Quartz for the Kitchen and Bath – Better Than Granite?

What is quartz?

Quartz Crystals

a. A rock?
b. The second most abundant mineral in the Earth’s crust?
c. A fine crystal used in jewelry?
d. A commercially important source of silicon?
e. A countertop?
f. All of the above?

Quartz is a word which today commonly refers to a group of materials used for the construction of countertops, tabletops, wall panels, floor tile and many other applications. A more correct phrase might be “engineered stone” but this is not a synthetic or imitation product; it is up to 94% natural quartz, the substance that gives granite its hardness.

Over the last few years granite has become one of the most popular choices for kitchen countertops. It is beautiful, and like many people I long thought that granite was the most durable choice. I recently discovered this is not true. In fact, a quartz countertop can be considered superior to granite in several ways. Quartz will not have the softer compounds found in natural granite that may cause surface imperfections or weak spots (granite is 40-60% quartz). Quartz products are are very resistant to staining and do not require sealing to keep a good surface. This makes quartz a very sanitary product and indeed many brands have been NSF certified for use in food preparation areas.

Cambria Buckingham

We recently remodeled our kitchen display area and went searching for a material for the island countertop. We wanted something that would look rich and be able to hold up in a commercial space. For us Cambria was the answer. There are a couple of things I really like about Cambria the first of which is the range of colors that they make. I think Cambria has gotten the closest to the look of natural granite. The color “Buckingham” is a good example; it has the kind of “movement” one sees in many granite slabs. Cambria is also the only quartz product manufactured in the USA.

This project brought us the opportunity to work with a company called Stone, etc, one of the top fabricators in the SF Bay area. We are now teaming up with Stone, etc to offer quartz products to our customers in the Napa Valley. In addition to Cambria we now carry Caesarstone and Silestone.

Caesarstone is probably one of the best known makes of quartz products. It is also one of the most versatile, not just in colors but in the range of applications for which it is suitable. Caesarstone’s distribution network means that the product is readily available so less time waiting for your top to be installed. Caesarstone is always adding to their portfolio of colors and base patterns on stones like slate or travertine and well as brighter options like their “Warm Red” or “Apple Martini”. Caesarstone offers a lot of design choice.

Silestone may be the largest manufacturer of quartz. When it comes to colors Silestone does a couple of things differently. For one Silestone is adventurous. Yes, you can find selections that are very natural looking but check out the “New Life” series for bright greens and blues or the “New Zen” series for soft plum, pink or grey. In addition the “Leather” series offers a new texture for quartz. Silestone is unique for “Microban” an anti-microbial element added to the material to reduce the growth of bacteria.

While quartz is probably most often used in countertops it can also be used for vanity tops and shower walls, tub decks and flooring. If you are interested in seeing what is available please visit our showroom and check out our displays. We will show you color options and discuss what might be right for your project.

By the way the answer to the question is “all of the above”. Quartz is a very versatile stone.

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