.
• Last but not least, setting hot pans directly on the countertop will cause discoloration and cracking of your quartz countertop. Keep plenty of trivets handy and use them faithfully.
Despite the large upfront cost quartz can cost, the long term benefits can offset those costs. After you consider the overall added value of your home and the reliability of using a high quality, beautiful countertop that will last you the life of your home can be a no brainer for many. In closing, the main benefits of a quartz countertop to keep in mind are:
1. Due to its non-porous nature, quartz is stain and mildew-resistant, making it a breeze to keep not merely clean but also germ- and bacteria-free
2. Harder and more durable surfaces than any other counter top materials.
3. You can have a wide variety looks and styles.
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