Choosing Engineered Quartz
Many homeowners are increasingly turning to engineered quartz for their kitchen countertops and other stone surface needs because it has several advantages over natural stone.
The nice thing about natural stone is that it is, well, natural. Engineered quartz is a synthetic product, but that doesn’t mean it can’t look every bit as natural as natural stone. Of course, engineered quartz lacks something in uniqueness in terms of design and patterns. All the slabs you get from one model will look exactly alike. This is not a bad thing if you are trying to find matching slabs, which is usually the problem with natural stone.
Engineered stone is basically a compound of different types of stones. In the case of engineered quartz, the main component is quartz, but an engineered stone could be any other type of stone, or even recycled materials. Whatever type of engineered stone it is, it uses the Bretonstone process in manufacturing.
Engineered quartz is the most popular type of engineered stone, primarily because it is extremely durable. They typically contain at least 90% quartz materials, with the balance comprised of polymers and pigments. Quartz is an extremely tough, colorless or translucent natural mineral that also gives granite its durability. However, since granite is only typically 40% quartz, engineered quartz is much more durable.
Engineered stone can be made to look like any stone, but in many cases it simulates the look of the most popular dimension stones, namely granite and marble. Unless you know what to look for, it is hard to distinguish it from natural stones.
Another advantage of engineered quartz is availability. Engineered quartz are manufactured, not quarried, so you can choose a model from the catalogue at any time and you can be sure you will get that exact stone. That is not the case with natural stone, which is dependent on whatever the quarries are producing at any given time.
If you are still doubtful about the superior qualities of engineered quartz, then you should also know that it is non-porous, unlike natural stones. This means that it does not need a seal and it will not scratch, stain, or etch, so it practically needs no maintenance. It also happens to be resistant to heat. All these qualities make it ideal for use in almost any area in the home
What quartz can be used for
If you are wondering what engineered quartz can be used for, then you are wondering the wrong thing. A better question is what can it not be used for, and that list is extremely short. Because of its advanced features, it works very well as kitchen countertops, bathroom vanities, fireplace surrounds, walls, backsplashes, floors, and so on. It can even be used outdoors.
However, there is a caveat. Quartz is a colorless or translucent material, so in order to simulate the look of other stones, coloring agents are added into the mix. Unfortunately, these pigments tend to fade under constant exposure to direct sunlight, and it is most noticeable in dark colored stones. If you get a lot of sunlight in your home, or you want it outdoors, choose a light colored engineered quartz. It will still fade, but it won’t be as noticeable.
Options of quartz
Engineered quartz are produced by many different companies, and each one has a different take on the composition and manufacture of their slabs, but in general they are very similar in performance. However, each one will have their own catalogue of the colors and designs they produce, some of which may be very distinctive, so go over all of them to find the perfect one to fit your particular style and taste. The engineered quartz brands Badger Granite carries include:
• Radianz™ by Samsung, which comes in excess of 26 distinct colors based on a natural stone. You can order a sample so you can check it out more closely
• Diamond Quartz, available in Diamond Black and Diamond White
• Noble Quartz Collection, available in 6 different models, including Midnight Sapphire and Saltora Cliff
Why install quartz in your home
Why would you install engineered quartz in your home when you could just as easily and more affordable install marble or granite? The simple answer
Is quartz more practical
Engineered quartz can crank up the value of your home because it is currently very popular. If you are planning to sell your home, many home buyers will readily appreciate the function and esthetic benefits of engineered stone in the kitchen and the bathroom. This is particularly true if your home is in the contemporary style, and everything matches perfectly. Some purists may pooh-pooh at anything other than natural stone in the home, but most people can’t even tell the difference, and they look fantastic if you choose the right one.
Even if you are not planning to sell your home, having work surfaces that can take a whole lot of use without requiring much TLC makes life that much easier on a daily basis. Additionally, most engineered quartz manufacturers offer some type of warranty against manufacturing defects, which is a big deal for homeowners shelling out a considerable sum to put them into their homes. Note, however, that these warranties usually kick in only if you have the slabs installed by an accredited installer.
How to maintain quartz
The best thing about engineered quartz is that it requires little or no maintenance. You don’t have to jump through hoops to keep it in great shape. You only have to clean it on a daily basis by washing it in mild soap, rinsing it off with warm water, and wiping it dry to keep water spots from forming. Since it is durable and non-porous, you don’t need special cleaning products or tools. If you see any soap scum, hot water is the answer.
However, you should refrain from using anything too abrasive on the surface. It will not damage the stone itself, but it might dull the finish. If you have to scrape off dried on food or any type of muck, soak it in detergent and scrape it off with the flat edge of a hard plastic card such as a dead credit card, or use a non-abrasive pad.
Engineered quartz is tough, but you can break them if you really try. It is not proof against a heavy object striking it at an angle, for instance, or taking a blowtorch to it. Suddenly exposing it to extreme heat can cause it to crack from thermal shock, so be warned. The best way to prevent damaging your engineered quartz surface is to use reasonable care and common sense.
Note: You cannot repair engineered quartz as easily as natural stone. Avoid the extra expense of replacing a damaged countertop by giving it a little respect.
Installation quartz and pricing
One of the not-so-great things about engineered quartz is it tends to be pricier than natural stone. That fact is sort of balanced out by the fact that you can get the stone you want at any time, and even get it customized. You don’t have to wait for the perfect stone to be available, or to agonize over not finding an exact match to your design.
Engineered quartz typically comes in 2-cm and 3-cm standard thicknesses, but you can order the thickness you want in most cases. On average, a 3-cm thick slab will cost upwards of $75 per square foot, excluding installation and other costs such as edges, backsplashes, and fixtures. With these costs added in, you can be looking at something in the neighborhood of $300 per square foot.
Fortunately, there is such a thing as an off-season for engineered quartz. You can usually get a better deal if you order in the fall or winter. You can also select from the remnants if you only need a small piece, such as for a small table or vanity top.
Let us know what you need in terms of engineered quartz, and we will be more than happy to walk you through it.