In January 2020, the National Association of Realtors published an article about the growing trend of kitchen countertops made of quartz, a construction material that has been increasing in popularity in recent years. Interior designers have accepted that quartz is on the upswing, and they’re likely to recommend it to homeowners from now on.
There’s some confusion about what quartz is made of, and it has to do with its name and branding. To be clear, quartz is made of mostly crushed natural stone, but it’s not cut from the Earth’s crust. It’s manufactured by means of special processes, and the result is an engineered material that contains a high volume of crystalline silicon dioxide, a mineral more commonly known as quartz.
The Main Element of Quartz
Silicon dioxide is an abundant mineral that’s very hard and durable when combined with other natural materials such as feldspar. When a rock has a high content of quartz, its surface cannot be easily scratched even with metal tools. Quartz can take on many forms, including pretty gemstones such as amethyst. When silicon dioxide is gathered to make quartz slabs, manufacturers aim for a mineral content of about 90 to 94 percent. The only natural stone used as a construction material that has a higher silicon dioxide content is quartzite.
Other Materials Used to Make Quartz
Advanced resins made from various polymers are used as binders to manufacture quartz slabs. Stone fragments are often collected from the same quarries where blocks of natural stone are extracted. These fragments are subsequently crushed and mixed with the resins. Synthetic pigments are thrown into the mix for coloring purposes. The final product is a lot like natural stone because at least 90 percent of it is natural stone. To this effect, cutting the slabs requires the use of stone masonry tools.
Quartz as a Brand
Since the engineered stone manufacturing process was developed in the early 1970s, the name “quartz” has been commonly used to describe this material. The first quartz brand was Bretonstone, which was sometimes referred to as “engineered marble,” because virtually all buyers—who in the beginning were mostly commercial property owners—wanted materials that looked like marble. Bretonstone is an Italian brand that thoroughly dominated the market until American manufacturers emerged as major competitors. Now there’s Caesarstone, Cambria, Cosentino and even Corian quartz.
The Ultimate Quartz Advantage
Brand competition is often good for homeowners. In the case of quartz, it’s resulted in lower prices, warranties and greater variety. Quartz slabs are isotropic and nonporous, which means they don’t require periodic sealing like natural stone. Granite Gold Quartz Brite® is a two-in-one quartz cleaner and polish and is the only product you need to keep your quartz countertops looking like the day they were first installed.
If you’d like to learn more about caring for quartz countertops, reach out to Granite Gold®. We also offer a wide array of products that are safe to use on granite, marble, travertine, and other types of natural stone. Call one of our knowledgeable representatives today at 1-800-475-STONE (7866).