Quartz is composed of silicon and oxygen and is one of the most well-known minerals on the planet as it is the second most abundant mineral found in the Earth’s interior crust. Since ancient times, quartz has been commonly used in jewellery-making and hardstone carvings, especially in Europe and Asia. It is also the most varied of all minerals and occurs in many different forms, patterns, and colours.
If you choose to purchase a quartz countertop, you will in fact be buying an engineered composite of ground quartz (about 90% to 94% with a blend of resins, polymers, and colours, giving it the benefits of natural stone and synthetics, like solid surfaces and laminates. Even though this doesn’t make quartz a 100% natural choice, the addition of the resin polymer blend means it is more durable, and more flexible in terms of colour as pigments can be added to the manufacturing process. You can choose a natural granite-like or slate-like slab, or with less organic pigments, you can go for a more bold and vibrant option.
It is marginally less expensive than granite, and quite a bit more than synthetic surfaces due to its durability and easy maintenance. While a number of makes and manufacturers are available, Silestone is probably the most well-known brand as not only does it offer highly durable and low maintenance countertops, they also have a wide selection of colours, tones, finishes, and patterns than can be mixed and matched for a truly personalized touch.
The combination of natural stone with resin renders quartz a truly non-porous surface that is a hygienic resistant to stains and bacteria as liquids won’t soak into the pores as they would with granite and marble. This also makes it easier to clean as spills easily glide off the surface, so is perfect for any kitchen or bathroom.
Quartz is also extremely durable and resilient and will sooner blunt your knives and break a dish than be scratched or chipped. The combination of quartz and polymer resins also means that your surface is highly impact resistant as the resin that adds flexibility and elasticity, and serves as a kind of shock absorber if hit with heavy objects.
It is a tough and sturdy material up for most everyday wear-and-tear, yet it does not stand up to heat as well as granite. While it will not warp and bend like other synthetic surfaces, placing hot pots and pans or styling equipment directly on the countertop will result in burn marks and discolouration.