Why Quartz?

Made from one of the hardest minerals on earth, quartz countertops are arguably the most durable option for kitchens. They're also some of the most eye-catching. They come in a wide variety of colors, including fire-engine red and apple green, as well as earthy browns, blacks, and creams, with sparkles and veining for the look of granite or marble. But unlike natural-stone slabs, which are mined, these slabs are engineered in a factory. Their primary ingredient is ground quartz (about 94 percent), combined with polyester resins to bind it and pigments to give it color. For some designs, small amounts of recycled glass or metallic flecks are added to the mix. The resins also help make these counters stain and scratch resistant—and nonporous, so they never need to be sealed. Compare that with granite, the reigning king of high-end countertops, which typically requires a new protective top coat at least once a year.

In the past, the biggest knock against quartz was that it lacked the patterns and color variations you get with natural stone. But that's a moot point now, with all the manufacturers offering multihued slabs with enough flecks, swirls, and random patterning to make them almost indistinguishable from the real thing. They were once available only with a polished finish; now you can get one with a honed, sandblasted, or embossed treatment. So if it's the look of matte limestone, textured slate, or glossy granite that you want, there's a quartz countertop for you.

An in-depth look at the pros and cons of quartz

As with granite, quartz countertops also have their own sets of drawbacks and benefits that go along with them.

Quartz countertops are just as strong as granite but have the added benefit of being more flexible. This makes them easier to work with during the installation process.Quartz is non-porous and does not require any sealing – ever. These stones offer a virtually no-maintenance material solution for countertops.These counters are also very durable but they cannot be considered indestructible either. They are stain-resistant as well so dropping a glass of wine on them simply requires a quick cleanup.One drawback that you should definitely take note of is these counters can discolor over time when exposed to direct sunlight. If you have a part of your counter that receives some of the UV rays from the sun while another part doesn’t, over time you may see a color difference.These countertops need to be professionally installed and quartz is even heavier than granite.You can expect to see seams with a quartz counter but they will be less visible if you choose a slab that’s darker in color. As well, the seams are easier to hide when you choose quartz because the counter has been colored and manufactured. If you buy a quartz countertop in a solid color, it’s much easier to hide the seam to a certain extent.

With granite, the natural veins and colors in the stone will never allow the seams to appear less visible.

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