Quartz countertops have become an incredibly popular option for kitchen and bathroom remodels over the past decade. But with any trendy material, the question arises – are quartz countertops just a passing fad, or are they here to stay? In this detailed article, we’ll examine what makes quartz countertops so popular right now, look at the pros and cons of quartz counters, and analyze whether quartz countertops are still trendy or on their way out.
What is Quartz?
Before looking at why quartz counters are so on-trend, let’s briefly overview what exactly quartz countertops are made of.
Quartz is a engineered stone material that is made from crushed quartz particles combined with plastic resins and pigments. The quartz provides strength and durability, while the resins allow the material to be molded into countertop slabs.
Unlike natural stone materials like granite and marble, quartz is non-porous and does not need to be regularly sealed. And because quartz slabs are made from crushed particles, they do not have the same veining or variations found in natural stone. This gives quartz a more uniform “man-made” look.
The Rise of Quartz Popularity
Quartz counters first became popular in the early 2000s as an alternative to granite and solid surface materials like Corian. Early quartz options like Caesarstone pioneered the material and made it an accessible option for the mass market.
Quartz popularity really took off in the 2010s, with the material becoming one of the most widely used higher-end countertop options for kitchen and bath remodels. By 2016, quartz accounted for over 30% of countertop sales.
There are several factors that fueled quartz’s rise to popularity:
- Durability – Quartz is highly scratch, chip, and stain resistant. It can stand up to heavy day-to-day use better than many other counter options.
- Ease of Maintenance – Since quartz is non-porous, it does not require yearly sealing like natural stone. Simple cleaning is all it needs.
- Consistent Patterning – The uniform look of quartz appeals to many homeowners. There are a wide variety of colors and patterns available.
- Heat Resistance – Quartz holds up to heat better than solid surfaces like Corian. Hot pans can be placed directly on quartz counters.
- Affordability – While still pricier than options like laminate, quartz counters are more affordable than natural stone. The price has come down as manufacturing has improved.
With this winning combination of features, it’s no wonder quartz became the “it” material for upscale kitchen and bathroom remodels. The material seemed to offer the beauty of natural stone with added durability and less maintenance.
Quartz Countertop Pros
Now that quartz has become so popular in homes across North America and Europe, let’s examine some of its key benefits and advantages:
The resin binders used in quartz make it highly resistant to scratches, chips, cracks, and heat damage. It holds up better to heavy impact and daily wear-and-tear than most other counter materials. You can place hot pans on quartz or chop veggies directly on the surface without damage.
Quartz’s durability makes it ideal for busy kitchens and bathrooms. For homeowners with young children or accident-prone family members, quartz offers more peace of mind than delicate natural stone surfaces.
Once installed, quartz requires very little maintenance besides routine cleaning. Since it is non-porous, quartz does not have to be sealed on a yearly basis to prevent staining and damage.
Simple wiping with a soft cloth and warm soapy water is enough to keep quartz counters clean. Or you can occasionally disinfect the surface with a quartz-safe cleaner. Avoid abrasive scrub pads or harsh chemicals that could damage the finish.
The low-maintenance nature of quartz is a big draw for many homeowners who want beautiful counters without the hassle.
With engineered quartz, the speckled particles and patterns run throughout the entire thickness of the slab. So if the surface does get lightly scratched or damaged, the base color and pattern remain consistent.
The uniform appearance provides a clean, contemporary look. And the wide range of colors and styles available means there is a quartz option to fit almost any design aesthetic.
Quartz can mimic patterns like marble or granite while avoiding the variation and imperfections found in natural stone slabs. For those desiring an elegant yet consistent look, quartz delivers.
Unlike granite, marble, and other natural stones, quartz does not absorb liquids. This makes it very resistant to stains from spills, oils, and acidic foods.
Quartz counters are also impervious to damage from moisture. You don’t have to wipe up spills urgently for fear of staining or discoloration.
The non-porous nature of quartz also makes the material highly resistant to the growth of bacteria and microorganisms. Without pores for germs to settle into, quartz provides an hygienic surface for food prep.
For those wanting countertops meeting health and safety standards, quartz is an ideal choice. This explains its popularity in hospitals, laboratories, and commercial food service environments.
Quartz counters can withstand brief exposures to temperatures up to 300°F. This means normal cooking tasks like placing hot pans or setting down baked goods directly on the surface are not an issue.
The heat resistance also makes quartz suitable near ovens or other heat-generating appliances. Solid surface materials like Corian are more prone to heat damage.
While still pricier than options like laminate, engineered quartz counters have become more affordable as manufacturing techniques improve. The average price of quartz is now competitive with higher-end choices like granite or marble.
And quartz requires less frequent sealing and maintenance, saving homeowners money down the road. The material offers an attractive combination of aesthetics, durability, and price.
Quartz Countertop Cons
However, quartz countertops are not perfect. There are some downsides and disadvantages to weigh when considering a quartz installation:
Can Cause Damage if Improperly Installed
To achieve the smooth appearance most desire, quartz countertops must be precisely measured, cut, and installed properly. DIY installation is not advised.
If adjoining counters, backsplashes, or supports are not adequately accounted for, the weight of the quartz slab can lead to cracking or separation over time. Professionally installing the counters is highly recommended.
With quartz, you get a uniform engineered product. Unlike natural stone with unique veining and patterns, it’s difficult to create “one-of-a-kind” quartz pieces.
Edging, backsplashes, and built-in designs can be customized. But the look of the slab itself has minimal variation. For those desiring totally unique counters, quartz may not satisfy.
Requires Replacement if Damaged
While quartz resists scratches and damage when properly cared for, the material can chip or crack if subjected to significant impact. Because the color and pattern run through the entire slab, repairs are difficult. Total replacement of damaged sections is often needed.
Can Develop a Haze Over Time
Exposure to grease, oils, and cleaning chemicals over several years can cause some quartz counters to develop an opaque “haze” on the surface. Luckily this can be buffed out by a professional. But it’s an inconvenience for long-term owners.
Limited Thickness Options
Quartz slabs intended for countertops are only produced in a narrow range of thicknesses – usually 3/4 inch to 1 1/4 inches. Unique edging or dramatic overhangs are not really possible.
Requires Professional Installation
As mentioned earlier, quartz counters must be carefully installed and supported to prevent cracks and damage. DIY installation often ends badly. Professional fabrication and installation adds to the overall cost.
While quartz counters have become more affordable and competitive with materials like granite, they remain one of the pricier options for countertops. Budget buyers or those desiring a temporary solution may want to consider lower-priced alternatives.
Is Quartz Still Trendy for 2023?
Now that we’ve looked closely at why quartz initially became popular, along with its key pros and cons, the big question remains – are quartz countertops still a trendy choice for 2023?
Several factors indicate quartz counters are here to stay as a leading choice for upscale kitchen and bath remodels:
- Consistent Popularity Over Time – Unlike some “flash in the pan” trends that spike then quickly fade, quartz has maintained steady growth in popularity for over 15 years now.
- Advances in Design – Quartz manufacturers keep innovating with new patterns and visual styles that provide more design versatility.quartz with a marble-look and greater variation in veining have grown more popular recently.
- Growth of Durable Surfaces – Consumers today are more conscious of sustainability and want surfaces that endure. Quartz aligns better with this mindset than fragile options like marble.
- Declining Costs – Manufacturing advancements are making quartz more affordable and available at lower price points. Cost is becoming less of an obstacle.
- Kitchen & Bath Trends – Current trends like contemporary, minimalist, and transitional designs are well-complemented by quartz’s streamlined appearance.
- Hygiene Concerns – After COVID-19, sanitation is a higher priority for homeowners. Quartz’s non-porous nature provides reassuring hygiene.
While no material remains trendy forever, quartz shows no signs of falling out of favor anytime soon. If maintained properly, quartz owners can expect decades of fashionable and functional use from their counters.
Should You Consider Quartz Countertops?
If you’re planning a kitchen or bathroom remodel, quartz counters deserve strong consideration for the project. But weigh the pros and cons carefully before making a decision.
Quartz is ideal for homeowners who:
- Prioritize durability and easy maintenance
- Prefer a contemporary, uniform aesthetic
- Like the wide range of colors and styles available
- Have concerns about hygiene or sanitation
- Seek an alternative to natural stone that’s less prone to damage
However, quartz may not satisfy people who:
- Want truly unique, one-of-a-kind counters
- Prefer natural stone with intricate veining and patterns
- Have a limited budget or desire a temporary solution
- Plan to tackle installation as a DIY project
Carefully think through your needs, preferences, and plans for the space. Consult with knowledgeable kitchen and bath designers.
Examine quartz slabs in person to get a feel for the material. If quartz seems like the right fit, it will likely retain its beauty and function for decades to come.
Maintaining Your Quartz Countertops
To keep your quartz counters looking like new for years to come, follow these care and maintenance guidelines:
- For routine cleaning, wipe down surfaces with warm water and a mild soap or detergent. Rinse thoroughly and dry with a soft cloth.
- Disinfect periodically with an antimicrobial quartz cleaner or hydrogen peroxide-based cleaner. This prevents the growth of bacteria.
- Immediately wipe up spills, oils, and acidic substances like wine or fruit juice. Don’t let them sit on the surface.
- Avoid harsh chemicals and abrasive pads. Use soft cloths when cleaning.
- Place hot pans and bakeware on trivets. While quartz resists heat, prolonged direct contact with extremely hot items could cause damage.
- Cut and chop carefully on the counters. While quartz is very durable, sharp knife edges can cut into the surface over time. Use a cutting board to protect your counters.
- Have surfaces professionally buffed and cleaned every 2-3 years by a reputable company. This minimizes etching and maintains the glossy finish.
With occasional seals and careful cleaning, your quartz counters will stay looking like new for decades. It’s a sound long-term investment.
Popular Brands of Quartz Countertops
If you’ve decided to install quartz counters, there are many excellent brand options to choose from. Some of the most popular and reputable quartz countertop brands include:
Caesarstone – The original quartz brand that pioneered engineered stone surfaces in 1987. Known for quality and durability.
Cambria – Made in the USA, Cambria offers a diverse array of stylish quartz designs. Has an earthy, less uniform look.
Silestone – Offers Integrity quartz counters famous for stain and scratch resistance. Wide range of vivid colors.
LG Viatera – High-end offering with glossy polished finish. Unique glass, shell, and fiber add-ins provide depth.
Quartz Master – Budget-friendly quartz brand sold through Home Depot. More limited colors and styles.
MSI Q Premium – Affordable quartz with unique designs like seashell and mother of pearl. Stocked at Lowe’s.
Cosentino Dekton – Ultra-durable “ultracompact” surfaces with quartz-like properties. Unlimited designs available.
When selecting a manufacturer, be sure to personally inspect the slabs in the color/pattern you like. Quality and consistency varies somewhat between different brands. Buy from a reputable local fabricator who stocks your preferred brand.
How Much Do Quartz Countertops Cost?
Quartz countertops range in price from $40 per square foot on the low end to over $100 per square foot for premium brands. According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, expect to pay an average of $57-$75 per square foot installed.
Factors impacting the total cost include:
- Brand – Prices range based on the manufacturer. Caesarstone averages $70-$100 per square foot while budget options like Quartz Master can run as low as $40 per square foot.
- Color and Pattern – More exotic or complex designs command higher prices. A neutral white or grey basic pattern is most affordable.
- Fabrication – The cutting, edging, polishing, and installation work impact cost. Intricate pieces with special edges run higher.
- Thickness – Three-quarter inch is standard. Going up to 1 1/4 inches for a more substantial feel increases cost.
- Region – Prices fluctuate across the country based on local supply and demand. Quartz may cost more in some design-focused metro areas.
For a 30 square foot quartz countertop installation, expect total costs around $1,700 on the low end up to $3,000 on the high end. Shop around for best pricing, but don’t sacrifice quality to save money.
Quartz vs. Granite Countertops
For homeowners deciding between natural stone and quartz, how does quartz compare to popular granite countertops? Here’s a look:
- Granite is only available in a limited range of natural colors and patterns. Quartz offers many more man-made design options.
- Quartz has more uniform patterning throughout the slab. Granite has natural variations that emerge after fabrication.
- Quartz is less prone to staining, etching, and cracking than granite. It also needs less sealing/maintenance.
- Granite can develop bacteria growth if not properly sealed and cleaned. Non-porous quartz has better hygiene.
- Granite offers unique, one-of-a-kind aesthetics. Quartz has a more uniform “man-made” look.
- Granite can last longer than quartz when both are properly maintained. But quartz lasts long enough to suit most homes.
- Quartz is usually 10-20% more affordable than granite. Price advantage depends on brands chosen.
For most homeowners, quartz delivers the best combination of aesthetics, durability, and affordability when choosing between the two popular counters. But granite still appeals to those desiring a classic, timeless look.
Quartz Countertops – Still Trendy But Here to Stay
In conclusion, quartz countertops remain a hugely popular choice for upscale kitchen and bathroom renovations in 2023. Their clean, contemporary aesthetic and reputation for durability continue to make them a sought-after material.
While no countertop trend remains on top forever, quartz shows no signs of declining. Thanks to innovations in design and manufacturing, quartz should retain its popularity well into the future.
If considering a remodel, be sure to examine quartz options closely. Carefully weigh the pros and cons against your needs, lifestyle, and taste. While not right for every home, for most settings quartz delivers an ideal blend of fashion-forward appeal and lasting performance.
With proper care and maintenance, quartz owners can enjoy their beautiful and functional counters for decades to come. For a countertop material that combines style, durability, and just the right touch of trendiness, quartz ticks all the boxes.