Is a Quartz Countertop Made From Natural Stone or Man Made?

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Nelson Tile and Stone
May 2, 2024
Countertops | Kitchen | Bathroom

Understanding the Origins of Quartz: Natural Stone or Man-Made?

Quartz countertops are known for their durability and aesthetic appeal, but there is often confusion about whether they are natural stone or man-made. Quartz itself is a naturally occurring mineral, one of the most abundant on earth, forming in a variety of geological environments. However, when it comes to countertops, the term 'quartz' can be misleading and is often confused with quartzite and it's properties. In reality, 'quartzite' countertops are the ones made from natural stone, whereas 'quartz' countertops are engineered, combining natural quartz crystals with a small amount of polymer resins and pigments. This manufacturing process creates a highly durable and customizable product, which differs significantly from purely natural stone slabs such as granite or marble.

The Manufacturing Process of Quartz Countertops

Quartz countertops are engineered through a process that mixes approximately 90-95% ground natural quartz with 5-10% resins, polymers, and pigments. This mixture produces a hard, granite-like surface with the following steps:

  1. Raw Material Gathering: Manufacturers start by selecting high-quality natural quartz crystals.
  2. Crushing: These crystals are then crushed into a fine dust.
  3. Blending: The dust is combined with resin binders under intense heat and pressure to form a solid slab.
  4. Coloring: Pigments are added during the mixing process to achieve a wide range of colors.
  5. Molding: The mixture is then shaped into slabs of the desired thickness.
  6. Curing: The slabs are moved to a curing oven where they finish hardening.
  7. Polishing: Once cured, the surfaces are polished to create a smooth finish, ready for the consumer to use.

This process results in a durable, non-porous, and aesthetically versatile countertop option.

Comparing Engineered Quartz to Quartzite and Other Countertop Materials

Since quartz countertops are engineered from crushed quartz, resin, and pigments, this differentiates them from natural stone slabs like quartzite, granite and marble that are quarried in large pieces. Quartz surpasses natural stone in uniformity of color and pattern, also it's non-porous surface resists stains and bacteria better than natural stones or laminates. In contrast with solid surfaces like Corian, quartz offers a more stone-like appearance and greater durability. However, quartz is typically more expensive than porcelain, laminate or tile but can most often be more cost-effective than high-end granite or marble, considering its longevity and low maintenance needs. Stainless steel countertops are another alternative, praised for their modern look and hygienic qualities, but quartz offers a broader range of design options and a warmer touch.

The Benefits and Considerations of Choosing Quartz Countertops

Quartz countertops offer a plethora of advantages:

  • Durability: They are incredibly strong, resisting scratches and stains.
  • Low Maintenance: Non-porous surfaces negate the need for sealing, unlike natural stone.
  • Design Options: A vast array of colors and patterns are achievable, whereas natural stone options, such as quartzite, are limited.
  • Uniformity: The manufacturing process ensures consistent color and pattern.
  • Hygiene: Their non-porous nature makes them resistant to bacteria and mold growth.

However, consider the following:

  • Heat Sensitivity: Prolonged exposure to high heat can damage the surface. Other countertops are more suitable to withstand higher temperatures.
  • Cost: Quartz can be more expensive than some natural stone options, depending on the stones rarity and the quality behind it.
  • Less Natural Look: For those seeking the unique variances and luxury feel of having natural stone within their home, quartz may appear too uniform.
  • UV Sensitivity: Direct sunlight over time can cause colors to fade.

Selecting quartz countertops requires balancing these benefits against personal preferences and lifestyle considerations.

You May also like The Rising Popularity of Taj Mahal Quartzite Countertops

Where Else Does Quartz Make Sense to Be Used in Our Homes?

If you're thinking the numerous advantages that Quartz countertops offer outweigh the extra cost and maintenance of a natural stone, then here are a few practical ways to style it around the rest of your remodel. It serves various uses, such as:

  • Flooring: Quartz tiles offer a hard-wearing option for high-traffic areas within homes.
  • Backsplashes: Its vast color range and patterns make quartz an attractive option for kitchen or bathrooom backsplashes, complementing other design elements.
  • Furniture Accents: It is also used for tabletops and decorative accents, providing a touch of elegance.

The engineered uniformity of Quartz will nonetheless hold a refined and consistent look throughout your entire home, and for some making the remodel process and decision making that much easier.

Conclusion: Weighing the Authenticity and Practicality of Quartz Countertops

Quartz countertops, while not purely natural stone, offer a high degree of authenticity in their appearance. While engineered, Quartz unites the robustness of natural stone with human ingenuity. From a practical standpoint, these countertops provide homeowners with a wealth of benefits, moreso than choosing a natural stone that may be less practical for well trafficked areas. The balance of these factors makes quartz countertops a compelling choice for modern households, and a worthy investment that has been well received from homeowners for years beyond their install.

Does Quartz seem like the right call to make? We'd love to discuss and give any further input to help you decide, or if you're ready, contact us at to get started!