Kitchen Remodeling and Quartz Countertops

by J on September 5, 2009

Home remodeling is almost a rite of passage for homeowners. Wherever you are in the remodeling process—just starting, in the middle of a mess, or, lucky you, finishing up, join us as we blog about different projects. In the previous kitchen remodeling blog, we discussed granite countertops. Today we’ll take a look at another choice to brighten up your kitchen that’s giving granite a run for its money—quartz countertops.

Found abundantly throughout the earth, quartz is one of the hardest minerals on the planet; it ranks at a 7 on Mohs Hardness Scale—only topaz, corundum (ruby and sapphire) and diamonds are harder. While some quartz countertops are slabs of the natural stone from a quarry, most kitchen countertops are engineered quartz. All companies use the same patented process to manufacture their countertops, thereby producing a standardized percentage of quartz in the countertops. A slab must contain 93% quartz to meet this standard; in comparison, granite countertops may contain only about 50% quartz.

The attributes of the engineered quartz make it an excellent choice for a kitchen countertop. First of all, quartz will not crack or develop fissures. It isn’t porous, which means that water and oils won’t be absorbed and harm the finish. Consequently, there’s no need for resealing the countertop.

Even more interesting, especially for use in the kitchen, is the fact that bacteria cannot penetrate quartz. As on any countertop, however, bacteria can grow on the surface if not properly wiped away. One company has even taken steps to address that issue. Cosentino USA has introduced a product called Silestone®, which is quartz infused with Microban®, an antimicrobial product that inhibits the growth of bacteria.

Science aside, quartz is esthetically beautiful and growing in popularity in kitchen remodeling projects. Companies like Cambria, Zodiaq , DuPont and Cosentino all offer quartz in a variety of dazzling colors, some with the addition of mirror and glass chips to add sparkle. Matching the color scheme of your kitchen should be simple; your biggest problem, in fact, may be narrowing it down to your favorite choice. To satisfy your artistic preference, the edge of the countertop can also be finished with different profiles, from simple bevels to an ogee (think S-shaped curve). To further endear quartz to consumers, most companies offer a 10-year warranty on the countertop.

As with granite, quartz can be pricey, falling in the $50 to $200 per-square-foot-installed range. As for installation, you need to call in the pros. This is definitely not a do-it-yourself project. Most quartz companies train and certify their installers. The sheer weight of the slabs make quartz tricky to handle; keep this in mind and be sure your cabinets are sturdy enough to handle the weight.

Consult your kitchen design specialist for help in picking out your quartz countertop. Its beauty will grace your kitchen, and its durability will please even the most discriminating homeowner.

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