If you’re planning on remodeling your kitchen or are building a home, you have many choices to make. One such choice is on the material used for your kitchen countertops. With everything from cement to butcherblock to marble as an option, it can seem overwhelming. However, some options are better than others. Quartz countertops, for example, are a great choice because they’re durable, resistant to many types of damages and stains, and they look amazing. Here is some basic information about quartz, why it makes for great countertops, and how you can choose the right type of quartz countertop for your kitchen.
What Is Quartz?
Quartz is an incredibly hard mineral, which means quartz countertops are very durable. This material also comes in a variety of different colors, too, including some that are very bright and others that are full of veins and even sparkles. Because of this range, some people do mistake certain types of quartz for marble or granite. However, while those stones are naturally occurring, quartz is actually engineered. This means it’s much easier to match the coloring and style of your counters to those in your bathroom or other parts of your home. This isn’t always the case with natural stones, especially if you need multiple slabs.
Quartz counters are mostly made from ground up quartz, but this mineral is mixed with certain polyester resins and with various pigments to color it. To add sparkle, flecks of metal or even recycled glass can be added to the mixture. The most important part of this mixture is the resins, which bind everything together and also make quartz counters resistant to stains and scratches. This resin also makes the final product nonporous, which means that, unlike natural stone counters, you do not need to seal a quartz countertop.
If you’re uncertain about choosing a quartz countertop, it might help to understand why quartz is such a good choice. First, because it doesn’t need to be sealed or have any other maintenance. It’s a very easy material to clean. Since it’s nonporous, a quartz countertop remains very resistant to stains. For spills, simply wipe the surface down with some soapy water. You won’t want to use any harsh cleaning chemicals or abrasive material, though, as it can scratch and damage the countertop.
Also, since the material is nonporous, it won’t absorb any bacteria. This means you won’t need to worry about odd smells becoming trapped in your countertops. It also prevents mold and mildew from growing in the material.
Finally, since it’s manufactured and can be found in a variety of colors, quartz is a designer’s best friend. The vast array of quartz countertop colors means you can find a shade that works perfectly with the rest of your kitchen design. If you need more than one slab, the seams in quartz counters are much less visible than they are in some other materials. Quartz is also flexible, which means it can more easily bend around sinks and curved island tops. You can even have quartz installed as your backsplash or on the floors.
There are a few downsides to quartz, though, that you should be aware of. It is typically more expensive than other countertop materials, though it does often run about the same price as granite. It’s also not as resistant to heat as some materials, though it can handle anything under 400 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s also not a good option for outdoor kitchens. Installing it outdoors will quickly result in the colors fading under the sun and the counter warping due to the weather.
Selecting the Right Quartz Countertops
Now that you have an understanding of what quartz is and its benefits, it’s time to look at how to choose quartz countertops. While there is nothing wrong with simply selecting a countertop because you like it, you also want to make certain the counter matches the rest of your kitchen and will provide the look and functionality you need. Here are four main things to keep in mind when looking at countertops.
Pick a Complementary Color
Since quartz can be manufactured in many different colors and with a variety of textures and patterns, you have a lot of options. If you want quartz that looks very similar to marble or granite, you can find it pretty easily. If you’d rather have a countertop that is more colorful, you’ll find that quartz offers many more choices than natural stones. You can get quartz counters that look like Calacatta marble, black granite, and even cement. There are even some manufacturers that make quartz slabs that look like geodes.
If you’re going for an overall color scheme, selecting a quartz counter in a color that complements your cabinets, walls, and flooring is a great way of tying everything together. You’ll find options with veins and flecks, too, plus there are various texture options. Your counters can look finely polished, very rugged, or have a matte finish to them. Kitchens with quartz countertops can truly give full flexibility with so many choices.
Thickness Is Important
Most people never think about the thickness of their counters until they do a remodel. The standard thickness for kitchen and bathroom counters is 1 1⁄4 inches. However, quartz slabs can be anywhere from half an inch thick to an inch and a half. This means you may need to either build up the countertop a bit to reach the standard height or shave it down just a bit. This variable height also allows you to create interesting layered effects. There are some quartz manufacturers who make very thin slabs that you can place under or on top of your main slab. This lets you build up the counter, but it also allows for a border around the countertop.
Imagine using black quartz stacked on top of a thin gold slab and then stacked on black cabinets. The end result would be a thin gold line that would look perfect with gold hardware. Creating these borders can give your kitchen a unique look that is sure to impress.
Edges Add Another Effect
There are a few different options when it comes to the edges for quartz counters. Most counters simply end in squared-off edges. However, waterfall edges are an option that can add another layer of elegance to your kitchen. This type of edging involves applying another slab of quartz to the side of the counter. The end result that gives this style its name makes it look like the quart is literally flowing off the counter to the floor. It’s become a very popular style lately, though it does mean buying additional quartz.
While straight and waterfall edges are the most popular, there are other options. You can have your counters end with a rounded edge, or you can go with a beveled or pencil look. It all depends on how you want the space to look and what you want your focal point to be. A large island with a waterfall edge is definitely going to stand out, while the same size island with a standard straight edge may not make quite as much of a statement.
Pick Out Sinks and Faucets First
While this tip doesn’t necessarily affect how your kitchen will look once you’re done, it is something you do need to keep in mind. Your quartz slab will need to have spaces cut for your sink, faucets, and anything else you’re setting into the counter, such as a cooktop. You need to pick these items out first before having the quartz fabricated. Once the counters are done, you can’t change your mind since the holes will already be cut. This applies to bathrooms with quartz countertops, too.
Keep Your Budget in Mind
Remember that the cost of quartz countertops does tend to be higher than some other options, so be sure you account for that in your budget. You don’t want to blow your entire budget on counters, so you may need to balance this cost against the cost of your cabinets, hardware, flooring, and other expenses. If you’re building a home or remodeling your bathroom at the same time and want to use the same countertop materials throughout, do keep in mind how that will impact your budget, too.
Bring it All Together
Once you have an idea of your budget and have settled on your sinks and faucets, you can choose the quartz countertops that fit with your style and color scheme. The perfect quartz counters will go a long way towards creating your ideal kitchen, and their durability and low maintenance needs make them perfect for everyday use. If you’re planning on a kitchen remodel, take a look at what quartz offers and see if it’s right for you. While it may be higher in price than some other options, its versatility may be worth that price increase. It’s a beautiful material, and it can make your kitchen look amazing.