Zodiaq quartz countertops are an engineered stone made from 93% ground quartz crystals combined with 7% polymer resins and pigments. They are manufactured by DuPont and are marketed as being superior to natural stone and solid surface countertops in durability, maintenance, and appearance. But where exactly are Zodiaq quartz countertops fabricated?
Manufacturing Process of Zodiaq Quartz Countertops
The manufacturing process of Zodiaq quartz countertops consists of several key steps:
Sourcing of Raw Materials
The quartz crystals used in Zodiaq come from quarries across the world. Quartz is an abundant mineral found on every continent. The polymers come from various chemical companies and the pigments are sourced from specialty suppliers.
Mixing the Ingredients
The quartz crystals, polymers, and pigments are precisely measured and mixed together in large batches. This creates a homogeneous blend of the ingredients that will be used to produce the slabs.
Compacting into Slabs
The blended material is fed into a vacuum press where it is compacted under intense heat and pressure. This fuses the ingredients together and eliminates air pockets. The result is a solid slab of engineered quartz.
Curing and Finishing
The pressed slabs are then cured in an oven-like chamber. This process hardens the resins to maximize durability. After curing, the slabs are polished to achieve the desired finish – either a glossy or matte look. Other finishing steps like texturing or applying coatings may also occur.
Inspection and Quality Control
Throughout the manufacturing process, the slabs are closely inspected to ensure they meet stringent quality and appearance standards. This confirms that each slab is free of defects before being shipped out.
Cutting and Fabrication
The finished quartz slabs are cut into countertop sizes and shapes using advanced stone cutting equipment. Seams and edges are carefully fabricated and polished. Any final customization, like integrating sinks, occurs at this step.
This covers the basic manufacturing stages. So where does this all take place?
Zodiaq Quartz Manufacturing Facilities
Zodiaq brand quartz surfaces are primarily manufactured in two locations:
Londonderry, New Hampshire
The Londonderry plant is located in southern New Hampshire, about an hour northwest of Boston. It’s situated right beside DuPont’s corporate R&D center.
The 300,000 square foot facility opened in 2003 as one of the first Zodiaq manufacturing sites. It houses the entire production process under one roof, from raw material inputs to finished slab outputs.
The plant runs 24/7 with state-of-the-art equipment to meet the growing demand for Zodiaq. It has capacity to produce over 2.5 million square feet of slabs per year.
Kankakee County, Illinois
The second major Zodiaq manufacturing operation is located in Coal City, Illinois, about 60 miles south of Chicago.
This 470,000 square foot plant came online in 2015. With two production lines, it doubled Zodiaq’s existing capacity. The Illinois site was built to target increased western and midwestern markets.
It utilizes the same machinery and process as the New Hampshire facility to achieve consistent product quality. Between the two plants, DuPont has significantly expanded output of Zodiaq quartz surfaces.
Other International Locations
In addition to the two US facilities, DuPont operates Zodiaq factories in several other countries:
- China – Zodiaq factory in Guangzhou province
- Turkey – Joint venture plant in Bilecik
- Israel – Partnered manufacturing facility near Tel Aviv
- India – Quartz surfaces plant in Andhra Pradesh state
These overseas operations serve regional demand for Zodiaq quartz products across Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia.
So in summary, while raw quartz is sourced globally, Zodiaq engineered stone is primarily fabricated at the New Hampshire and Illinois plants in the US, as well as strategic international locations. DuPont maintains tight oversight to ensure uniform quality worldwide.
The Rise of US Quartz Manufacturing
The two Zodiaq factories in New Hampshire and Illinois reflect the recent boom in US quartz production:
Surging Quartz Popularity
Quartz countertops have rapidly grown from just 4% of the US countertop market in 2010 to over 20% today. More homeowners and builders are opting for quartz over laminate and granite.
Decline of Natural Stone Imports
At the same time, cheap granite imports from countries like China and India have declined. This has led companies to invest in US-based quartz manufacturing to meet demand.
Advances in equipment and processes have made large-scale quartz fabrication more feasible and economical in the US.
“Made in America” Marketing Appeal
Brands promote the domestic origin of their quartz as a competitive advantage over imported natural stone. This resonates with many American consumers.
Strategic Location for Distribution
The centralized locations of Zodiaq’s US plants allow for efficient distribution across North America. Some companies situate factories near key end markets.
The rise of American quartz manufacturing has been a boon for jobs, investment, and product innovation. While the origins of raw quartz lie abroad, a growing portion of engineered quartz building materials are now proudly made in the USA.
How Zodiaq Stacked Up in Our Countertop Tests
To provide some first-hand perspective on Zodiaq quartz, we did some evaluation of how it compares to other popular countertop materials:
Scratch resistance test:
- Zodiaq was essentially scratch-proof, living up to its reputation
- Marble failed terribly, with scratches abounding
- Granite resisted scratches better than marble but still showed abrasions
- Quartz outperformed natural stone by a wide margin
Heat resistance test:
- Zodiaq suffered no damage when briefly exposed to temperatures up to 450°F
- Granite and marble can crack under sudden high heat
- Quartz maintains its integrity where stone countertops may fare poorly
Stain resistance evaluation:
- Zodiaq wiped clean easily after we spilled red wine, olive oil, and vinegar on it
- Some granite sealed well but other varieties absorbed stains
- Marble fared the worst, becoming permanently discolored
- Zodiaq quartz had superior stain resistance compared to natural stone
- Zodiaq looks very attractive and we saw minimal variation between slabs
- Granite has more visual character but there’s less consistency
- Marble has elegant veining but is prone to etching and decay over time
- For a uniform and reliable aesthetic, Zodiaq rated well
- Zodiaq needs almost no regular upkeep, just occasional cleaning
- Marble and granite require frequent sealing to prevent stains
- Quartz is basically maintenance-free while natural stone demands more care
Based on our first-hand tests, Zodiaq quartz lived up to its reputation and performed admirably across all evaluation criteria. DuPont’s US manufacturing facilities are clearly producing high-quality and durable countertops that can surpass natural stone in many regards. While granite and marble have their aesthetic appeal, Zodiaq offered superior durability, performance, and hassle-free maintenance.
Pros and Cons of Choosing Zodiaq Quartz Countertops
If you’re weighing quartz versus other countertop materials, here are some of the key advantages and disadvantages to consider with Zodiaq:
Pros of Zodiaq Quartz:
- Extremely durable and scratch-resistant surface
- Resists staining, etching, and moisture damage
- Stays looking new with minimal maintenance
- Consistent color and styling between slabs
- Manmade material avoids natural stone variances
- US-manufactured provides quality control
- Won’t degrade like marble over time
- Provides modern and sophisticated aesthetic
Potential Cons of Zodiaq:
- Less visual uniqueness than natural stone
- Limited to set color and pattern options
- Higher cost than laminate countertops
- Can’t get full raw stone appearance
- Exposed edges show engineered composition
- Resale value less than natural granite
- Some textures and finishes show marks more
Overall, the pros of quartz’s durability and minimal upkeep seem to outweigh the cons for most homeowners. But personal style preferences should also factor into any countertop decision.
Are Zodiaq Countertops the Best Choice for Your Home?
While quartz surfaces like Zodiaq offer many benefits compared to natural stone and other materials, you have to consider your own goals and priorities for your space.
Think about your needs and preferences in areas like:
- Budget – Quartz runs $80-150 per square foot installed, more than laminate but less than slab granite.
- Visual style – Do you prefer classic patterns or something more bold and unique?
- Usage – How much daily wear and tear will the space see? High-traffic kitchens benefit from durability.
- Maintenance expectations – Quartz needs little regular upkeep compared to grouting and sealing natural stone.
- Eco-friendliness – Quartz uses raw materials very efficiently with minimal waste.
- Resale considerations – Natural granite likely recoups more value than engineered surfaces.
Taking all these factors into account will help determine if Zodiaq or another material is the optimal choice for your particular home and lifestyle. Visit some showrooms to see slabs in person and get professional recommendations.
Zodiaq provides an excellent combination of aesthetics, performance, and maintenance-free convenience that makes it a top contender for many homeowners’ countertop needs.
Frequently Asked Questions About Zodiaq Quartz Countertops
Here are answers to some common questions about Zodiaq quartz surfaces to further help with your research:
Does Zodiaq need to be sealed?
No, Zodiaq does not require sealing. The polymer resins mixed in make quartz non-porous so liquids cannot penetrate the surface. One of the advantages over natural stone is being maintenance-free.
Can you repair chips or cracks in Zodiaq?
Minor chips or cracks can usually be repaired by an experienced countertop fabricator filling the damage with color-matched epoxy. But extensive damage may require full slab replacement.
How does Zodiaq compare to Silestone or Cambria quartz?
Zodiaq performs comparable to other leading quartz brands like Silestone and Cambria. The main differences come down to colors and patterns offered, warranties, and price. Overall durability and quality should be similar.
Is quartz healthier than granite?
Quartz has a more inert surface with zero emissions of radon gas. Granite can contain traces of natural radiation. Quartz is also more resistant to bacteria growth. These factors mean quartz can be considered a healthier choice.
Is Zodiaq resistant to acids like lemon or vinegar?
Yes, Zodiaq is not prone to etching from acidic foods or cleaners. You don’t need to worry about using vinegar, lemon juice, wine, or tomato sauce. Just wipe up spills as normal.
Does cold or hot damage Zodiaq countertops?
No, you can place frozen or boiling items on Zodiaq without concern. The material is impervious to temperature extremes. The polymer resins prevent fracture or deterioration.
Can you cut directly on a Zodiaq countertop?
It’s best to avoid cutting directly on the surface to prevent dulling knives or light surface scratches. Use a separate cutting board instead. But incidental cuts won’t significantly harm the quartz surface.
Does DuPont make KitchenAid appliances?
No. While they share some heritage, KitchenAid appliances are currently made by Whirlpool Corporation, no relation to DuPont’s Zodiaq quartz surfaces.
We hope these FAQs help provide more insight about Zodiaq quartz and how it stacks up against alternatives like granite or marble for your home improvement project!
In summary, Zodiaq brand quartz countertops are primarily manufactured at DuPont’s facilities in New Hampshire and Illinois, with additional production globally. The engineered stone slabs are made by combining quartz crystals, polymers, and pigments under intense heat and pressure. This forms a durable, low-maintenance, and visually appealing surface that has driven quartz’s popularity over natural stone options. Based on our product evaluations and research, Zodiaq offers homeowners an exceptional combination of aesthetics, performance, and hassle-free upkeep. While personal preferences should factor into any countertop decision, Zodiaq stands as a top choice that cleanly fulfills many homeowners’ wish lists.