Quartz countertops have become an increasingly popular choice for kitchen and bathroom remodels in recent years. Made from engineered stone, quartz combines natural quartz crystals with resins and pigments to create a durable, low-maintenance, and stylish surface. If you’re considering quartz for your next remodeling project, here is a detailed guide on how to buy quartz countertops.
Choosing the Right Quartz Countertop
With the wide variety of quartz products on the market, selecting the right one for your home can seem daunting. Here are the key factors to consider when choosing a quartz countertop:
One of the best features of quartz is the extensive range of colors, patterns, and finishes available. When selecting a quartz countertop, consider the overall style of your kitchen or bathroom and choose an option that complements your décor. Here are some popular options:
- Solid colors – Available in a vast spectrum from bright whites to bold blacks, with many tones in between. Perfect if you want a minimalist, seamless look.
- Veining patterns – Replicate the look of natural stone with realistic veining in colors like white, gray, and beige. Provides visual interest.
- Speckled patterns – Subtle speckles or flecks of color lend quartz a unique, organic appearance.
- Bold patterns – For a statement look, choose quartz with bold variegations, swirls, or aggregates.
- Metallic finishes – Shimmering mica or metallic particles add glamour. Stain-resistant and easy-care.
Quartz ranks very high on hardness, making it extremely scratch-resistant and able to withstand heavy day-to-day use. Brands rate quartz on a scale from 1-10 based on hardness and durability tests. Opt for the hardest, most durable quartz within your budget.
One of the top advantages of quartz is that it requires very little maintenance compared to alternatives like marble. Most brands offer 15- to 20-year warranties. Choose a low-maintenance, non-porous quartz material to minimize upkeep.
Trustworthy brands like Caesarstone, Cambria, and Silestone have proven track records for quality and reliability. Stick with a reputable manufacturer, and opt for full slabs over quartz tiles, which have more seams.
Quartz is priced in a wide range, typically $40-100 per square foot installed. Measure your space and set a firm budget beforehand. Avoid the cheapest options, as quality suffers. Highest-end quartz can rival natural stone at over $100 per square foot.
Selecting a Quartz Fabricator and Installer
Once you’ve selected your preferred quartz product, the next key step is finding an experienced fabricator to cut and install your countertops. Here’s what to look for:
Choose a fabricator with an established record of quality workmanship and excellent reviews. Ask to see past jobs and talk to references. Avoid fabricators offering prices well below market rates.
Look for an installer that has at least 5-10 years’ experience with quartz in particular. Quartz requires special cutting techniques that rookie fabricators won’t have mastered.
Your fabricator’s team should include skilled technicians like certified welders and polishers. Well-trained staff results in a smoothly integrated installation.
Range of Services
Opt for a fabricator that handles the entire process from template and measurements to custom cutting, installation, and edge finishing. Stay away from middlemen.
Leading quartz brands like Caesarstone have lists of certified fabricators who undergo training and meet standards. Choose one with manufacturer certifications.
A reputable installer will guarantee their fabrication and installation workmanship for 1-5 years. In case of defects, they’ll replace or repair for free.
Tips for Measuring Your Countertops
To ensure you get quartz countertops precision-fabricated to fit your space, accurate measurements are a must. Here are some tips:
- Use a steel measuring tape, not cloth. Measure to 1/16th of an inch.
- For L-shaped spaces, measure each section separately.
- Note measurements of cut-outs needed for sinks, stoves, etc.
- Measure all relevant dimensions: length, width, overhangs, thickness, etc.
- Measure along walls; they may not be perfectly straight.
- Note any irregularities like bump-outs or angled corners.
- Have an expert take measurements to ensure precision.
Provide your fabricator with a complete set of measurements and drawings, indicating sink and fixture locations. This will prevent costly surprises or mistakes during cutting and installation.
How Thick Should a Quartz Countertop Be?
Quartz countertops come in thicknesses ranging from 3/4 inch to 2 inches. The most common options are:
3/4 Inch Thickness
- Ideal for home bathrooms and light duty kitchens
- Provides an elegant slim profile
- Best for countertops without much overhang
- More susceptibility to cracks and warping
1 1/4 Inch Thickness
- Recommended standard thickness for kitchens
- Sturdy enough for day-to-day use
- Overhangs up to 6 inches are safely supported
- Adds heft and depth to countertops
1 1/2 or 2 Inch Thickness
- Provides maximum durability for heavy-use kitchens
- Supports up to a 12 inch overhang
- More resistant to chipping and cracks
- Substantial visual impact but very heavy
Consider your budget, usage, and design aesthetics. Thicker quartz comes at a higher price but also offers more strength.
How to Choose Quartz Countertop Edges
The edge style you choose can dramatically alter the look of your quartz countertop. Here are some popular edge options to consider:
The most common and affordable option, straight edges offer clean lines and minimal fuss. Elegant for contemporary spaces.
A 45-degree angled edge. Bevels provide visual interest and reinforce linear designs.
A gently rounded edge. Bullnose softens hard lines and is easy to clean. A versatile and popular profile.
An elegant double-curved edge resembles an “S” shape. Ogee edges complement traditional spaces beautifully.
Mimics the appearance of natural stone with an irregular jagged finish. Chiseled edges make a striking, rustic statement.
The countertop surface cascades over the edge like a waterfall. Eye-catching for islands and bar areas.
Shark Nose Edge
A sleek elliptical profile with a protruding “nose”. Ultra-modern and practical, easy to wipe down.
The edge profile should match your home’s decor and style. Consider cost, ease of cleaning, and potential for chipping based on usage patterns.
What’s Better for Bathrooms: Quartz or Marble Countertops?
Two high-end choices for bathroom vanity tops are quartz and marble. Here’s how they compare:
- Highly stain, scratch, and heat resistant
- Non-porous, minimizing bacterial growth
- Low maintenance, no yearly sealing needed
- Durable and can withstand heavy use
- Resists water damage and deterioration
- Range of colors and patterns available
- Elegant, luxurious visual appeal
- Cool surface popular for bathroom heat
- Can be stained or etched by makeup and toiletries
- Requires vigilant cleaning and yearly resealing
- Easily damaged and scratched over time
- Limited color options
Overall, quartz makes an excellent choice for bathroom countertops. The low-maintenance durability of quartz keeps it looking pristine despite heavy use from multiple household members. Quartz resists water damage far better than porous marble.
For a classic luxurious look in low traffic bathrooms, marble is unbeatable. But for family baths or master suites seeing daily use, quartz is the wiser, longer-lasting option.
Caring for Your Quartz Countertops
To keep your quartz surfaces looking like new for years to come, follow these care and maintenance best practices:
- Quartz resists most stains, but wipe up spills quickly to prevent deep staining, especially from oils and strong pigments.
- For routine cleaning, use a mild soap and warm water. Avoid abrasive cleansers or scrub pads that could dull the quartz.
- Disinfect surfaces regularly with a stone-safe disinfectant cleaner. This inhibits germs, bacteria, and viruses.
- Though heat-resistant, always use trivets under very hot pans to prevent thermal shock cracking.
- Resealing is not needed, but consider annual application of a quartz polish to enhance shine.
- Heavy impact from hard or sharp falling objects may chip quartz. Handle with care near edges.
- Check manufacturer guidelines before using any chemical cleaners not formulated for engineered stone.
With proper care, your quartz countertops will stay looking fresh and pristine for decades past initial installation. Taking good care of quartz is easy compared to higher maintenance surfaces like marble.
FAQs About Buying Quartz Countertops
Some common questions that arise during the quartz buying process include:
Are quartz countertops expensive?
Quartz generally ranges from $40-100 per square foot installed, placing it in the high-end countertop bracket alongside natural stone, stainless steel, and solid surface options like Corian. While not cheap, many buyers feel the benefits of durability, low-maintenance, and beauty justify the price.
How much do quartz countertops cost compared to granite?
Quartz tends to cost 10% to 20% more than granite per square foot. However, quartz comes in a wider range of colors/patterns versus natural granite’s limited options. And quartz needs no regular sealing, giving it cost advantages long-term.
Should I buy prefabricated quartz or full slabs?
Full slabs allow fully custom fabrication and installation of your countertops. Prefab options only offer set dimensions and edge styles. For a seamless look with no visible joints, made-to-order slabs are best. Prefab works well for small surfaces like bathroom vanities.
Is quartz stain-proof?
While highly stain-resistant, quartz can be permanently stained by oils, grease, dyes, or pigments left for prolonged time. Though minimal, some maintenance is required. Overall, quartz offers excellent stain resistance, outperforming surfaces like marble.
How do you clean and care for quartz?
Routine cleaning just needs mild soap, water, and a soft cloth. Avoid abrasive pads or cleansers that could dull the surface. Disinfect with a quartz-safe cleaner regularly. Quartz needs no sealing or waxing and little maintenance overall.
Does quartz need to be sealed?
Unlike natural stone, quartz does not need periodic sealing as it is non-porous. One advantage of engineered quartz is that it never needs sealing, unlike granite or marble. However, an optional clear polish can be applied yearly to further boost shine.
The Best Quartz Countertop Brands
If you’ve decided that quartz is the right surface for your kitchen or bath renovation, choosing among the many brand options that exist can be confusing. Based on factors like product quality, range, reputation, and warranties, here are 5 of the top quartz countertop brands on the market today:
Made in the USA, Cambria is known for high-quality quartz featuring carefully curated designs. Natural stone patterns and textures are recreated with precision. Durable yet refined, Cambria offers one of the widest style selections on the market, from muted organic looks to sparkling statement designs.
This pioneer quartz manufacturer based in Israel remains an industry leader globally. Caesarstonequartz offers long-lasting performance paired with a vast array of colors, from understated classics to bold contemporary hues. Great durability and stylish finishes.
Silestone provides over 90 vibrant options that imitate natural quartz, marble, granite, and other stones authentically. Proprietary bacteria-fighting technology helps keep surfaces hygienic. Silestone quartz offers globally-sourced quality.
4. Pental Quartz
Offering affordable luxury, Pental Quartz brings high-end quartz countertops within reach even on tight budgets. Their wide range of classic to cutting-edge designs are made to strict standards for optimal stain, scratch, and heat resistance. Great value.
5. MSI Quartz
With one of the largest quartz color collections, MSI Quartz brings together rich designs, proven durability, and affordable pricing. Made in America and backed by warranties, MSI quartz performs under pressure of high traffic usage long-term.
No matter your unique style, space, and budget, one of these top quartz brands is sure to offer the perfect countertop to realize your home vision.
The Pros and Cons of Quartz Countertops
If you’re weighing up whether to invest in quartz countertops, consider the range of benefits quartz offers along with a few potential downsides:
- Extremely durable, scratch and stain-resistant
- Requires minimal maintenance
- Resists damage from impacts, heat, and spills
- Non-porous, discouraging bacterial growth
- Available in a limitless range of colors and patterns
- More affordable than natural stone alternatives
- Consistent patterning throughout the slab
- Offers sophisticated high-end look
- Long warranties provide peace of mind
- Higher upfront cost than some materials
- Can chip along edges if subjected to heavy impacts
- Needs periodic resealing of seams and joints
- Limited number of quartz suppliers and fabricators
- Naturally occuring blemishes rarely seen in some slabs
- Can have visible seams between slabs
Overall, quartz combines exceptional performance, low maintenance, and visual appeal. For most homeowners, the pros heavily outweigh the cons and make quartz an ideal surface for countertops.
With surfaces that mimic luxurious natural stone coupled with extreme resilience and easy care, quartz offers an unparalleled combination of beauty and brawn. Following this comprehensive guide on how to select, measure for, and install quartz countertops ensures your next kitchen or bath remodel includes this high-performing material that gracefully endures decades of real life.
From details like selecting low-maintenance, durable options from top brands to finding experienced fabricators for precision custom cutting, the crystal-clear advice provided here takes the guesswork out of the quartz buying process. Invest wisely, care properly for your new countertops, and enjoy these lustrous surfaces enhanced by each passing year. Whether aiming for an elegant neutral palette or bold, vivid colors, quartz enables achieving your practical, aesthetic home visions.