Engineered stone is part of a global market that is clearly on the rise. Quartz used to be mostly installed in commercial properties, but in recent years it has entered the American residential market as an alternative to granite, marble, and other types of natural stone that have long been very popular for kitchen and bathroom countertops. Demand for this construction material is expected to increase very rapidly over the next few years, and it will probably grow even faster once homeowners learn more about quartz. Here are five common misconceptions about quartz countertops that prospective buyers should be aware of.
1. Quartz and Quartzite Are the Same Thing
The most common misconception about quartz countertops is related to the name of the construction material they are made of. In nature, quartz primarily consists of silicon dioxide, also known as silica, which happens to be one of the primary elements used when manufacturing quartz countertops. Silica is also abundant in quartzite, a type of natural stone that is often quarried to make tiles and slabs. The manufacturing of quartz requires a lot of silicon dioxide, which is obtained from crushed natural stone and may include fragments of quartzite.
2. Quartz Is Indestructible
Bulletproof quartz countertops don’t exist. While quartz is more durable than marble and granite, it can still break, crack, and scratch because most of it is made of natural stone. If you take a sledge hammer to your quartz countertops, they will likely break, although it may take a few swings to completely shatter them.
3. Quartz Is Made of Completely Synthetic Materials
The ideal proportion of natural and synthetic materials used to fabricate quartz slabs is about 90/10. The amount of silicon dioxide coming from natural stone can be as high as 93 percent, and the rest of the materials are advanced resins and pigments. Lower quality slabs made for prefabricated kitchen and bathroom counters may feature quartz content as low as 88 percent, but anything lower won’t provide the cohesiveness necessary to make slabs that resemble natural stone. It’s simply not true that quartz countertops can be made with 100 percent synthetic materials.
4. Quartz and Corian Are Interchangeable Terms
American chemical giant DuPont created Corian, a solid surface construction material, in the late 1960s. A few years earlier, an Italian company named Breton patented the engineered stone process we now know as quartz. Both products came on the market around the same time, but they were largely competitors. A few years ago, DuPont acquired Zodiaq, a renowned quartz brand that became Corian Quartz. These days, you can combine original Corian surfaces with Corian Quartz countertops for a nice effect, particularly in fancy bathrooms.
5. Quartz Needs to Be Sealed
Quartz countertops require a level of maintenance similar to natural-stone care. However, there’s one major difference: you don’t need to seal quartz surfaces.
Frequent wiping with a quartz and Corian cleaner and polish solution is all you need to keep your countertops looking good. Granite Gold Quartz Brite® is safe to use on all Corian and quartz surfaces, including Casearstone and Silestone. To learn more about caring for quartz, contact Granite Gold® today at 1-800-475-STONE (7866).