Understanding Quartz Countertops vs Granite countertops

01/14/2013
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Quartz! What is this new product everyone has to have? Why is it being talked about even more than granite countertops?
The true word for these new products is called engineered stone. Engineered stone is a composite. Like making a cake, a factory blends crushed stones, colored glass, and sometimes even pieces of mirror, with a polymer resin, to produce a man made slab.
 
The leading engineered stone brands are Quartz, Silestone, Cambria, and HanStone, to name a few. These companies have marketed and branded this cutting edge stone in a new way, making it very popular with homeowners of today. Many people come to us, asking for "quartz" and our first question always is, "The brand or the stone itself". Quartz the brand name is what most clients are looking for and have no idea it was an engineered stone. We offer many brands at all types of price points. We also carry entire pure quartz slabs right out of the mountain called quartzite! These slabs are midrange and up in price point and are highly desired by our clients who love a marble flow in their kitchen but want the hardness of granite counters. Most of these engineered stone companies are American owned and operated. This is the reasoning behind this new product success. Granite comes from many foreign countries and is provided at competitive rates due to the cheap labor rates. Once it is imported in it holds no brand. It's up to small granite companies to promote the stone in their target area thus it's branding is poor. Engineered stone for example is on HGTV all the time promoting its brand and its positives. When granite is attacked by engineered stone companies they try to degrade it knowing it has always been the top selection for a countertop material and its for reasons ill go into. We fabricate engineered stone, granite, marble, quartzite and many other transitional stones. Engineered stones will always go after granite countertops because granite is their direct competition and there is no one there to defend. First off Quartz, Silestone and other engineered stone we love to work with, they are simple to fabricate, easy to transport and customers don't even need to do a layout because the material is so even in pattern. Now, lets look at the pros and cons. Quartz and Silestone attack granite by announcing granite has to be sealed every year and quartz doesn't . This is only true when cheap sealers are applied to granite or vendors are trying to sign you on some sort of mantinence program for them to make money off this sensitive topic. We use a 15 Yr sealer that is only applied once after the counters are installed. Food for thought if we do not need to seal these new engineered stones then why when I apply an enhancing sealer to them do they darken right up just like granite would. Is the quartz not 97% crushed stone then resin applied.? So, it's still a granite slab only recreated. Are granite slabs not all ran through a resin process as well to ensure all pores are filled...look into it they are. What granite still has over engineered is that the resin used to bind these man made slabs is not UV stable. We noticed this when we placed two pieces of remnant on the side of a customers house for future use. When we returned only then did we find out not UV stable because one was entirely bleached out the other full of color. Secondly granite is desired because the heat tolerance it has. The glue in the new engineered stone is not heat stable either . So, lets recap! Granite doesn't burn, doesn't scratch, UV stable and has a 15 year sealer that is applied. Engineered slabs still burn because the resin glue, scratch in the glue areas, are not UV stable( bay windows and sliding glass doors may be problems in the future because of sunlight) and are always sealed with the same sealer we seal granite with because it absorbs it. We love working on the engineered stone like I stated before, it's awareness of the purchase I always tell our salesman because its your house and sometimes marketing can blind us from true comparison. If their only attack is granite needs sealed, I don't understand why the UV stable and burn potential are not being talked about with the engineered stones.
 
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