Quartz countertops have become an increasingly popular option for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects over the past decade. With their durability, low maintenance, and stylish appearance, it’s no wonder many homeowners are choosing quartz as the new look for their home. Let’s examine why quartz countertops seem to be everywhere nowadays and if they are truly the new trend for home design.
The Rise in Popularity of Quartz Countertops
There are several reasons for the surge in popularity of quartz countertops:
Quartz offers a beautiful, high-end look for kitchens and baths. The mineral particles in quartz create a natural-looking, sparkling surface that is elegant and sophisticated. Unlike natural stone, there is minimal veining and variation in quartz, giving it a uniform, clean appearance. The nonporous material resists staining and etching, staying fresher looking for longer than granite or marble. Quartz comes in a wide range of colors and patterns to fit any style, from neutral creams and grays to bold blacks and blues. The uniform patterning and consistent coloration means homeowners can achieve a designer look without the high cost.
Quartz is one of the most durable options for countertops, making it ideal for active kitchens. Made from ground quartz mineral combined with polyresin binders, it forms an extremely hard, nonporous surface. It does not require sealing like natural stone and resists scratches, stains, and heat damage better than many other countertop materials. Most quartz manufacturers offer 10-15 year warranties due to the material’s longevity. Quartz stands up well to heavy usage over time, maintaining its appearance and performance. This makes it a great option for busy kitchens that see a lot of culinary action.
Since quartz resists stains, etching, and heat damage, it requires very little maintenance compared to other natural stone surfaces. Simple cleaning with soap and water is enough to keep quartz sparkling. It never needs sealing or polishing to maintain its durability and appearance. This makes quartz an excellent choice for homeowners who want a fuss-free, easy-care countertop.
Quartz offers very consistent coloring all the way through the material, unlike natural stones where color variations are common. The dyes that tint the engineered stone penetrate the entire slab. As the material is nonporous, the color will remain true over the life of the countertop. Homeowners don’t have to worry about stains or fading altering the appearance of quartz surfaces. The uniformity and consistency of shade give quartz a clean, orderly look that appeals to many styles.
While still priced as a premium surface material, quartz costs a third to half less than natural stone slabs. The manufacturing techniques of making engineered quartz make it more affordable than mined stone materials. The durability and longevity of quartz also add to its value, giving homeowners beautiful countertops that last for years. More choices in the lower and middle price points exist with quartz than granite or marble, appealing to a wider range of budgets.
Is Quartz Just a Temporary Fad?
With quartz rising so quickly in popularity over the last 10-15 years, some wonder if it is just a passing fad soon to be replaced by the next new thing. However, quartz offers such practical advantages over other materials that it seems poised to maintain its top place in the market.
Sustainability drives many home design and remodeling decisions today. Eco-conscious consumers value options like quartz that reuse mining byproducts and recycled polymers. Quartz contains up to 95% recycled content from quartz mineral waste and polymer scraps. Manufacturing also generates less carbon emissions than stone mining and fabrication. The durable, low-maintenance nature of quartz also contributes to its green factor, saving replacements and upkeep over the long run. Many leading quartz brands hold green certifications like Greenguard, another appealing factor for sustainably minded buyers.
Manufacturers continually strive to improve the appearance, performance, and customization options of quartz through technology innovations. Advancements like greater pattern and color variation give quartz an ever more natural, stone-like look. Textured surfaces better emulate patterns like stone, metal, and concrete. Custom fabrication techniques allow nearly seamless designs tailored to each space. New antibacterial and UV-resistant formulations add protection and longevity. Thanks to technological enhancements, quartz keeps getting better, further solidifying its place in the market.
Clean, streamlined design remains one of the biggest kitchen and bath trends. Quartz aligns well with the modern, minimalist aesthetic desired by many homeowners. The uniformity and lack of prominent veining give quartz a smooth, orderly appearance. Neutral solid colors and minimal patterns mesh well with contemporary styles. As open floor plans continue popular, large expanses of quartz create cohesive visual flow between rooms. Quartz offers just enough polish without looking overly glossy, fitting right in with transitional and modern decor. Technology allows quartz patterns to change as trends do, keeping it always looking fresh and current.
Builder & Developer Preference
Builders and developers selecting materials for residences and commercial properties opt for quartz for its durability and easy maintenance. Quartz performs well through construction conditions and messy move-ins, making it ideal for new builds and flips. The harder material resists scratches from tools and moving heavy objects in ways that softer natural stones don’t. Consistent sizing quartz slabs also install more efficiently than natural stone. Builders can offer high-end kitchens and baths with quartz that minimize issues down the road, a major perk for busy contractors. This steady professional demand cements quartz as a kitchen and bath staple.
Pros and Cons of Quartz Countertops
Quartz has many positives as a countertop material but also a few potential drawbacks to consider, as with any design choice. Understanding the pros and cons allows homeowners to decide if quartz is the right selection for their space and lifestyle.
- Extremely durable and low maintenance
- Resists scratches, stains, chips, cracks
- Keeps appearance longer than most surfaces
- Easy cleaning with just soap and water
- Neutral, uniform look fits most styles
- Wide range of colors and patterns
- Long manufacturer warranties, 10-15 years
- Affordable compared to natural stone
- Consistent sizing for easy slab matching
- Does not require periodic sealing
- Resists heat damage better than most surfaces
- Nonporous so resists bacterial growth
- Recycled and eco-friendly manufacturing
- Few unique markings compared to natural stone
- Limited number of suppliers, less variety
- Can show seams more than materials like granite
- Not heat, stain, and scratch proof
- Sugary/sparkly appearance not suited for some styles
- Needs occasional re-polishing over time
- Can be prone to cracks during installation
- Some low-quality quartz lacks durability
- Can emit low VOC emissions during manufacture
Cost Comparison With Other Countertop Materials
In terms of upfront cost, quartz sits above more affordable options like laminate but remains less costly than premium natural stones.
| Material | Average Cost Per Square Foot |
| Butcher Block | $50-$100 |
| Tile | $10-$50 |
| Concrete | $50-$100 |
| Laminate | $20-$50 |
|Quartz | $80-$120 |
| Marble | $70-$250 |
| Granite | $80-$185 |
| Soapstone | $70-$100 |
However, the long lifespan and minimal maintenance of quartz compensate for the higher initial price, delivering strong return on investment. Homeowners can expect to go 10-15 years without needing to replace quartz countertops under normal use. Natural marble or granite would require more frequent professional polishing and sealing to maintain appearance and performance. Over time, the maintenance costs of stone can equal or surpass the upfront cost of quartz.
Should I Choose Quartz or Granite?
Granite and quartz are two of the most popular higher end countertop choices. Distinguishing features help determine which suits your needs better.
- More durable and scratch resistant
- Easier maintenance without regular sealing
- Greater color consistency batch to batch
- Lower porosity makes it less prone to stains
- Available in wide array of colors and styles
- Keep appearance longer with less polishing
- Natural stone appearance with striking veining
- Each slab has unique natural variations
- Can be restored and re-polished indefinitely
- Cooler surface temperature
- Often higher resale value
- Both offer high-end luxury aesthetic
- Available in wide range of patterns and finishes
- Offer good heat and impact resistance
- Comparable installation and fabrication
Popular Brands of Quartz Countertops
Many reputable providers of quartz exist in the countertop market. Some of the top brands include:
- Cambria – Made in the USA, known for matte finishes and designs emulating natural stone.
- Caesarstone – One of the first quartz manufacturers, known for pioneer technology like antibacterial options.
- Silestone – Offers integrated sink options and over 90 colors, part of parent company Cosentino.
- Vicostone – Committed to eco-friendly manufacturing practices using recycled materials.
- MSI – Budget-friendly quartz available at home improvement stores like Lowes and Home Depot.
- Dupont Zodiaq – The original engineered stone, known for high performing, quality products.
- Quartz Master – Provider of affordable quartz slabs and custom fabrication.
- Pental Quartz – Family owned company focusing on remarkable customer experiences since 1987.
- Viatera – US-made premium quartz with polished surfaces and intricate designs.
When selecting a brand, consider range of colors/patterns, pricing, warranties, and certifications. Visit showrooms to get a sense of each brand’s aesthetic.
How Does Quartz Stack Up to Other Engineered Surfaces?
In addition to natural stone, quartz also faces competition from other engineered solid surfaces used for countertops. How does it compare?
Quartz vs. Solid Surface (Corian)
- Quartz more heat, stain, and scratch resistant
- Solid surface can be fully seamless
- More color/pattern options with solid surface
- Quartz easier to keep clean and maintain appearance
- Solid surface can be fabricated onsite to custom sizes
- Quartz has harder, more stone-like feel
Quartz vs. Laminate
- Quartz far more durable and heat resistant
- Laminate requires more frequent replacement
- Quartz worth investment for longevity
- Laminate comes in nearly endless variety of looks
- Quartz higher end, luxury aesthetic appeal
- Laminate more affordable upfront cost
Quartz vs. Concrete
- Quartz lower maintenance, no sealing needed
- Concrete stains and etches easier
- Quartz offers greater consistency in color
- Concrete can be molded into any shape
- Quartz easier to keep looking clean over time
- Concrete costs less for thick custom looks
Unique Uses for Quartz Beyond Countertops
While quartz countertops may be the most common application, quartz can also be used in creative ways throughout the home:
- Backsplashes – Use quartz for a backsplash that harmonizes with the countertop. Adds durability to a high use area.
- Shower Walls – As an alternative to tile, quartz creates a waterproof, low maintenance shower surround.
- Fireplace Surround – Quartz makes an attractive, easy to clean alternative to marble around a fireplace.
- Tabletops – Choose quartz for dining room tables or kitchen islands for heat and scratch resistance.
- Flooring – Use quartz tile for an upscale, durable floor in low traffic areas.
- Shelving – Quartz shelves or mantels add subtle sparkle and durability to display spaces.
- Vanities – Craft a custom bathroom vanity from quartz that holds up to daily use.
- Wall Paneling – Add dimension to walls with 3D quartz wall panels or tile. Works well around desk space.
- Outdoor Kitchens – Quartz holds up better outdoors than many materials. Perfect for outdoor kitchen counters.
Does quartz need to be sealed?
No, quartz does not require sealing like natural stone countertops. The nonporous material is highly stain resistant.
What are quartz countertops made of?
Quartz countertops are made from crushed quartz aggregate combined with polymer resins and pigments. The typical composition is about 95% ground quartz and 5% binding agents.
How often does quartz need to be polished?
One of the benefits of quartz is that it keeps its lustrous appearance longer than many materials. Normal cleaning is often enough to maintain the polished finish. Some brands suggest professional polishing every 1-2 years to refresh the shine.
Can you cut on quartz countertops?
Quartz is durable enough to withstand normal kitchen cutting. However, using cutting boards is still recommended to prevent dulling knives or chipping quartz over time. Avoid direct cuts on the countertop surface when possible.
Can quartz countertops stain?
While less prone to stains than other surfaces, quartz can still become stained under certain conditions. Spills should be wiped up promptly. Very pigmented liquids like juices, wines or oils may stain if left for prolonged time periods.
Is quartz more expensive than granite?
On average, quartz costs $80-120 per square foot while granite runs $80-185 per square foot. The price ranges overlap, but quartz is often more affordable than many types of granite.
Is quartz eco-friendly?
Quartz contains up to 95% recycled content from industrial waste streams. Manufacturing quartz also produces less carbon emissions than mining and fabricating natural stone. Many brands use recycled water and have achieved green certifications.
With its stylish appearance, durability, and easy maintenance, quartz has rapidly emerged as one of today’s most popular countertop materials. While it first gained steam in the 2000s as an innovative engineered stone, quartz has proven it has staying power. Thanks to continuous advancements in aesthetics and performance, quartz maintains its edge over classic natural stone and other solid surfaces. For homeowners wanting the high-end elegance of stone with excellent resilience and minimal upkeep, quartz delivers. With colors, patterns, textures and finishes to fit nearly any design style, quartz offers versatility too. While no material is perfect, quartz comes close for many buyers today. All signs suggest that quartz countertops are indeed a strong contender as the new standard look for kitchens and bathrooms.