Are Quartz Countertops Here To Stay?

For years, granite has been the choice for quality countertops in kitchens everywhere. With its depth of color and beautiful patterns, granite rose to kitchen prominence by providing a uniqueness that complemented traditional kitchen design. In the last decade, however, styles have shifted toward a more minimalist look, opening the door for a new countertop material: quartz. In a fairly brief span of time, quartz has gone from relatively unused to a contender for the title of most desired surface. In fact, some designers claim that quartz has already overtaken granite as the most popular countertop material. Is quartz just a passing fad or will it stand the test of time?

You might not realize it, but quartz countertops aren't actually solid sheets of quartz; in reality, they are manufactured from a mix of the mineral quartz and other components. Companies that make the material start by crushing quartz into small pieces, then mixing the crushed mineral with resin and pigment before pressing it into the final product. For this reason, quartz countertops are also known as "engineered stone" because they are not naturally occurring. 

As opposed to engineered stone, older high-end countertops have traditionally been made out of slabs of natural stones such as marble and granite. These materials rose to popularity for the beautiful veining, color patterns, and textures that make each slab one-of-a-kind. However, with the rise of the clean lines and solid colors that define the contemporary design aesthetic, the style that originally made granite so desirable became too busy and irregular to mesh with the rest of the kitchen.

Enter quartz, whose color and pattern can be precisely controlled during the manufacturing process. The clean and consistent color and texture of quartz makes it fit in far better with contemporary design, whereas natural stone lends itself best to a more traditional kitchen look.

If style was the only thing driving the popularity of quartz, you would be wise to think that it might simply be a passing fad; however, there are also purely pragmatic reasons that engineered stone is a more useful countertop material than granite or marble. For one thing, quartz is harder and more durable than natural stone, which means that it is less prone to scratching, chipping, or cracking. In addition, quartz is less porous and more stain resistant, which make it easier to clean and less likely to become discolored. Finally, quartz does not require sealing or resealing; combined with its ease of cleaning, this makes quartz significantly easier to maintain than granite.

If quartz is so amazing, why doesn't everyone use it? As you might have suspected, any superior product comes with a higher price tag; while granite can typically be installed for $50-$60 per square foot, quartz ranges from $65 per square foot on the low end to over $100 for some designs. Style is also a factor, as even the nicest quartz can't precisely replicate the depth and uniqueness of natural stone.

To learn more about quartz countertops, check out this Washington Post article.

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