When it comes to kitchen countertops, bathroom vanities, or other worktops there are many different materials you as the homeowner and/or designer can chose from. You can choose from granite, quartz, marble, solid surface, ultra-compact surface, laminate, acrylic, and so on. For this article, we will be talking specifically about quartz, which happens to be the most popular material in the market currently. We answer five of the most common questions we hear surrounding quartz material.
- Are quartz slabs considered natural stone?
Although Quartz itself is a natural mineral made of silicon and oxygen, quartz slabs are not considered a natural stone surface since the slab itself is not mined from the ground like granite. Quartz slabs are, unlike granite, engineered in factories. Various sizes of quartz are mixed with resin and other materials and put through the manufacturing process to create a “quartz slab” which is then turned into countertops.
- Is all quartz the same?
When it comes to quartz slabs, no! They are not all the same. Always go with a trusted quartz manufacturer. The highest accreditation a quartz manufacturer can have is being Breton Certified. Breton is a patented technology created for engineering stone and any manufacturer or fabricator that is Breton certified is trustworthy.
Although there are certain quality standards for manufacturing quartz, there is currently no governing body to enforce these standards. When purchasing quartz from a Breton certified manufacturer you will consistently get about 93% quartz and 7% resin in each slab. Without a governing body or quartz standards, you may buy a quartz slab from a non-certified manufacturer, and end up with much lower ratio of quartz to resin and whatever other fillers the manufacturer choses to use.
- What is popular and trendy in quartz?
Lately, there are several popular trends that have been commonly used in the design community when it comes to quartz surfaces.
White, Grey, and Lighter Tones
More kitchens and bathrooms are designed with simple bright colours which is translating to the countertops.
Currently a popular trend is using Industrial looking quartz. Caesarstone and Silestone are leading this look with product lines made to look poured concrete with a rougher-than-polished finish.
A popular trend is using quartz colours that include big wide stretching veins that are designed to mimic the beauty of marble.
Many customers are straying away from the shiny smooth polish finish and opting for the warmth and soft touch of the suede finish. Unlike a polished finish, Suede finishes do not reflect light. (It is hard to capture this texture with a picture; you need to see and feel it to really get it)
- Who are the leaders in quartz manufacturing?
In our day-to-day business at Jade Stone Ltd. and Giada Surfaces, these are the four quartz dealers we use the most, all of which are Breton certified:
Caesarstone Ltd. – With Headquarters in Israel and distribution centers throughout Canada and the U.S.
Silestone by Cosentino – Based in Spain, Silestone also has distribution centers throughout Canada and The U.S.
LG Hausys – Yes LG has a line of quartz they call Viatera, distributed throughout Canada and The U.S.
Hanstone – Hanstone is a Canadian company and the only manufacturer of quartz in Canada.
- How much care and maintenance does my quartz surface need?
Compared to other materials, quartz has far less maintenance and care needs. Quartz is non-porous making it stain resistant, which means there is no need to use sealer. Proper manufacturers will put UV inhibitors into the slab, too, which means the surface will be unaffected from long exposures to sunlight. Quartz is also scratch, heat, and fire resistant. In most cases soap and water, or a mild detergent is all you need to maintain its luster. If necessary a non-abrasive cleaner, such as Vim Oxy-Gel or a mild degreaser, can be used.