Your kitchen and bathroom are some of the busiest areas in your house. When you have a place with such high traffic, it should be ready to meet all your requirements. For this reason, all the materials used here should not only look good but also help serve their purpose well and last for a long time.
The countertop may succumb to its heavy use if not made from a durable material. Quartz as a countertop material is one of the most popular materials because it’s strong and durable and can be used as an alternative to marble and granite.
The quartz that we knew 10 years ago is different from what we have today. There are lots of new developments on the product that improved its quality and appearance. The quartz countertops we have today are more durable than ever and they need less upkeep compared to natural stones. Read this article for more information about quartz and other stone countertop materials.
What is a Quartz Countertop?
Quartz material is a newcomer in the stone industry. The material is made from 93% stone aggregates and 7% polyester resin. Using highly advanced machinery, these components are pressed together to form a slab.
Because the process is subjected to intense pressure, vibrations, and vacuum the resulting slab has a characteristic dense and non-porous surface. Also, how the quartz is produced does not require any sealing.
Engineered stone or quartz comes in a wide array of colors and pattern combinations. Some of them mimic the appearance of natural stone. One of the most appealing characteristics of quartz is it possesses a consistent appearance throughout the entire slab’s surface. It can help you achieve the perfect blend of color, pattern, and texture.
What makes quartz unique is it addresses the limitations of natural stone like porosity and softness. However, this doesn’t mean that quartz has bested other countertop materials because it has its drawback as well.
For one, the seams on quartz countertops are visible and prolonged exposure to heat or contact with an acidic or alkaline solution can damage its surface. Exposure to direct sunlight can also make it yellowish in appearance.
One of the many reasons why quartz countertops are popular is because of their close resemblance to natural stone. These natural stones, including granite, marble, or soapstone, can withstand the heat. Can quartz countertop tolerate hot temperatures too?
The answer is yes but only up to a certain degree of temperature. If it is too high, it might damage your quartz countertop. The reason behind this is resin. Since quartz is an engineered stone, it contains 7% of resin and pigments. This resin can only withstand temperatures up to 150 degrees.
That means you cannot put a hot pan from the oven directly into the quartz countertop. It could burn the resin and do permanent damage. To prevent this you need to put a hot pad on the countertop and set the hot pan over it.
The explanation for this is that the heat resistance of the polyester resins used in quartz are largely structural and can be chemically scorched in certain conditions.
When quartz is exposed to extreme temperatures, it can cause immediate scorch marks that come in yellow or brown. This is an indication of a resin burn. Even moderately hot pots and pans can also cause discoloration on quartz with prolonged exposures.
Just because there is a limitation on what temperature can quartz tolerate, it does not mean that this material is weak. Quartz countertops are tough.
To measure the hardness of natural stone, scientists are using the Mohs hardness scale. It measures the material on a scale of 1 to 10. One being the softest as in talc and 10 being the highest, represented by a diamond.
Quartz, like granite, ranked around 7. It means that this material is as durable as granite and is highly scratch-resistant.
According to experts, quartz is the true champion when it comes to the porosity test. This non-porous nature of quartz makes its countertop completely impervious,
Why is porosity important? When it comes to countertop imperfections, nothing is more damaging than porosity, It is dangerous because when liquid or gas passes through the countertop material, it can cause a hole, damage its look and compromise its structural integrity. Quartz is impervious and passes the porous test in flying colors.
How does porosity impact the functionality of the countertop? Aside from keeping its integrity intact, a non-porous countertop can keep bacteria and viruses from the surface. Therefore, quartz is not only easy to clean but is also the cleanest countertop.
Do-it-Yourself Durability Test for Quartz Countertop
There are two simple tests you can do at home to test the acid sensitivity and porosity of your countertop. To test if your quartz countertop is the right choice for your kitchen counter, it needs to pass these two tests.
To do this test you will need a small piece of the material you want for your countertop. Squeeze a few drops of orange on the surface. If after the last drop of lemon, the surface develops dark spots fast, you have a very absorbent stone in your hand. And you should choose another material for your countertop.
If you are dealing with a degree of absorbency that is easily manageable, it is most likely not quartz but you can easily seal the surface. On the other hand, if the lemon juice is not absorbed, you have the perfect material right there.
Quartz is the preferred material for countertops. This material is durable, passing several durability tests, and shows tolerance to a limited temperature range and exposure to acid. Aside from these qualities, quartz has almost zero maintenance. It also has an array of color choices to select from.
Homeowners agree that quartz is the easiest to clean among different countertop materials. With that being said, having a quartz countertop can level up your home’s value and aesthetic appeal.