Homeowners or business owners who are in the market for counters wonder what type is best for their kitchen, bath or office. While natural stone such as granite, marble and slate are beautiful and durable, they need to be sealed to protect them against hot pots and pans and even mild acids such as lemon juice and wine. They need to be sealed every two or three years. They are difficult and can be expensive to repair if they’re damaged.
When people speak of a quartz countertop they’re most likely describing a counter made of engineered stone. This counter isn’t made of a slab of actual quartz, though it can be. Engineered stone is made of ground quartz that’s mixed with pigment and resin then formed into slabs. The slabs are cured before they’re cut to order with a diamond blade or a wet cutter.
The way engineered stone counters are made makes them extremely strong and durable. Because they are nonporous, engineered quartz countertops do not need to be sealed. At the same time they resist bacteria, mold and mildew. They resist scratching and etching by acids, and a cook can place screaming hot pots and pans on them without damage.
If an engineered stone counter is scratched, the damage won’t be as noticeable as it would be with a natural stone counter because the slab is uniform throughout. If the counter is somehow damaged beyond repair, an exact duplicate can be ordered to replace it. This is because the fabricators know exactly the amount and kind of ingredients that went into making the original slab. This is impossible to do with natural stone because every slab is unique.
Caring for engineered stone is easy. All it needs is a wiping down with a damp cloth and a drop of dishwashing detergent followed by a rinsing with fresh water. Wire scouring pads shouldn’t be used on these counters, but the types of pads used to clean non-stick pans are acceptable. They should not be exposed to bleach, which can mar the color. Food should not be cut or chopped directly on engineered stone because it will dull the knife. These are just about the only precautions when using an engineered quartz counter.