Are Quartz Countertops Man-Made or Natural?

Quartz countertops have become increasingly popular in recent years for use in kitchens and bathrooms. But an important question that often comes up is whether quartz countertops are man-made or natural. The answer is a bit complex.

What is Quartz?

Quartz is a mineral that occurs naturally in the earth’s crust. It’s incredibly hard and resistant to both scratches and heat. Pure natural quartz contains only silicon dioxide and is colorless or white.

The Composition of Quartz Countertops

Quartz countertops are made from crushed quartz combined with resin and pigments. The exact ratio can vary between brands, but quartz countertops typically contain:

  • 90-94% crushed quartz
  • 6-10% polymer resins
  • Pigments for color

So while natural quartz is used in the manufacturing process, other ingredients are added to create the finished product. This means quartz countertops should be considered engineered stone or man-made.

Why Natural Quartz Isn’t Used Alone

Using 100% natural quartz wouldn’t make for a very practical countertop. Here’s why:

  • Appearance – Pure natural quartz is colorless and boring. Pigments must be added to create appealing colors and patterns.
  • Durability – Natural quartz is brittle. Resins are required to hold the crushed quartz together in a durable slab.
  • Workability – Natural quartz in its raw form cannot be cast into countertop slabs. Resins allow it to be poured and molded.

So in summary, while quartz countertops do derive their core material from a natural source, they go through considerable processing and addition of other ingredients before arriving at the finished product. This puts them firmly in the man-made category.

The Benefits of Engineered Quartz

The fact that quartz countertops are engineered gives them advantages over pure natural stone:

  • Consistent appearance – Manufacturers can carefully control the look of each slab.
  • Greater durability – More resistant to chips, cracks, and scratches.
  • Easier maintenance – Don’t require sealing or frequent polishing.
  • Hygienic – Non-porous so don’t harbor bacteria.
  • Customizable colors – Available in countless colors and patterns.

So while man-made, quartz combines natural beauty with enhanced practicality.

Quartz vs. Other Countertop Materials

How does engineered quartz compare to other common countertop options in terms of being man-made versus natural?

  • Granite – 100% natural stone that’s mined and cut into slabs.
  • Marble – Also 100% natural stone that’s quarried and polished.
  • Laminate – Man-made from synthetic materials bonded to wood substrate.
  • Solid surface – Entirely man-made from acrylic resins and pigments.
  • Stainless steel – A natural material that’s alloyed and factory-fabricated.

So quartz falls somewhere in the middle on the spectrum between natural and synthetic countertop materials.

Is One Better Than the Other?

There’s no definitive answer to whether natural or man-made countertops are superior. Each have their own sets of pros and cons.

Natural stones like granite and marble have an undeniable elegance. But they require more maintenance and are prone to etching, staining, and cracking.

Man-made options like quartz and solid surface boast enhanced durability and built-in stain and scratch resistance. But some may prefer the unique look of natural stone.

Much depends on your priorities – aesthetics, ease of care, and budget may all steer you towards different options. It becomes a matter of choosing the right balance of qualities for your needs.

The Takeaway

While containing natural quartz, engineered quartz countertops undergo considerable processing with added resins, polymers, and pigments. This means quartz countertops are man-made rather than purely natural stone.

The fact they are engineered gives quartz countertops certain advantages over natural stone. But neither man-made or natural options are inherently superior across the board. Consider your own priorities to decide which type of countertop is the right fit for your kitchen or bath.

FAQ About Quartz Countertops

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about quartz countertops to help clarify the man-made vs. natural debate:

Are quartz countertops totally artificial?

No, quartz countertops are not totally artificial. They contain a high percentage of natural quartz in their composition. However, they undergo manufacturing processes that blend the quartz with resins and polymers. This makes them engineered rather than 100% natural.

What percentage of quartz countertops is actually natural?

Most quartz countertops contain 90-94% natural crushed quartz. The remaining 6-10% consists of binding resins and pigments that enable the countertop slab to be fabricated.

Should quartz be considered natural stone?

Quartz itself is indeed a natural stone. However, quartz countertops have additional ingredients added during manufacturing. This means they are better categorized as engineered stone or man-made composites rather than pure natural stone.

Can you get 100% natural quartz countertops?

It’s not practical to make countertops from 100% natural quartz. The stone in its pure form is too brittle and prone to cracks. The resins and polymers are essential for cohesion and structural integrity. A small percentage of binding agents are needed to create durable countertop slabs.

What makes quartz countertops man-made?

It’s the addition of the polyresin binders and pigments that makes quartz countertops man-made. Natural quartz on its own cannot be cast into countertop slabs. The additional ingredients allow the crushed quartz to be molded and fabricated.

Doquartz countertops require sealing?

No. Because quartz countertops are non-porous, they do not require periodic sealing like some natural stones. The resin binds the crushed quartz into a dense slab that resists moisture penetration. This makes maintenance easier.

Are quartz countertops more durable than natural stone?

Yes. Thanks to their engineered composition, quartz countertops are less prone to chips, cracks, and scratches than natural stone options like granite and marble. They offer improved durability and wear resistance.


While incorporating a natural material, quartz countertops combine crushed quartz with synthetic resins and binders that enable fabrication into durable, high-performance slabs. This man-made production allows quartz countertops to possess qualities that natural quartz alone does not.

When choosing between natural and man-made countertop materials, consider factors like appearance, maintenance, durability, and cost. For many homeowners today, the enhanced practicality of engineered quartz makes it a top choice over natural stone options. Thanks to innovations in manufacturing, we can enjoy the beauty of quartz in a more resilient, customizable, and affordable countertop solution.