Quartz countertops have rapidly become a popular alternative to granite countertops. While most people know that granite is formed within the earth over millions of years, the origin of quartz being used for countertops tends to be a bit more mysterious. If you’ve ever seen a small rock at a gift shop labeled “quartz”, it’s not the same kind of quartz that is used for countertops. So, exactly how are quartz countertops made? We’ll explore this question in this post from the Fox Granite blog.
Mineral Quartz vs Quartz for Countertops
There is a difference between mineral quartz that you’d see in a gift shop and the quartz that is used for countertops. While they are technically the same material, mineral quartz is a completely unprocessed version of quartz, which is one of the most common minerals on earth. For example, white sand at any beach is a result of high concentrations of quartz within the sediment. It’s due to the appearance, attributes, and abundance of quartz that it is then processed to be used for countertops.
Why Is Quartz Used For Countertops?
There are several reasons that quartz is a popular choice for use as a countertop. One of the most obvious reasons is that quartz is a stunning mineral. With a beautiful white hue, it’s a great base for adding different colors and textures to create stunning countertops that make any kitchen or bathroom feel luxurious and high-end.
Additionally, since quartz is one of the most common minerals in the world, it is far cheaper to install as a countertop when compared to granite, which tends to be quite rare and expensive based on the type of granite selected. While granite and quartz countertops can look similar, any experienced individual can immediately tell the difference between the two materials. That being said, the attributes of both granite and quartz are similar, making them both great choices for countertops.
These attributes that make quartz countertops ideal for use in the kitchen include heat resistance, durability, and non-porous nature. Where granite is porous containing thousands of nooks, crannies, and small holes of all sorts, quartz countertops are not, making cleaning and maintenance that much easier.
How Are Quartz Countertops Made?
The first step in the creation of quartz countertops is the mixing of raw materials in large, industrial-sized mixing bowls. Quartz used for quartz countertops is constructed of roughly 90% ground quartz, naturally found in the earth, and 10% of various resins, pigments, and polymers, to hold the quartz together and give it the desired color.
As these raw ingredients are mixed together, they form a paste-like consistency, similar to wet sand. This is when the ingredients start to solidify to form the material that will then be used for countertops.
While the quartz-resin mixture starts to solidify, it is then put into large molds, where it is formed into a slab. During this step of the process, the quartz mixture will be smoothed out to ensure even distribution and that there are no gaps that would let air into the mixture. Quartz slabs must be nonporous and airtight, so molding the countertops is one of the most important parts of the process.
Next, the molded quartz mixture is then compressed to ensure that the slab is one solid object, usually around 1 inch thick. During this process, any air that was trapped within the slab that was not released during the smoothing process will be removed.
For the finishing act of the quartz countertop construction process, the slabs are then dried and heated to fully solidify the quartz and ensure a smooth surface. Finishing touches like polishing and cutting will be completed to ensure that the quartz is ready for installation in a kitchen or bathroom. It should be noted that quartz countertops are not recommended for outdoor use due to the resin within the mixture not being quite as heat resistant as granite, which can be used for outdoor countertops.
For Quartz Countertops in Central Texas, Trust Fox Granite
Fox Granite is the number one choice for granite and quartz countertops across the Central Texas area. Whether you’re looking for a quartz countertop in Leander for the bathroom, or a granite countertop in Austin for your outdoor kitchen, Fox Granite has got you covered. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us online or over the phone today!