Choosing the right countertop for your kitchen or bathroom can be a daunting task with so many options to consider. Quartz has become an increasingly popular choice due to its durability, aesthetics, and ease of maintenance. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to choose a quartz countertop that best suits your needs and style.
Do Your Research on Quartz
Before deciding on a quartz countertop, it is important to understand what quartz is and its key characteristics. Quartz countertops, also known as engineered stone, are made from ground natural quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. This makes the material non-porous, resistant to scratches, stains, heat, and cracks. Quartz is an ideal choice for busy kitchens and bathrooms because it is mold, mildew, and bacteria resistant. It does not require sealing and is easy to clean. With proper care, quartz countertops can last for many years. Do research on the pros and cons, costs, and quartz manufacturers.
Determine the Use of the Space
Consider the functional ways you use your kitchen or bathroom spaces. High traffic spots like a kitchen prep area or bathroom vanity need durable surfaces that can handle daily wear and tear. Quartz is remarkably strong compared to other natural stones and materials like granite or marble. Its non-porous composition prevents bacteria from settling into the surface. These factors make quartz an excellent choice for high traffic bath and kitchen areas.
Decide on a Color and Pattern
One of the biggest advantages of quartz over natural stone is the variety of colors and patterns available. Natural quartz crystals come in shades of white and gray, but quartz counters can be engineered in endless colors. Tonal variations like light and dark neutrals or dramatic patterns containing metal flecks, glitter effects, or bright pops of color. Often styles mimic natural stones like marble or granite. For a more uniform look, choose solid colors in matte or glossy finishes. Visit manufacturer websites to browse the color palettes and patterns available to find options suiting your space.
Select a Finish
Quartz counters come in polished, matte, or textured finishes. Polished finishes have a glossy look that reflects light well in bright spaces. Matte finishes have an understated, soft aesthetic. Textured finishes add dimensional detail that hides scratches. Consider your kitchen or bathroom lighting when choosing a finish. Darker colors in high traffic areas often look best in textured finishes that hide potential marks and scratches. Lighter quartz colors pop in polished or matte finishes.
Match Your Style
Match your quartz material and color to your overall kitchen or bath design style. Neutral quartz patterns in stone-inspired looks work well for traditional home interiors. Bold colors and graphics suit modern styles. Maintain harmony in the space by coordinating quartz colors with cabinetry finishes, hardware, flooring and accent colors in the room. An interior designer can help select the most cohesive quartz aesthetic.
View Quartz Slabs In Person
Though you can view countertop colors online, it is essential to see slabs in person before finalizing your selection. Quartz has natural variations that photographs cannot capture accurately. View slabs in different lighting at different times of day to get a sense of how the color and finish will look in your space. Look at seams, edges, and imperfections up close. Comparing multiple slabs will help you select the most visually appealing one.
Standard quartz thickness is 3/4″, but materials come in 1/4″, 1/2″, and up to 2″ thick. Thinner 1/4″ options work well for wall cladding like backsplashes. 3/4″ provides adequate durability for most countertops. Areas supporting heavy items may benefit from thicker 1 1/4″ or 1 1/2″ slabs to prevent sagging. Thicker quartz is pricier, so use it only where needed.
Choose the Right Fabricator
Quartz counters must be cut and installed properly to ensure durability and seamless beauty. Select a respected fabricator experienced in cutting and installing quartz. Read reviews, ask for referrals, and look at past jobs to verify skills. A quality fabricator will know how to make tight seams, handle edges, accommodate sinks and hardware, and properly join sections. Taking time to choose the right fabricator helps ensure your satisfaction.
Estimate and Compare Costs
Quartz is more expensive than laminate but less costly than natural stone. Price varies widely by color, pattern, and thickness. Expect to pay $40-100 per square foot installed. White and black colors are often the most affordable options. Get estimates from three fabricators, comparing material costs, installation fees, seam placement, edging, sink cuts, and backsplashes. Review what warrantees apply and expected lead times.
Ask About Maintenance Needs
While quartz resists stains and etching from daily use, some care is required. Confirm your manufacturer’s care guidelines. Quartz can be damaged by excessive heat and sudden temperature changes. Using trivets and taking care with hot pans prevents damage. Blot spills immediately and clean with a gentle non-abrasive cleaner. Annual sealing may help prevent staining. Ask your fabricator about long-term care recommendations.
Choose Coordinating Backsplashes
Backsplashes prevent water damage to walls while adding visual appeal behind sinks and prep areas. Quartz manufacturers offer coordinating backsplashes cut from the same slabs as countertops, ensuring perfect color matching. Alternately, tile, glass, or metal backsplash materials can make an attractive contrast against quartz counters. Just ensure the backsplash height adequately protects the walls from moisture.
Be Present During Installation
Make every effort to be present when your quartz is installed. Being on site ensures proper installation and lets you immediately identify any damage or imperfections. Watch that seams are tightly bonded with no gaps, adhesive is spread evenly with no lumps, edges are smooth, sink/stove cuts are accurate, and backsplashes are attached properly without cracking. Being present also prevents debris from being left behind.
What are the pros and cons of quartz versus granite countertops?
Quartz is engineered so it offers more consistent coloring than natural granite. It is also non-porous, so more resistant to stains and bacteria. Granite is heat resistant while quartz can be damaged by sudden temperature changes. Granite offers unique natural patterning while quartz patterns are fabricated. Both are durable options that add value.
Does quartz need to be sealed?
Because it is non-porous, quartz does not require regular sealing like granite and marble. Some fabricators recommend occasional sealing to prevent staining, but it usually isn’t essential. Keep liquids wiped up and use trivets to maintain the surface without sealing.
Is quartz environmentally friendly?
Some quartz contains recycled glass and shells, giving it eco-friendly appeal. However, resins in quartz are plastics derived from petroleum. So quartz has less environmental benefits than some green options like recycled glass, concrete, or recycled paper composite counters.
Is quartz toxic?
Quartz made for countertops does not pose health or toxicity risks and is considered safe. Some resins used in cheaper, lower quality quartz can release trace amounts of formaldehyde. Reputable quartz brands engineered for countertops comply with health and safety standards.
How long does a quartz countertop last?
With proper care and maintenance, a quartz countertop has an estimated lifespan of 15-20 years. This makes it more durable than most materials outside of granite. The non-porous composition prevents the slow absorption damage and staining that occurs on surfaces like marble or concrete over time.
With an extensive array of colors, patterns, and textures available, quartz offers customizable options to suit any kitchen or bath. Its stain, scratch, and bacteria resistance make it highly durable in high traffic areas. By carefully considering your space, researching brands, viewing slabs in person, finding reputable installers, and properly caring for surfaces, quartz countertops offer beauty and functionality for many years. Ask providers questions, look at product samples, read warranties, and examine finished jobs to feel fully confident that your quartz countertop choice will withstand daily use while retaining its elegance. With quartz, you truly can have it all – good looks, easy maintenance, and lasting quality.