When & Where to Use Engineered Stone
There are many choices when it comes to countertops. Engineered stone, granite and marble are among the most popular. Engineered stone or quartz is manufactured from crushed quartz that’s bound with resin and pigment is added for coloration. Granite and marble occur naturally and are mined from pure stone.
I’ve had many clients tell me they want to use quartz for their countertop material. Quartz is an incredible product, but it comes at a price. With so many beautiful natural stone options, when and where does it make sense to upgrade to quartz?
When you want the marble look without the worry. Marble is beautiful and timeless; a perfect fit for bathrooms and backsplashes, but because it will etch with acid (think lemon juice) and it’s porous nature makes it susceptible to staining, it’s not ideal for a kitchen that gets a lot of use. Many manufacturers like Silestone, Caesarstone and Zodiaq have done an excellent job of mimicking the nuances of marble with patterns ranging from subtle to bold that suggest the soft look of marble, but with the durability to stand up to any chef’s creation.
When you want solid color, brilliant color or a tight consistent pattern. Engineered stone offers palettes and patterns that just don’t occur in nature. More modern kitchens lend themselves to quartz in my opinion. With sleek lines and minimal styling, it just makes sense that the countertop would be similar in nature.
I’ve found that quartz is a great solution when looking for something in the near solid light gray to medium charcoal color range. You just don’t see that color regularity in granite or marble. And on the opposite end of the color spectrum, quartz is also available in bright hues like red or blue which doesn’t necessary appeal to most residential customers, but on the commercial side, whether it’s pediatric or a branding effort, sometimes bold color is the answer.
Ease of maintenance. Natural stone needs to be sealed upon installation and on a regular basis to help protect it against staining. And while not quite as porous as marble, granite too is vulnerable to staining, acid, scratches and chips. If your kitchen or bath takes a lot of abuse, engineered stone is a great solution. For this reason, quartz is a good choice for families with children.
Quartz definitely has its place in the market. It’s an incredibly durable product with a wide range of color and pattern options to suit any style. But with proper care and maintenance, natural stone can be a wise choice for many. Before you invest, be sure to weigh the pros and cons of natural stone with your lifestyle and setting.