Quartz: Engineering Mineral For Kitchen Countertops
Quartz countertops continue to be in high demand for many reasons. They’re durable and resistant to scratches and stains, and they can help achieve a similar look as granite, but at a lower cost. And the technology is available to engineer quartz slabs in a wide range of colors and patterns, making it an incredibly versatile material to fit any home improvement project.
Exploring the history of engineered quartz helps to understand how the material became so popular, and why it continues to be one of the leading options for countertops.
Ground quartz is a naturally occurring hard mineral with a crystal structure of silicone and oxygen. It is found in the United States and in countries around the world, and the fact it is the second-most abundant mineral globally means that the costs of using it remains competitive.
For home improvement projects, quartz is extracted and then through an engineering process it is combined with polyester resin and pressed into slabs that can then be colored and patterned to any desired countertop. The leading process for producing these slaps is known as Bretonstone, named after the Italian company Breton S.P.A. that patented the process for engineering the stone into slabs.
Bretonstone slabs are produced by combining the materials using the vacuum compaction process that the company invented, compressing the mixture into high quality products. The air-tight vacuum process helps minimize the gaps between the quartz crystals and the other materials, which reduces the amount of bonding agent needed and helps to give the slabs their non-porous status.
Different visual styles are achieved based on changes in the slab production process. For example, using very finely ground quartz helps to give slabs a smooth, clean look that is perfect for producing countertops in solid colors. Alternatively, if the quartz is more coarsely ground it can give the engineered quartz a flecked appearance that is also popular in some homes.
This flexibility in design shows why quartz countertops are in demand, because they can be produced in everything from simple sheer white for an understated subtle look, to elaborate patterns mixing several different colors for something that will really stand out in the kitchen.
Beyond the visual appeal of quartz countertops, the engineering process also results in slabs that have a host of other benefits when used in a busy room like a kitchen.
The highly durable nature of quartz means that maintenance of countertops is minimal, and it’s easy to clean up typical kitchen spills with some soap and water. The countertops are resistant to stains, mold, and scratches, which makes them a great choice to protect against wear and tear.
The combination of the almost infinite design options with the technical benefits of quartz makes it an attractive option for kitchens. Indeed, homeowners have reaped the benefits of this successful process of taking a naturally occurring substance and turning it into beautiful countertops. The proven durability and versatility of the material means that quartz will likely remain popular for many more years to come.