Quartz countertops have become increasingly popular in recent years, offering an attractive, low-maintenance alternative to natural stone and other materials. However, quartz does have some drawbacks to consider before choosing it for your kitchen or bathroom remodel.
High Upfront Cost
One of the main downsides of quartz is its high initial cost. Quartz countertops typically range from $80-150 per square foot installed. This is significantly more expensive than laminate or tile, and comparable or somewhat less than premium natural stone like granite or marble. For many homeowners, the added cost of quartz may be too far out of budget.
With quartz countertops, options for custom edging and patterns are fairly limited compared to natural stone. Quartz slabs come prefabricated with a consistent color and pattern throughout. Some brands offer a handful of edge styles to choose from, but in general you have less flexibility to create a fully customized look.
Requires Professional Installation
While DIY-inclined homeowners can potentially install tile or laminate counters themselves, quartz almost always requires hiring professional installers. The material is too difficult and risky for most homeowners to cut and install without experience. Paying for installation drives up the total project cost.
Seams May Be Noticeable
The seams between adjoining slabs of quartz can be obvious in some installations, detracting from the look of the countertop. Natural stone tends to have less noticeable seams. Careful installation by an experienced fabricator can minimize the seams, but they may still be more visible than with other options.
Not Heat or Scratch Resistant
Quartz is marketed as very durable, but it does have some vulnerability to damage. Prolonged high heat can damage quartz surfaces near cooking areas. Quartz can also scratch, chip or crack if subjected to sharp impacts. It won’t weather as well as stone over many years of use.
Limited Colors and Styles
While the color range for quartz has expanded over the years, it still does not offer the vast diversity of patterns, finishes and colors that natural stone or even engineered composites can provide. The aesthetics of quartz may be too uniform or limiting for some.
Requires Periodic Sealing
Quartz needs to be sealed every 1-2 years to prevent staining and discoloration around heavily used areas like the sink. Natural stone often requires more frequent sealing. But quartz is not totally maintenance-free in this regard.
Lacks Natural Stone Look
For those who prefer the unique veining, colors and glossy polish of natural granite, marble or soapstone, quartz can look too uniform. The manufactured appearance with less variation may not appeal aesthetically for some compared to the depth and luster of real stone.
Environmental Impact Concerns
Some quartz brands have faced questions regarding potential health hazards from trace amounts of chemicals used in manufacturing. This remains a controversial issue with unclear impacts. But for homeowners concerned about environmental health, it’s a consideration.
Can Chip or Crack if Overloaded
Quartz is quite strong under normal use and conditions. But excessive weight or pressure concentrated in a small point can cause chips, cracks or scratches in quartz surfaces. Hot pots or heavy appliances can damage quartz if not handled carefully.
Resale Value Unknown
Natural stone and granite countertops historically hold their value and appeal at resale. With quartz being relatively new to the market, there is less data on how it affects home value compared to more traditional materials. Its resale value is still to be determined.
Finding the Right Pro/Con Balance
Quartz offers distinct advantages that explain its popularity – durability, ease of maintenance and sleek modern aesthetics. But there are tradeoffs to weigh against the higher cost and limitations. With good research and planning, quartz can be a long-lasting, low-maintenance choice for many homeowners. But understanding its disadvantages allows setting realistic expectations. With a balance of pros and cons understood, quartz can be a satisfactory choice for those seeking an alternative to high-maintenance natural stone.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does quartz easily chip or scratch?
Quartz is resistant to scratches and chips under normal use, but cutting directly on the surface or excessive impacts can damage it over time. Using cutting boards and taking care to avoid heavy blows will help maintain its appearance.
Can you repair quartz countertops?
Minor chips, cracks or scratches can often be repaired by a professional through a filling and polishing process. But severe damage may require a full replacement. Preventing damage through proper use and care is best.
Is quartz healthier than granite?
Quartz generally does not require chemical sealants that some granites do. But concerns over traces of chemicals in quartz manufacturing exist. Overall health impacts are still being researched. Neither option is clearly superior.
Does quartz add home value like granite?
Granite and other natural stone are historically known to increase home value. Quartz is still too new to have definitive data on whether it boosts resale value to the same degree. Time will tell if it equals granite’s appeal.
Is quartz more expensive than marble?
In most cases, quartz costs significantly more than marble for countertops on a per square foot basis for both material and installation. There are some inexpensive marble options that may be comparable to quartz. But generally, quartz is pricier.
Can you have seamless quartz countertops?
It is very difficult to achieve a seamless look with quartz. Since slabs are limited in size, most installations will require visible seams where the quartz pieces meet. How obvious the seams appear depends on the skill of the installer.
Quartz counters can be gorgeous and functional in the right setting. But understanding key disadvantages like high initial cost, lack of customization, vulnerability to damage from heat and impact, and limiting color options allows setting realistic expectations. With eyes wide open to the drawbacks along with the benefits, quartz can make a good choice for kitchen and bath remodeling among the many options available.