For years, granite has dominated the countertop market offering luxurious natural beauty in kitchens across the country. With its high-end look, sleek sophistication, and reputation for being the go-to surface, granite has reigned supreme.
Lately, that trend has begun to change. The National Kitchen and Bath Association reports that granite has actually been decreasing slightly in popularity with homeowners and that quartz has been gaining favor.
Just what IS quartz? It is an engineered stone, made of leftover mineral particles mixed with a bonding agent then molded to the desired shape. As it is crafted from materials that would otherwise be discarded and is not mined in slabs, quartz has an ecofriendly reputation.
A huge part of granite’s appeal is the luxurious look of natural stone. For years, quartz has had a hard time competing, often feeling very “one-note” and monochromatic in design schemes. Modern techniques have changed that dynamic offering an array of interesting design options that more closely mimic the natural stone making it almost indistinguishable in some forms from mined granite slab. At the same time these manufacturing techniques have opened up the color possibilities beyond that which can be sourced naturally.
Beyond color and mineral pattern, quartz offers multiple finishes to enhance design:
* Traditional sleek and glossy - well suited for traditional homes; timeless appeal.
* Honed or sueded for a softer look – something different; adds texture and tactile interest; less traditional but certainly an option for mainstream design.
* Etched or pitted for an edgy look – a bold and contemporary choice; modern and unusual.
In terms of maintenance, quartz actually has some serious advantages. Quartz does not require sealant at installation, nor does it need to be resealed throughout its lifetime. It is nonporous, will not absorb odors, and resists mold. Durable, it is difficult to etch, scratch, chip or crack through daily use. It is not completely heat resistant, so it pays to be careful when cooking and baking.
Granite remains quite popular, and no one expects that it will truly become passé, but quartz definite has advantages that give it an edge.