There has been a lot of discussion in my Facebook Group about Quartz countertops, and a LOT of misinformation being shared. One homeowner shared their experience of working with a designer who stated that quartz doesn’t stain at all and is heat resistant up to 400 degrees. This sort of advice isn’t helpful for the homeowner because, while parts of it can be true, it can vary enormously between different manufacturers.
So what’s the real deal with Quartz countertops? Are they really as great as everyone claims?
When I suggest Quartz countertops to my clients, I am confident with the recommendation because of the knowledge I have acquired on the material over the years. I speak directly to representatives from Quartz countertop companies to learn more about the product, geek out on the technical specifications, and the care and maintenance required, in order for me to make an educated decision on whether it’s right for my client or not.
Today, I’m sharing some of my insider knowledge on Quartz countertops to debunk many myths that are out there! Whether you decide to work with an interior designer or not, it’s important to have all the information on the material before making a final decision.
Let’s explore some Quartz countertop myths and some concrete truths from my top Quartz suppliers!
What are Quartz Countertops?
Quartz countertops are made with a blend of resin materials and ground natural quartz material. More value-orientated quartz will have a higher ratio of resin and synthetic filler to natural quartz. This has a direct impact on the durability of the countertop itself, which we’ll look at in more detail later.
It’s important to note that there are different grades of quartz and different manufacturers out there which is why the cost can vary greatly.
The project featured above and to the right features Quartz countertops from Cambria. Cambria has a higher quartz to resin/filler ratio than most manufacturers.
Throughout this article I will be referencing a few Quartz countertop manufacturers.
The top of the line quartz materials on the market today is Cambria. They have many different materials and patterns to choose from.
Value oriented options are LG and MSI.
We used Quartz from Silestone for the kitchen renovation project above.
Myth 1 – “Quartz Countertops Don’t Stain”
Many people believe that Quartz countertops don’t stain. However, some quartz countertops will stain. Some quartz are more receptive to staining than others, and some quartz counters are more susceptible to scratching than others too.
This can make it exceptionally confusing for homeowners! But it all comes down to which manufacturer you choose, and the design/pattern of it too.
“Cambria is durable and resistant to surface damage. However, all stone can be damaged by force and no stone is chip-proof. Objects hitting edges, particularly at sinks or dishwashers, may cause chips. Though a minor knife slip will dull the knife and not harm Cambria Product, no stone surface is scratch-proof. Surface markings are more visible on monotone designs than multicolored design surfaces.”
While LG notes that their quartz is stain resistant, and encourages quick clean up from spills. This has to do with the construction and quality of the quartz, resin, and fillers. They also say, “While Viatera is scratch-resistant, some materials can cause scratching. For example, the bottom of some ceramic or earthenware dishes may be abrasive enough to cause minor damage to the surface. Also, Viatera can be chipped or cracked if it is heavily impacted, particularly on an edge.”
Value quartz can stain, but it’s not very common. More common staining in quartz will be red sauces, acidic foods, and red wines that have been left unattended for longer lengths of time.
The main issue and confusion with Quartz countertops is regarding heat resistance which we will look at next.
In the project above, we used a Quartz countertop from Cambria.
Myth 2 – “Quartz Countertops are Heat Resistant”
Another myth surrounding Quartz countertops is that they are heat resistant. While they may be able to withstand very high temperatures, every manufacturer recommends using a trivet or similar on the countertop to protect the countertop from high heat.
The heat resistance of quartz will vary by manufacturer, but I am not aware of any manufacturer who will keep their warranty if there is a direct transfer from stove to countertop. All the technical information I have read has said to place a trivet or protection of some sort in between and also to put something under an instant pot or small heat generating appliance too. (My fabricator even makes my clients a little board from the same countertop material for this purpose!)
For example, Cambria says, “Natural stone surfaces can be damaged by sudden and/or rapid change of temperature, especially near the edges, as well as direct and/or sustained heating of the top. Cambria Products may not withstand the direct transfer of heat from pots and pans and other cooking units such as electric frying pans and griddles, slow cookers, roaster ovens, and heat lamps. Therefore, the use of a closed-weave hot pad or solid trivet, like a breadboard, is always recommended to prevent heating the product.”
Here’s what MSI has to say, “[MSI] Q™ is scorch resistant and under normal conditions is not affected. Always use a trivet or hot pad between Q and any heat generating device including but not limited to crock pots, deep fryers, hot pots and pans or electric skillets. Sudden or rapid change of temperature or sustained heating, especially near edges and cut outs, may create enough thermal expansion energy to cause your countertop to crack.”
And LG, “Excessive/prolonged heat can damage your [LG] Viatera surface — always use a trivet between the countertop and any hot cookware or heat source (electric frying pans, etc.).”
For the kitchen project above, Quartz from Silestone was used.
Myth 3 – Quartz Pricing
Some people believe that Quartz countertops are more budget friendly than natural stone like granite or marble. However this all depends on the manufacturer and pattern chosen too!
From a price point vs quality vs the detail of the stone in quartz…
The higher the stone ratio, the higher the price. The more detail, the higher the price.
Solid countertops with less detail will generally be less expensive. They grind the quartz into a powder and blend it with the fillers and resin to create the slabs. There is less variation and thus less labor, so they can keep the price point lower which gets passed to the consumer. It’s the same with patterns that have a small speckle.
When you get into gorgeous slabs that have stunning detail, veining, etc, then the price point is higher. They can’t just pour all that in. There’s more manufacturing involved, and therefore more labor. There’s also more variability in the cost of the stone and the product going in which is also going to get passed onto the client.
Many quartz vendors have various price points. The more resin and filler used, the lower the price point. This is typically seen more in solid countertops and countertops that have less detail. But if you’re after a more realistic marble look, then be prepared to pay for it.
Quartz countertops can be used in most bathrooms, and in the above project MSI was used.
Designing a kitchen or bathroom can be challenging! Especially with the sheer amount of decisions that need to be made along the way. At Innovatus Design, we strive to make each project as seamless as possible and take many of the decisions out of your hands. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have a project you’d like us to help with. We offer in-person design services in the greater Chicagoland area and work on virtual projects across the United States.