What is Quartz? From a geological stand point it’s a well‐known mineral, found throughout the world, composed of silicon and oxygen. It has a hardness of seven on the Moh’s scale, making it very durable, and it’s highly resistant to chemical and mechanical weathering. But what does this mean when you’re looking at countertops?
Quartz countertops, sometimes referred to as Engineered Stone, are fabricated from slabs of manmade stone. They primarily are composed of ground up quartz minerals mixed with a small amount of resin for binding, and pigments for color. The amount of resin depends on the manufacturer but it’s usually less that 10%. Patterns and designs are created using patented technology and then the mixture is pressed into a slab, cured in an oven, and then cooled; creating a very durable countertop material without pores or cracks.
In the past Quartz’s more uniform patterns were a dead giveaway to its manufactured nature. However in recent years manufacturers have gotten better and better at mimicking their natural counterparts. This allows consumers to have the veining and coloring found in natural stones, like marble, without the maintenance and fragility of the natural product. Because the color tone and pattern is more consistent it also makes it easier for some people during the selection process.
Even though Quartz is extremely durable, it’s not indestructible. It can be damaged with excessive heat, so you always want to use a trivet when placing hot items on your countertops. It’s scratch and stain resistant, but any material can be damaged with enough abuse. You should always use a cutting a board when cutting anything on your countertop and clean up spills quickly.