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Friday, May 13, 2011

Countertops: Quartz

Quartz is a relatively new kid on the block when it comes to countertops surfaces but has quickly become one of my favourite choices.

Some of the more popular brands include: Silestone, Caesarstone, Zodiaq, Cambria. Difference between brands is minimal as the formulation is virtually the same for all of them: a combination of natural quartz (approximately 93%) and epoxy resin binders and colours (approximately 7%).  Some brands offer different textures and additives to their formulation, but for the most part this is for marketing advantage.  With quartz, the consumer can comfortably focus on colour rather than brand when selecting quartz.

Quartz surfacing, or “engineered stone” as it is sometimes known, has the appearance and hardness of stone but due to the resins doesn't require sealing. Another benefit is the consistency of the product. Each sheet of material will have the exact same proportions of colouration which avoids the sometimes undesirable randomness of stone. No threat of a natural mineral discolouration in the middle of your island with a quartz countertop! When it comes to cleaning quartz, most brands simply require a mild, non-abrasive cleaner. Exact cleaning instructions will depend on the specific brand you select.

Quartz surfacing behaves almost identically to stone in terms of fabrication. So you can expect seams in your quartz countertop. and integrated sinks are not possible. Sinks will typically be of the undermount variety, although Silestone has introduced the Integrity sink for an integrated application. Depending on the manufacturer, quartz comes in either 19mm or 30mm thick slabs, so depending on the thickness available, the front edge of your countertops may or may not have a seam in it.

Overall, expect to pay about $70-$125 per square foot. As with all premium counter surface materials, be sure to get your specific layout priced rather than going by a “lineal foot” price.

11 comments:

  1. Arne,

    Great post and on a topic that I love! I have been selling quartz countertops since 2002! When I left Lowe's in mid 2004, I was the top sales person for Avanza/US Stone products in the entire U.S. My favorite brand is Cambria. I just love all of the gorgeous colors they have.

    Brenda Lynn

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  2. I've been selling Caesarstone & Silestone for about as long. Zodiaq has some great colours too, and after KBIS I'm really loving Cambria. Do you think I like the choice? Hell yah!

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  3. great post. can you elaborate a bit on the process for pricing a layout. I've typically estimated based on linear foot... Caesarstone and DeNova are 2 of my favorites.

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  4. Thanks Mike. Lineal foot estimating (which assumes a standard 25.5" deep countertop) is very popular because it's easy to figure out. The fabricators I use work on a square foot basis. If you're using CAD software (Sketchup, 20-20, etc) figuring out square footage is easy. Otherwise I just send the floorplan over to my fabricator and have them quote it! That way, I know the pricing is accurate, and if there are any "issues" with the layout (like seam placement) I'll know about them in advance.

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  5. " integrated sinks are not possible " I have been selling integrated stainless steel sinks (Edge series by Karran) for granite/quartz for a while now. Our fabricator didn't like it at first but seems to be getting the hang of it... Btw, Cambria is my favorite brand.

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  6. Justin,

    To clarify, by "integrated sinks" I was referring to sinks made of the same material, like the Corian integrated sinks.  You're absolutely correct that you can undermount stainless steel sinks with quartz.  In fact I use that application almost exclusively.And just to contradict myself, Silestone has the Integrity line of sinks that are in fact made of quartz. http://www.silestone.com/in/other-products/integrity-sinks.asp.  I've edited the post to correct.

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  7. Thanks for the link! I wasn't aware of this product.

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