Is Quartz Countertop Good?

Quartz countertops have become an increasingly popular option for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects in recent years. But is quartz really the best material for countertops? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll examine the pros and cons of quartz countertops to help you decide if they are the right choice for your home improvement project.

What is Quartz?

Quartz countertops, sometimes referred to as engineered stone, are made from ground natural quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. The quartz content typically ranges from 90-94%, while the rest consists of polymers and colorants.

The resulting material is non-porous, stain resistant, scratch resistant, and heat resistant – making it an ideal surface for busy kitchens and baths. Quartz is harder than granite but not as hard as diamonds. On the Mohs hardness scale, quartz ranks at 7 while granite is around 6-7.

Pros of Quartz Countertops:

  • Extremely durable and long-lasting
  • Resists scratches, stains, heat, and moisture
  • Low maintenance – doesn’t require annual sealing
  • Easy to clean with just soap and water
  • Available in wide range of colors and patterns
  • Non-porous so doesn’t harbor bacteria
  • Seamless look for a smooth surface
  • More consistent pattern than natural stone

Cons of Quartz Countertops:

  • More expensive than laminate or granite
  • Can chip or crack if subjected to blunt force
  • Doesn’t have the unique natural veining of granite
  • Limited number of colors and patterns
  • Can be damaged by very high heat
  • Repairs may be noticeable

Now let’s dive deeper into the specific pros and cons of quartz countertops to determine if they offer good value and quality for your home.

Durability of Quartz Countertops

One of the biggest advantages of quartz countertops is their incredible durability. Made from ground quartz crystals, one of nature’s hardest minerals, quartz offers superior strength and scratch resistance compared to other countertop materials.

In fact, quartz hardness and density exceeds that of granite. This makes it highly resistant to scratches, chips, cracks, and heat damage under normal use. You can place hot pots and pans on a quartz surface without worry, though it is still recommended to use trivets.

Quartz countertops are engineered to last for many years with minimal signs of wear and tear. With proper care, quartz countertops can look like new for 10-15 years.

The resins that bind the quartz crystals together form a surface that is non-porous. Unlike granite, quartz won’t absorb stains from spills like wine, coffee, and juice. Simply wipe up spills as they happen, and quartz will continue to look pristine. No sealing is ever required.

This durability makes quartz an excellent investment that adds value to your home. The upfront cost of quartz may be higher than other options like laminate, but quartz will stand the test of time and retain its beauty.

Low Maintenance Needs

Another major advantage of quartz countertops is that they require very little maintenance. Unlike natural stone countertops like granite and marble, quartz does not need to be regularly sealed to prevent staining and moisture damage.

The non-porous surface of quartz resists liquid penetration, so you don’t have to worry about spills soaking in. To clean quartz, all you need is a soft cloth and mild soap and water. For tougher messes, you can use a non-abrasive cleaner designed for stone surfaces.

Avoid abrasive cleaners and scouring pads, as they may dull the surface over time. But overall, quartz is very easy to keep looking like new with minimal effort.

The lack of sealing and simple cleaning requirements makes quartz a great option for busy kitchens prone to spills, messes, and heavy daily use. You can spend less time worrying about countertop maintenance and more time enjoying cooking and entertaining.

Resistance to Heat Damage

Quartz countertops are engineered to be resistant to moderate heat. The resins that bind the quartz hold up to normal cooking temperatures from pots, pans, and kitchen appliances like crockpots.

However, quartz can be damaged by sudden, rapid heating or cooling. You’ll want to use trivets or hot pads when placing extremely hot cookware on a quartz surface. Avoid exposing quartz to open flames or temperatures above 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

While quartz is less heat tolerant than some materials like granite, it offers adequate thermal performance for typical kitchen tasks. Use reasonable care, and your quartz countertops should never burn or crack.

Non-Porous, Hygienic Surface

The non-porous nature of quartz makes it a very hygienic surface resistant to microbes and bacteria growth. Liquids cannot penetrate the dense surface, denying contaminants a place to harbor.

Granite and other natural stones are slightly porous, which means bacteria can collect in the microscopic pores. Quartz lacks these pores, keeping your countertops safe and sanitary.

The resistance to moisture prevents any mildew or mold growth on quartz counters. You can safely prep foods on quartz without fear of contamination. This makes quartz popular in kitchens as well as laboratories and hospitals.

Wide Range of Colors and Patterns

A major advantage of engineered quartz over natural stone is the diversity of available colors, patterns, and finishes. While granite and marble are limited to the natural variations found in quarries, quartz can be engineered in unlimited ways.

Manufacturers like Cambria, Caesarstone, Silestone, and Viatera offer hundreds of different quartz countertop colors and designs. Options include solid colors, speckled patterns, aggregates, metallic finishes, and even imitation marble.

This extensive selection allows you to perfectly match your new quartz countertops to your cabinetry, flooring, appliances, and overall kitchen or bath design. From dark bold colors to light neutrals to vibrant patterns, the possibilities are endless.

Consistent Appearance

While natural granite and marble countertops carry unique one-of-a-kind veining and patterns, the downside is a lack of consistency. Two side-by-side granite slabs likely won’t match perfectly.

The benefit of engineered quartz is a reliable uniformity in color and finish. The manufacturing process ensures each quartz slab has the same consistent appearance. This allows for a continuous look when installing adjoining countertop sections.

The consistency of quartz also means replacements and repairs result in less visible seams. Any repairs needed down the road will blend better than natural stone.

Is Quartz Prone to Chipping and Cracking?

Although quartz countertops are remarkably strong, they aren’t completely impervious to damage. Like any solid surface, forceful impacts can potentially chip or crack quartz. Dropping heavy objects on quartz can cause harm over time.

However, quartz is quite resilient compared to materials like granite, marble, tile, laminate, and concrete. In most cases, it takes an unusually hard impact to damage quartz. Things like metal pots, glass bottles, and appliances falling on quartz rarely cause issues.

Excessive heat can also damage quartz, though temperatures need to exceed 300 degrees F before problems occur. Avoid placing flaming pots/pans or baking sheets directly out of the oven on quartz.

With reasonable care, quartz countertops should provide years of beauty without chips, cracks or burns. Their durability exceeds most other options. But no surface is truly indestructible.

Limitations of Colors and Patterns

The only downside to the wide range of engineered quartz colors and patterns is that options are predetermined by manufacturers. If you have your heart set on a highly unique, one-of-a-kind look, quartz may disappoint.

Of course, hundreds of colors and patterns are available. But if you want the true distinctiveness of a natural material like granite, marble, or soapstone, engineered quartz can seem a bit artificial.

Certain aesthetics like heavy veining or translucent marbling cannot be perfectly replicated in quartz. All the designs are planned in manufacturing facilities rather than organically formed by nature.

If matching existing counters or pursuing an unconventional look, consult with designers to see if quartz offers the capabilities you seek. For most homeowners, the pattern options are more than adequate. But limitations exist.

Seamless Look

The consistent coloring of quartz slabs allows for a near-seamless look after installation. For countertops spanning multiple sections, the adjoining quartz pieces blend together smoothly.

With natural stone like granite, noticeable seams are hard to avoid due to variations in the stone. Quartz slabs match much more uniformly, creating the illusion of one continuous surface.

Proper installation is still critical to minimize seams with quartz or any countertop material. But with quartz, the installer doesn’t have the challenge of matching distinct slab patterns and markings. Quartz guarantees a cleaner, near-seamless esthetic.

Cost Considerations

The main downside of quartz countertops for many homeowners is the higher cost compared to options like granite, marble, laminate, tile, concrete, or wood. Quartz is priced as a premium material, coming in between the cost of mid-grade granite and high-end marble.

The price can vary significantly based on the brand, color, finish, and other factors. On average, expect to pay $80-$150 per square foot installed for quartz countertops. Granite ranges from $50-$100 per square foot.

While not cheap, quartz offers good value considering its unmatched durability, low maintenance, and longevity. The lifespan of quartz exceeds cheaper options, making it a wise long-term investment that adds value to your home.

Weigh the higher initial price of quartz versus future costs of repairing, replacing, and maintaining lesser materials frequently over time. Quartz often comes out ahead in terms of return on investment.

Repairing Damage and Seams

No material is impervious to damage. If your quartz countertop suffers chips, cracks, burns, or stains, repairs are possible in some scenarios. Specific steps depend on the type and extent of damage.

For minor damage confined to the surface, procedures like sanding and polishing can renew quartz’s appearance. More severe damage penetrating deep into the material may require patching with epoxy resins.

Full slab replacement may be the only option for extensive damage. Thankfully repairs are somewhat simplified by quartz’s consistent patterns – new sections won’t stand out like granite repairs.

But repairs on quartz still involve evident seams that mar the original uniform look. Damaged quartz can’t be restored to an perfect condition. Take care to prevent harm to your quartz surfaces whenever possible.

Is Quartz Too Cold to the Touch?

Some homeowners complain natural stone like granite feels too cold in kitchens where comfort under bare feet matters. The denseness that makes granite durable also makes it temperature conductive.

Quartz counters are also hard, dense surfaces that can feel cold to the touch, especially during winter months. But quartz doesn’t conduct temperature quite as efficiently as true stone.

If cold countertops are a concern for you, adding a backsplash and/or under-cabinet lighting can help combat the issue. Rugs on the floor are another option for keeping your feet warm.

Is Quartz Environmentally Friendly?

As a manufactured product containing plastics and resins, quartz raises environmental concerns for some homeowners. However, quartz countertop production has become more eco-friendly in recent years.

Many top brands use recycled materials including glass, mirrors, and plastic containers in their manufacturing process. Quartz contains high percentages of natural stone while minimizing plastic filler.

And once installed, quartz counters are long-lasting and low maintenance, avoiding frequent replacement waste. Proper disposal and recycling is important when quartz countertops reach the end of usefulness.

Overall, quartz can be an environmentally responsible choice compared to some other materials. But those seeking all-natural stone may prefer renewable options like granite, soapstone, or concrete.

Quartz vs. Granite Countertops

Granite is the most popular countertop surface for upscale homes. But engineered quartz now provides an appealing alternative at a similar price point. Here’s how quartz and granite compare:

Quartz Pros vs. Granite:

  • Wider range of colors/patterns
  • More consistent appearance
  • Less maintenance (no sealing needed)
  • Resists stains and scratches
  • Non-porous

Granite Pros vs. Quartz:

  • Natural stone aesthetic
  • Translucent depth
  • Better heat resistance
  • Can be repaired seamlessly
  • Often lower cost

Both materials make excellent choices for countertops. Quartz offers man-made consistency, while granite provides natural artistry. Weigh their respective benefits against your own needs and tastes.

Quartz vs. Marble Countertops

Marble is prized for its elegance but requires more maintenance. Here’s how it compares to quartz:

Quartz Pros vs. Marble:

  • Superior stain, scratch, and chip resistance
  • Doesn’t need frequent sealing
  • Consistent patterns with less variation
  • Denser and less porous
  • Holds polish better over time

Marble Pros vs. Quartz:

  • Translucent crystalline appearance
  • Softer, subtler veining patterns
  • Can be honed or polished to various finishes
  • Develops patina over time

Marble looks stunning when newly installed and properly sealed. But its softness, porosity, and etching make it a high maintenance option. Quartz offers comparable beauty with added durability.

Popular Brands of Quartz Countertops

Many manufacturers now produce quartz slabs which kitchen and bath contractors use to fabricate countertops. Some leading engineered stone brands include:

  • Cambria – Made in the USA, known for innovative style and quality
  • Caesarstone – One of the first quartz makers, based in Israel
  • Silestone – Over 90 colors, popular brand from Spain
  • Viatera – US company focused on luxury aesthetic
  • LG Hausys – Maker of the Viatera brand, based in Korea
  • Covetone – High-end patterns from Canada, 10-year warranty
  • Quartzform – Massachusetts-based domestic quartz producer
  • Vicostone – High-performing options from Vietnam, 50+ colors

Be sure to research brands’ reputations, ranges of colors/patterns, and warranties when selecting quartz. Many offer 10-15 year warranties against defects.

How to Choose a Quartz Countertop Color

With so many options to consider, choosing a quartz color can be challenging. Here are tips for selecting a shade to match your kitchen or bath design:

  • Consider the style and color scheme of your cabinets, flooring, paints, and other finishes. Contrasting or coordinating with existing elements is key.
  • Factor in the lighting in the space. Darker quartz works better in bright rooms. Soft light calls for lighter tones.
  • Think about the visual size and layout of the space. Bold quartz colors suit larger kitchens, while small spaces are better served by lighter neutral hues.
  • Decide if you want quartz to be a focal point or subtle backdrop in the room’s design. Dramatic colors draw the eye, while neutral shades blend in discretely.
  • View multiple full-size quartz samples on-site before finalizing a purchase. Photos don’t always capture the true color accurately.
  • If considering a brightly colored or strongly patterned quartz, purchase a smaller sampler to live with first. Make sure you still love the bold look after a week or so.

Caring for Quartz Countertops

Caring for quartz countertops is blessedly simple. The non-porous material resists most messes with just soap and water cleaning. Follow these care tips to keep quartz looking pristine:

  • For everyday cleaning, use a soft cloth or sponge with mild soap and warm water. Avoid abrasive cleansers.
  • Immediately wipe up spills like wine, coffee, and fruit juice. Acids can dull the surface over time with prolonged exposure.
  • For stubborn dried stains, use a non-abrasive stone cleaner and soft cloth or nylon scrub pad.
  • Disinfect quartz periodically with diluted bleach – 1 part bleach to 20 parts water.
  • Avoid placing excessively hot pans directly on the surface. Use trivets or hot pads.
  • Cut only on designated cutting boards, never directly on the quartz surface.
  • Don’t expose quartz to strong chemicals like paint removers, oven cleaners, etc.

With proper care, quartz countertops will stay looking like new for many years before needing replacement.

FAQs About Quartz Countertops

Is quartz naturally waterproof?

Yes, quartz has a non-porous surface that water cannot penetrate. This prevents stains and damage. However, prolonged exposure to liquids can still dull the surface sheen over time.

Can you cut on quartz countertops?

Never cut or chop directly on a quartz countertop. Always use a designated cutting board. Quartz is scratch resistant, but sharp knives can still damage the surface.

Do quartz countertops need to be resealed?

No. Unlike natural stone, quartz does not need periodic resealing. The non-porous surface resists moisture and stains without sealants. However, resealing may be needed for repairs like chips.

Can you etch quartz countertops?

Yes, acidic substances like lemon juice and vinegar can potentially etch (dull) the surface if left for prolonged contact. Wipe up acidic spills quickly to prevent possible etching.

How thick are quartz countertops?

Quartz slabs are typically 3/4 inch thick. Thicker options of up to 1 1/2 inches are sometimes used for kitchen islands and bars to provide sturdier overhangs.

**Are quartz count