Cambria countertops may look like quartz at first glance, but they are actually an engineered stone made from quartz particles combined with high-performance acrylic resins. So while Cambria contains quartz, it is not 100% natural quartz.
An Introduction to Cambria Countertops
Cambria is a popular brand of engineered stone countertops that are known for their style, durability, and low maintenance. Cambria countertops are made up of about 93% crushed quartz aggregate combined with 7% high-performance acrylic resins. This combination creates a non-porous, stain-resistant, and durable surface that has the look and feel of natural stone, but without some of the drawbacks.
Here are some key facts about Cambria countertops:
- Made from about 93% crushed quartz and 7% acrylic resins
- Non-porous so resists staining and is easy to clean
- Hard and durable like natural stone
- Available in a wide range of colors and patterns
- Resists heat, scratches, and cracks
- Carries a 10-year limited warranty
- Made in the USA
So in summary, Cambria is an engineered stone made primarily from quartz particles, not 100% natural quartz. The acrylic resins give Cambria some extra durability and flexibility compared to pure natural stone.
How Cambria Countertops Are Made
Cambria’s manufacturing process starts with selecting premium quartz crystals found in quarries around the world. The quartz is crushed into smaller particles and combined with high-performance acrylic resins and pigments.
The mixture is compacted under extreme heat and pressure to form solid slabs. The slabs are then polished to a smooth, glossy finish. Cambria has a proprietary process that gives the countertops a non-porous surface and consistent coloring throughout each slab.
By using finely crushed natural quartz aggregates, Cambria achieves the look and feel of natural stone. The acrylic resins provide strength, durability, and resistance to stains, scratches, and heat. This engineered composition allows Cambria to offer a wider range of colors and patterns than is typically found in pure natural stone.
Are Cambria Countertops Considered Quartz?
Cambria is often grouped under the “quartz countertops” category, but it is not 100% natural quartz like some other brands. Quartz countertops can be made from either:
- Natural quartz slabs – Made purely from quarried quartz aggregates with no resins. Brands like Caesarstone offer some options here.
- Engineered quartz – Made from crushed quartz bound together with resins. This includes Cambria and brands like Silestone.
Since Cambria contains resin binders, it is considered an engineered quartz product, not purely natural quartz. However, with 93% crushed quartz, Cambria mimics the look and performance of real stone quite well. The added resins give Cambria some advantages like more flexural strength, scratch resistance, and color/pattern options.
So in summary:
- Cambria contains quartz but is not 100% natural quartz.
- It is considered an engineered quartz product, not purely natural stone.
- The ~93% crushed quartz particles give Cambria the stone-like properties.
- Added resins provide extra durability and design flexibility.
Cambria vs Natural Quartz Countertops
To better understand how Cambria compares to real quartz, let’s look at some of the key differences:
- Natural quartz has a more random, stone-like pattern since it comes directly from quartz slabs.
- Cambria’s engineered process creates more uniform speckles with a wider range of colors.
- Engineered quartz like Cambria is harder and more flexible thanks to the resin binders.
- Natural quartz is still very durable but may be more prone to cracks or chips.
- Both require very little maintenance and resist scratches/stains.
- Cambria is non-porous so even more stain resistant.
- Natural quartz slabs are becoming more rare, so can be more expensive.
- Cambria’s engineered process allows for more competitive pricing.
- Natural quartz has a more limited range of colors/patterns found in nature.
- Cambria offers many more man-made options thanks to dyes and resins.
So for homeowners that want the natural stone aesthetics, natural quartz provides that timeless look. For those that appreciate the low-maintenance durability but want more creative options, Cambria offers the best of both worlds.
The Pros and Cons of Choosing Cambria Countertops
Like any home product, Cambria has its own unique pros and cons to weigh against your needs:
Pros of Cambria Countertops:
- Durable and scratch/stain resistant surface
- Easy maintenance – requires no sealing
- Resists heat and scalding better than natural stone
- Range of colors and patterns available
- Non-porous so less likely to harbor bacteria
- Made in the USA
- 10-year limited warranty provided
Potential Cons of Cambria Countertops:
- Higher cost than some natural stone or tile options
- Can stain from some strong chemicals/cleaners if left too long
- Seams may be more visible than natural stone
- Limited number of suppliers compared to natural quartz
The biggest drawback is usually the higher cost of Cambria versus natural stone or tile. But many homeowners find the durability, low-maintenance, and creative options worthwhile. Make sure to compare multiple quotes to get the best installed price.
Cambria Countertops Cost
Here are some general Cambria countertop costs to expect:
- Material costs: $50 – $120 per sq. ft.
- Installation cost: $40 – $100 per sq. ft.
- Total installed cost: $90 – $220 per sq. ft.
Costs vary based on the color/style chosen and complexity of the installation. More intricate edge profiles, thicker slabs, and specialty colors will increase material costs. The total size of your project will also impact installation costs.
Be sure to get quotes from 3-4 reputable contractors to find the best price. And look out for occasional Cambria sales or specials from local suppliers.
How to Care for Cambria Countertops
The good news is that Cambria requires very little maintenance thanks to its durable quartz-acrylic composition. Here are some tips for keeping Cambria counters looking like new:
- Use a mild soap and warm water for regular cleaning. Avoid harsh chemicals.
- Blot up spills quickly to prevent staining. Acids like wine or lemon juice can etch Cambria if left too long.
- Reseal around sinks every 1-2 years with a flexible caulk to prevent water getting under.
- Avoid using flatteners or bleach products which can damage the glossy finish.
- Don’t cut food directly on Cambria counters. Always use a cutting board.
- Keep hot pots/pans on a trivet. While Cambria resists heat, direct high-heat could potentially damage the surface over time.
Proper care will keep your Cambria counters in great shape for over a decade. Be sure to read the full manufacturer care guidelines as well.
Cambria Quartz Warranty Information
One advantage of Cambria quartz over some natural stone options is that it comes with a solid 10-year limited warranty. This warranty covers manufacturing defects in materials/workmanship.
Specifically, the warranty covers:
- Excessive staining from household use not removed with proper care.
- Excessive damage from heat not caused by direct contact.
- Seam separation or delamination.
- Radon gas emission above EPA guidelines.
Make sure to have a certified Cambria installer do the countertop fabrication and register your warranty. Follow all the care guidelines properly. And contact Cambria as soon as any defect is noticed, providing photos and documentation.
Choosing the Best Cambria Countertops for Your Kitchen
With over 100 unique designs, choosing the right Cambria style and color for your kitchen is key. Here are some tips:
- Bring home samples to see colors in your space and lighting. Don’t rely on small store samples alone.
- Consider your cabinetry color and style. Cambria offers both light and dark options to pair well.
- Look at full slab images online to see the overall pattern and movement.
- Know the total square footage needed to calculate costs.
- Focus on popular neutral colors if concerned about resale value.
- Choose matte finishes to hide fingerprints/watermarks better.
It’s recommended to order all needed slabs at once for consistent color matching. This prevents getting different dye lots if adding more later.
Be sure to utilize a skilled fabricator to cut seams in the least conspicuous areas. Cambria’s designs hide seams well when installed properly.
Do Cambria Countertops Need to Be Sealed?
Thanks to their non-porous surface, Cambria counters do not require regular sealing. Natural stone counters need sealing to prevent stains and bacteria getting into tiny pores.
However, Cambria’s densified composition prevents any moisture or stains from being absorbed. So sealers only provide marginal extra protection for Cambria.
The one exception is sealing around sinks/faucets every 1-2 years with a flexible silicone caulk. This prevents water getting under the rim and damaging substrate materials. But the Cambria surface itself stays sealed and maintenance-free.
Cambria Countertops and Their Environmental Impact
Cambria puts an emphasis on eco-friendly manufacturing processes. Their Le Sueur, MN production facility runs on over 50% renewable energy. Water used at the plant is cleaned and re-used multiple times as well.
The company is also committed to responsible quartz mining without explosives. And Cambria slabs create very little waste in fabrication and installation compared to other surfaces.
However, there are still some environmental considerations:
- Raw quartz mining impacts local ecosystems. Cambria aims to reduce this but mining is inherently disruptive.
- Manufacturing quartz slabs requires energy for high heat/pressure. Cambria maximizes efficiency but energy costs exist.
- Some VOC emissions result from acrylic resins. Cambria uses the latest filtration systems to mitigate this.
- Transportation of raw materials and final slabs creates pollution. Regional production helps.
In summary, engineered quartz will never be as “green” as some reclaimed wood or composite options. However, Cambria aims to minimize environmental disruption where possible while meeting consumers’ desires.
Frequently Asked Questions about Cambria Countertops
Here are answers to some common questions about Cambria quartz:
Is Cambria more expensive than granite?
Cambria is generally 30-50% more expensive than granite. The precise difference depends on the specific slabs chosen. The resin binders and manufacturing process increase Cambria’s costs over naturally quarried granite.
Can you put hot pots on Cambria?
It’s best to use trivets or hot pads. While Cambria resists heat damage better than granite or marble, repeated direct high heat could eventually cause discoloration or cracks. However, minor daily use of hot pans should not be an issue.
Do Cambria countertops stain?
Simple spills wipe right off Cambria thanks to the non-porous surface. But highly acidic substances like lemon juice or red wine can stain or etch Cambria if left more than a few minutes. Quick cleanup prevents most stains.
How thick are Cambria countertops?
Cambria slabs come in 1.2 cm and 2 cm thicknesses. The standard 1.2 cm provides great durability for most home uses. 2 cm works well for heavier commercial settings. Edges can be built up thicker as well.
Can you repair Cambria quartz?
Minor scratches or chips can be carefully sanded and buffed out. But deeper damage requires a full replacement. One benefit of Cambria is that small sections can be seamlessly patched by a pro since matching dye lots are kept.
While Cambria countertops contain abundant natural quartz, they are technically an engineered quartz product thanks to their resin binders. This proprietary process gives Cambria enhanced durability, flexibility, and design options versus pure natural stone.
Cost and environmental impact are still considerations weighed against the low-maintenance durability Cambria provides. But many homeowners find the 10-year warranty and stain resistance worthwhile benefits.
Be sure to review the full range of Cambria colors and edges to find the right engineered quartz look your kitchen desires. And use a trusted professional fabricator to install and maintain your Cambria counters properly for lasting beauty.
Are Cambria Countertops Quartz? The Ultimate Guide
Cambria countertops have become an increasingly popular option for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects. Their stylish design and durability make them a go-to choice for many homeowners. But there is often some confusion around what Cambria countertops are actually made of. Are Cambria countertops real quartz or are they an engineered stone?
In this complete guide to Cambria countertops, we’ll cover everything you need to know:
What are Cambria Countertops Made Of?
Cambria countertops are made from quartz particles combined with polymeric resins. They consist of about 93% crushed quartz aggregate blended with approximately 7% acrylic binders and pigments.
So while Cambria contains abundant natural quartz, it is not 100% pure natural quartz. The added resins form a durable, non-porous surface that resists staining, scratching, and cracking better than pure stone.
How are Cambria Countertops Manufactured?
Cambria uses a Bretonstone® production process adapted from natural quartz manufacturing. Here are the key steps:
- Natural quartz is mined and then crushed into smaller particles.
- The crushed quartz is combined with liquid polymeric resins and pigments.
- The mixture is compacted at high pressure and vibrating energy to form a solid slab.
- The slab is then hardened at high temperatures in a curing oven.
- Finally, the surface is hand-polished to a smooth, glossy finish.
So in summary, crushed quartz aggregate provides the elegant appearance while resins deliver strength, durability, and vivid colors.
Why is Cambria Considered an Engineered Quartz?
While Cambria contains up to 93% crushed quartz, the 7% acrylic resins mean it is classified as an engineered stone, not purely natural quartz.
Engineered quartz like Cambria has some differences from 100% natural quartz:
- More consistent coloring and patterns.
- Wider range of colors and gloss levels.
- Higher flexural strength and density.
- Greater stain, scratch, and heat resistance.
The category of “engineered quartz” simply helps differentiate products like Cambria that blend quartz particles with resins versus pure, natural quartz surface slabs.
How Does Cambria Quartz Compare to Natural Quartz?
Cambria offers performance comparable to natural quartz thanks to its high crushed quartz content. Here is how they compare:
- Cambria has more uniform speckling versus natural quartz’s random veining.
- Cambria offers a wider range of colors and gloss finishes.
- Natural quartz is very hard and durable, but Cambria’s resins make it even more scratch and chip resistant.
- Cambria resists cracks from heat or impacts better than unmodified quartz.
- Both require very little maintenance. Cambria’s non-porous surface makes it the most stain proof.
- Pure quartz slabs are rare so can be more expensive in some colors.
- Cambria’s engineered process allows for competitive pricing.
- Natural quartz has more limited color range found in nature.
- Cambria provides many more color/finish options thanks to resins.
So Cambria gives homeowners incredible durability and low maintenance like natural quartz but with added design flexibility.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Cambria Quartz Countertops?
Cambria offers many beneficial features but also has some potential drawbacks to consider:
- Highly durable and scratch resistant surface
- Stain proof and non-porous
- Wide range of colors and patterns
- Easy maintenance
- Resists heat damage
- 10-year limited warranty
- Higher cost than some natural stone surfaces
- Visible seaming in some designs
- Can show fingerprints on highly polished finishes
- Certain chemicals can stain if left too long
Cambria’s durability and appearance make it a popular choice for those willing to invest more than the cost of granite or marble.
How Much Do Cambria Quartz Countertops Cost?
As a premium engineered quartz, Cambria sits at the higher end of countertop pricing:
- Cambria slabs: $55 – $125 per sq. ft.
- Installation: $40 – $100 per sq. ft.
- Total Costs: $100 – $225 per sq. ft. installed
Costs vary based on the complexity of installation, edge profiles chosen, and special Cambria colors selected. Be sure to get several installer quotes to find the best local price.
Caring for Cambria Countertops
The good news is that Cambria requires very little routine maintenance. Here are some care tips:
- Clean with mild soap and water. Avoid abrasives.
- Blot spills quickly to prevent possible staining.
- Reseal sinks and backsplashes yearly with silicone caulk.
- Avoid exposing to strong chemicals like paint removers.
- Use trivets for very hot pots and pans.
- Don’t cut directly on the counter surface.
Following the manufacturer care guidelines will keep Cambria counters looking like new for many years.
Cambria Quartz Warranty
One advantage of Cambria is that