Quartz countertops have become increasingly popular in recent years as a durable, low-maintenance, and stylish option for kitchen and bathroom renovations. While premium quartz counters from leading brands carry higher price tags, cheaper quartz products have also emerged on the market. But how do cheaper quartz countertops compare to their more expensive counterparts in terms of quality, durability, and aesthetics? Here is an in-depth look at whether cheaper quartz delivers on performance.
Quality and Composition
Premium quartz countertops are made from at least 90% ground quartz combined with polymer resins and pigments. High percentages of quartz make the material extra hard and scratch-resistant. Cheaper quartz often contains more resins and less quartz, resulting in a softer and potentially less durable surface.
The quality of the quartz crystals themselves also impacts durability. Premium brands use superior pure-white crystals, while cheaper varieties often use lower-graded quartz. Lower quality quartz is more prone to deterioration and etching over time.
Appearance and Design
Premium quartz counters feature elegant designs and patterns that mimic natural stone. Many cheaper brands have a narrower selection of designs, which may appear more simple or repetitive when installed.
Premium quartz also delivers more realistic stone-like textures. Cheaper quartz often features less depth and dimension in surface patterning. The pigments in premium quartz also tend to be higher quality and better color-matched.
Longevity and Durability
With up to 90% crushed quartz content, premium counters are extremely scratch, chip, and heat resistant. Cheaper options with less quartz may be more vulnerable to knicks, cracks, burns, and other signs of wear-and-tear over time.
Premium quartz counters are backed by 10-15 year manufacturer warranties. Cheaper varieties typically max out at 10 years of coverage. The weaker warranty terms reflect the shorter expected lifespans of bargain quartz products.
While all quartz requires minimal maintenance, premium options stay looking pristine for longer. Their dense surfaces are less prone to etching and staining. Premium quartz also retains its glossy sheen better than cheaper versions as the resins holding them together are higher quality.
Is Cheaper Quartz Worth the Savings?
For a significant kitchen or bathroom renovation, premium quartz is worth the investment to get the most durability, longevity and aesthetic enjoyment from your counters. But for smaller spaces like a laundry or utility room, cheaper quartz may suffice if you wish to save on costs.
The gap in pricing between premium and cheaper quartz has also narrowed in recent years. So you may get more bang for your buck by choosing a mid-range quartz option that combines decent value with good quality.
Always inspect quartz counters first-hand before purchase. Carefully examine the color consistency, pattern detailing, surface smoothness, and workmanship regardless of brand. And be sure to get all warranty terms in writing. With due diligence, even bargain quartz can potentially deliver lasting performance and enjoyment.
FAQs About Cheaper vs Premium Quartz Countertops
Is cheaper quartz less durable than premium?
Yes, cheaper quartz often contains less quartz content and more resin fillers, making it somewhat less hard and scratch-resistant over time compared to premium varieties with higher quartz density.
Does cheaper quartz stain more easily?
It can. Premium quartz is less porous and denser, so stains have a harder time penetrating the surface. Cheaper quartz is more prone to absorbing stains from spills.
Does cheaper quartz need more sealing?
Quartz does not require regular sealing like natural stone. But cheaper quartz may benefit more from occasional sealing to protect from stains, while premium quartz is less permeable.
Will cheaper quartz crack or chip more easily?
With lower quartz content, cheaper varieties are generally more vulnerable to chipping on the edges or hairline cracks forming. Premium quartz is extremely resilient.
Does cheaper quartz lose its shine faster?
Yes, the resins in cheaper quartz brands tend to break down more quickly leading to a duller appearance over time. Premium quartz retains its glossy sheen for longer.
Is installation different for cheaper quartz?
No, installation methods are the same. But cheaper quartz requires closer inspection of color consistency across slabs to avoid noticeable variation once installed.
Does cheaper quartz limit design options?
Generally yes, cheaper brands tend to offer fewer design patterns and color choices compared to the vast selection of premium quartz counters.
While cheaper quartz counters provide an attractive and low-maintenance option, premium quartz still outperforms on durability, longevity, and aesthetics. Carefully inspect cheaper quartz in person prior to purchase, and weigh up whether the cost savings outweigh losing out on long-lasting resilience for high-traffic spaces. For bargains that deliver on performance, opt for mid-range quartz counters with a proven reputation.