Quartz countertops are an increasingly popular choice for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects due to their durability, low maintenance, and stylish appearance. But how can you tell if your existing countertop surface is made of quartz? Here are some tips for identifying quartz countertops.
Examine the Surface Texture
One of the hallmarks of quartz countertops is their non-porous, solid surface. Take a close look at the texture of your countertop. Quartz has a smooth, glossy appearance, without pits, holes or grooves. It will feel evenly smooth if you run your hand across it. The texture is consistent throughout, with a uniform appearance. This differs from natural stone countertops like granite or marble that have more variations in texture across the surface.
Check for Consistent Coloring
Quartz gets its color from natural stone aggregates and pigments blended together with resin. When the slabs are manufactured, the color is consistent all the way through. Examine the surface for consistent, uniform coloring throughout. Natural stone like granite or marble will have more variation in veining and coloring across the surface.
Test Resistance to Scratching
A defining characteristic of quartz countertops is their incredible hardness and scratch resistance compared to other surfaces. Take a knife or other metal object and gently try to scrape across the surface. If it’s quartz, it should be very difficult to scratch. Other materials like solid surface acrylic, laminate, or even granite are more prone to scratching and scraping.
Look for Seams
Quartz countertops are manufactured, not mined and cut like natural stone slabs. This means they will have some visible seams where two pieces have been joined together. Examine the surface and edges for any seams. They are typically smooth and tight, but discernible upon close inspection. Natural stone countertops will generally have fewer seams.
Check for Built-in Backsplash
Many quartz countertops are fabricated with the backsplash built right into the surface. Look for a smooth transition from countertop to wall, formed of the same material. Granite, marble, or other natural stone countertops usually have a backsplash made of a different material like tile.
Is it Always Shiny?
Quartz has a glossy, shiny finish when it is first installed. Unlike granite or marble, it retains that glassy look even after years of use. Quartz does not require regular sealing or polishing to maintain its shine like natural stone does. If your countertop still looks freshly polished and glossy, it’s a tell-tale sign of quartz.
Tap on the Surface
Quartz has a harder, less porous surface than natural stone. If you tap gently on a quartz counter, you’ll hear a brighter, sharper sound. Natural stone like marble will sound more muted or dull in comparison. This can help differentiate the two materials.
Check Manufacturer Markings
Many quartz slabs will actually have the manufacturer’s branding discretely engraved on the underside or side edge of the countertop. Examine closely and you may find a small insignia or name indicating brands like Caesarstone, Cambria, Silestone or others. This is a giveaway that the surface is engineered quartz.
Consult Installation Documentation
If you’ve recently had new countertops installed, check paperwork from the installer or manufacturer. Quartz companies often provide detailed documentation specifying the exact product, color, finish and patterns selected. This paperwork can serve as definitive proof of which material you have.
With close inspection, it’s possible to discern whether an existing countertop is made of quartz or another material. Key things to look for are consistent texture, color, and glossiness, along with hardness, resistance to scratching, seam marks, and manufacturer branding. Examining the countertop installation documentation can also verify if quartz was installed originally. With these tips, homeowners can solve the mystery of whether their countertop surface is quartz.
Frequently Asked Questions About Quartz Countertops
Is quartz more expensive than granite?
Quartz countertops are typically more expensive than granite. The average installed price for quartz is $75-$100 per square foot, while granite averages $50-$75 per square foot installed. The higher cost comes from the manufacturing process.
How durable and heat-resistant is quartz?
Quartz is very durable and resists scratches, stains, impact damage, heat up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. It does not require regular sealing like natural stone. It’s not indestructible though, so some care is still needed.
What are the cons of quartz countertops?
Cons include the higher cost compared to granite or marble. Quartz also can’t be refinished or buffed like natural stone, so marks are permanent. The seams are also more visible. Colors and patterns are limited to what’s manufactured.
Does quartz stain easily?
Quartz is essentially non-porous, so it resists stains very well compared to marble or granite. However, prolonged exposure to some chemicals or dyes can cause discoloration that cannot be removed.
Is it OK to cut on quartz countertops?
It’s fine to cut on quartz with standard kitchen knives. The surface stands up well to cutting without damage. However, avoid excessive force. Quartz can be damaged by hits from heavy, hard objects. Using a cutting board is still a good idea to be safe.
How often does quartz need to be sealed?
Quartz never needs sealing. Unlike natural stone, it will not absorb liquids because of its non-porous surface. One of the benefits of quartz is that it keeps its shine and stain resistance without any maintenance.
Identifying a quartz countertop is easy once you know what to look for. Key identifying signs include the consistent coloring, glossy and smooth texture, hardness and scratch resistance, lack of regular sealing required, and visible seaming marks. Comparing to softer natural stones like marble can also help differentiate quartz’s harder surface. With some close inspection, as well as verifying original installation paperwork, homeowners can determine if their existing countertops are made from quartz. Its durability and longevity make quartz a popular choice. Knowing you have quartz can help you properly care for and maintain these beautiful countertops.