Is a Quartz Countertop Man Made?

Quartz countertops have become incredibly popular in recent years, and for good reason. These engineered stone slabs are an attractive, practical, and cost-effective option for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects. But despite their many benefits, some homeowners are unsure about quartz because it is manufactured, unlike natural stone materials. So is a quartz countertop actually man-made?

What is Quartz?

To understand if quartz countertops are man-made, it helps to first look at what quartz is. Quartz is a mineral that is found abundantly in nature. It is composed of silicon and oxygen atoms and is the second most common mineral in the Earth’s continental crust, after feldspar.

In its natural state, quartz comes in a wide variety of varieties. Some types of natural quartz include:

  • Rock crystal – Colorless and transparent quartz.
  • Amethyst – Purple variety of quartz.
  • Citrine – Yellow quartz.
  • Rose quartz – Pink quartz.
  • Smoky quartz – Brown, gray, or black quartz.
  • Milky quartz – Opaque white quartz.

While beautiful, natural quartz is relatively soft at a 6-7 on the Mohs hardness scale. It also lacks the vivid colors and bold patterns that have become popular for countertops.

The Manufacturing Process of Quartz Countertops

Unlike a natural stone slab that is cut from solid rock, quartz countertops are engineered in a factory through a manufacturing process. Here are the basic steps:

1. Sourcing Materials

  • Quartz crystals – Finely ground quartz is sourced from quarries. The most common color used is opaque white.
  • Resins and pigments – Polyester resins bind the quartz crystals together. Pigments are added to achieve different colors and patterns.
  • Other materials – Manufacturers may add recycled glass, shells, metals, or mirror flecks.

2. Mixing the Materials

The quartz crystals, resins, and other materials are blended together according to the manufacturer’s specifications. The ratio can vary between brands, but quartz countertops typically contain 90-95% ground quartz.

3. Molding the Slabs

The mixture is poured into molds and compacted under vibration and vacuum pressure. This removes air pockets and compacts the materials together.

4. Curing the Material

The molded slabs are moved into ovens and cured at high temperatures. This hardens the resins to bind the quartz crystals into a solid slab.

5. Finishing and Polishing

Once cured, the slabs are finished by smoothing and polishing the surfaces. Computer-controlled machines ensure an even, consistent appearance.

6. Quality Control and Inspection

The manufacturer inspects the slabs for any defects in appearance or fabrication. Only slabs that pass inspection are crated for shipment.

So in summary, quartz countertops are engineered in a factory by combining ground quartz with resins and other materials. The manufacturing process is automated using advanced machinery and techniques. This allows the countertops to be made with precision and consistency.

Why Quartz Countertops Are Man-Made

Given the multi-step manufacturing process, it is clear that quartz countertops do not naturally occur but are man-made. Here are some of the specific reasons quartz is engineered, not natural stone:

  • Quartz crystals are ground up – Natural quartz slabs are too soft for countertops. Quartz crystals have to be finely ground and combined with resins to create a hard, durable surface.
  • Contains high resin content – The resin binds the crushed quartz particles and makes the material non-porous and resistant to damage. Natural stone contains little to no resin.
  • Pigments added for color – Natural quartz crystals are limited in color. Pigments have to be added to achieve the bold, vivid colors that have become popular in countertops.
  • Heated and molded – Natural quartz does not naturally form into perfectly smooth slabs. The manufacturing process molds the material into uniform slabs and cures them with heat.
  • Consistency and precision – Natural stone has imperfections that give it character. Engineered quartz offers consistent color, patterning, and durability since it is mass-produced under controlled conditions.

So in every respect, from the sourcing of the raw materials to the final fabrication, quartz countertops are an engineered, man-made product made in a factory. They combine elements of natural quartz crystals with man-made resins, pigments, and binding agents.

Pros and Cons of Engineered Quartz Countertops

Understanding that quartz surfaces are man-made often leaves homeowners wondering how they compare to natural stone countertops. Here is a look at some of the key pros and cons:


  • More affordable than natural stone
  • Available in a wide range of colors and patterns
  • Non-porous surface resists stains
  • Does not require regular sealing
  • Very durable and impact resistant
  • Consistent color and patterning
  • Low maintenance
  • Mold and bacteria resistant
  • Warranties up to 15 years


  • Less variety than natural stone
  • Repeating patterns may look artificial
  • Needs periodic re-polishing
  • Can crack or chip if heavily impacted
  • Not heat or scratch resistant
  • Cannot match natural stone aesthetics

Are Quartz Countertops Right for You?

While man-made, quartz countertops offer significant advantages that make them an excellent option for busy kitchens and bathrooms. Their durability, low maintenance needs, and resistance to damage can be ideal for families and those wanting an easy-care surface.

Be sure to view quartz slabs in person when making your selection. Higher quality quartz often appears quite natural and avoids an artificial look. Carefully inspect samples to find a color and finish you love.

Also be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for use and care. Avoid exposing quartz surfaces to excessive force, impacts, or scratches from sharp objects. With proper care and maintenance, a quartz countertop can provide lasting beauty in your home for years to come.

FAQ About Quartz Countertops

Many homeowners have questions surrounding quartz countertops. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

Are quartz countertops completely man-made?

Quartz countertops are engineered in a factory setting, but they contain a high percentage of natural quartz crystals, typically 90% to 95%. The remaining 5-10% consists of resins, pigments, and other bonding agents. So while man-made, they incorporate abundant natural quartz into their fabrication.

How durable are quartz countertops?

Quartz rates at nearly 9 on the Mohs hardness scale, making it exceptionally durable. The resin binding resists scratches, stains, chips, and heat damage. Most manufacturers offer 10-15 year warranties against defects. With proper care, quartz countertops can last for decades in the home.

Can you repair damage to quartz?

Minor damage like superficial scratches can be buffed and re-polished by a professional. For chips or cracks, it is usually best to replace the damaged section since quartz cannot be repaired seamlessly. Fortunately, the durable material rarely chips or cracks under normal use.

Does quartz have resale value?

While not adding extensive value, quartz countertops can offer a slight boost upon resale. The material’s durability, neutral color options, and resemblance to natural stone make it appealing to buyers. Maintaining the quartz properly also enhances its look.

How often does quartz need to be sealed?

Unlike natural stone, quartz does not require regular sealing. The resin makes quartz non-porous and prevents it from absorbing stains and spills. However, periodic reapplication of sealant every 3-5 years can help enhance stain resistance.

Can you cut directly on quartz countertops?

It is best to avoid cutting directly on quartz. While durable, cutting can damage the surface over time. Always use a cutting board to protect your investment. The nonporous material is safe for food prep when kept clean.

Is quartz environmentally friendly?

Many brands use recycled materials, and quartz itself is non-toxic. Manufacturing does produce some waste, but overall quartz can be an eco-friendly option. Look for quartz made from natural materials and recycled glass for sustainability.

How do you clean and care for quartz?

For routine cleaning, use a mild soap and warm water. For stubborn stains, use a non-abrasive cleaner designed for stone. Avoid harsh chemicals and abrasive pads. Quartz requires very little maintenance to retain its beauty.

Does quartz offer greater design flexibility?

One advantage of engineered quartz is the diversity of colors, patterns, finishes, and edge profiles available. Natural stone offers more limited options. With abundant designs to choose from, it is easier to customize quartz to your unique taste.

Choosing Quartz Countertops for Your Home

When selecting quartz surfaces, there are important factors to consider so that you choose the perfect slabs for your space. Keep the following tips in mind when deciding on quartz:

Select an Appealing Color

Quartz allows endless possibilities for colors. There are subtle tones inspired by natural stone along with vivid hues ranging from rich blues to bright greens. Select a shade that complements your cabinetry, flooring, and overall decor. Neutral tones work well in many kitchen designs.

Consider the Pattern

The aggregation process results in varied patterns in the quartz material. Some feature speckles while others have bold veining. There are options that mimic marble along with random abstract patterns. Choose a pattern that provides visual interest without looking too busy.

Decide on a Finish

Quartz offers different surface finishes. A polished finish has a glossy shine that reflects light beautifully. For a subdued look, honed, matte, and leathered finishes are attractive options that resist fingerprints. The finish impacts the overall aesthetic, so choose carefully.

Look at Thickness

Standard thickness is 3/4 inch, but thinner 1/2 inch options are available. Thicker slabs are best for kitchen counters, as they resist warping. For less expensive backsplashes, thinner quartz works fine.

Consider Edge Profiles

Quartz can be cut and finished with decorative edges like chamfers, ogees, and bevels. The edges outline the shape and help define the style. Softer rounded profiles suit contemporary spaces, while square edges feel traditional.

Choose an Experienced Fabricator

Skill is required to properly cut, install, and finish quartz countertops. Look for an experienced professional fabricator that specializes in quartz. Ensure they have expertise handling engineered stone to get the best results.

By thoughtfully evaluating these factors, you can select high quality quartz countertops that perfectly suit your unique home. Careful planning helps ensure you will enjoy the beauty and performance of quartz surfaces for years to come.

Caring for Your Quartz Countertops

To keep quartz surfaces looking like new, be sure to follow these care and maintenance best practices:

Routine Cleaning

  • For daily cleaning, use a soft cloth with warm water and mild soap.
  • Blot spills immediately to prevent staining.
  • Avoid abrasive cleaners and scrub pads that may damage the finish.
  • Disinfect surfaces occasionally with a stone-safe cleaner.

Preventing Damage

  • Use trivets and hot pads for hot pots and pans.
  • Cut only on designated cutting boards, not directly on quartz.
  • Don’t allow spills with strong chemicals like paint removers or oven cleaners.
  • Avoid hitting edges with heavy impact from objects.

Protective Measures

  • Reseal quartz every 3-5 years with a stone sealer for added stain protection.
  • Install a sink mat to minimize scratches under sinks or dishwashers.
  • Use coasters under glasses and apply wax monthly to enhance the sheen.

Professional Maintenance

  • Have quartz professionally cleaned and re-polished annually.
  • Repair minor chips and scratches professionally to avoid damage worsening.
  • Consider re-finishing leathered or honed surfaces as glossy finishes are easiest to maintain.

With proper care, your quartz countertops will stay looking like new for many years of enjoyment in your home. Take steps to clean, protect, and maintain them properly.

Deciding Between Quartz and Granite Countertops

For many homeowners, the decision between quartz and granite comes down to how they compare in critical areas:


Granite offers a classic, timeless look with more variation than quartz. But quartz allows more design flexibility with endless colors and patterns to suit any style.


Quartz is harder and more resistant to chips, scratches, and stains. Granite can also be durable but requires more maintenance and sealing.


Quartz needs almost no maintenance, just routine cleaning. Granite requires annual sealing to prevent staining and etching from acidic liquids.


The price for installed countertops is similar, on average. But higher end exotic granite can be more costly than top-tier quartz options.

Resale Value

Quartz and granite are on par for resale value. Granite may appeal slightly more to buyers who want a natural stone look. But neutral quartz also holds wide appeal.

While personal preference dictates, quartz offers unbeatable durability and maintenance ease while granite provides a classic, elegant look. Weigh your needs to choose the best material for your home.


While engineered in a factory, quartz countertops offer homeowners an exceptional option that combines natural beauty, endless design possibilities, and outstanding performance. Their durability, stain resistance, and maintenance ease make them a practical yet beautiful addition to kitchens and baths.

Understanding that quartz surfaces are man-made allows homeowners to properly care for them and fully leverage their benefits. With minimal upkeep, quartz countertops offer lasting quality and enjoyment for busy households. Their resilience against heavy use, along with warrantied protection, provides peace of mind to homeowners.

With innovative manufacturing techniques, quartz offers the look of high end natural stone with enhanced benefits. After considering your unique needs, if quartz seems the right fit, be sure to work with a professional fabricator to install your slabs. Made precisely to your specifications, quartz can provide a custom look that flawlessly matches your home’s decor.