June 24, 2024


Specialists in home interior

A Simple Guide on Quarts Countertops

Quartz Vs. Granite Countertop Weight | Sciencing

Quartz countertops have a particular set of qualities that make them pretty special, even among stone countertops like marble or granite. People can find these counters in different colors – from cool grays to bright whites, rich browns, blacks, and warm creams. Some slabs have veining that makes them look like marble. Some options, even contain mirror chips that reflect light, as well as appear to make counters sparkle.

What are quartz countertops?

These things are forms of engineered stones made from ground-up quartz particles bound together using resins. If property owners are considering using this material for their kitchens, here are some simple facts they need to know about quartz.

They are not solid quartz

There is some quartz present when it comes to these types of counters. But about ten percent of the material volume in these slabs is not stone at all. Instead, it is cement-based or polymeric binders. And the other ninety percent is crushed waste marble, natural stones, granite, or recycled industrial wastes like mirrors, glass, silica, and ceramic. Still, there is some (sometimes a lot) actual QTZ. 

All of this material mixed together and held with binders is what gives these slabs the feel and look of stone. More accurately, these counters should probably be called a compound or engineered stones – terms that accurately describe the way these things are created. As a matter of fact, this industry is increasingly using the term compound or engineered stones to refer to this kind of slab.

Bottom line 

These things can include actual quartz, but there is a good chance they don’t include solid QTZ extracted from quarries or mines and have tons of other materials in them.

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They flow from one source

In 1960, the technology of making engineered stones was developed by a company from Northeast Italy called Breton, which licensed this process under the Bretonstone trademark. Over fifty years later, the company is still going strong and making QTZ countertops. The process includes the following:

  • Blending pulverized natural stone aggregate mixed with polymers
  • Removing the air and heating
  • Shaping the material into big slabs that have the appearance and hardness of natural stones

The Bretonstone tech has been licensed to more than fifty firms around the world, including famous QTZ brands like Cambria, Caesarstone, and Silestone. While these companies add their own nuances and flair to their products, they are still working off of the original patent or brevetto from Breton. Some of these countertops now include ground mirrors and other grass, various mixtures of marble and granite, and brass metal fillings. Some effort goes into designing mixtures that produce good and unique looks.

It has a connection with cheese

Cambria represents a significant chunk of the United States market for QTZ counters. But few individuals know an interesting trivia about this American company: it also makes cheese. The company, now based in Minnesota, started in the early 30s as a dairy business that expanded into various companies: Le Sueur Cheese Company, Micollet Food Products, and Saint Peter Creamery. 

It was not until the dawn of the new Millenium that the company started its entry into the engineered stone industry by purchasing QTZ processing equipment. Even today, the company supplies substantial quantities of cheese every year to Kraft Foods.

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All About Quartz Countertops - This Old House

These slabs are eco-friendly

Using fiberboard as a building material is so much maligned, but people can say this about it: Manufacturers didn’t cut down trees when making fiberboard. The same is true when it comes to engineered stone counters. The ninety percent of stone-like materials used to form the base of QTZ counters are all waste byproducts of other manufacturing or quarrying processes. No natural stones are quarried solely for use in these slabs. 

Even resins that compose the remaining ten percent of the slabs have become less synthetic and more natural. Breton’s trademark term for the ingredient is Biolenic Resin. It refers to the combination of organic and artificial resin, the former derived from non-edible vegetable oils.

People usually walk on QTZ

Individuals might think of this material in terms of bathroom and kitchen countertops. But it is also slabbed on most floors, especially in commercial properties like banks and shopping malls. No doubt people have walked on these things and not even know it. 

It has come full circle from the first material that Marcello Toncelli (the inventor) developed was hand-poured slabs of about twelve by twenty inches, used and cut down for floor tiles. Counter applications didn’t come until later years. Indeed, even in the 70s and 80s, these slabs only measured about fifty inches in length – hardly a size people could call counter-worthy.

These materials compete with granite

For many years, this material tried to pass as a natural stone, and it was all about deciding between granite and QTZ. This material sought to develop a durable reputation that is less porous and can be easily fabricated compared to its counterpart. While granite-look QTZ materials are still pretty popular in today’s market, QTZ looks like nothing else is starting to gain popularity. One example is a product called Ceasarstone. It is a modern style category for consumers. It also has an Ultra-Modern category that offers products like Crocodile, Blizzard, and Martini.

More QTZ means a much lower granite price

According to experts, these kinds of counters are continuing to take over the market share of granite. Property owners who, in the past, might have had to opt to use granite slabs are starting to opt for quartz. But it has one side effect for people who wants to use granite slabs: lower price tag because of less demand. Freedonia said that the granite price tag has declined over the last couple of decades, making it more widely available.

Quartz is a more expensive option

It is cheaper compared to its counterpart, but it is not a cheap counter overall compared to other options like butcher block or laminate. On average, these things cost fifteen to seventy dollars per square foot. Meanwhile, granite slabs cost between fifteen and one hundred forty dollars per square foot. 

Conversely, Marble will cost between fifteen and one hundred ninety dollars per square foot. At the cheaper end, laminate costs eight to twenty-seven dollars on average per square foot. Butcher block or wood costs between ten to forty dollars per square foot. Ceramic or porcelain tiles are also cheaper options at three to one to fifteen dollars and thirty dollars per square foot, respectively.