Quartz countertops are highly sought after by homeowners looking for a unique, nonporous, stain resistant countertop. Quartz countertops are man made. The manufacturer combines quartz particles with polymer resins, glass or granite particles, and pigments to create quartz countertops. Quartz is available in a number of colors, including light blue, white, violet, dark pink, and orange. A quartz countertop will have pattern uniformity throughout, which means multiple quartz slabs will be identical.
Quartz countertops have grown significantly in popularity, and have seen a lot of media attention. Quartz coming from other parts of the Country outside of the US have been taxed with a tariff which makes it harder for quartz manufacturers. The price on quartz material has gone up as result of this tarrif.
Quartz vs. Quartzite
Quartz is man is quartziremade and used for countertops and floors. Quartzite, on the other hand, is an extremely hard natural stone. Quartzite is comprised of 95 percent quartz that has bound to silica. Quartzite is formed from the high temperatures and pressure that occur deep within the earth.
Quartzite is rarely seen in kitchens and bathrooms because it is expensive, and it is very porous. Annual sealing is required to help prevent stains. Quartzite counters are typically white or gray. Iron oxide is often found throughout the natural stone, leading to pink or red veins. The veins found in natural quartzite resembles marble or granite. The veins are typically inconsistent throughout the slab. Therefore, each slab is slightly different.
The Pros and Cons of Quartz Countertops
Quartz countertops are manmade and offer a number of benefits that are not found in natural stone countertops. Unfortunately, quartz also has a number of weaknesses that must be considered.
Advantages of Quartz Countertops
- Multiple Color Options – Quartz countertops are extremely attractive and offer an extensive range of color options. Quartz countertops are available in white, gray, beige, brown, dark brown, dark grey, and black backgrounds. You can also get quartz countertops in bold, eye-catching colors like cherry red, hot pink, green, purple, and blue.
- Luxurious Finish – Engineered quartz countertops provide a luxurious, rich finish that is not found in other solid surface countertop materials. The quartz countertop is smooth to the touch and reflects light back into your kitchen or bathroom.
- Durability – Quartz is exceptionally durable. The hardness of the quartz countertop is similar to natural stone countertops. However, unlike natural stone, it is less likely to chip or crack and is much more forgiving.
- Nonporous – A quartz countertop is nonporous, which means it resists staining better than natural stone countertops. Quartz countertops repel liquids like tomato juice, coffee, water, fruit juices, wine, and oil. Unless a liquid is left on the counter for an extended period of time, it will not stain. In addition to this, germs and bacteria cannot penetrate the countertop surface. When your counters are properly cleaned, all germs will be decimated.
Disadvantages of Quartz Countertops
- Cost – One of the most significant downsides of manmade quartz countertops is the price. Quartz countertops run between $115 and $200+ per square foot for high quality quartz countertops. The cost of quartz is comparable to other high end countertops, including marble and slate.
- Visible Seams – Homeowners typically want countertops with no visible seams. Unfortunately, when two pieces of quartz countertop are joined together, the seam is evident. Although seams in granite and marble can also be seen, homeowners expect engineered countertops to be free from any visible defects or noticeable seams.
- Susceptible to Heat – The polymer resin used in the production of quartz countertops create a nonporous surface that is resistant to stains. However, the resin is susceptible to heat. If the countertop is exposed to temperatures above 150 degrees Fahrenheit, the resin will burn, and your countertop will be damaged.
Quartz Countertop Costs
Quartz countertops are often found in kitchens and bathrooms because they repel water. In addition to this, quartz countertops are beautiful. When light hits a quartz countertop, it is reflected back into the room, creating warmth and drama. Quartz counters are easy to maintain; however, they do not come without a premium price.
Quartz countertop prices range from $45 per square foot to more than $100 per square foot, not including installation costs. The price is affected by the grade of the quartz and the quality of the countertop. For low grade countertops, homeowners should expect to pay between $50 and $60 per square foot. Mid grade countertops run between $60 and $80 per square foot. Finally, a high grade quartz countertop will cost $80 or more per square foot.
Many homeowners wonder if they could install their quartz countertops themselves. These countertops are not DIY friendly. Quartz is heavy and difficult to install. The installation should be left to a skilled countertop installer.
The cost of installation is typically $100 to $200 per square foot. For an average sized kitchen, installation costs will run between $2,000 and $4,000. The exact cost of the installation will depend on your kitchen layout. To get an accurate installation estimate, a countertop contractor will need to come to your home and measure your countertops. If a new sink is to be installed or the edges of the countertop need to be beveled, there will be an additional cost.
In addition to the cost of the quartz countertops and installation costs, you will be expected to pay a delivery fee. The delivery fee is typically around $200. If the installer needs to remove your old countertops, it will cost $300 to $450. Finally, if any additional work needs to be done like cutting out for electrical outlets or making radius cuts, the installation costs could increase even further.
If you want a matching quartz backsplash, the installation costs will be considerably more, and the time needed to complete the project will be increased. Countertop installation experts typically charge per square foot. Added backsplash will be an increase in square foot and resulting in a higher price. Because quartz counters are heavy, two or more installers will be needed during the installation process.
If a countertop contractor quotes you a price before seeing the actual job site, the price could be misleading. There may be issues that the installer is not aware of ahead of time, which is why the contractor needs to schedule an appointment to look at your kitchen and go over the installation process. During this initial consultation, speak with your contractor about any additional work that you would like done, such as adding a sink, installing a matching quartz backsplash, etc.
How to Clean Quartz Countertops
Quartz countertops are quite easy to take care of and require minimal maintenance. The only thing necessary to keep your countertops looking fabulous is a quick wipe down each time you use your kitchen for meal preparation. Wet a dishcloth with warm water and place a drop of mild soap on the cloth. Wipe the entire surface of the countertop using a circular motion. Rinse your dishcloth out and wipe the counter down again to remove the soap. Finally, wipe your counters with a clean, dry cloth to prevent streaking from occurring.
When choosing a soap for your quartz countertop, look for one that does not contain harsh chemicals. Harsh chemicals will wear down the finish of your quartz countertop with repeated use. Your countertops should not be scrubbed using steel wool or other abrasive materials as these can scratch the surface of the countertop. For more in depth information on cleaning quartz countertops check out this article.
Dealing with Spills on Your Quartz Countertops
If you spill something on your quartz counter, wipe it up immediately. All that is needed is a damp cloth to whisk away the spill. Although quartz is nonporous, surface stains can occur if a spill is not wiped up. The texture and color pattern of your quartz countertop may mask a spill, which is why your countertops should be wiped down each day.
If a spill is left on your countertop and it hardens, use a plastic scraper. When using the plastic scraper, do not apply excess pressure as it can cause surface scratches. Instead, wet a few paper towels with hot water and place the paper towels over the spill. Allow the wet paper towels to sit on the countertop for fifteen to thirty minutes. The heat and the moisture will help to loosen the spill so you can easily remove it with your plastic scraper.
How to Remove a Stain from Your Countertops
Although quartz is stain resistant, it is not stain proof. If fruit juice, wine, coffee, or tea is allowed to sit on your quartz countertop, a surface stain can occur. You can remove surface stains by making a paste of water and baking soda. Apply the paste to the countertop and buff the countertop with a soft cloth. Finish by rinsing the countertop with clear water and buffing dry using a clean, soft towel.
What Causes Haze on Quartz Countertops
If you have hard water, the minerals found in tap water can cause a haze to develop on your quartz countertop. This film can be removed with a solution of white vinegar and distilled water. Combine equal parts of vinegar and water and place it in a spray bottle. If the scent of vinegar is overpowering, add a few drops of lemon juice to the mixture.
Mist down your countertop with the solution and use a soft cloth to wipe the countertop surface. This natural cleaner will restore the shine to your quartz countertop.
* Tip – If you do not have white vinegar, you can use hydrogen peroxide, and water mixed at a 1 to 1 ratio, or you can use glass cleaner to remove the haze and restore the lustrous finish to your countertop.
How to Remove Other Substances from Your Quartz Countertop
If ink or chewing gum is left on your countertop, it can be removed with Goo Gone or another oil based stain remover. Apply the Goo Gone to the ink or chewing gum and allow it to soak in for a few minutes. Then, wipe your quartz counter with a clean, damp cloth. * If you do not have an oil based stain remover, rubbing alcohol may remove the ink or the chewing gum.
Do You Need to Seal Your Quartz Countertop
Because quartz countertops are made from polymer resins, routine sealing is not required. In fact, if a sealer is applied to your quartz countertop, the sealant will remain on the surface of the countertop, resulting in dullness and discoloration of the counter.
If you have unknowingly applied a sealer to your quartz countertop, try cleaning the surface with Bar Keeper’s Friend. If that does not remove the sealer, you can lightly buff the countertop surface with steel wool. Do not apply excess pressure as you only want to remove the sealer. Using too much pressure will remove the sealer and scratch the surface of your quartz countertop.
How Are Quartz Countertops Made
Quartz particles are mixed with natural materials, including recycled mirror pieces, colored glass particles, or granite pieces. These minerals are then mixed with a polymer resin. The mixture is then poured into a mold that is 2 to 3 centimeters thick. The mold is then vibrated to remove air bubbles in the resin mixture. Finally, the slabs are baked to harden the material.
Colored quartz countertops are produced using the same process; however, pigments are added to the resin before mixing it with the quartz mixture. If the manufacturer wishes to create veining in the quartz, the resin and quartz are poured into the mold and vibrated to remove air bubbles. Then, the colored resin is poured into the mold to create the veining before the slab is baked.
The Different Edge Profiles Available for Quartz Countertops
Quartz countertops can be finished using a variety of edge profiles, including a bullnose edge profile, a rough cut edge, a beveled edge, a waterfall edge, or a square edge. Each edge profile provides a different look that helps increase the interest and beauty in your kitchen or bathroom.
- Bullnose Edge Profile – A bullnose edge adds a curved silhouette to your countertop. This design is ideal in homes with small children.
- Rough Cut Edge Profile – A rough cut edge profile mimics the appearance of cut stone. This type of edge profile gives a rustic and natural feel to your kitchen or bathroom.
- Square Edge Profile – A square edge profile creates an elegant, yet simple look for your countertop. This edge profile allows your accessories, lighting, or faucet to draw the eye.
Quartz Countertop Yellowing
Improper cleaning can cause your quartz countertop to yellow. If the wrong countertop cleaner is used, it can cause staining. Cleaners that contain oily soaps, bleach, or other harsh chemicals can cause countertop discoloration. Using a mild cleanser like Weisman Quartz Cleaner rather than soap and water can prevent yellowing.
In addition to harsh chemicals, the minerals found in tap and spring water can react with the resin in your quartz countertops. When water is allowed to stand on a countertop, or a wet towel is left on a counter, the minerals in the water can discolor a quartz countertop. Many countertop experts recommend using distilled water when cleaning your quartz counters. Distilled water does not contain any minerals.
How to Remove Discolorations from Your Quartz Countertop
If your countertop begins to yellow, you can remove the discoloration by using hydrogen peroxide. Begin by putting on a pair of Nitrile or latex gloves to protect your hands. Pour a small amount of peroxide in a dish. Using a clean, dry cloth, dip the corner of the cloth into the peroxide. Gently squeeze to remove most of the hydrogen peroxide. The cloth should only be damp. Wipe the peroxide across the stain and allow to air dry. You may need to repeat the hydrogen peroxide application several times to remove all discoloration.
After the discoloration is removed, your countertops will be restored. To discoloration in the future, clean your countertops daily using a pH balanced quartz cleaner. Spray the quartz countertop cleaner onto your counter and wipe using a soft cloth. Countertop cleaners are designed to repel dirt and enhance the beauty of quartz countertops.
Quartz countertops are produced within a factory and provide you with a stain resistant, nonporous surface. These countertops look beautiful and instantly transform your home. If you are contemplating upgrading the countertops in your bathrooms or your kitchen, quartz may be the best type of countertop. Quartz countertops enhance the functionality and value of your home.
Quartz is available in an array of colors and styles, which means you can find one that will match your home’s color scheme. A quartz countertop looks great in both traditional homes and contemporary homes. Additionally, quartz countertops can have a number of edge profiles, such as a bullnose edge, a square edge, a raw edge, or a beveled edge.
Quartz is easy to maintain. Simply clean up spills and wipe down your counters daily to keep your countertops looking fantastic. Quartz is nonporous and nearly indestructible; however, it can be damaged by heat. To protect your counters, always use a trivet for hot pots and pans and use a cutting board when chopping food items.
A quartz countertop is easy to maintain and will last a lifetime. Minimal maintenance is required. Simply wipe down your counters using a pH neutral cleaner every time you prepare meals to keep your kitchen looking great.