Quartz countertops have been displacing their granite counterparts, so to speak, for years, and this interior design trend is more of a matter of form following function than the other way around. When it comes to aesthetics, engineered stone may offer more diversity and flexibility, but the unique beauty of granite is something quartz fabricators cannot exactly replicate. When it comes down to functionality in the kitchen, granite is far more likely to stain than quartz, but this doesn’t mean it will never happen. If you ever read or hear about quartz countertops being completely stain-proof, you should dismiss this claim as being overblown. Here’s what you should know about the stain-resistant properties of quartz.
Low Risk of Water Stains
This is a clear advantage of quartz over virtually all kinds of natural stone. Engineered stone was envisioned in Italy with the specific goal of creating a material with the look of marble but without the same level of maintenance. The pesky water stains that form on stones such as marble and are a result of natural porosity, which is virtually eliminated during the quartz fabrication process. As long as water spills are wiped up immediately, you shouldn’t be concerned about water stains on quartz.
Sealing Isn’t Necessary
The reason granite, marble, travertine, and limestone are often installed in kitchens is because their surfaces can be protected with regular sealant applications, which is what helps to prevent stains caused by water and other substances. Quartz is permanently sealed during the fabrication process, thus making future sealing unnecessary, but this doesn’t make it permanently stain-proof.
How Quartz Surfaces Can Become Stained
More than 90 percent of quartz consists of crushed and pulverized natural stone with a high volume of silicon dioxide. The remaining materials used in quartz fabrication are advanced bonding agents, pigments, and resins, all of them byproducts of petroleum. If the molecular structure of the resins is compromised, the crushed stone fragments will be exposed and staining could occur. In other words, nicks, scratches, and burns on quartz surfaces can result in staining. Common household cleaners can also increase the risk of staining. For example, oven cleaner is made of a harsh alkaline chemical formula that could cause permanent stains on quartz.
Avoiding Stains on Quartz Countertops
Aside from oven cleaner, a few other substances may permanently stain quartz: pyrrolidone in base form, sodium hydroxide, paint thinner, and some types of nail polish. You should also avoid using common household cleaners on your quartz slabs, tiles, or panels because you can never be sure if their formulation will cause staining. The best recommendation is to use a specially formulated quartz cleaner, particularly immediately after a spill. Keep in mind there may be very small nicks or surface scratches you cannot see, which could result in stains if your quartz countertops aren’t cleaned regularly.
For additional tips on maintaining quartz countertops, or if you’d like more information on natural-stone care, reach out to Granite Gold® today at 1-800-475-STONE (7866). We offer a wide array of products that are safe to use on quartz and natural-stone surfaces such as granite, travertine, slate, and marble.
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