Quartz countertops have become increasingly popular in kitchens over the last decade, and for good reason. Here is a comprehensive look at the pros and cons of quartz countertops to help you determine if they are the right choice for your kitchen.
What is Quartz?
Quartz is an engineered stone made from crushed quartz combined with resin and pigments. It is one of the hardest non-precious stones available, making it an excellent choice for countertops.
Some key features of quartz:
- Extremely durable and scratch-resistant surface
- Non-porous so resists stains
- Available in a wide variety of colors and patterns
- Requires very little maintenance
- Heat and impact resistant
Pros of Quartz Countertops
Quartz is harder than granite and engineered for optimal resilience. It stands up excellently to heavy usage in the kitchen. The resin binders make quartz resistant to chips and cracks.
Quartz repels liquids, resists stains, and doesn’t require regular sealing like natural stone. Simple cleaning with soap and water is enough to keep quartz counters looking like new for years.
The non-porous nature of quartz prevents stains from setting into the surface even after prolonged exposure to spills like wine, coffee, and oil.
Quartz can withstand brief exposure to heat up to 300°F without damage. However, prolonged direct heat exposure will damage the solid surface.
Variety of Options
Quartz comes in a wide array of colors, patterns, and realistic looking stone and wood grain finishes. There are endless options to complement any kitchen décor.
The smooth non-porous surface does not harbor bacteria or microorganisms that can cause illness. quartz counters are ideal for hygienic food prep areas.
Seamless built-in sinks can be created using quartz for a stylish modern look. The sink and countertop are all one continuous surface with no seams or cracks.
Quartz offers an affordable alternative to natural stone countertops like granite and marble, with increased durability and lower maintenance needs. The look and feel emulate high-end materials.
Cons of Quartz Countertops
Seams Are Visible
connecting separate slabs of quartz will result in visible seams. The seams are usually discrete but not seamless like natural stone. Careful planning of the layout can minimize the appearance of seams.
Quartz slabs are thinner than natural stone and require proper support underneath to hold the weight and prevent cracks. This adds to installation costs.
Can Be Damaged by Impact
While resistant to scratches, quartz can be damaged by excessive impact. Dropping heavy pots or appliances directly on it can potentially chip the surface.
Needs Specialized Installation
Quartz countertops must be cut and installed precisely to ensure tight seams and prevent gaps between slabs. Improper installation can ruin the aesthetics. Professional installation is advised.
Can Be Stained by Strong Chemicals
While quartz repels most household spills, prolonged exposure to strong chemicals like paint strippers or drain cleaners can damage and discolor the surface.
Lacks Unique Patterns of Natural Stone
The speckled patterns of quartz try to mimic natural stone but lack the one-of-a-kind veining that makes materials like marble special. The uniformity can seem artificial.
Not Heat Proof
While resistant to brief heat exposure, direct high heat from pots and pans or appliances can damage quartz over time. Trivets and hot pads should always be used.
FAQs about Quartz Countertops
How much do quartz countertops cost compared to other options?
Quartz typically ranges from $80-150 per square foot installed. This compares favorably to natural stone like granite ($60-100 per sq.ft), marble ($100-250 per sq.ft) and is comparable to engineered surfaces like Corian ($70-100 per sq.ft).
What colors and patterns are available with quartz?
Endless! From solid whites and blacks to glittery speckled multicolors and realistic stone and wood patterns. Popular patterns include white marble look, concrete gray, and dark “Absolute Black”. Unique custom patterns are also possible.
Is quartz truly maintenance free?
Quartz requires very little maintenance. Simple wiping with a damp cloth easily removes most spills and stains. As a best practice, clean with a stone cleaner once a week to keep the surface pristine. Avoid abrasive cleaners.
How thick are quartz slabs usually?
Standard thickness is 3/4″ to 1 1/4″, which is thinner than natural stone slabs. Thicker slabs of 1 1/2″ – 2″ are used for heavy duty commercial projects. Home quartz counters are typically 3/4″ thick.
How heavy are quartz countertops per square foot?
A 3/4″ thick quartz slab weighs approximately 15 lbs per square foot. A standard 25 square ft section would weigh around 375 lbs. Proper cabinetry support is vital to prevent cracking.
Can you cut directly on quartz countertops?
It’s not recommended to cut directly on the surface. Use a cutting board instead to protect from deep scratches and impacts that could chip the quartz. The non-porous surface also dulls knife edges faster.
Can quartz counters be repaired if damaged?
Minor chips and scratches can be sanded and buffed out by a pro. But extensive damage may require a full replacement slab since quartz cannot be patched like natural stone. Protecting the surface from impacts is key.
Quartz makes an exceptional countertop choice that offers durability, easy maintenance, hygiene, and endless design options. While not fully damage-proof, quartz stands up admirably to the rigors of a busy kitchen. With some precautions against impact and overheating, quartz countertops will maintain their good looks for many years of cooking and entertaining. For most homeowners, quartz presents an ideal balance between natural stone beauty and indestructibility.