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Quartz Countertops

The Extraordinary Strength Of Quartz Countertops

At present, new and innovative materials are constantly being developed to make our lives more varied and interesting. In the countertop industry for example, homeowners are no longer limited to the usual materials which were available in the past.

We now have a number of innovative materials that can surpass the qualities of organic stones. Quartz is one of these modern materials being used to build kitchen and bathroom countertops. Countertops made of quartz also stylish and elegant. Depending on their design, quartz countertops can even be made stronger than granite or marble countertops. For these reasons, they are slowly cutting into the market share of granite and other traditional materials.

quartz countertops 

What Are Quartz Countertops Made Of?
Quartz is one of the most abundant minerals found in the earth’s crust. There are many types of quartz some of which are regarded as semi-precious stones. They are traditionally used in craft making such as jewelry and stone carvings. When used in making countertops, they are also called engineered stone because they are designed and produced by man.

Quartz countertops are composed of 90% to 93% quartz crystals and 7% to 10% resin or epoxy and color pigments. Raw quartz crystals with sizes ranging from coarse grains to rock salt size are grounded. Then they are mixed with the resin binders and color pigments. The mixture is then compacted and heated forming a very hard surface. The resulting internal structure of the slab has a uniform consistency which is highly non-porous. Unlike natural stones, it is free from pores, fissures and cracks. It is highly impervious to liquid and foreign solid matters.

Manufacturers of Quartz Countertops
Today, there are five manufacturers of quartz countertops in the world. One is based in the United States and the other four are based in other countries. Cambria is the only manufacturer of quartz countertops in the United States. It was established in 2001 at Eden, Prairie Minnesota and now has several outlets all over the country. On the average, they produce about 225 tons of Cambria countertops daily. They have a large collection of countertop styles, colors and designs.

Another company is Dupont, maker of Zodiaq countertops. Dupont is a large manufacturing concern established in the 1800s. They manufacture a wide array of commercial as well as consumer products. Their countertops are made in their plant in Thetford Mines, Canada. They also have a wide variety of countertop styles, design and colors.

CeasarStone is another quartz countertop that was developed in 1987 by CeasarStone in its manufacturing plant in Israel. Their countertops are mostly Italian inspired. Many of their products contain recycled materials. They have representatives and installers around the world.

A Spain based company, Cosentino also produces Silestone quartz countertops. They call their countertops recycled-pigment quartz countertops. Their countertops boast of built-in Microban protection making them highly resistant to bacterial contamination. They have a manufacturing plant in California.

Avanza is another countertop brand available in the US market. It is also carried by the Spanish company Consentino. This company has a fabricating plant in Texas. Their countertop designs are also Italian-inspired and are adapted to American preferences.

Advantages of Quartz Countertops
Due to their uniform consistency, quartz countertops are able to handle any type of heavy duty use. They have highly non-porous surfaces making them resistant to water, dirt and grime. Your food preparation is safe because they will not allow the spread of bacteria in their surfaces. You don’t need to seal their surfaces because as they come out of production, they are already highly polished. With such strong surfaces, these countertops can last for a lifetime. It is also very convenient to own a quartz countertop because cleaning and maintaining its surface is very easy.

Disadvantages of Quartz Countertops
There are also a number of downsides to quartz countertops. They are quite expensive costing around $30 to $125 per square foot. This is due to its quartz composition (which is expensive) and its manufacturing process. They are also not easy to install. You need to let the professionals do it.

See also, Quartz vs. Granite Countertops.

Care And Maintenance
If you want to enjoy your quartz countertops for a long time, you need to take care of it properly. Even a strong material needs to be treated carefully for it to last long. Quartz surfaces can be deformed if it is subjected to prolonged heat. Therefore always use cloth pads or trivets when placing hot pots and pans on its surface. To protect its surface finish, don’t cut or chop food stuff directly on its surface. It may leave ugly cuts or scratches on its surface. Always use a cutting or chopping board when cutting meat and other hard food stuff. The safest cleansers you can use are mild cleansers or soaps that do not contain acids or harsh chemicals. Wipe off all dirt, water stains, etc. with a soft, non-abrasive cloth.