Sand quartz has become an increasingly popular choice for kitchen and bathroom countertops in recent years. Here is an in-depth look at whether sand quartz makes for a nice countertop option.
What is Sand Quartz?
Sand quartz, also known as quartz surfaces, engineered quartz, or engineered stone, is made from quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. The quartz content typically ranges from 90-94%. The rest consists of polymer resins and pigments that bind the material together and allow it to take on different colors and patterns.
The result is a man-made material that resembles natural stone but has enhanced properties. It is harder, more stain and scratch resistant, and requires less maintenance than natural stone. Brand names for sand quartz countertops include Silestone, Caesarstone, Cambria, and Cosentino.
Benefits of Sand Quartz Countertops
There are several reasons why sand quartz makes for a nice countertop material:
Sand quartz is highly durable and resistant to scratches, chips, cracks, heat, and stains. The quartz content makes it harder than granite. It can withstand years of wear and tear as a kitchen or bathroom surface.
Unlike natural stone, sand quartz requires very little maintenance. It does not need regular sealing or polishing. Simple cleaning with soap and water is enough to keep it looking like new.
Liquid and foods won’t easily stain sand quartz. It resists stains from wine, coffee, oils, and acids that can mar other surfaces. Any stains that may occur are usually on the surface and can be removed with cleaning.
Spills and messes wipe off easily with just soap and water. Its non-porous nature does not allow dirt and grime to penetrate the material. Bacteria are also unable to penetrate, making it hygienic.
Sand quartz comes in a wide variety of colors, patterns, and finishes. Everything from minimalist solid tones to bold veining and flecks are possible. The look and style can be customized for any kitchen or bath design.
Unlike natural stone, sand quartz is non-porous and resists moisture absorption. This prevents damage from spills and stains. Bacteria are also unable to penetrate, making it very hygienic.
Sand quartz holds up well against direct heat. Hot pans can be placed directly on the surface without worry of cracks, chips, or discoloration. This makes it an ideal choice around stoves and ovens.
While not cheap, sand quartz countertops are competitive in price compared to natural stone surfaces like granite or marble, especially when maintenance costs are factored in. The price has also come down in recent years as manufacturing techniques improve.
Considerations for Sand Quartz Countertops
Despite the many benefits, there are a few things to keep in mind with sand quartz:
Seams May Be Visible
Sand quartz countertops are typically made from smaller engineered slabs bonded together. Seams between the pieces are usually visible on close inspection, unlike seamless natural stone slabs. The seams are tightly bonded and not prone to gaps or moisture penetration.
Avoid Direct Sunlight
Prolonged direct sunlight can potentially cause some discoloration over time. Installing sand quartz in areas that get a lot of sunlight, like next to large windows, should be avoided.
Can Chip if Hit Hard
While generally durable, sand quartz can chip if subjected to a heavy impact from a very hard object. Care should be taken to avoid direct blows.
Needs Professional Installation
Proper installation by an experienced fabricator is important to get a flawless countertop surface. DIY installation is typically not recommended.
Since sand quartz is an engineered composite material, options for recycling and reuse at end of life are limited compared to natural stone materials.
Is Sand Quartz Nice for a Countertop?
Taking everything into account, sand quartz makes for a very nice countertop option for both kitchens and bathrooms. The pros including durability, low maintenance, stain resistance, ease of cleaning, stylish appearance, and heat resistance outweigh the minor cons for most homeowners.
Its reputation for quality and performance explains why sand quartz has surged in popularity in recent years as a countertop surface. For those seeking an attractive, durable, and low maintenance surface, sand quartz is certainly worth considering. With the right research and installation, sand quartz countertops can provide lasting beauty and functionality for years to come.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does sand quartz stain easily?
No, sand quartz is highly stain resistant and does not stain easily. The non-porous material resists absorption of liquids, oils, and acidic foods that can stain other surfaces. Any minor staining that may occur is usually only on the surface and can be removed with cleaning.
Is sand quartz scratch resistant?
Yes, sand quartz has excellent scratch resistance due to the quartz crystals embedded throughout the material. It holds up very well to knives, pots, pans, and other kitchen tools that can scratch some surfaces. Only cuts from very sharp objects or blows from extremely hard materials can potentially scratch sand quartz.
Does sand quartz need to be sealed?
No. Unlike natural stone, sand quartz does not require regular sealing to prevent stains and damage. The non-porous material is stain resistant on its own and requires only simple cleaning with soap and water. Sealing is not necessary.
How long does sand quartz last?
With proper care and maintenance, sand quartz countertops can potentially last for decades before needing replacement. Many manufacturers offer 10-year or 15-year warranties. The material is not prone to damage or deterioration like some natural stone surfaces.
Does sand quartz get hot?
Sand quartz holds up well against heat and resists cracking or discoloration from hot pots and pans. Some slight discoloration may occur over time after repeated exposure to extreme heat. Using trivets for very hot items can help prolong its longevity.
Is sand quartz eco-friendly?
Sand quartz contains high amounts of natural quartz making it more eco-friendly than some engineered composites. However, recyclability is limited, so sustainability is an area that manufacturers continue to work on improving through innovations in manufacturing and fabrication.
Sand quartz combines the beauty of natural stone with enhanced durability, stain resistance, low maintenance, and design flexibility. Minor downsides exist but are outweighed for most homeowners by the positive attributes. With proper installation and care, sand quartz makes for an excellent countertop surface that can provide many years of functionality and style in kitchens, bathrooms, and other spaces. Its growing popularity as a replacement for granite, marble, and other natural surfaces is a testament to its desirability. For those considering a new countertop, sand quartz should definitely be on the list of materials to strongly consider.