Quartz countertops are an increasingly popular choice for kitchen and bathroom renovation projects. Made from ground quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments, quartz counters are valued for their durability, low maintenance, and stylish appearance. However, one common question that arises is whether quartz counters are porous or non-porous. Here is a detailed look at the porosity of quartz countertops.
What Makes a Material Porous?
A material’s porosity refers to its ability to absorb liquids and allow them to pass through. Porous materials have tiny holes or pores that enable fluids to seep in. The more pores a material has, the more porous it is.
Non-porous materials have a more tightly bound structure that does not allow liquids to soak in. Instead, fluids remain on the surface. Glass, metals, and plastics are examples of non-porous materials in most cases.
The Non-Porous Nature of Quartz Countertops
Quartz counters are made from ground quartz crystals, which are non-porous. Resin binds the quartz particles together to form a slab. The resin makes the material even more impervious to liquids.
This means quartz counters are essentially non-porous. Liquids remain on the surface rather than absorbing into the countertops. Even though microscopic pores may exist, the density and impermeability of quartz restricts the absorption of fluids.
Advantages of Non-Porous Quartz Countertops
The non-porous quality of quartz counters provides certain advantages:
- Resistance to stains: Spills and messes stay on the surface rather than soaking in and staining the material. Quartz resists stains from coffee, wine, juice, and other liquids.
- Low maintenance: Since fluids do not penetrate the surface, quartz requires very little maintenance. Simple wiping with a soft cloth is often enough to keep counters clean.
- Hygienic surface: With liquids remaining on the surface, quartz does not harbor bacteria and germs like porous materials can. The non-porous quality helps keep quartz hygienic.
- Durability: Resistance to liquids helps prevent damage like swelling, cracking, and warping that can occur with natural stone, wood, and other porous surfaces.
Factors that Increase Porosity
Although quartz is considered non-porous, certain factors can lead to increased porosity:
- Surface damage: Cracks, chips, scratches, and other damage to the surface can create small openings that allow more liquid absorption.
- Poor installation: Bad seam work by installers can cause gaps that allow some moisture seepage.
- Low quality materials: Lower priced quartz made with fewer resins is more porous than high quality varieties.
- Prolonged exposure: Extended contact with spills, especially hot or colored liquids, can eventually seep into microscopic pores.
Proper Care for Quartz Surfaces
To benefit from the non-porous nature of quartz, proper care is recommended:
- Immediately wipe up spills, especially from acidic substances like wine or fruit juice.
- Use a silicone-based sealant on seams and joints during installation.
- Avoid using cleaners that can damage the surface.
- Use trivets and cutting boards to minimize direct heat and stains.
- Have surfaces re-sealed every few years by a professional.
Is Quartz Truly Non-Porous?
While quartz countertops are considered non-porous, it’s not an absolute designation. The non-porous resins fill in space between the ground quartz particles to eliminate most pores. But microscopic pores within quartz particles themselves are difficult to remove entirely during manufacturing. Even a tiny amount of porosity means quartz can slowly absorb some spillage over time, especially hot or colored liquids. However, quality quartz retains its non-porous performance if properly cared for during regular kitchen use. For most homeowners, this negligible porosity is barely a concern compared to more porous natural stone counters.
Frequently Asked Questions About Porosity of Quartz Counters
Can liquids soak into quartz counters?
Liquids do not soak into properly sealed quartz counters. The non-porous resins prevent absorption and liquids remain on the surface. However, some absorption can occur over time if spills are not cleaned up promptly.
Do quartz countertops stain easily?
Quartz counters are highly resistant to stains due to their non-porous quality. However, extremely hot pans or spills left for prolonged time periods can potentially stain quartz surfaces.
Is quartz more porous than granite?
No, quartz is far less porous than natural stone like granite. Granite is somewhat porous and more prone to staining and harboring bacteria if not sealed regularly. Quartz has almost no porosity if properly manufactured.
Can quartz counters warp or crack from liquid spills?
Quartz resists warping or cracking from typical kitchen spills. However, very hot liquids allowed to sit for extended periods could potentially damage quartz. The non-porous surface helps minimize liquid absorption that leads to warps and cracks.
Do you need to seal quartz counters?
Most quartz manufacturers claim their counters never need sealing. The resins fill pores and prevent absorption of liquids. However, periodic sealing can provide added protection, especially for heavily used kitchen counters around sinks.
Quartz counters provide a stylish, durable, and low-maintenance surface resistant to scratches, stains, and damage from typical kitchen use. The non-porous quality of quality quartz prevents liquid absorption, keeping counters hygienic and easy to clean. With proper care and sealing, homeowners can enjoy the benefits of non-porous quartz countertops for many years. Following manufacturer guidelines and prompt spill cleanup are key to maximizing the stain resistance and longevity of these popular engineered stone counters.