Quartz Kitchen Worktops: Everything You Need To Know
what is crl quartz?
With an abundance of kitchen worktop material available on the market, quartz is one of the fastest growing, and increasingly the favoured choice for many homeowners and interior designers. It’s easy to understand why – the wide range of styles and patterns available, high durability, and low maintenance qualities make it ideal for the modern lifestyle.
We’ve developed a comprehensive range of elegantly engineered quartz kitchen worktops and we often receive questions about our quartz. To answer these as simply as possible, we’ve created an easy to follow infographic that answers some of the more common questions we’re asked.
To view the infographic in full, please click here.
what are quartz surfaces made of?
Quartz is a naturally occurring mineral which is commonly found in igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. Since quartz is one of nature’s hardest materials, the weaker surrounding minerals will weather and erode at a quicker rate. As a result, over time quartz is left as the predominant mineral in weathered sediment systems such as beaches.
While quartz surfaces may have a natural appearance due to advances in modern technology, the surfaces are actually man-made. It needs to be bonded with resin or binders to become usable and form an extremely durable artificial stone that is scratch, heat and stain resistant.
The composition of quartz kitchen worktops can range from 90% to 95% quartz. High quality surfaces such as CRL Quartz are composed of an optimum ratio of around 93% natural quartz and 7% polymers and resin, along with various types of pigments for colouration.
The resin cures to form polymers, a long repeating chain of molecules. If the resin content in the mixture is too high, it can cause problems during installation as it will absorb water, resulting in slab expansion. The higher the resin content, the more porous and less scratch resistant the slab will become. However, if the quartz content is too high, the slab can be brittle and have less stability. That’s why the correct ratio is so significant to ensure consumers get the most of out their beautifully engineered stone for their kitchens and bathrooms.
how are quartz countertops made?
In 1963, Breton, a company in the northeast of Italy, developed engineered stone and licensed the process to more than 50 companies around the world. While manufacturers add their own flair and twist into their quartz kitchen worktops, the basis of the manufacturing process has remained the same.
For CRL Quartz surfaces, before the whole process is begun, each and every material is carefully inspected by quality control. Raw quartz is crushed and then blended together with polymer resin using industrial mixers.
Quartz kitchen worktops can be highly customised, so depending on the desired finish, sometimes the materials may be mixed through several mixers if there are multiple colours in the mixture. The manufacturing process will differ slightly depending on the colours that need to be achieved, but the end result will still be the familiar quartz material.
Once the mixture is properly mixed, it is poured into a mold of the countertop. The mixture is then vacuumed to remove the air, then compacted into slabs with a pressure of 100 tonnes. The slabs are then cured in a kiln, an industrial oven that heats the quartz at very high temperatures to solidify the mixture into a hard surface. Curing the slab increases the strength and resistance to stains. To finish off, the slab surface is polished to a perfect glossy touch. The resulting product is a durable artificial stone without cracks or pores. Each slab is quality inspected before being packaged and ready for shipping.
how hard is quartz compared to other materials?
According to Moh’s Scale of Mineral Hardness, quartz is rated 7 – making quartz one of the hardest naturally occurring minerals on earth. It’s much harder, stronger and more durable than other countertop stones such as granite, which is rated 6.
quartz vs granite vs marble
It’s no small challenge for homeowners selecting which work surface material they want to use for their new kitchen. The choice between quartz kitchen worktops and their marble or granite alternatives can be tough. Whilst on the outside, they all appear to be composed of natural stone and perform alike, each have their own unique pros and cons when you look into them deeper.
Marble countertops epitomise elegance, it’s a timeless trend for interior designers. However, marble is relatively soft, making it prone to scratches, chipping and potentially cracks from heavy impact. Everyday items such as lemon juice and wine can stain the surface due to its porous nature. It also requires sealing at least twice a year to prevent bacterial growth in the pores.
Granite is composed of a mixture of minerals, which give granite the variety of colours and crystal textures you see in granite countertops. Granite is stronger and less porous in comparison to marble and only requires sealing once a year. Since granite slabs are 100% natural, each slab is completely unique, no two sheets are alike. When you compare granite to quartz countertops, the consistency of colours and patterns are compromised because of this natural variation.
the versatility of quartz
Quartz kitchen worktops can be customised to mimic granite or marble. Homeowners can still experience the aesthetic and liveliness of natural stone without the maintenance hassles. Quartz is more durable than granite and has a guaranteed longevity of around 25 years. The non-porous nature of polymers used prevents the build-up of bacteria and mould, so no special cleaning products are needed. It’s also one of the most hygienic surfaces available for kitchen spaces. There are none of the staining issues that are associated with marble and granite countertops – the surface only needs to be wiped down to prevent stains from setting in.
While quartz can be the most expensive work surface out of the three stone countertops, it can also increase the value of your home, making quartz a popular choice and a great investment for kitchen renovations. Quartz countertops are available in endless styles and colours to fit your ideal kitchen design. However, if you prefer imperfections, the beauty of distinct colour variation and veining found in granite and marble cannot be replicated.
We always highly recommended quartz as your countertop material of choice. When you compare quartz countertops with granite and marble, quartz is the clear material winner. Whilst it will provide you with much of the visual benefits of either granite or marble, it comes without many of the flaws or drawbacks.
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