Quartz has taken a strong position among the materials that are used in the design of home and office interiors. The material consists of approximately 95% natural stone, the remaining 5% is polyester resins and coloring pigment, which makes it possible to achieve strength and an attractive appearance. This artificial stone is in fact natural, in no way inferior to natural samples, and sometimes significantly surpassing them in terms of performance.
When choosing, you should pay attention to the manufacturer of quartz plates. The most responsible of them strictly follow the production technology, which makes it possible to achieve the highest strength.
To date, slabs with glossy and matte surfaces, with a rough structure, are widely represented. The pattern can imitate natural stone, wood, and monochromatic variants of various colors are also popular.
Sheets of quartz are produced mainly with a thickness of 12, 13, 15, 20, 30 mm. Slabs 12, 13, 15 mm are suitable for wall panels, facing steps and fireplaces. For work surfaces, it is most often recommended to purchase products from slabs with a thickness of 20-30 mm, since a smaller thickness will not provide sufficient strength to a countertop that does not lie on a solid base. In addition, the visible thickness of the tabletop of 20 mm or more allows you to decorate the tabletop with a curly edge.
If it is necessary to increase the visible thickness of the product, it can be increased by gluing another layer of stone. When designing a kitchen, the weight of the stone must be considered. A square meter with a thickness of 20 mm weighs 115 pounds, a thickness of 30 mm is already 172 pounds (the weight of different manufacturers may vary, but slightly).
Quartz countertops are suitable for kitchen and bathroom, bedroom, and living room. However, even such a wonderful material has not only advantages but also disadvantages. And since the material is not the cheapest, it is worth considering all the nuances when choosing. Let’s start with the advantages of countertops.
Pros of a quartz countertops
Mostly quartz is used in kitchens and bathrooms, where the countertop is used very actively. The kitchen is one of the most problematic rooms in the house, as it is hot in it, often the humidity rises significantly, chemically active substances are used, therefore, increased requirements are placed on the materials used for it. The same can be said about the bathroom. Surfaces made of quartz agglomerate solve many problems.
Quartz is an extremely hard material, so countertops made of artificial stone are practically not afraid of mechanical damage, quartz chips and scratches rarely appear on them. Also, quartz countertops are not prone to cracking, they cannot dry out or swell from moisture, and are not subject to deformation processes. Thanks to these properties, the products retain their original appearance for decades.
Quartz countertops for kitchens are good in many ways:
1. Heat resistance. Not afraid of high temperatures and temperature changes. A pot or kettle removed from the fire, even if they are immediately placed on a quartz countertop, will not harm it. However, this applies only to homogeneous work surfaces: if there are decorative inclusions from other materials, it is impossible to put hot dishes categorically.
2. Moisture resistance. Quartz countertop does not absorb moisture and dirt, it does not leave stains from water, wine, tea and coffee, juices. This is due to the absence of pores and microcracks inside the material. In terms of moisture resistance, quartz surpasses even granite.
3. Resistance to mechanical damage allows you to cut food directly on the countertop, while the appearance will not be affected, and the kitchen will remain as elegant as it was.
4. The quartz countertop allows you to install an undermount sink or order a sink made of the same material, achieving a uniform design.
5. It is easy to increase the work surface – you can order a windowsill from the same material, making it flush with the countertop. This is a practical and stylish solution for the kitchen. Aprons for kitchen sets are also made of quartz, it is beautiful and allows you to further simplify cleaning. At the same time with the countertop, you can order a quartz skirting board, which will not melt when the hob is closed.
6. Ease of care. For light soiling, a soft cloth dampened with soapy water is sufficient. You can also use any non-abrasive detergents if necessary to remove old stains or grease.
Quartz countertops for the bathroom are no less suitable than for the kitchen. Moisture resistance, ease of maintenance, and resistance to aggressive chemicals are also important here. In addition, due to the dense structure, mold and fungus do not live on quartz, which is especially important in rooms with high humidity, it does not absorb or retain odors. Quartz products do not cause allergies, they do not emit anything into the atmosphere even when heated, and they cannot harm people and pets.
An important advantage of countertops is the variety of quartz color palettes. Pigment and other decorative inclusions allow you to achieve a complete resemblance to natural stone e.g marble-like Calacatta Laza or Calacatta Venice and create a bright modern color scheme.
Black quartz and white quartz countertops are especially popular in recent years. The pattern and texture of the countertop depend not only on the color but also on the size of the quartz chips; larger inclusions create a unique pattern. Please note the simpler the drawing, the cheaper the product, the more complex the texture, the more expensive. At the same time, the production of quartz agglomerate is very stable: if the product consists of several sheets, they do not need to be matched to each other when purchasing material from one batch, they will be the same. Inside the quartz agglomerate has the same pattern as on the surface, it is completely homogeneous. This is important, because on the ends of the countertop the pattern, or its absence, is very clearly visible. The patterned edge creates the full feeling of natural stone.
Cons of quartz countertops
Speaking about the pros and cons of quartz countertops for kitchen and bathroom, do not forget that quartz agglomerate:
1. Cold to the touch, which is sometimes unpleasant.
2. It is difficult to process, the manufacture of products is impossible in a handicraft way since the process requires special stone-cutting and grinding equipment and professional training of craftsmen. With a complex configuration of the product, for example, the presence of a figured edge, the price of the finished worktop immediately increases.
3. Depending on the pattern, seams may be visible on the countertop. As a rule, the larger the drawing, the more noticeable the inconsistency of the drawing. The least noticeable seam is in colorful designs with a small pattern.
4. Quartz is practically not amenable to restoration, therefore, in case of large damage, for example, large chips, cracks, which sometimes appear during prolonged exposure to high temperatures, a complete or partial replacement of the countertop will be required.
5. With direct exposure to sunlight for a long time, the surface may burn out, this usually does not happen, but such a property of quartz countertops as the fear of ultraviolet radiation should be considered when planning a kitchen on the sunny side.
6. Installation of the quartz countertop must be carried out by specialists. It can also be considered a disadvantage that you can order a quartz countertop only after installing the kitchen since even the slightest error in size must be avoided.
The disadvantages of quartz countertops include the high cost of the material and its processing compared to chipboard, wood, or acrylic stone. If the advantage of a countertop made of quartz agglomerate is the ability to choose the type of edge, then the disadvantage is the complete impossibility of ordering a bent product. Not all design solutions can be implemented using quartz. The problem also arises for those who love matte surfaces. They are quite possible for quartz, but the choice is less than, for example, porcelain stoneware.
Having analyzed the advantages and disadvantages of quartz countertops, we can safely say that the positive qualities of this material clearly outweigh its disadvantages. Neither natural stone nor acrylic can compare with it in terms of strength, durability, beauty, and at the same time practicality. The tabletop will delight the whole family for many years.