With low maintenance, high durability, and endless color choices, engineered quartz offers a tempting alternative to natural stone countertops. But now there’s a new countertop contender on the design scene.
Ever since the invention of Formica in the 1920s, kitchen countertops in America have been simply covered in laminates. During the past decade, though, natural stone surfaces have landed in ever more kitchens: granite, marble, soapstone and even concrete. Now we have engineered quartz
Quartz: A New Countertop Contender
Katie Allison Granju of HGTV wrote recently, “The new engineered material is actually created through a manufacturing process that mixes approximately 95 percent ground natural quartz with 5 percent polymer resins. The result is a super-hard, low-maintenance, natural stone-look countertop available in a dazzling array of colors. And for many of the homeowners choosing quartz, those virtually unlimited color options are what sold them.”
“These countertops are close to indestructible,” Joe explains. “They’re so durable that most manufacturers offer a warranty, something you won’t find with, say, granite. And quartz isn’t porous like other stone surfaces, so these countertops are much more sanitary in a home kitchen. You can keep them 99.9 percent bacteria-free.”
This durability also means that, unlike other types of stone countertops, quartz resists staining or corrosion from cooking oils, liquids and most household cleaning products — so there’s no need for periodic resealing of the surface. Quartz can be damaged by excessive heat, however, so homeowners should use trivets or heating pads.
According to FIXR, “Marble countertop slabs are more expensive than quartz, depending on the quality chosen. However, the labor cost for quartz is higher due to the complicated installation. Therefore, the cost difference is not dramatic.”
Marble costs approximately $57 to $76 per square foot. For kitchen cabinets measuring 30 square feet, the cost for the marble countertops would be about $1,860. Installing them would take just over 5 hours and cost about $312. Adding other factors such as a sink cutout at $100 and finished edging at $10 per linear foot, the total for the project will be approximately $3,770.
Quartz, however, runs slightly less at $55 to $75 per square foot. For kitchen cabinets measuring 30 square feet, the cost for the quartz countertops would be about $1,800. Installing them would take 5.5 hours and cost about $360. Adding other factors such as a sink cutout at $100 and finished edging at $10 per linear foot, the total for the project will be approximately $3,760.
The next house I build will have Quartz countertops. We like the fact that it is stain resistant, something our granite counters didn’t offer. We like that Quartz countertops don’t support bacteria and come in more colors and patterns than granite and marble. You can cut on it, installation costs are nearly the same as granite and marble, and it looks rich.
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