Things to Consider Before Getting Quartz Countertops
Unless you are an expert, it’s not easy to differentiate between quartz countertops and natural stone quartz. Quartz countertops are engineered meaning they are man-made and consist of other materials.
Let’s Differentiate Between Pure And Engineered Quartz
Before we launch deeper, it is vital to note the difference between pure and engineered quartz.
Pure quartz is quarried from the earth in the form of slabs. It is classified as a hard mineral and is colorless. On the other hand, engineered quartz has 93% crush quartz powder and 7% binders, cement or polymeric-based. It also consists of epoxy resin.
The binders and resin are added to hold the crushed quartz powder together. The material composition of the mixture above qualifies the end product as engineered quartz.
Quartz has a granite-like surface, which is super hard. It also has some additional pigments that are added by the manufacturer giving the stone different colors. Quartz can be manufactured to resemble natural stones. However, the main difference is that they are harder and last longer than natural stones.
Quartz carries a few qualities that are evident in marble and granite, which are both natural stones. When you take a clear look at quartz countertops, you’ll see the veining and speckling similarities. Quartz appears like that because of how it is ground. Finely ground ones result in a smooth surface. The results are not the same as those that are coarsely ground.
Origin Of Quartz Countertops
Quartz minerals were discovered over fifty years ago. Most manufacturers saw a lot of potential in it. As it is, quartz is hard and shiny. These qualities were deemed to carry the next phase of interior design.
When pure quartz minerals were merged with a few artificial materials, a paradigm shift was witnessed in countertop surfaces, and that’s how it has been to date. Quartz engineered countertops are the only artificial countertops that match the strength of countertops made of natural stones.
The first quartz was brought to existence by one Marcello Toncelli. He poured the quartz into mini slabs of approximately 12 by 29 inches. Different manufacturers make quartz; as a result, we can expect many different brands. But the patent for the Marcello quartz belongs to an Italian company called Breton. This company started its operations in the early 60s.
Breton was the first to realize how effective quartz powder can be when mixed with polymer resins. To date, Breton is still the topmost supplier of quartz and compound stone making equipment in the ever-growing quartz market.
Due to its qualities, quartz countertops gained popularity in European kitchens, and later reached the United States. Over time, more brands have emerged, and they produce quartz countertops with patterns that are unique to each; hence it is easy to identify from which brand the quartz you have is from.
The Pros Of Quartz Countertops
Quartz oozes such unsurpassed elegance that you might confuse it with natural stone. Most homeowners in Toronto love its appearance and prefer it to granite or marble.
By now, we know how hard quartz is. The resin binders make it stronger. The durability of quartz is undeniable; consequently, it’s one of Toronto’s most trusted countertop surfaces. In terms of performance, quartz and granite are at par. However, in matters of durability, quartz is the right choice.
Resistant to scratching
Quartz countertops are the best because they can withstand sharp objects. It resists surface damages like dents, chips, and cracks. You can comfortably use them as cutting surfaces.
Resistant to heat
Sudden and short contacts with heat cannot damage quartz countertops. The same cannot be said about other countertops. However, prolonged exposure to heat can damage the quartz surfaces.
Not highly porous
Unlike other surfaces, quartz has low absorption rates of 0.5%. The resin binder that makes up their surface makes them impenetrable. The same can’t be said about other natural stone countertops whereby you have to wipe them immediately after a spillage.
Resistant to stains
Since quartz is non-porous, it can resist staining a lot better than natural stone. You don’t have to worry about spilling juice, tea, or alcoholic beverages on quartz surfaces.
Bacterial growth is hardly entertained on quartz surfaces. The main reason is that no liquid penetrates it. Also, with quartz countertops, grout is not a necessity during installation. Without grout lines, no bacteria can find a thriving point; hence the entire surface remains clean.
Maintaining quartz countertops is easy. A damp cloth and mild soap detergents will save the day. Scrubbing is also not tricky because stains hardly hold onto the surfaces.
Resealing is not necessary
With quartz countertops, you don’t have to reseal. The same can’t be said about natural stone counters. They are sealed before use, and after some time, they have to be resealed to enhance protection against spillages that might penetrate the surface. Hence, quartz countertops are economical.
Quartz countertops are engineered. Therefore, the manufacturers have the liberty to make countertops with a uniform pattern. Again, the same cannot be said about natural stones because they are quarried in slabs and used as they are. Consequently, the designs tend to be inconsistent.
As long as you take good care of your quartz countertops, you won’t need to replace them. By the time your countertops are in real bad shape, it will be many decades down the line. Typically, these countertops carry at least 10 years to a lifetime warranty.
Quartz countertops are easy to rhyme with your kitchen design. They come in different forms and shapes that can easily blend with any design whether it be contemporary, traditional, or transitional.
Flexible and easy to customize
Quartz countertops are easy to design and customize because the manufacturer has the liberty to do with the raw materials as he pleases. Fabricators can easily bend the engineered quartz hence manipulating it to fit any purpose.
Quartz countertops can be installed in one piece. Depending on what you want, continuous runs countertops can be availed. The best part is that the seams are minimal and unnoticeable.
The Cons Of Quartz Countertops
If you intend on buying quartz countertops for Toronto properties, it is prudent to keep in mind the challenges you might encounter.
They are quite expensive
Quartz countertops are a lot more expensive than countertops made from other materials like wood, laminate, and concrete. The price of quartz ranges closely to that of natural stones, granite, to be specific. You might spend around $80 to $ 140 per square foot.
Can’t be used outside
Quartz countertops can’t be used outside. They’re limited to indoor usage only. Installing quartz countertops outdoors can cause the manufacturer to invalidate the warranty. Direct sunlight is not advisable when it comes to quartz countertops. It causes quartz countertops to split over time.
Can’t withstand excess heat
Quartz countertops can’t withstand too much heat. However, placing a hot pan on the countertop for a few minutes won’t cause any harm.
The cost of quartz countertops in Toronto
The price for quartz countertops differs depending on the location, brand, color, or design. For Toronto residents, the price ranges anywhere between $ 50 to $100 per square foot. Keep in mind that that price is for the materials only. Normally, quartz countertops’ materials go for close to $75 per square foot without installation.
Low-quality quartz countertops cost $50 to $ 60 per square foot. If you settle for the medium quality, you are likely to part with $60 to $ 70 per square foot. For luxurious quality quartz, $70 to $ 100 per square foot will do.
Cost Of Installing Quartz Countertops
Installation ranges between $ 150 to $ 180 per square foot. This price range depends on the number of slabs finished and the edging design. For Toronto homeowners, installing a 25 square foot countertop can amount to $1200 to $ 2700 for the entire project.
Apart from the purchasing and installation price, you will likely encounter additional elements which add to the final cost of the project such as fabrication and edging design, seam jointing and cutouts for sinks and fixtures, and the evening out of the material. The support for the countertop material depends on your house structure.
The edging treatment is usually added to the cost of materials provided the design is ordinary and simple. Distinctive edge profiles often attract additional costs.
Quartz Countertops Color
The most impressive factor about quartz countertops is the wide variety of colors. Apart from colors, quartz comes in lots of patterns and finishes. The manufacturers avail the many colors as they have the liberty to add all the pigments they can get.
Most of the quartz colors come from the original colors of quartz. However, the colors can be adjusted by adding the various pigments to achieve the shade and tone of choice. The colors in quartz are more consistent, unlike natural stone.
Natural stones are quarried in slabs. Different slabs come in different colors; hence it is hard to establish consistent colors and patterns. The uniformity and consistency of quartz colors are ideal for Toronto homeowners and designers desirous of trying the different quartz colors and patterns in their homes or properties they are working on.
The scope of quartz colors is wide. Every color has a name, but each name is different depending on the supplier. Quartz color is more of natural shades. You are likely to find them in earth tones like tans, grey, brown, and green. Quartz also comes in neutral colors like creamy beige, bright white, and black. Some brands avail colors such as blue, subtle hues, and rose.
White is among the most preferred countertop colors in Toronto. You can apply this color to any design you have in mind. White quartz ranges from the brightest ultra-white to the furthest cream off-white tones. You can opt for white quartz with a few patterns or one with metallic specks of minerals.
White counters are the best option for your kitchen. They make the kitchen space appealing and spacious.
You can opt for beige quartz in case white is too bright for your liking. Beige quartz with a yellow tinge gives a perfect balance and is a great way to play around with colors and add more life to your countertops. The best part about beige quartz countertops is that they go well with both modern and traditional home designs.
Black quartz gives a unique appearance, which gives the entire kitchen class and dimension. One pro of black quartz is its ability to conceal stains and dirt.
While picking cabinet colors to pair with black quartz, it’s best to pick white cabinetry because it goes well with black countertops.
Gray is a neutral color and is highly preferred by Toronto modern homeowners. Both light and dark cabinets work well with gray quartz countertops. Gray countertops are the best way to highlight the undertones of your wood cabinetry.
Brown and Gold quartz
These categories of quartz come in a variety of colors. The shades include tans, gold, honey, yellow, and browns. These colors give your kitchen a warm and receptive look. A shade of brown sits well with wooden cabinetries. That right there is an idea for Toronto homeowners.
Green, blue and red quartz
Unless these are your favorite colors, it is hard to find blue, green, or red colors in any kitchen. You must exercise care before you settle for any of the above colors. It is vital to settle for cabinet colors that don’t make the countertops seem out of place.
These colors come in handy for modern spaces. However, they can still be applied in traditional kitchens. The most crucial factor to put into consideration is choosing light colors for your walls and cabinetry. Failing to do so will bring a dull look to the entire room.
Quartz Countertop Pattern
Quartz is not only available in many colors. It also comes with lots of patterns to choose from. These patterns are not so different from natural stones like marble and granite. As mentioned earlier, manufactures have the final say on the last look and feel of quartz countertops.
Some of the common patterns in quartz include flecks, veins, or plain solid color. The texture of quartz depends on how it was ground. If smoothly ground, the surface appears smooth.
Choosing the most appropriate quartz pattern for Toronto homeowners depends on the aesthetic attribute they want for their kitchens. Soft flecks and veins blend perfectly, especially if you want that as the most outstanding kitchen space element. To avoid a situation where different aspects are competing with each other in one space, you could pick a neutral color and design for the cabinetry.
Prefabricated Quartz Countertops
Custom countertops require going through a manufacturer before they are installed. It can prove to be easier for Toronto property owners with little time on their hands to get ready-made quartz. As the name suggests, countertops with finished edges are cut prior. The best thing about prefabricated slabs is that you can install them immediately after buying.
Prefabricated quartz slabs are an excellent way to save time and install your quartz countertops immediately. However, they are only available in specific colors, and the edging designs are limited too. They come in standard edging designs such as bullnose edge and eased edge.
Prefabricated quartz countertops are ideal for Toronto customers with kitchen counters of standard sizes. With prefabricated quartz countertops, the time and price for installation are reduced. The only amount you are likely to pay ranges between $30 to $ 50 per square foot. Price is also determined by the size, design, color, and brand of the material.
Engineered Quartz Countertops
Engineered stone countertops is the name that’s often given to quartz countertops. The name is due to the materials that are mixed to form the final product. The materials are silicon dioxide, synthetics, and resin binders and pigments.
It is easy to mistake Quartzite for engineered quartz. This confusion is because Quartzite is a natural stone that is also used in making countertops. Quartzite comes in gray, white, pink, or red shades. Engineered stones, on the other hand, come in so many colors.
Quartz Countertop Edges
Countertop edges are not only there to add some elegance to your kitchen counters. As a matter of fact, the shape of your counter edges could improve or reduce the safety and maintenance measures necessary for you and your family to keep.
The edges of your counter are vital because they help enhance efficiency and, most importantly, give a perfect balance design.
Quartz Countertop Thickness
Any veteran in the countertop industry understands that there are only two kinds of thicknesses to expect in countertops. You can find them in 2 centimeters 3 / 4 or 3 centimeters 1 1 /4 inches thick. 1 1/ 4 is the standard thickness for quartz countertops.
Bathroom countertops must be 2 centimeters thick, while those for the kitchen, 3 centimeters. This standard is hardly negotiable unless there is a particular look you are going for. Also, the budget you have plays a significant role in the thickness you will settle for.
A three-centimeter thick slab is durable and very easy to install. It is slightly expensive, but its durability compensates for the buying price. Also, due to its thickness, it hardly breaks making it very easy to transport.
The two centimeters quartz countertop has a better appearance as compared to the 3 centimeters one. They are sleeker and best suited for modern spaces.
Quartz Countertop Finishes
Each countertop has its unique finish. Finishes are meant to add beauty to the countertops and play a tiny role in ensuring durability. Quartz countertops have two finishes: honed and polished.
Bathroom Quartz Countertops
Quartz is non-porous hence can be installed in a bathroom. Quartz countertops can withstand high humidity levels. As long as you use quartz indoors, you don’t have to worry that it will get damaged quickly. The most important thing to do is get countertop finishes that can withstand frequent spillages.
Quartz Countertops That Look Like Marble
Quartz countertops resemble natural stones like marble. They do not need so much maintenance to remain shiny and elegant. Marble, like quartz countertops, gives your kitchen a bright and luxurious look and feel without selling for a less durable material.
Best Quartz Countertops
Quartz countertop brands are so many. With more being more popular than others, it is upon the buyer to choose the brand that suits their needs most. The best thing is that quartz countertops are a result of one common procedure; therefore, you don’t have to worry about the quality.
Quartz Countertops Installation
It is best to have your quartz countertops installed by a professional. DIY gurus might fail to see the need for a professional, but the process is so cumbersome, and mistakes are not an option because having to redo the task is a lot more hectic.
Prefabricated slabs are the best for DIY projects because all there is to do about them is installing.
Steps To Follow While Installing Quartz Countertops
You need to prepare the area. Ensure all you need is available; this will save you a lot of time.
Measure the area
Ensure to have the right measurements. This will enable you to know the right size of quartz countertops. It would help if you took sketches of your kitchen with you alongside the measurements. You could opt for prefabricated slabs or get a bigger slab and cut it to the required size during installation.
Cutting the countertop
If you went for a prefabricated slab, you don’t require this step. If you go for a custom slab, you have to mark the areas that need to be cut. Ensure to have protective wear around your eyes before you cut. After that, attach the diamond blade to the saw and splash water on the quartz slab to prevent dust from blocking the marked areas.
After you have cut the slab, place it on the intended surface to check if it fits, make adjustments where necessary.
Protect cabinet edges
This step aids to help avoid damaging the edges.
Install the countertops
Here you apply the construction adhesives. Place the slab and ensure you leave some backsplash material space.
Use clear silicon
Run the silicone gun along the edges with a lot of care. This step is vital as it helps to seal the joints. Leave it to dry. Painter’s tape will be handy in protecting your cabinet edges.
How To Care For Quartz Countertops
Resin binders used in making quartz serve as stain-resistant elements, making it easy to maintain quartz countertops. Daily cleaning is vital. Also, you can opt for some deep cleaning: this you can achieve at intervals.
Heat can shorten the life-span of quartz countertops. It is best to avoid placing hot pans or cooking pots directly on the quartz surfaces. Ensure to buy some pads or heat resistant plates to prevent your countertop from hot substances.
Using a chopping board helps to avoid cutting or scratching the countertop.
How to clean quartz countertops
A glass cleaner, detergent, some water, vinegar, mild dish detergent, soft cloth, paper towel, and a plastic putty knife are the perfect package to ensure your countertop surfaces are sparkling clean.
Daily maintenance of quartz countertops
This involves immediate cleaning after a spillage, after you have used the countertop space for meal prepping. A detergent and paper towel can save the day. In case of a mild stain, vinegar is what you need.
Deep cleaning quartz countertops
To maintain the lifespan, quality, and appearance of the quartz countertops, it is vital to deep clean at regular intervals. You need a generous amount of a nonabrasive surface spray or detergent. After this application, ensure that you let it sit there for close to 10 minutes, with a soft sponge to clean the detergent out.
To disinfect, you need an anti-bacterial spray cleaner. It helps clean away any bacteria present.
How To Polish Quartz Countertops
After cleaning a quartz countertops surface with some soap detergent and vinegar, you can go ahead to scrub the surface with a soft material. The most important thing is ensuring that the countertop is clean before you polish.
The next step is rinsing correctly. You can use a spray bottle to apply water onto the surface then wipe it down with a sponge. After rinsing, grab your glass cleaner and sprinkle it on your countertop surface. A soft cloth comes handy in wiping the entire surface.