Quartz countertops have become an increasingly popular option for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects in recent years. But unlike natural stone countertops that are mined from quarries, quartz countertops are engineered in manufacturing plants. So where exactly are quartz countertops made? Here is an in-depth look at the quartz manufacturing process and the major companies producing these countertops today.
How Quartz Countertops Are Made
Quartz countertops are made from crushed quartz that is combined with resins, pigments, and other materials and formed into slabs under intense heat and pressure. The exact process varies between different manufacturers, but generally involves the following key steps:
Sourcing the Raw Materials
- Quartz crystals – Mined from quarries around the world. Low-iron quartz is often preferred to maintain brightness and prevent yellowing.
- Resins – Usually polyester or epoxy-based. Act as a binder to hold the quartz particles together.
- Pigments – Added to achieve different colors and patterns. Titanium dioxide is commonly used for white.
- Recycled glass, mirrors, etc. – Some manufacturers incorporate recycled materials.
Mixing the Compounds
The quartz crystals, resins, pigments and any recycled materials are blended together in precise proportions using mixing equipment. The goal is to uniformly coat the quartz particles for optimal bonding.
Pressing into Slabs
The mixture is fed into a press containing a mold. Hydraulic presses apply intense heat (up to 300°F) and pressure (100-150 tons of pressure per square inch) to compact and solidify the material into a slab.
Curing the Material
The pressed slabs are cured at length inside special ovens. This hardens the resins to maximize durability and heat resistance.
After curing, the slabs may be honed or polished to the desired finish. Other enhancements like texturizing can also be applied.
Each slab is inspected to ensure it meets quality standards for appearance and performance. Substandard slabs are rejected.
Cutting and Fabricating
Accepted slabs are cut into countertop sizes and fabricated with edges before shipping to installation sites. Some fabrication may occur locally.
So in summary, quartz countertop manufacturing is a highly automated process involving advanced machinery and techniques to transform raw quartz and other ingredients into finished slabs. The entire production line is generally contained within the manufacturing facilities.
Major Quartz Countertop Brands
While small regional manufacturers exist, 3 companies dominate worldwide quartz production:
Founded in 1996 in Le Sueur, Minnesota, Cambria is the only major quartz manufacturer based in the United States. They operate 3 factories in Minnesota and South Dakota and produce a wide variety of innovative quartz patterns.
Headquartered in Israel, Caesarstone has manufacturing facilities in several countries including the United States, Australia, and Israel. Their patented quartz surfaces are marketed as premium products.
Part of the Spanish company Cosentino, Silestone invented the first quartz surface in 1990. They have over 10 manufacturing plants globally and are considered an industry leader.
Here is a more detailed look at where popular quartz brands are manufacturing their countertops:
Cambria Quartz Manufacturing
As mentioned above, Cambria only operates within the United States. Their main quartz manufacturing plant and headquarters is located in Le Sueur, Minnesota. This 150,000 square foot facility houses the entire process from raw materials to finished slabs.
Cambria opened their second U.S. manufacturing plant in 2019 in Dayton, Kentucky to increase production capacity. The third plant opened in 2022 in South Dakota.
So when you choose Cambria quartz, you can be assured it was made domestically using high manufacturing standards. Cambria offers a huge selection of unique designs to fit any style.
Caesarstone Manufacturing Locations
Caesarstone has a global production network with facilities in several countries:
- USA – Their original plant opened in 1987 in Kibbutz Sdot-Yam, Israel. Their Richmond Hill, Georgia plant opened in 2010 to satisfy U.S. demand.
- Australia – Started production in 2006 in the town of Botany in New South Wales. Serves the Australian and New Zealand markets.
- Israel – Operates two plants in Israel, including their original facility. Exports products worldwide.
- Canada – Opened a 55,000 square foot fabrication facility in 2019 in Concord, Ontario to supply the Canadian market.
So Caesarstone quartz is primarily produced in Israel where the company started, along with newer facilities in the U.S. and Australia. Their quartz comes from many regions around the world.
Silestone Manufacturing Facilities
Silestone, part of the Cosentino group based in Spain, has an extensive global manufacturing footprint:
- Spain – Cosentino’s original facility opened in 1979 in Almeria, Spain. Additional plants opened later throughout the country.
- USA – Cosentino operates 5 manufacturing lines across 2 locations in Texas, including in Dallas and Houston.
- Brazil – Two factories opened in the 2000s in Camaçari and Vitória to serve South America.
- India – Started production in 2006 in Hyderabad. Exports products to Asia Pacific.
- Mexico – Facility opened in 2013 in Saltillo to expand North American production.
- Turkey – Plant opened in 2017 in Manisa. Exports to Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
Silestone offers great consistency since the same quartz can be produced in multiple plants worldwide. Their global reach allows extensive customization options.
Other Quartz Brand Manufacturing
While Cambria, Caesarstone, and Silestone make up over 80% of global quartz production, other brands have manufacturing facilities primarily in Asia:
- Vicostone – Headquartered in Vietnam with multiple plants nationwide supplying Southeast Asian markets.
- Pokarna – Major Indian company with manufacturing in Telangana as well as sales offices worldwide.
- Technistone – Produced in plants in the Czech Republic and distributed across Europe.
- Santa Margherita – Italian company with production in their home country as well as a U.S. fabrication facility.
- Hanwha – South Korean conglomerate with U.S. sales operations and manufacturing in China.
- Wilsonart – Longtime laminate producer now making quartz in 2 U.S. plants and one in China.
So while the major quartz players operate globally, many smaller brands focus regionally and manufacture primarily in Asia. Purchasing quartz from these companies often provides cost savings.
How to Choose the Best Quartz Countertops
Now that you know where the major brands produce their quartz slabs, here are some factors to consider when choosing countertops:
- Manufacturing location – Domestic production often indicates higher quality control. Imports add transport impacts.
- Reputation of brand – Look for reliable companies that stand behind their products.
- Quartz colors/patterns – Review all the options to find your perfect aesthetic.
- Cost – Prices range widely based on brand, customization, and more.
- Ease of installation – Some quartz is harder to fabricate and install due to texture.
- Maintenance needs – Make sure the quartz is suited for your use and traffic levels.
- Sustainability – Seek brands that prioritize recycling and environmentally sound processes.
Doing your homework on where different quartz countertop manufacturers are located is a key step to finding the right product for your specific needs and budget. Carefully evaluate multiple options before committing to a brand. And make sure your fabricator has experience properly installing your selected quartz. With some due diligence, you can end up with beautiful, durable quartz countertops that will perform well for decades.
Frequently Asked Questions About Quartz Countertop Manufacturing
Many consumers have questions about how quartz countertops are actually produced. Here are answers to some of the most common queries:
Where are Caesarstone countertops made?
Caesarstone quartz countertops are primarily manufactured in Israel, Australia, Canada, and the United States in the company’s network of facilities. Their innovative products use quartz from mines around the world.
What country manufactures Cambria quartz?
Cambria only produces their quartz countertops within the United States. They operate manufacturing plants in Minnesota, Kentucky, and South Dakota and are the only major American-owned brand.
Where are Silestone quartz countertops fabricated?
Silestone has manufacturing plants in many countries including Spain, USA, Brazil, India, Mexico, and Turkey. This global production allows extensive customization. Much fabrication is also done regionally.
Can quartz countertops be made in China?
Some smaller quartz brands do operate manufacturing facilities in China, though quality has been a concern with imports. Major brands like Caesarstone and Cambria use higher standards at domestic plants.
How automated is quartz manufacturing?
Quartz fabrication involves a highly automated process of mixing, pressing, and cutting slabs. Quality control checks are done before slabs are shipped out for local fabrication into countertops.
What raw materials are used to produce quartz?
Quartz crystals mined worldwide make up over 90% of the raw material. The remaining ingredients are resins, pigments, and sometimes recycled content like glass or mirrors.
Can any quartz be made into countertops?
Not all types of mined quartz crystals are suitable for countertops. Manufacturers carefully select quartz of the proper hardness, brightness, color, and lack of impurities to achieve optimal performance and aesthetics.
How long does it take to manufacture quartz slabs?
The complete journey from raw quartz to finished slab ready for fabrication generally takes 1-2 weeks. Cooling and curing the pressed material is the most time-intensive step, taking several days.
How thick are quartz slabs?
Most quartz countertop slabs range from 2 to 3 cm in thickness (about 0.75 to 1.25 inches). Thicker slabs of 3 cm are often used for kitchen counters needing high durability. 2 cm works well for bathrooms.
Understanding the quartz manufacturing process provides valuable insights when selecting countertops. Leading global brands like Silestone, Caesarstone, and Cambria operate production facilities on multiple continents to satisfy worldwide demand for quartz surfaces. Smaller manufacturers tend to focus on regional markets. Carefully research any company under consideration to ensure an optimal purchasing experience. With its unparalleled performance, aesthetics, and durability, quartz made by reputable manufactures stands up beautifully to the rigors of kitchen and bath use for years to come.