Will Quartz be the Darling of Your New Kitchen?

Will Quartz be the Darling of Your New Kitchen?
Quartz or Granite

The long dominance of granite for kitchen countertops has been ebbing for several years. It is no longer the reigning high-end countertop despite its durability and popularity.

The new queen of the kitchen is quartz - and it's actually more durable than granite. A slab of quartz is about 94% crushed quartz with polyester resins and pigments (for color) added to it. Thus the term "engineered."

Raw quartz

Raw quartz

It’s come a long way from its beginnings with manufacturers offering pieces that are indistinguishable from granite. Buyers and designers can get their quartz countertops polished, honed, embossed or sandblasted and with glass or metallic flecks and swirls added. It can mimic just about any granite look you desire.

Quartz also comes in a wide range of colors.  White is the most popular but it can be made in any color including red and black. The coarser the quartz is ground, the more texture your slab will have. A finely ground batch will be more uniform and can even look like cement if desired.

The added resins make the counters scratch and stain resistant and nonporous. They are even immune to acids. Unlike granite which must be sealed yearly to provide protection, quartz never needs to be sealed or fussed with.

What are the pros and cons of using quartz?

 PROS

 Low maintenance - no need for yearly sealing. Caring foryour quartz counters requires just warm soapy water and Soft Scrub on stains.

 Durable - won’t chip or crack (unless used outside, see CONS below)

 Clean - because it’s non-porous, quartz is antimicrobial so bacteria, mold, and mildew can’t penetrate the surface.

 Versatile - the current trend is for lighter colored materials and quartz offers many options

 Long lasting - manufacturers offer warranties as long as 10-15 years to lifetime.

CONS

Not heat-resistant - can crack when in contact with a hot surface. Trivets or hot pads are a must.

Use as flooring - because of the heat sensitivity, quartz floors should not be used over radiant heat.

Not for outdoor use - installing it outside in the sun could cause warping and cracking, or the colors could fade.

So is quartz overtaking granite in Winnetka and the North Shore? On a national level, according to Houzz, 43% of survey participants said they were choosing quartz, compared to 34% that preferred granite. They also said that granite took 45% of the market in 2016.

 I chose to survey 12 North Shore new construction builders since they are producing a product that needs to sell. Their current inventory is in Winnetka and Glencoe. Here’s what I found they're using:

Stone (mostly granite) - 5

Quartz - 5

Both - 1

Butcher block - 1

If I had asked them 10 years ago, I’m certain that all 12 would have said stone - including marble. But granite has long been the darling of buyers so an almost even score - even for high-end luxury homes, is confirming that granite is going the way of Corian.

What do you think - is the topmost photo granite or quartz?

More reading:

 All About Quartz (This Old House)

 Granite is No Longer the Most Popular Countertop (Coastal Living)

 7 Things to Know About Engineered Quartz Countertops (Remodelista)

To CONTACT Margaret Goss, please call 847-977-6024 or email:  margaret.goss@bairdwarner.com

Margaret Goss is a full-time real estate agent since 1998 servicing the North Shore communities of Winnetka, Wilmette, Kenilworth, Glencoe, Northfield, Glenview, and Evanston. See full BIO for Margaret Goss.  

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