Quartz countertops have become incredibly popular in recent years for home kitchens and bathrooms. Known for their stylish appearance and extreme durability, quartz counters are an ideal choice for high-traffic areas that demand both beauty and brawn. But one key question homeowners have when considering quartz is: are quartz countertops non porous?
What Does Non Porous Mean?
A non porous material is one that does not have pores or openings in its surface. Pores allow space for liquids and contaminants to seep into the material, causing stains. A non porous surface repels liquid, resisting stains and damage.
When we talk about countertops being non porous, we mean the material does not absorb moisture, dyes, or stains. Liquids lie on top of the counter instead of soaking in. This makes non porous counters much easier to clean and maintain.
Are Natural Quartz Stones Non Porous?
In their raw natural form, quartz crystals and quartzite rock contain tiny pores, cracks, and holes. So untreated, natural quartz and quartzite are slightly porous.
However, natural quartz used for countertops goes through manufacturing processes that fill in pores and make the material non porous. Crushed quartz gets combined with pigments and resin to create an impervious solid slab.
So while raw natural quartz contains pores, engineered quartz countertops effectively become non porous through manufacturing. This makes quartz an excellent non porous surface for kitchens and baths.
What Makes Quartz Countertops Non Porous?
Quartz counters are made from roughly 90% ground natural quartz aggregate which gets mixed with polyresin adhesives (around 10% of the material). The resin binds the quartz particles together into an impermeable, uniform slab.
The resin essentially seals all the microscopic pores within the quartz, creating a dense surface resistant to moisture. This makes quartz unlike granite, marble, and other natural stones that remain porous unless sealed.
Additionally, some quartz manufacturers add bituminous coal, mirrored glass, pearls, shells, or other synthetic additives to make unique quartz varieties. But regardless of aesthetic add-ins, all quartz contains resin that renders the material non porous.
How Does a Non Porous Quartz Surface Compare to Other Countertops?
- Granite: Requires periodic sealing to fill surface pores and prevent staining. Over time sealants wear off, making reapplication necessary. Untreated granite is somewhat porous.
- Marble: Very porous and readily absorbs liquids, leading to stains. Needs thorough sealing to reduce porosity. Marble is a high maintenance countertop surface.
- Laminate: Made from resin-saturated paper so typically non porous. But lower quality laminates can swell from moisture over time. Durability is also low compared to natural stone and quartz.
- Solid Surface: Acrylic-based resins create a waterproof, non porous material. Seamless installation gives a smooth look. But solid surface scratches easier than quartz.
- Stainless Steel: An impervious, non porous surface resistant to stains but prone to showing scratches, fingerprints, and water marks without constant cleaning.
- Tile: Porcelain or ceramic tile can be porous or non porous depending on material density and glazing. Unglazed natural tiles require sealing.
Quartz combines the non porous advantage of solid surfaces with the aesthetics and durability of natural stone. This puts quartz far above more high-maintenance materials like granite and marble for kitchen and bath areas.
Are All Quartz Countertops Completely Non Porous?
While resin-based engineering makes quartz slabs non porous, no material is 100% impervious under all conditions for all time. Here are some important considerations:
- Over time, strong chemicals like drain cleaner can degrade and etch quartz resin if not promptly cleaned. Acidic substances may slowly erode the surface.
- Cracks and cuts in the slab expose inner quartz material which lacks the protective resin layer, creating potential for liquids to absorb.
- Poor seam and joint installation can allow moisture seepage where slabs meet or around sinks/faucets. Quality fabrication is key.
- Cookware from the stove can temporarily heat and soften the quartz resin surface, increasing porosity until cooling. Always use trivets.
With proper care and maintenance, quartz countertops will remain non porous and waterproof for decades. But no material is completely invulnerable under extreme conditions of abuse, neglect, or accidents. still, quartz ranks among the most durable and impervious counters available.
What Are the Benefits of Quartz Being Non Porous?
The non porous nature of quartz counters provides several advantages that make it a top choice among homeowners:
- Resists Stains: Liquids sit on top of quartz instead of soaking in and leaving permanent marks. Spills wipe away easily.
- Inhibits Bacterial Growth: Porous surfaces can harbor bacteria in pores. Non porous quartz leaves nowhere for microbes to grow.
- Prevents Damage: With no pores for moisture to seep into, quartz avoids cracking, swelling, eroding that afflicts porous materials like wood and natural stone.
- Low Maintenance: Never requires sealing or treating to fill pores. Easy wiping keeps quartz clean versus high-maintenance sealing of surfaces like granite.
- Long Lifespan: Quartz is unaffected by exposure to water and everyday use that can degrade more porous materials. Maintains like-new condition for years.
Thanks to its non porous resin composition, quartz offers hygienic, stain-resistant, low-maintenance durability perfect for kitchens. For baths, non porous quartz prevents water absorption that leads to swelling, cracks, mold, and mildew in porous surfaces.
How to Clean and Care for Non Porous Quartz
Caring for quartz requires far less effort than porous counters. Here are some easy tips for keeping quartz non porous surfaces looking like new:
- Use mild soap and water for daily cleaning. Avoid abrasive cleaners or pads that could scratch.
- Rinse cleaning solution thoroughly and dry with a soft cloth to prevent buildup of residue.
- Blot spills immediately before they have a chance to set and stain.
- For stubborn dried-on messes, use a non-abrasive cleaning pad with a small amount of glass cleaner.
- Cut fruits, vegetables, and other foods directly on the quartz surface without worry of stains.
- Always set hot pots, pans, and baking dishes on trivets. Allow cookware to fully cool before touching quartz.
- Reseal joints every 1-2 years using a quartz-safe sealant formulated for stone surfaces.
With just simple care, quartz maintains its non porous integrity and resistant beauty. More intensive maintenance like resealing is unnecessary, unlike upkeep for porous granite or marble.
Can You Seal Quartz Countertops?
Because engineered quartz slabs are non porous, sealing is typically not needed. In fact, sealing quartz is generally not recommended for a few reasons:
- Adds No Benefit: Sealants cannot penetrate into the dense non porous quartz material. Applied sealant simply forms a film on the impervious surface.
- Attracts Dirt: Sealant film on the quartz can encourage dirt, grime, and grease to stick to the countertop. This leads to more frequent cleaning.
- Alters Appearance: Sealant can change the look of the quartz, creating a hazy, dull, or yellowed appearance as the coating ages over time.
- Difficult Removal: Getting rid of a sealant applied to quartz requires sanding or stripping to return the surface to its original state.
Sealing is only needed for natural stone countertops like granite, marble, slate, limestone, and soapstone that contain inherent pores in the material. Since quartz is engineered to be non porous, sealants provide no real value.
Signs Your Quartz Countertops are Losing Non Porous Properties
While quartz countertops are meant to retain their non porous qualities for life, sometimes problems can develop:
- Stains setting into the surface: If liquids are absorbing instead of beading up, the resin barrier may be compromised.
- Discoloration or darkened areas: Indicates moisture is penetrating into the material instead of wiping away.
- Cracks or pitting: Can form when moisture seeps through broken resin bonds and erodes the quartz particles.
- Whitish film: Typically a sign of calcium deposits being left behind from hard water, suggesting the quartz is becoming porous.
- Mold or mildew growth: Since quartz provides no place for mildew to take hold, biological growth signifies increasing porosity.
If any signs of quartz losing its non porous nature arise, consult a countertop professional. They can diagnose the cause and remedy the problem to restore proper function.
Can You Make Quartz Non Porous Again?
If for some reason quartz counters begin acting porous, the resin bonds likely have been compromised. This can happen after many years of use, from extreme heat/cold, or chemicals that degrade the resin layer.
While quartz cannot be re-sealed like natural stone, professional restoration can help rejuvenate the non porous quality in many cases. Options include:
- Polishing/Refinishing: Grinding and polishing removes superficial damage and exposes the intact resin layer underneath.
- Resurfacing: Coating chips, scratches, and other flaws with color-matched polyester or epoxy resin.
- Spot Repair: Filling cracks, chips, and localized pores with clear resin matched to the original quartz material.
- Full Resurfacing: Applying new layers of resin finish over the entire quartz surface to renew non porous protection.
With professional renewal treatments, the non porous nature and beauty of quartz countertops can be restored to like-new condition. Costs vary depending on size and scope of restoration needed.
Are There Non Porous Alternatives to Natural Stone?
For homeowners who love the look of granite, marble, and other natural stones but want a non porous, low-maintenance surface, several options exist:
- Quartzite: A metamorphic rock with beauty similar to granite but denser composition less prone to porosity. Requires little sealing.
- Dekton: A mixture of glass, porcelain, and quartz compressed into an ultra-dense slab. Completely non porous and stain proof.
- Sintered Stone: Granite, quartz, and other materials fused into a porous-free solid surface. Offers and elegant natural look.
- Soapstone: Made of dense talc rather than porous minerals yet often sealed due to staining. Gives a soft, matte finish.
While natural in appearance, these engineered stones achieve non porous properties through manufacturing processes that granite and other stones lack. This allows durable, impervious use in kitchens and baths.
FAQ About Non Porous Quartz Countertops
Some common questions about the non porous nature of quartz counters include:
Are quartz countertops more non porous than granite?
Yes, quartz is far more non porous than granite. While granite requires periodic sealing to fill pores, quartz is impervious to moisture by design. Liquids cannot penetrate engineered quartz.
Does quartz need to be resealed over time?
No, resealing is not required for quartz countertops. Only porous materials like natural stone and wood need resealing as existing sealants wear off. The resin matrix of quartz maintains its non porous quality indefinitely.
Can quartz counters stain?
While extremely resistant, quartz counters can stain under extreme conditions. Prolonged exposure to strong chemicals and dyes, or high heat allowing temporary penetration, makes staining possible but unlikely.
Is quartz more non porous than marble?
Absolutely – marble is highly porous and readily stains, etching from even weak acids. Quartz is near totally non porous and impervious to stains and etching under normal use.
Does spilling wine on quartz leave a stain?
Thanks to the non porous resin binder, wine spills and juices will bead up on quartz rather than absorb. The stain-resistant surface lets most spills wipe away with no trace.
Can hair dye or makeup stain quartz counters?
No, the non porous surface prevents absorption of hair and makeup dyes. As long as spills are promptly cleaned, these products will not permanently stain or discolor quartz.
With their durable, non porous composition, quartz countertops offer timeless beauty and practicality perfect for kitchens and bathrooms. Made from ground quartz bonded with impervious resin, engineered quartz resists stains, inhibits bacteria growth, prevents damage, simplifies cleaning, and retains its like-new appearance for decades – unlike more high-maintenance porous natural stone surfaces that require regular sealing. For homeowners seeking the look of granite and other stones but the low-maintenance functionality of a non porous material, quartz provides the ideal balance of aesthetics and real-world resistance. With their engineered non porous durability, striking artistic styles, and carefree maintenance, quartz countertops deliver stunning sophisticated style to any home environment.