Quartz countertops are marketed by manufacturers as dream kitchen accessories. They are touted as impervious to moisture or water, heat resistant, scratch resistant and stain resistant. Quartz countertops are typically manufactured from 93 percent quartz (silica or silicon dioxide) and 7 percent binders, resins and pigments. They are available in many colors, tones and finishes and add an individual touch of elegance to kitchens and bathrooms. Quartz countertops, however, are associated with a few problems which homeowners must appropriately look into before purchasing them.
The primary problem with quartz countertops is their associated expense. As of August 2010, quartz costs between $50 and $100 per square foot, according to Counter Tops Key cost estimates and research. Additionally, quartz requires appropriate molding, shaving and texturing to fit a certain surface, further increasing its cost. The price is hiked again when experienced/professional contractors are hired to install a quartz countertop. These costs also depend on the size of the countertop, its quality, composition, pattern and finish. A 27-square foot quartz countertop, for instance, can cost anywhere between $1350 and $2700, excluding installation and fitting costs. Quartz, in spite of its cost, is still considered an engineered stone due to the presence of binders and additives. Most homeowners would prefer installing natural stone, ceramic tile or an inexpensive laminate surface to avoid the hassles associated with quartz installation.
Modification and Repair
Quartz countertops, once installed, do not allow for the installation of integrated sinks—sinks that are built into the surrounding countertop. Quartz countertops are fitted with drop-in, flush-mount or undermount sinks made of porcelain, cast iron or stainless steel.
While quartz is touted as scratch and break resistant, it is not uncommon for chips to occur after prolonged and/or extensive use. Large pieces that break off are still easier to glue back on than smaller chips. Hairline cracks that appear on the surface of quartz countertops prove the most difficult to repair and require professional repair help or a complete replacement—both expensive options.
Quartz countertops are susceptible to discoloration with long-term sun exposure. Certain chemicals and high levels of constant heat can further aggravate discoloration and damage. Acidic disinfectants and cleaners, alcohol-based cleaners and bleach damage can deteriorate quartz countertops and are best avoided. A regular wash with mild soap and water is an effective and safe way to eliminate all surface dust and grime off quartz countertops.