Engineered stone is a composite material made of crushed stone bound together by an adhesive. This category includes engineered quartz, polymer concrete and engineered marble stone
What is a quartz?
Quartz is a worktop made of ground stone, e.g. quartz (e.g. Silestone, Technistone), marble or granite, which is combined with polyester resin. It is a 95% natural material, and its combination with resin allows for excellent physical properties, among other very high resistance to mechanical damage. Thanks to the ability to add pigments, you can get a variety of different colours that do not occur in nature. The quartz worktop can have a different finish: from polished to a high gloss, through matt, to a textured or leather surface.
The kitchen worktops made of quartz are great substitutes for ordinary stone products, because they are much lighter, but do not have a natural variety of patterns or drawings, characteristic for stone products. Quartz worktops are the more frequently chosen finishing solutions for kitchen components, as they are mounted without visible joints. They cannot be seen on flat surfaces or in connections, e.g. with sinks. The tops from the quartz are made to size with the option of choosing the most suitable colour.
Quartz successfully competes with natural stone. As a granite-based product, it assumes its excellent properties. What’s more, in some respects it outweighs it. However, quartz surfaces also have several disadvantages, but lets look into advantages first.
Advantages of quartz worktops
Quartz stones are very resistant to scratches and impacts. They are characterised by considerable durability and solidity, despite the fact that their material is mixed. You can place heavy pots on such countertops. Even if you accidentally drop a heavy object on the top of a quartz, it should withstand the impact! These tops tolerate moisture and flooding very well. You can easily wipe off dirt and spilled liquids with a cloth, without damaging the surface. The quartz also tolerates high temperatures. However, if you want to place pots that have just been removed from the hob or oven, it is better to use a wooden block under them to avoid direct contact with quartz. The advantage of the countertop made of quartz material is also the possibility to freely mould various composites together. It can be successfully combined with the sink, thanks to which incredible design will be created, and the kitchen will look extremely modern and timeless!
The quartz is ideal for modern arrangements
Natural stone is unique and not uniform in colour, thanks to which it gives the arrangement a unique look. However, this feature sometimes turns out to be a disadvantage, especially when decorating modern interiors. In such arrangements designers usually focus on minimalist forms and homogeneous colours. Elements made of natural stone do not have these features, which is why designers often reach for man-made stone, and here comes a quartz. Slabs of quartz are homogeneous, repeatable, serial – it is these features that have made them widely used in interior design.
What else distinguishes a quartz?
It has a smooth, non-porous surface with very low water absorption. Thus, it is resistant to stains and discolouration and is easy to keep clean. In addition, silver ions appear in the composition of the quartz, which have an antibacterial effect. For this reason, quartz granules work well in places exposed to the appearance of fungi or mould. Added to this is uniform colour and repeatability of the panels, as well as high resistance to mechanical damage. Thanks to these features, the quartz surfaces are valued by professionals: interior designers, architects and stonemasons, as well as people who use products created on its basis on a daily basis.
Let’s summarise the advantages of quartz, with particular attention to tops made of this material:
- acid resistance (which distinguishes the quartz conglomerate from the marble , whose surfaces can damage e.g. lemon juice),
- high scratch resistance (however, do not cut directly on the shiny top of the conglomerate, as scratches may remain on it),
- high stain resistance,
- easy to clean,
- resistance to high temperatures (however, for worktops, it is worth using pads for hot pots, so as not to tarnish the quartz),
- relatively low weight – the quartz worktops is lighter than granite by up to 20%, thanks to which the countertop does not load the cabinets as much as natural stone,
- Invisible joint of the countertop to the sink or window sill,
- Wide range of colours
- one-coloured and repeatable (easy to match) surface,
- the quartz conglomerate adopts the ambient temperature (as opposed to granite),
- Resistant to various cleaning chemicals
- Long warranty – up to 25 years!
- Large slabs and the ability to choose the appropriate thickness
- the possibility of freely shaping the countertop and join it seamless to the sink of the same material
- high impact resistance
- Different types of surfaces (polished, honed, suede)
Quartz worktop – disadvantages
Unfortunately, the tops of the quartz also have their drawbacks. First of all, these are somewhat expensive solutions. About a square meter of this material costs up to £800, so you should think carefully about its use in the kitchen. Certainly it will also be a choice for many years. This type of kitchen surfaces cannot be assembled by yourself, it must be well machined and installed in the kitchen by a specialist or repair team. In addition, it has poor resistance to UV rays.. The disadvantage is often considered to be its uniform colour, where if you use real stone, you can get interesting colour transitions.
With a quartz worktop in your kitchen, you need to be prepared for some restrictions. The main disadvantages of this solution include:
- low heat resistance – hot pots are best placed on rubber pads or wooden blocks as mentioned earlier,
- poor resistance to UV rays,