Getting a marble look on quartz countertops has become an increasingly popular design trend for modern kitchens and bathrooms. Quartz is an engineered stone made from natural quartz crystals blended with resins and pigments. The versatility of quartz allows manufacturers to create a wide array of realistic stone-like patterns, including the look of marble. Here is an overview of the methods used to achieve the marble aesthetic on a quartz surface.
The Manufacturing Process
The marble-look on quartz is accomplished during the manufacturing process. It starts with selecting the appropriate color tones and patterns for the marble design. Quartz crystals are combined with polyester resins, pigments, and other additives and poured into molds. The pigments added at this stage create the veining and color variations characteristic of marble.
Pressure and vibration are used during the molding process to consolidate the quartz and resins mixture. The mixture is then cured at high temperatures to harden the slab. The slab surface is polished to the desired finish – either a matte, satin, or high-gloss sheen. The end result is a non-porous, stain-resistant quartz material with a realistic marble aesthetic.
Achieving a Realistic Marble Look
Several techniques are used by quartz manufacturers to make the marble patterning on the slabs appear authentic:
- Veining – Intricate veining mimicking natural marble is created using special additive mixtures added to the quartz. Veins come in different colors and widths depending on the marble variety being simulated.
- Background Colors – Background slab colors aim to match the base tones of real marble types like Carrara, Calacatta, and Statuario. The colors are designed to be neutral canvases for the veining.
- Movement – The veining patterns are made to flow smoothly and appear organic and natural on the slab surfaces. There is careful attention paid to the vein continuity across the entire slab.
- Surface Textures – Many marble-look quartz options also incorporate lightly textured surfaces. This adds dimensionality and replicates the subtle pitting found on natural marble surfaces.
Why the Marble Look is Popular
There are several reasons why marble-look quartz has surged in popularity:
- Provides the beauty and elegance of marble without all the maintenance.
- More durable and stain resistant than real marble.
- Color and pattern consistency not found in natural stone.
- Very realistic marble visuals with precision veining.
- Enhanced functionality for heavy use areas like kitchen countertops.
- Greater accessibility to the marble aesthetic at a lower price point.
Quartz Brands Offering the Marble Look
Many of the major quartz manufacturers now offer marble-inspired collections showcasing the range of looks achievable with engineered quartz:
- Cambria – Textured surfaces and delicate veining in the Marble, Brittanicca, and Copper Groin collections.
- Caesarstone – Subtle marble motifs in the Metropolitan and Noble Grey collections.
- Silestone – Intense veining options in the Eternal Collection like Eternal Calacatta Gold.
- LG Viatera – Understated marble looks in the Super White collection.
- Hanstone – Mid-tone greys with delicate veining in the Metro Collection.
- Quartz Master – White and gray based slabs resembling Carrara and Calacatta marble.
Achieving the Look with Laminates Too
Thin quartz laminates adhered to substrates are another product used to get the marble visual without the higher cost of full slab quartz. Companies like Wilsonart, Formica, and Plygen offer laminates with marble patterns to create the look on surfaces like cabinets and furniture. While laminates do not offer the durability and maintenance benefits of real quartz, they provide a cost-effective decorative option.
In summary, technology advancements allow quartz manufacturers to create stunning and extremely realistic representations of marble using engineered stone. Careful design of coloring, patterning, and textures during the fabrication process is key to achieving a marble aesthetic that rivals the beauty of the natural stone. The marble look on quartz provides an attractive and functional alternative to real marble for today’s kitchen and bath spaces.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do they add veining to quartz?
The veining patterns on marble-look quartz are achieved by adding specialty additive mixtures containing pigments during the manufacturing process. The additives create color variations that mimic the intricate veining seen in natural marble.
What makes quartz look like marble?
A combination of techniques gives quartz the realistic marble aesthetic. These include background colors that match real marble varieties, smoothly flowing vein patterns, subtle surface textures, precision veining in different widths/colors, and overall slab designs that emulate luxurious marble.
Is marble-look quartz cheaper than real marble?
Yes, marble-look quartz countertops are generally a less expensive alternative compared to real marble countertops. The processing and fabrication involved with quarried natural marble makes it a premium priced material.
Does quartz come in marble patterns?
Yes, many quartz manufacturers now offer marble-inspired collections. The patterns aim to recreate popular marble looks like Carrara, Calacatta, and Statuario by mimicking the colors, veining, and textures found in those natural stones.
Is marble-look quartz porous?
No, quartz is non-porous unlike real marble. The resins used in manufacturing fill in the spaces between the quartz particles to create a dense, impervious surface. This makes marble-look quartz more stain and scratch resistant compared to actual marble.
Will marble-look quartz stain like real marble?
No, marble-look quartz will not readily stain like real marble as it is non-porous. Natural marble is prone to staining from spills because it is porous. Quartz resists stains, making it better suited for kitchen counters.
Does marble-look quartz need to be sealed?
Sealing is not necessary for marble-look quartz counters. Since quartz is non-porous, sealants cannot penetrate the surface. Sealants are only used on porous natural stones like marble to prevent stains.
The marble aesthetic is highly coveted in modern interior design, and marble-look quartz provides an opportunity to achieve that timeless elegance. Through careful manipulation of colors, patterns, and textures during manufacturing, quartz producers are able to create incredibly realistic marble motifs throughout an engineered slab. Homeowners can enjoy the visual beauty of marble on countertops and surfaces that are more durable, consistent, and practical compared to the natural stone. With advanced processes that replicate the nuances of marble veining and coloring, marble-look quartz brings this classic material into the 21st century.