For how popular granite has become in kitchen and bathroom remodeling, it is hard to remember that in 1994, just 20 years ago, the idea of using a natural stone for countertops was foreign to consumers. Granite was not only incredibly expensive at the time, but you would be lucky to find any real satisfying variation of colors available, as most locations only offered two or three different options. The granite that you could purchase was based upon where you lived, as importing/exporting anything outside of a local region was non-existent at the time.
At the turn of the century, however, you couldn’t count how many homeowners were replacing the solid-color laminate and acrylic countertops of the past with stunning and unique granite countertops, completely revolutionizing the remodeling market. Companies simply couldn’t provide enough granite to meet demands only months after granite was relatively irrelevant in the remodeling industry. Prices also became more affordable over time, and granite became the standard for countertops within a decade.
The Emergence of Quartz Countertops
While it’s nearly impossible to argue that granite will not remain popular for years and years in the future, alternatives remain prevalent within the industry. One alternative that continues to grow in domestic popularity is quartz.
In a nutshell, quartz countertops are cut out of a man-made stone, but 93 – 95% of the contents is natural quartz, which is the second most abundant material underground on the earth. The other 5 – 7% of a quartz countertop is made using a mixture of polymer resins.
Quartz countertops are not a new product; the manufacturing process has existed for over half a century. Their popularity was limited in the past domestically, however, mostly due to high pricing and an unpopular offering of colors.
Despite a lack of domestic success, quartz was a trending countertop material overseas and incredibly popular in Italy as early as the 1960s. Other European nations followed suit quickly, but we didn’t see too much popularity in America until homeowners began trending away from the solid-color fad of the past.
Quartz vs. Granite
One of the most important benefits to quartz is the uniform and controlled appearance. Because it’s manufactured rather than entirely natural, the production of quartz countertops is very controlled. While quartz isn’t exactly patterned like tile, the manufacturing process gives the control of having the same variety of colors over thousands of feet of stone, where there’s a variety of color tint within a couple of feet on some granite slabs. Texture can also be controlled with quartz to create a distinctive feel over a large surface area.
When looking at quartz vs. granite, the imperfections of granite become highly noticeable in large projects, as parts of a kitchen countertop can look drastically different despite being from the same color of granite. The uniform appearance also makes it easier to hide seams on a countertop requiring more than one slab of material, as it’s generally easier to match up two similar looking sections of the slab and the seam blends in a lot better.
The uniformity of a man-made product over a natural product isn’t the only appearance benefit of quartz. A quartz countertop is also stronger than granite. While granite is a very hard material (it is a rock after all), quartz countertops have a higher hardness rating in comparison. This doesn’t only mean less chips or dings over time, but quartz countertops are also more scratch-resistant than other countertops.
Another huge perk is that quartz is non-porous, truly making it a “no maintenance” countertop. While the natural granite stone needs to be sealed twice a year, a quartz countertop never requires any sealing or such maintenance. Granite also requires polishing or reconditioning years after installation (the shine of a new granite countertop wears over time); all quartz manufacturers advertise that the only cleaning material you will ever need is warm water and soap. To back this up, some of the quartz countertops we offer at Bath, Kitchen and Tile Center are sold with a limited lifetime warranty.
Visit Our Showrooms to See Quartz Countertops in DE, PA, NJ & MD
Our Bath, Kitchen and Tile Center showrooms in Newark, Lewes, and Wilmington are always well stocked with all of the latest offerings from the finest quartz manufacturers, and they’re more affordable than ever before!