Are There Different Levels of Quartz Countertops?

Quartz countertops are a popular choice for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects due to their durability, low maintenance, and stylish appearance. While quartz countertops may seem similar on the surface, there are actually different levels and quality grades to consider when shopping for this material. Understanding the differences can help homeowners make the right choice for their needs and budget.

What is Quartz?

Quartz countertops, sometimes referred to as engineered stone, are made from ground natural quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. The quartz content typically ranges from 90-94%. The remaining 6-10% consists of polymers and coloring agents.

The quartz crystals give the material its strength and durability, while the polymers bind the material together. The pigments introduce various colors and patterns.

Grades of Quartz Countertops

The quality of quartz countertops depends on a few key factors:

Quartz Content

Higher quartz content means a harder, more durable surface. The quartz percentage can range from 90-94% in residential grades. Commercial grade quartz has a quartz content exceeding 94% for maximum strength.

Polymer Type

The specific polymers used will impact durability. Some lower-grade quartz uses cheaper polymers that are more prone to damage over time. Higher-end quartz uses top-quality polymers for optimal resilience.

Pigment Quality

Higher quality pigments hold up better over time. Cheap pigments may fade or discolor with prolonged UV light and use.

Texture and Polish

The texture, glossiness, and refractive quality of the surface also indicates quality. A finely polished, smooth, glossy finish is generally preferred.

Color Consistency

Batch to batch color consistency is important. High-end manufacturers ensure minimal variation between batches. Lower grades may have noticeable color differences between slabs.

Brand Reputation

Established brands known for quality and craftsmanship generally offer superior quartz compared to generic or private label products.

Levels of Quartz Countertops

Based on the above factors, quartz countertops fall into three broad classes:


Entry-level quartz provides basic functionality at a budget-friendly price point. Expect lower quartz content around 90%, standard polymer resins, decent pigments, and ordinary texture. Durability and stain resistance will meet minimum requirements. Color matching may be inconsistent. Consider entry-level quartz for rental properties or simple projects. Brands include Affinity and Viatera.


This class represents the sweet spot for many homeowners – better aesthetics, quality, and durability at a fair price. Expect quartz content around 93%, good polymers, appealing styles, and reliable performance. Some color variation is possible between batches. Popular mid-range options include Silestone, Ceasarstone, Cambria, and QuartzMaster.


Top-tier quartz offers premium aesthetics, the highest quartz content, top-notch polymers, and consistent colors. These materials rival natural stone. Performance is outstanding under heavy usage. Leading luxury brands include Compac, DuPont Zodiaq, LG Viatera, and Santa Margherita quartz.

Are the Differences Worth the Cost?

In general, lower-priced quartz will suffice for most residential settings. For busy kitchens or commercial projects, or if you want the very best aesthetics, durability, and prestige, higher-end quartz is advisable. The upgrade cost often pays off long-term through better wear resistance, easier maintenance, and higher resale value.

Of course, your specific needs and preferences should drive the decision. Consult with an experienced countertop provider to review quartz grades and products in your price range. Be sure to ask about the quartz content, polymer resin, stain protection, and warranty coverage.

With an understanding of the differences, you can select the ideal quartz countertops to match your home style, lifestyle and budget. Careful selection ensures years of trouble-free performance.

Frequently Asked Questions About Quartz Grades

What grade of quartz is best?

It depends on your budget and needs. Mid-range quartz offers the best combination of quality, durability, and value for most homeowners. High-end grades provide maximum performance and prestige if you can afford the premium cost.

What’s the difference between commercial and residential quartz?

Commercial quartz has over 94% natural quartz content to withstand heavy usage in restaurants, hotels, hospitals, etc. Residential quartz has 90-93% quartz content and is designed for home kitchens.

Does quartz chip or stain easily?

Quality quartz is highly resistant to chips, scratches, and stains. However, lower grades with cheaper polymers may be more prone to damage over time. Opt for mid-range or high-end quartz for the best durability.

Can you see seams in quartz countertops?

In many cases the seams are barely noticeable on full quartz slabs. Lower grade materials with coloring inconsistencies tend to have more visible seams after installation. High-end quartz generally has minimal seam visibility.

Is quartz maintenance free?

While quartz requires very little maintenance, regular cleaning is still required. You should wipe spills quickly, clean with a damp cloth and mild soap, and avoid abrasive cleaners that could damage the finish. An annual reapplication of sealant helps preserve the surface.


When choosing new quartz countertops, look beyond the surface and consider the grade. While low-end quartz can work in some applications, mid to high-grade materials provide the best user experience through optimized durability, aesthetics, stain resistance, and maintenance-free cleaning. Consult an expert to review your options and determine which quartz level best suits your space and lifestyle. With this knowledge, you can install beautiful, high-performing countertops you will enjoy for many years.