Are Quartz Countertops Real Stone?

Quartz countertops have become incredibly popular in recent years as a durable, low-maintenance, and stylish option for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects. But despite their name, quartz countertops are not actually made from natural stone. So are quartz countertops real stone? The short answer is no – quartz countertops are engineered stone, made from crushed quartz combined with resins and pigments. However, quartz countertops contain over 90% ground natural quartz, so they have some qualities of natural stone while offering additional benefits.

What is Quartz?

Quartz is a mineral found abundantly in nature. It is comprised of silicon and oxygen atoms and is the second most common mineral in the Earth’s continental crust, after feldspar. Natural quartz is very durable – significantly harder than granite. Quartz is found in different varietal names according to color and grain pattern:

  • Rock crystal – clear and colorless
  • Amethyst – purple variety
  • Citrine – yellow variety
  • Smoky quartz – brown variety
  • Rose quartz – pink variety

While natural quartz can be used for countertops, it is extremely rare and expensive. Most quartz countertops consist of engineered stones made from crushed quartz.

How Are Quartz Countertops Made?

Quartz countertops are made by combining approximately 90% ground natural quartz aggregates with around 10% polyresin binders (polymer resins such as polyester). Pigments are added to the quartz and resin mixture to achieve the desired colors and patterns.

The quartz aggregates are ground into a fine powder before being combined with the resins and pigments. The mixture is compacted into slabs using a vacuum and vibration process that removes air pockets and compresses the material. This creates an extremely hard, non-porous, consistent surface. The slabs are then polished into the smooth, glossy finish of quartz countertops.

So while quartz countertops contain a high percentage of natural stone, they are not completely natural like granite or marble. The resin binds the crushed quartz into a durable, solid surface. The manufacturing process allows much more control and consistency over the final look and quality compared to natural stone.

Quarts Countertop Brands

There are several major brands of quartz countertops available:

  • Caesarstone – One of the first engineered quartz brands, founded in 1987. Offers a wide range of colors and styles.
  • Cambria – Made in the USA brand known for quality and service. More expensive but has a large color selection.
  • Silestone – Made by Spanish company Cosentino. Many bold colors and patterns available.
  • Viatera – Quartz with recycled glass fragments for sparkle and interest. Made by LG.
  • Hanstone – High-quality Korean brand with nature-inspired designs.
  • Quartz Master – Budget-friendly quartz line available at Home Depot.
  • LG Viatera – Combines quartz with recycled glass for a shimmering look.

The specific resins and manufacturing process varies slightly between brands, but all utilize over 90% natural quartz aggregates. The brand primarily affects the available colors, patterns, warranties, and price points.

Quartz Countertop Colors

One of the advantages of quartz over natural stone is the wider range of colors available. Since quartz aggregate can be mixed with pigments, manufacturers can produce engineered stones in almost any hue.

Some of the most popular quartz colors include:

  • Whites – Pure White, Nougat, Clamshell
  • Beiges – Beachwood, Taj Mahal, Delicatus Cream
  • Grays – London Gray, Rocky Grey, Concrete Gray
  • Blacks – Jet Black, Midnight, Starry Night
  • Blues – Blue Bahia, Calacatta Azure
  • Greens – Kryptonite, Minty Fresh
  • Reds – Santa Cecilia, Calacatta Rossa
  • Patterns – Calacatta Gold, Eternal Calacatta

The color options span neutral, earthy tones to bold and vivid hues. Many brands offer patterns that mimic exotic natural stones like marble or onyx. This wide spectrum allows homeowners to choose a quartz countertop color that fits their aesthetic vision.

Benefits of Quartz Countertops

There are many advantages that make quartz a highly desirable and popular choice for countertops:

Durability – Quartz rates 7 out of 10 on the Mohs hardness scale, harder than granite at 6 or marble at 3. This makes it very scratch and chip resistant. Quartz countertops do not need to be sealed.

Low Maintenance – Non-porous quartz resists stains, won’t harbor bacteria, and never needs to be sealed. Simple soap and water is all that is required to keep quartz sparkling.

Consistency – The manufacturing process removes natural stone’s variations. The entire quartz slab will have uniform coloring and patterns.

Heat Resistance – Quartz can withstand heat up to 212°F without damage. However, trivets are still recommended for very hot pans.

Non-Toxic – Quartz does not emit radon gas like some natural stones. It is VOC-free and food-safe.

Cost – More affordable than natural stone like marble or granite while offering extra durability. Specific price depends on brand.

Wide Range of Colors/Patterns – Manufacturing process allows colors and patterns not found in nature. Great for matching any design style.

Quartz combines many of the best attributes of natural stone and solid surfaces. When comparing countertop materials, quartz often comes out favorably in terms of appearance, durability, maintenance, and cost.

Quartz Countertops vs. Granite

Granite is a popular natural stone option. How does engineered quartz compare to traditional granite for countertops?

Appearance – Granite offers a completely unique look with natural variations. Quartz has more controlled, uniform patterns but unlimited colors.

Durability – Quartz is harder than granite on the Mohs scale. Less prone to scratches, chips or cracks.

Maintenance – Quartz never needs sealing, granite requires yearly sealing. Quartz resists stains.

Heat Tolerance – Granite can withstand higher heat. Quartz should have trivets for very hot pans.

Cost – Similar installed price range, but quartz provides more consistency. Granite has greater high-end cost.

Edges – Quartz has harder edges less prone to chipping. Granite can chip or crack over time.

Both offer natural beauty and quality. Overall quartz edges out granite in durability and maintenance while offering more colors. Granite excels in exotic high-end looks.

Pros and Cons of Quartz Countertops

No material is perfect. Here is a summary of the key advantages and disadvantages of quartz:


  • Extremely durable and scratch resistant surface
  • Requires very little maintenance
  • Resists stains, etching, and heat damage
  • Non-porous so doesn’t harbor bacteria
  • Wide range of consistent colors and patterns
  • Neutral non-toxic material


  • Not heat proof – trivets still required
  • Can chip if subjected to impact blows
  • Seams more visible than natural stone
  • Limited high-end exotic designs like granite
  • Can feel slightly artificial compared to “real” stone

Overall quartz offers significant durability and maintenance benefits compared to natural stone while lacking the uniqueness and heat tolerance of materials like granite.

How Much Do Quartz Countertops Cost?

Quartz countertops range from $50-$100 per square foot installed. However, prices vary based on:

  • Brand – Premium brands like Cambria run $80-$120 per square foot installed. Value brands like IKEA can be under $50 per square foot.
  • Color/Pattern – More basic solid colors are cheaper than exotic patterns resembling marble/granite.
  • Edge Options – Decorative edges like ogee or bevel cost more to fabricate. Basic square edge is most affordable.
  • Installer – Prices range from $40 per hour for handymen to $100+ per hour for specialized fabricators.
  • Location – Materials and labor tend to cost more in major metro areas.

A typical 30 square foot straight-edged quartz countertop from Home Depot runs $1500-$2500 installed. High-end quartz with intricate edges can be $5000+. Always get 3+ quotes to compare costs.

How to Choose the Best Quartz Countertops

Picking the perfect quartz requires considering your budget, kitchen style, and priorities like durability vs natural looks. Follow these tips:

  • Narrow down top 2-3 color/pattern options that fit your decor. Order free samples to view in your space.
  • Research quartz brands and read reviews on quality, durability, and warranty.
  • Decide on your ideal edge style – square, bevel, ogee, etc. Edges impact installation cost.
  • Pick a reputable installer known for quality fabrication and customer service.
  • Review your total budget and get 3+ written estimates before selecting a bid.
  • Double check that the quote includes details like number of cutouts needed, edge profiles, and seam locations.

Be open to suggestions from design consultants. Don’t rush the decision – take your time selecting the perfect quartz countertops.

Caring for Quartz Countertops

Caring for quartz requires minimal maintenance:

  • For everyday cleaning, use a soft sponge or cloth with mild soap and water.
  • Rinse thoroughly after cleaning and dry with a soft towel to prevent water spots.
  • For stubborn stains, use a non-abrasive cleaner designed for stone surfaces.
  • Avoid exposing quartz to strong chemicals like paint removers, oven cleaners, etc.
  • Use trivets or hot pads under hot pans, pots, and plates. While quartz is heat resistant, prolonged direct heat can cause damage over time.
  • Reseal quartz annually using a stone sealer product to enhance stain protection.
  • Clean up spills immediately to prevent the possibility of stubborn staining.

With simple care, quartz countertops will stay beautiful and durable for many years. No special cleaning products are required.


Is quartz actually stone?

No, quartz is an engineered composite made from approximately 90% crushed natural quartz and 10% polymer resins. So it is not 100% natural stone but contains a high percentage of stone particles.

Is quartz poreous?

No, quartz is non-poreous thanks to the resin binders used in manufacturing. Unlike natural stone, it never requires sealing and does not absorb liquids.

Can quartz crack or chip?

Quartz is highly resistant to chips and cracks thanks to its durability. However, it can chip if subjected to significant impact blows. Proper fabrication and installation is key to prevent seams from separating.

Is quartz toxic?

No, quartz countertops are considered non-toxic and VOC-free. They are an inert material that does not emit radon gas or contaminants. Quartz is food-safe.

How long do quartz countertops last?

With proper care and maintenance, quartz countertops typically last 20-25 years. Some brands offer a lifetime warranty. Over time quartz can develop minor scratches and lose some glossiness.

Can you cut on quartz countertops?

Yes, quartz can be cut on as it resists scratches and knicks. However, using a cutting board is still recommended to maintain the best appearance over time. Quartz is not indestructible.

Can quartz get wet?

Yes, quartz countertops are impermeable to liquids so getting them wet is not an issue. Water spots can occur but simply wiping dry prevents buildup. Quartz does not need to be sealed.

Is quartz cheaper than granite?

Quartz and granite have overlapping price ranges, but quartz on average is $10-20 less per square foot installed.Exact pricing depends on the slabs chosen. Overall granite may have greater high-end prices.


While not a 100% natural stone, quartz countertops offer many benefits – durability, low maintenance, color options, and style. By combining ground quartz with polymer resins, manufacturers create an engineered stone that outperforms natural materials in scratch resistance, consistency, and care. Quartz is also more budget-friendly than exotic granite or marble. With minimal routine care, quartz countertops stay beautiful for decades, making it a sound investment for transforming kitchens and bathrooms. If the sleek polished look matches your home decor, quartz could be the perfect choice for your next remodeling project.