Quartz countertops have become an increasingly popular option for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects in recent years. Known for their durability, aesthetic appeal, and low maintenance requirements, quartz counters are a go-to choice for many homeowners. But exactly how durable is quartz? Here’s an in-depth look at the strength and longevity of quartz countertops.
What is Quartz?
Quartz countertops, sometimes referred to as engineered stone, are made from ground quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. The quartz content typically makes up 90-94% of the material, while resins act as a binding agent and pigments add color and pattern.
The resins form a polymer matrix that surrounds and hardens the quartz particles. This results in a non-porous, highly durable surface that is resistant to scratches, stains, and heat. The manufacturing process allows quartz counters to be formed into virtually any shape or size.
Durability and Strength
Quartz is an exceptionally hard material, rating 7 on the Mohs hardness scale. For comparison, granite rates from 6-7 on the same scale. This extreme hardness makes quartz highly resistant to scratches and chips. In fact, quartz is nearly impervious to knives or sharp objects leaving marks.
Quartz also has very high flexural strength, meaning it can withstand a great deal of pressure without cracking or breaking. Tests indicate quartz can tolerate flexing force over 100 times its own weight. This durability applies to the edges of a quartz counter as well.
Properly installed quartz edges won’t crack or chip like other materials can. This strength comes from the polymer resins that bind the quartz particles under intense pressure and vibration during manufacturing.
Stain and Heat Resistance
The non-porous nature of quartz makes it essentially stain proof. Spills and messes that would be absorbed by other materials can simply be wiped away from quartz. It does not require sealing or treatment to prevent staining.
Quartz also boasts excellent heat resistance. Hot pots or pans can be placed directly on a quartz counter without worry of damage. While prolonged heat exposure can technically damage the solid surface, quartz stands up far better than many other countertop materials.
As mentioned, quartz rates very highly on the hardness scale. As such, it is extremely scratch resistant in daily use. Marks from utensils, cookware or appliances will not damage a quartz surface. Over time, the sheen may dull in certain spots with excessive wear. But the material itself remains unharmed.
The only objects that can scratch quartz are those harder than quartz on the Mohs scale. Examples would be diamonds, corundum, topaz or chromium oxide. These objects are not commonly found in a kitchen environment.
Durability Over Time
With proper care and maintenance, quartz countertops can remain in excellent condition for many decades. The material does not degrade or corrode naturally over time. The resilient polymer matrix ensures the quartz particles remain firmly in place and cannot separate.
In fact, quartz counters may look nearly identical after 30 years as they did when first installed. With that said, accidents can happen than can chip or crack quartz. And excessive heat can gradually damage the solid surface. But quartz should endure for the functional lifetime of the home when cared for appropriately.
One of the major advantages of quartz over natural stone is the ease of maintenance. Quartz requires very little routine care. Simple cleaning with a soft cloth and mild soap/detergent is generally all that is needed. It does not need regular sealing or polishing.
More stubborn messes can be handled with a non-abrasive cleaning pad. Avoid using strongly alkaline or acidic cleaners that can damage the surface over time. Follow the manufacturer’s care guidelines to ensure the longevity of your quartz counters.
Are There Any Drawbacks?
Quartz is not totally impervious to damage. Cracks and chips are possible, though quite rare. Quartz can also show scratches from objects harder than quartz, as mentioned above. And the polished surface can become duller over many years of heavy use.
Quartz is also limited in color and pattern options since pigments are added during manufacturing. Natural stones offer greater variation. Finally, quartz is more expensive than options like laminate. But its durability makes it a sound long-term investment.
Is Quartz Worth the Investment?
For most homeowners, quartz absolutely offers an appealing balance of aesthetic qualities and durability. The superior strength, scratch resistance, and stain proof nature provide major advantages. Maintenance is easy, and quartz counters should serve you well for decades before needing replacement.
If choosing quartz for your home, be sure to work with an experienced installer. Proper installation techniques are vital to ensuring your counters remain damage free. With its durability and longevity, quartz delivers lasting value and is worth considering for your next remodeling project.
Frequently Asked Questions About Quartz Countertop Durability
How durable is quartz compared to granite?
Quartz rates slightly higher on hardness and durability tests than granite. Both materials are highly resilient, but quartz is less prone to chipping or staining.
Can quartz counters get damaged?
Quartz is extremely durable but not completely damage-proof. Hard impacts may chip quartz, and excessive heat can gradually cause damage over time. With proper care though, quartz can stay in great shape.
How long do quartz countertops last?
With routine maintenance, quartz counters can easily last 30 years or longer before needing replacement. The material does not degrade quickly even with daily use.
What are signs of damage in quartz?
Cracks, chips, deep scratches and heat damage like singeing or discoloration can occur in quartz. Dulling of the polished finish can also happen after many years. Staining or water damage should not occur.
Can I cut on quartz countertops?
Yes, quartz holds up exceptionally well against cutting and prep work in the kitchen. Its hardness prevents knife marks. Using a cutting board is still best practice though to preserve the pristine surface.
Will quartz scratch with regular use?
Day to day use with cooking, prep work, appliances, etc should not scratch a quartz surface. Only objects harder than quartz on the Mohs scale can scratch the material. Scratches are unlikely under normal conditions.
With strength, stain resistance and longevity that surpass natural stone, quartz has proven itself as a premier countertop material. It provides beauty and functionality with minimal maintenance required. Count on quartz counters to remain in excellent condition year after year when properly cared for. For homeowners seeking durability and modern style, quartz delivers impressive performance and value.