The evolving world of interior designing and decorating is so fast paced that just when you think you finally have a grip on things… a newer, more stunning alternative emerges and now it’s either you let your interior décor turn stale or you decide to “out with the old… and in with the new”.
Image credit: Jessica Isaac
Times were when just about every kitchen countertop in every home’s interior décor was made from granite! So rampant in fact, that it became no surprise at all to find a granite countertop anywhere. It didn’t matter if the home featured a shabby chic interior décor, Scandinavian-style décor or even American country décor; they all somehow managed a granite countertop.
However, those times are in the past now because granite is the old, and quartz is the all new alternative that’s fast taking granite out of the picture and this article is poised to show you why quartz countertops are nailing it in modern interior decor!
Image credit: Jessica Isaac
Before we talk about certain refreshing features offered by a quartz countertop such as its appearance and style, finish and feel and durability, let’s talk about Quartz itself.
Quartz also termed engineered stone, is made up of about 90% ground up quartz mixed with a binder-type resin, and then molded into slabs. Quartz is less exciting when it features a monochromatic finish but manufacturers are now adding a pop of color during the manufacturing process and the results are simply genius.
Seeing as Quartz is made using mostly leftover bits of mineral, it is a better environmental choice when compared to other alternatives.
Now let’s talk about the qualities that quartz countertops offer a kitchen’s interior décor that is driving professional interior designers and modern homeowners crazy.
Appearance & Style
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Before now, Quartz was considered as having a cold and impersonal appearance that did not exactly resonate with customers. Today, thanks to technological advancements, Quartz offers homeowners the appearance of natural materials such as marble and soapstone with a lower need for maintenance. Quartz countertops are now able to feature organic-looking variations with their appearance and style hinting at actual substances found in nature.
Finish & Feel
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Quartz countertops offer a variety of finishes such that no matter the interior designer or homeowners preferred finish or feel, there’s a quartz finish for everyone. Quartz countertops still feature the traditional smooth and shiny finish that quartz is known for, but quartz countertops also feature other finishes like the honed or suede finish which have a soft brushed feel and the concrete style finish.
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Although quartz manufacturers are choosing to produce less sleek and lustrous finishes, these quartz finishes offer a warmer and more inviting texture.
Compared to other alternatives like granite, marble and more, quartz offers more durability which is, in fact, its main selling point. Quartz is one of the few materials which require very little to no maintenance as it is comparatively impervious to cracks, stains, etching or chips. By simply wiping surfaces with soap or a mild detergent and water from time to time, quartz countertops can maintain their finish for years.
Unlike most other alternatives, quartz surfaces don’t need sealing during or after installation. Quartz surfaces are however intolerant to high temperatures, so quartz countertops should be protected from the heat of scalding pots and pans by using a trivet underneath.
Seeing as quartz materials are non-porous, they are by extension impervious to mold, bacteria or mildew.
Cost & Availability
Thanks to its outstanding properties, quartz countertops are quite expensive, costing from $70 to $100 per square foot installed. Cost and availability depend on location, quality of quartz surface, and your choice of finish.
Now that you know why interior designers and decorators are all over quartz countertops, here is a little extra information for you before you head out to purchase a quality quartz surface.
What you need to know
Like natural stone, quartz countertops offer homeowners an array of edging options. However, quartz offers more design possibilities that natural stones don’t. Thanks to its flexibility and the fact that it can be held in place by epoxy and glue instead of regular screws, quartz is not only used on countertops, it can also be used on shower enclosures, backsplashes, and most vertical surfaces. And the best part is, it doesn’t have the seams and fissures that are very noticeable with granite.
Regardless of the seemingly unending benefits of using quartz, installing it within your home is not exactly a DIY project as it requires certified experts to do this job. Thankfully most quartz manufacturers often provide their own installation experts.
Color variations and market availability
Earlier in this article, we mentioned that quartz countertops come in a variety of colors. It is important at this point to note that amongst all the kitchen countertops available for purchase in the market, quartz countertops have the largest ensemble of custom colors.
With colors ranging from sandy brown to pearl jasmine, lustrous white, Marquina, monolithic black, Serena, Iconic black, charcoal soapstone and more from an almost endless list, homeowners are spoilt for choice with quartz countertops colors. No matter what color or theme your kitchen’s interior décor features, there is most likely a quartz countertop to match your kitchen.
Quartz countertops cons
For most parts of this article, we have continually highlighted the pros of having a quartz countertop over the granite alternative in 2017, and this is because there are not very many cons to quartz countertops. But for a material which offers so many advantages, we would say that perhaps the biggest concern to homeowners would be the cost of quartz countertops. Prices are often between $70 and $200 per square foot. However, these prices are still right within the price range for other high-end alternative countertop materials like marble, slate, concrete and granite.
Another downside to using the quartz material is the fact that quartz is not as heat-resistant as other countertop alternatives like concrete, crushed glass or granite and as such should be protected from the heat of scalding pots and pans by using a trivet underneath.
Got your Quartz countertops? Here are four simple steps to keeping it clean for years!
Image credit: Hayley Kessner
First Step – Clean the Countertop
Quartz is not a delicate material and as such, you can scrub desired areas as hard as you wish using warm water and mild soap. Although quartz countertops are very durable, using abrasive pads may leave a streaking in the polish or residue hence abrasive pads should be avoided when cleaning. If you have any areas with stubborn stains (rarely occurs), simply apply a little vinegar to that area and place a wet rag on top of it for a few hours to loosen gunk then you can clean with warm water and mild soap.
Image credit: Emma Fiala
Oil based soaps often leave residue on quartz countertops which eventually dull its shine. Quartz countertops are non-porous and oil based soaps and most suitable for porous alternatives. For quartz countertops, standard dish soaps work best.
Next Step – Rinse Properly
After you have cleaned your countertop with soap and warm water, use a spray bottle to completely soak the countertop with clean water.
Food residue often leaves streaks on quartz countertops (unlike granite and marble) because as earlier stated quartz is non-porous and this means if not properly cleaned, there might be oil film on the countertop surface.
Squeegees are known to effectively clean quartz countertops but you can also use a normal sponge to scrub the countertop then clean the water with a clean, dry cloth – this should handle any streaks.
Third Step – Spray a Window Cleaner
Window cleaners are especially great at cleaning grease – this is why it only makes sense to use them on your quartz countertop, seeing as kitchens have grease which sticks to countertop surfaces and create a gunky film. By simply spraying a window cleaner on your quartz countertop, you can effectively remove cooking film but be careful, not over-spray. This is because it is quite difficult to completely wipe off the excess window cleaner. Wipe your countertop with a soft cloth. The window cleaner dries up quickly, thus leaving a shiny countertop.
Final Step – Do not use more Polish
This is more a precaution than it is a step!
It is important to state that quartz surfaces are pre-polished at the manufacturing company with a sealing surface polish hence adding more polish just means excess buildup which will dull your kitchen countertop’s look.
We have made sure to list the pros and the cons of using a quartz countertop instead of granite or marble but for a quick reminder:
- Appearance and Style
- Finish and Feel
- Color variations
- Low resistance to heat
- Non-porous and as such food stains might leave streaks if not cleaned properly
While some may share the belief that the quartz countertop rave is instigated by the interior design industry and its professionals, the fact remains that quartz countertops not only offer homeowners the opportunity to stand out from the usual but it also infuses some outstanding qualities to a kitchen’s interior décor.