Consumers consider many options when looking for a countertop surfaces. Natural stone is among the choices they consider and there are several of these to consider. In addition to those options, engineered quartz is a selection that many make when it comes to not only kitchen countertops, but also flooring tiles and wall panels. In this article we are going to look at some basic information regarding engineered quartz. We will look at why people select it, what some of its properties are, and what to keep in mind if you are going to fabricate it. Additionally, we will consider how to maintain and care for engineered quartz.
Why People Choose Quartz
People make choices for a number of reasons. And when it comes to engineered stone, there are some significant factors that consumers take into account regarding angineered stone. The first one that we will look at is durability. Engineered quartz is a durable material and it is hard. Note where engineered quartz lives in the Mohs scale of mineral hardness:
Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness
Talc is a mineral that is the primary part of talcum powder.
Formed when seawater evaporates from the surface of the Earth. It is also found in drywall.
A carbonate mineral found in many popular stones such as marble and limestone. It is often the primary constituent of the shells of marine organisms.
The mineral form of calcium fluoride. It is often used for ornamental carvings.
A group of phosphate minerals named by the German geologist Abraham Gottlob Werner.
Feldspars are a group of rock-forming tectosilicate minerals that make up about 41% of the Earth's continental crust by weight.
A hard, crystalline mineral composed of silicon and oxygen atoms which belongs to the trigonal crystal system.
Topaz is a silicate mineral of aluminum and fluorine. In its natural state, Topaz is golden brown to yellow in color.
Corundum occurs as a mineral in mica schist, gneiss, and some marbles in metamorphic terranes.
Diamond is a solid form of the element carbon with its atoms arranged in a crystal structure called diamond cubic.
At a 7, engineered quartz is at the high end of the scale. Why is engineered stoen so hard? The answer has to do with what it is made of.
What is Engineered Quartz?
It would be easy to be mistaken or misled by the name of this material if it were simply called "quartz". In fact, sometimes you will see this material mentioned that way. But the label "engineered quartz" is a bit more descriptive and gives a better indication of what this material actually is. Engineered quartz is a mixture of the following materials:
Natural Quartz (the Mineral)
These substances are mixed together and then formed into sheets that are cut into slabs. These slabs then are fabricated into surfaces that are used for a variety of purposes. These include countertops, flooring, and wall panels. As mentioned above, the material is durable and it has some very specific properties.
Engineered quartz has characteristics that make it a what it is. One of the properties of these materials is that they are non-porous. The resins used to bind the quartz particles together, and the quartz particles themselves are non-porous. This means that anything that is spilled on the surface of the material is not absorbed by the surface. Rather, it just stands on top and puddles up until it is wiped up or the liquid evaporates into the air.
Another property that makes quartz desirable is color choice. Engineered quartz is available in a wide variety of colors. Many manufacturers make engineered quartz and each manufacturer has its own color selection, however collectively these manufacturers offer virtually every color of the spectrum.
The last property we will talk about is one that we have already mentioned. It is the hardness of engineered quartz. This is what makes this material so durable. Because it is hard, engineered quartz is scratch resistant and chip resistant. So, under normal household use, it is able to hold up. And although engineered quartz is not indestructible, it is very durable.
Quartz and Fabrication
Fabricating with engineered quartz also requires some specific skills and even the proper tooling. Working with hard materials calls for quality tools designed for the task. For example, to cut engineered quartz, use a diamond bridge saw blade for quartz. There are a number of blades that use diamond loaded segments, but some are made for cutting harder materials. Since quartz is on the high end of the hardness scale, blades for harder materials are necessary.
How Often Do You Need to Seal Engineered Quartz?
One of the questions that consumers usually ask is, "How often do I need to seal this material?" In the case of engineered quartz, the answer is simple. You do not need to. As we mentioned earlier in this article, engineered quartz is non-porous and that makes the material impenetrable. So it does not require sealing. But that does not mean it doesn't need any care or maintenance.
Quartz Care & Maintenance
Non-porous materials do not absorb liquids. That means any liquid that gets on the surface of a quartz countertop, floor, or wall just stays on the surface and makes a puddle (if the surface is horizontal). This makes cleaning up spills a bit easier than they would be for a natural stone which is porous. That is not to say that engineered quartz is indestructible. It can be damaged if it is not properly cared for. But how do you care for this material?
The first aspect of caring for engineered quartz is cleaning it on a daily basis. For this, you can use a couple of simple solutions. The first one is regular old soap and water. This will clean the surface but consumers might find that there are streaks after the suface is cleaned. So, many people prefer to use a streak free cleaner that is safe for quartz. This makes cleaning quartz surfaces one step easier since you do not need to dry the surface. If you use soap and water to clean quartz, most manufacturers clearly state that you need to thoroughly dry the quartz after washing it.
Sometimes liquids, even simple water on a quartz surface can leave residue on the surface. In the case of water that has minerals in it, a pool that sits on the surface long enough will evaporate and leave behind the mineral deposits. When this happens, something a bit stronger might be needed to clean the quartz. Using a limescale remover for this is the recommended approach.
In conclusion, engineered quartz is a material that is popular for use as a countertop surface. It is available in many colors and produced by a number of manufacturers. Quartz is a hard material that holds up well under normal household use and is relatively easy to clean. Cutting it will take some diamond tools and skill. Yet once it is installed, it should be relatively easy to care for and it never needs sealed. Being somewhat familiar with engineered quartz will prove to be advantageous for fabricators that work with this popular material.