As a fabricator or installer who handles some design, you deal with homeowners and design options all the time. Your customers need to choose cabinets, flooring, hardware, and the all-important countertops. While there are numerous countertop options, including traditional granite, marble, and soapstone, a unique product is gaining popularity that your customer may not know about: engineered quartz.
Engineered quartz, which combines ground quartz and resins in a precise mixture, has generated a popular following among residential and commercial users. Versatile, durable, and relatively affordable, it has become one of the top products in the kitchen remodeling industry.
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As you probably know, engineered quartz is made from a combination of quartz and resins, which are mixed to create a hard surface. The combination is usually around 90 to 94% quartz, with resins making up the rest of the mixture. Small amounts of pigments can also be added to the combination as well.
The product starts with quartz mineral, which is ground down so it can be mixed with other materials. The mineral is ground into a specific coarseness, ranging from rough to smooth. The level of coarseness directly impacts the final appearance of the engineered product.
Resins, polymers, and pigments are added and the combination is mixed. Once the mixing process is complete, the granite is compacted into slabs. It is then sealed, and a finish is applied to create an elegant final appearance.
Engineered quartz is naturally abrasive-resistant and easy to clean. It also comes in a wide range of design options.
Engineered quartz has come a long way! Customers may not know that as an engineered product it’s not a whole slab cut from a larger rock, which means manufacturers can create a stunning variety of colors and patterns. There are some, as you know, that look like real stone!
Because of manufacturer competition, the range of options continually expands. The colors and textures of engineered quartz are similar to natural stone, but it can be modified to fit virtually any style. While the palette typically carries a natural shade, it can be light or dark. Manufacturers can create materials that hold reds, blacks, faded grays, or cloudy hues mixed into a lighter foundation.
The patterning can also change depending on how the quartz is ground and mixed. Coarse stone typically produces a flecked style, while finely ground material has a smoother appearance. Using advanced techniques, manufacturers have created colors and patterns that resemble marble or natural granite. There are even cement-like designs, which create popular industrial styles without the brittle, crack-prone nature of real cement.
Hard, dense, nonporous, and nonabrasive, engineered quartz can be used throughout the home. The best place for this material, however, is the kitchen. It can also be installed in the bathroom, largely because of its nonporous quality. (Which also comes into play in kitchen installation.)
Not all engineered quartz are full countertop pieces. Some of these products are actually made for backsplashes, walls, and even floors. That’s right, you can literally use the same material for your countertops and your floors.
There are many reasons why commercial and residential buyers are choosing engineered quartz. One of the main reasons that it’s so popular, especially for kitchen use, is its outstanding durability. In many homes, the kitchen is used more than any other room. More activity is done on the countertops than on any other surface except perhaps the dining table. The kitchen countertops need to be rugged, durable, and able to withstand the rigors of cooking, chopping, heating, and all the other aspects of a thriving kitchen.
Consumer Reports named quartz the #1 material on their list of the “Best Countertops for Busy Kitchens.” (The article says “quartz,” not “engineered quartz,” but the provided link goes to engineered quartz products.) The material is so durable that some manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty on all indoor quartz countertop products.
Engineered quartz is also stain resistant, making it perfect for busy families with young children, as well as homes that cook with staining foods like wine or tomato sauce.
Along with being stain-resistant, it’s easy to clean. In most situations, warm, soapy water is all that’s needed for easy cleaning. If there is a stain or spill that is particularly difficult to lift, a nonabrasive cleaner can usually handle the issue. After thousands of cleanings, engineered quartz maintains a polished finish; it looks nearly brand new even after years of use.
Of course, one big factor consumers like it? Price. Although price can vary by product and manufacturer, engineered quartz is usually more affordable than natural stone; the price is usually comparable to mid-level granite. It’s not as inexpensive as other solid surfaces.
Finally, engineered quartz is extremely diverse. As we’ll discuss below, engineered quartz is available in a variety of hues, tones, and patterns. This allows designers to match engineered quartz products with virtually any project. Some options even look like quartz or stone.
The material is extremely popular, but there are a couple of downsides to engineered quartz.
The edges and corners can chip if they are struck with the right angle and force. To reduce this issue, most manufacturers create rounded edges instead of sharp angles. Also, there are products people can use to fix chips.
The material is also installed in partial slabs, so seams may be visible. While this can be mitigated with the right caulk and adhesives, such as Integra Adhesives, some users don’t like seeing seams at all.
Although it’s nonporous, engineered quartz is not ideal for outdoor use. UV rays from the sun will fade the material so it’s best used inside. Some materials may not be suitable for outside use anyway.
Your customers will decide what is right for their budgets, aesthetics, and kitchens. We’ll help you ensure these engineered stone products are fabricated and installed correctly so you have happy clients. We have a wide array of quality products from the best brands. With two-day shipping to most locations, you can count on us to deliver excellent service. Fast shipping, great brands, quality products, fantastic service, and unparalleled expertise — it’s why people have been coming to us since the 1950s.