If you have been considering stone countertops, there are many high quality materials on the market today that will improve the value of your home. As you plan a kitchen or bathroom renovation or new construction, it’s important to remember that your countertops and vanity tops will be the surfaces in the room that are both most prominent and most utilized. You’ll want to choose your material wisely, for aesthetic reasons and for intended use.
Quartz is an engineered stone made of crushed or powdered quartz crystals, pigments, and a binding material, such as resin. Quartz is sometimes confused with quartzite, which is a popular natural stone. Slabs of quartz are made to look like marble, granite, or other types of natural stone, but because they are manufactured using very specific processes, one slab can look exactly like another.
One would imagine that with all the advantages quartz affords, people might choose it over natural stone every time. But this is not the case, natural stone has many advantages over quartz. Aside from heat resistance, homeowners who want a unique material will enjoy that each slab of natural stone, like fingerprints and snowflakes, are truly one of a kind.
Marble, granite, soapstone, and other popular countertop materials are easier to repair than quartz, because they do not contain colored resins. Your professional stone restoration technician can fill in natural stone chips and cracks, remove stains, hone and polish away etches, scratches, and dullness, and completely refinish and renew your surfaces with greater ease and at less expense than quartz.
Quartz is nonporous, which means it is inherently resistant to bacteria and viruses, does not stain easily, and does not require sealer. However, it is not stain proof and there are certain substances that can damage quartz, including paint removers, oil-based soaps and products, permanent dyes and markers, and certain chemicals, such as bleach and degreasers.
For most natural stones sealing is recommended. Know that sealing represents an inexpensive, preventative measure against stain damage, because it buys you time to wipe up spills before they become stains. Other sealing options for natural stone include color enhancing sealers that enhance the natural colors already present within a stone. This option is especially popular with materials that have a honed or textured finish.
When it comes to sustainability, one could make an argument for or against both quartz and natural stone. Quartz is very abundant, so it does not need to be shipped as far as natural stone. However, the production process for natural stone produces less carbon emissions than that of quartz.
Prices on quartz and natural stone tops for kitchens and baths vary widely, depending on many factors, from the type of material and finish to the design and edge selections. Quartz is a very dense, uniform material, making it conducive to elaborate designs and edges. Both quartz and natural stone are more expensive than laminate or other budget-friendly materials, but the perks of using a high quality material can far outweigh the cost. If your budget is limited, consider purchasing quartz or natural stone but opting for simpler design and edge selections.
Your countertops and vanity tops should be aesthetically pleasing and ideal for intended use. Whether you choose quartz or natural stone, these are both high quality materials that will improve the value of your home. Talk to a professional to help determine the material that best suits your needs and wants!