Ideas for the centrepiece of every party
During the past decade, natural stone surfaces have landed in many kitchens: granite, marble, soapstone and even concrete. But now there’s a new countertop contender on the design scene: engineered quartz.
Boasting the best qualities of laminate and stone (along with its own special features), quartz is exploding in popularity in U.S. homes, after gaining popularity in Europe for the past couple decades.
Although some quartz countertops are actually made of quarried slabs of the natural stone, the new engineered material is created through a manufacturing process that mixes approximately 93 percent ground natural quartz with 7 percent polymer resins. The result is a super-hard, low-maintenance, natural stone-look countertop available in a dazzling array of colors. And for many of the homeowners choosing quartz, those virtually unlimited color options are what sold them.
Joe Everitt, an independent contractor who has spent the last decade remodeling New York City brownstones and lofts, says that homeowners love the fact that quartz allows color choices never before available in stone. But he says the best features of quartz are actually invisible.
“These countertops are close to indestructible,” Joe explains. “They’re so durable that most manufacturers offer a warranty, something you won’t find with, say, granite. And quartz isn’t porous like other stone surfaces, so these countertops are much more sanitary in a home kitchen. You can keep them 99.9 percent bacteria-free.”
This durability also means that, unlike other types of stone countertops, quartz resists staining or corrosion from cooking oils, liquids and most household cleaning products — so there’s no need for periodic resealing of the surface.
Quartz countertops allow for a variety of edging options, just like natural stone. Unlike stone, however, engineered quartz also offers other design possibilities. Because it’s more flexible to work with and is held in place using glue and epoxy instead of screws, quartz can be used on larger vertical surfaces like backsplashes and even shower enclosures, without the fissures and seams often all too visible with natural stone.
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Thanks to Katie Allison Granju at HGTV for the article, and the Cambria Quartz design studio in Toronto for the photos.