Quartz countertops have overtaken granite as the most popular kitchen countertop. According to House Logic, an online consumer publication of the National Association of Realtors®, quartz overtook granite in 2014 after tying in 2013. Offering many advantages as a work surface, quartz countertops are among the most eco-friendly materials to use.
Producing Quartz Countertops Is a Greener Process
Stone products such as granite often come under fire because mining, cutting, and transporting the stone uses extensive resources. While some granite is domestic, a large percentage comes from Italy, China, India, Africa, and Brazil and large quantities of fossil fuel are needed to get it to America. There is considerable waste generated in the quarrying process, especially as many slabs crack and are not useable. Additional waste that occurs in the fabrication and installation processes is not usually recycled.
Quartz is an engineered stone with a composition of 93% quartz (silicon dioxide (SiO2) and 7% resin and pigments. Much of the material comes from the U.S., which saves on mining and transport costs.
Producing quartz countertops is an environmentally sound process. Caesarstone, a major manufacturer of quartz products, claims that it recycles 97% of the water used in cutting and strives to use minimal resources for shipping, handling, processing, and production. This company also uses 42% post-consmer recycled material in its production. Other manufacturers such as Cambria boast similar statistics.
Why you’ll Love Quartz in your Kitchen
While you may appreciate the environmentally-friendly aspects of quartz, you may be more concerned about how it looks and performs in your home. The best thing to do is work with a local dealer and visit their showroom to get a hands-on introduction to the material and it’s many benefits, including:
– Quartz comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns, including solids. You can get the look of granite and other natural stones if you want, but neutrals and high-intensity tones are in the palette as well. Unlike granite, which has variations from slab to slab, quartz has a consistent color and pattern.
– The product is naturally strong, which makes for durable countertops that are more resistant to chips, burns, or cracks. While you should treat all stone with care, quartz will hold up for years.
– Since quartz countertops are non-porous, they need no sealing like granite ones do. This makes them impervious to bacteria and mold, a big advantage for allergy sufferers. The product is also more stain resistant.
– Quartz countertops do not off-gas, or release volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) into the air, as some other manmade materials do, like laminate.
Choose an Experienced Installer
You can’t go wrong with the look, durability, or eco-friendly feature of quartz, which rivals granite in price and now exceeds it in popularity. How it looks greatly depends on the quality of the installation, so if you want to explore the benefits of quartz countertops, work with a supplier who offers top quality materials and experienced installers.