Selecting the Slab
The first step is to select the right quartz slab. Slabs are available in different colors, patterns, and finishes. When choosing a slab, considerations include:
- Color and pattern – Popular options include white, gray, black, and patterns that resemble natural stone. The pattern runs throughout the slab.
- Thickness – Standard thicknesses are 1.2 cm (3/4″) or 2 cm (3/4″). Thicker slabs are more durable.
- Finishes – Matte and polished are common finishes. Polished has a glossy look while matte is satiny. Other finishes like leathered have a texture.
- Quality – Inspect the slab for any defects before fabrication. Higher quality slabs have uniform patterning and minimal surface flaws.
Picking the right quartz slab sets the foundation for the final look of the countertop.
Cutting and Shaping
Precise measurements are taken of the existing countertop or cabinetry. Computer-aided design (CAD) software converts these measurements into a layout detailing the cut-outs needed for sinks, cooktops, and other features.
The quartz slab is then cut to the proper size using a bridge saw. This specialized saw uses a diamond-tipped blade cooled by water to make clean, accurate cuts.
For shaping, a CNC (computer numerical control) machine carves out the necessary openings and edge profiles per the CAD layout. Water is used for cooling and reducing dust. The CNC follows the programmed cuts precisely for a perfect fit.
Seaming and Polishing
For longer countertop runs, multiple slabs will be used. The edges of adjoining slabs are cut to form seams. The seams are held together tightly using adhesive and clamps.
Once pieces are in place, the fabricator polishes the edges and seams. This blends the joint and gives the countertop a finished look. Polishing also enhances the gloss and smoothens any minor flaws on the surface.
Inspection and Installation
The final step is a thorough inspection looking for any remaining flaws in the materials or fabrication. The countertop is then sealed to prevent staining and damage.
Professional installers transport the countertop to the home or building. They seamlessly integrate the quartz countertop with the cabinetry, securely anchoring it in place. The countertop is cleaned and any excess adhesive removed.
Quality Control Throughout the Process
Skilled fabricators take measures to ensure quality throughout the fabrication process:
- Using the best materials and equipment
- Precisely following measurements and CAD layouts
- Monitoring cuts and fabrication for any errors
- Meticulously polishing seams and edges
- Performing multiple quality inspections before installation
Proper techniques by an experienced fabricator are crucial for a quartz countertop that excels in both form and function.
FAQs about Fabricating Quartz Countertops
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about quartz countertop fabrication:
Can quartz be cut to size on site?
No, quartz cannot be cut on site. It must be cut to precise measurements in the fabrication shop using specialized bridge saws. Attempting to cut it manually will likely result in cracks or damage.
What thickness should I choose?
The standard thickness is 3/4″ (1.2 cm). Go with a thicker 2 cm slab if you want maximum durability and support for a longer overhang.
Does quartz need to be sealed?
Sealing is not required but is recommended every 1-2 years. It makes the surface less prone to stains and damage. Use a sealant formulated for engineered stone.
How are seams between slabs created?
Adjoining slabs are held together with adhesive and clamps. The seams are then polished to create a barely visible, smooth joint between slabs.
How long does fabrication take?
Fabrication typically takes 1-2 weeks after slab selection. More complex projects with multiple slabs and cutouts will take longer. Communicate your schedule to ensure timely completion.
What affects the cost of quartz fabrication?
Major factors affecting cost are slab thickness, size/number of slabs needed, edge treatments, and fabrication complexity. The fabricator can provide an accurate quote based on your countertop requirements.
Fabricating quartz countertops involves slab selection, precision cutting, seam creation, polishing, inspection, and professional installation. Skilled fabricators use specialized tools and meticulous techniques to transform quartz slabs into stunning, functional countertops that stand the test of time. With the right fabricator, quartz can be tailored to match your unique style and space.