Quartz Countertops Cost and Colors in Alexandria VA
A coming hero in the stone countertop arena is quartz stone, aka engineered stone. Many designers and homeowners are gravitating to this man made product mainly because it is readily available in a wide variety of colors, patterns, and thicknesses. Purists turn their nose up at engineered stone simply because they do not come from nature, but while natural stone is an excellent option for bathroom vanity tops and kitchen countertops, engineered stones are equally so. In fact, quartz surfaces often outperform natural stone in some ways. Its biggest drawback is it will never achieve the uniqueness you will find in natural stone.
Engineered stone is manufactured using the Bretonstone process, a patented technology created in the 1970s by Italian company Breton. While top manufacturers of engineered slabs in the US primarily use quartz as its main component, engineered stone may actually be a mix of different stones, including granite and marble. In its most basic form, engineered stones are made of 90% stone, 7% polymer resin or similar, and 3 percent pigments and dyes. Each engineered stone brand may have a different take on it, but they all use the Bretonstone process in producing the stones. In most cases, engineered stones are created to simulate the appearance of natural stones including granite and marble.
The reason top brands use quartz as its main stone aggregate in engineered stone is that quartz is extremely hard. In the Mohs hardness scale for minerals, diamonds (the hardest mineral on earth) rates a 10, while quartz rates a 7. Granite, which typically contains about 40% quartz, only rates a 4. When quartz is primarily used in engineered stone, it becomes much more durable than granite.
Because it is a manufactured stone, quartz surfaces are available on demand, unlike natural stone. With granite or marble, you have to choose from what’s physically available at the moment, which can be a problem if you can’t find the perfect match to your design. With quartz countertops, it is just a matter of ordering what you want from their catalogues, and always get the same design and pattern without fail. This is a good thing if you want perfectly matched stones.
Another advantage of engineered stone is its non-porosity. All natural stones are porous to some degree, so they need sealing to prevent stains and etches on the surface. Since engineered stone is non-porous, they are stain- and etch-resistant, so they don’t need sealing. Some brands are even certified as bacteriostatic, which means they inhibit the growth of bacteria. Other brands are GreenGuard certified, which means they use sustainable materials in their manufacture.
With all these advantages, it is easy to see why many people are choosing engineered stone over natural stone for their homes. Quartz stones are available under several brands names, such as Stone Design, HanStone, and MSI.
What it can be used for?
Quartz stone is meant to be durable and maintenance-free, so it is the practical choice for any surface in the home under any circumstances. It is particularly suitable for use in the kitchen and bathroom, but it also works very well for other purposes.
The main problem of using quartz stone is the tendency of its color to fade when it is subjected to prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. This is not a problem with natural stone, because the color is ingrained in the minerals rather than added in the manufacture. Light-colored quartz stones are not affected as much, though, so if you plan to use quartz stone outdoors or in a sunny kitchen, make sure you choose light colored quartz stone slabs.
Engineered quartz stone brands have their own take in the materials and colors they use for their products, so there may be quite a bit of variation in the look. If you look through their catalogues, you will be amazed at how many colors and textures they offer.
- Silestone offers more than 90 colors in a variety of textures, including suede, polished, and volcano
- Caesarstone has three collections so far, available in 55 colors
- HanStone Quartz surfaces are available in more than 60 colors and designs
- MSI offers quartzite slabs in 7 colors in 4 textures and in 2 cm and 3 cm thicknesses
- Stone Design supplies more than 80 stone designs from various manufacturers, including Inspire and Colorquartz
These are current numbers and styles, which are subject to change as they keep coming out with new ways to impress and amaze us. When choosing a quartz stone, keep in mind that not all will have the same price. The cost per square foot will depend on the texture and design you choose, and if it happens to be a new arrival or on clearance. We at American Quartz and Granite will help you select the best deals in quartz stones available.
Why install it in your home?
Trends in home design indicates a surge of interest in quartz countertops, and since quartz stones are actually more expensive than most natural stones, it is sure to add value to the home. If you are selling your home, you can be sure that it will increase its selling price by how much you invest in installing new quartz countertops at the minimum. You are also more likely to sell more quickly, especially if the warranty is transferable. That’s a huge selling point, as most will give warranties of at least 10 years from installation.
Even if you don’t intend to sell your home, the benefits of having durable, scratch-proof, stain-resistant, and beautiful quartz countertops in the most important rooms in your home are myriad. They are long-lasting, hygienic, food-safe, and eye candy. Coming home after a long day at work to a nice kitchen with beautiful countertops is very satisfying.
How to maintain it?
Quartz stones are made to be maintenance-free, so there is not much you need to do to keep it looking pristine. In most cases, ordinary dish soap, warm water, and a dry dishcloth is enough to keep it clean and sparkling. You may have to deal with soap scum on occasion, in which case a little soaking in detergent, hot water, and elbow grease on a non-abrasive pad is enough to deal with it. Dry it with a soft cloth to prevent water spots forming, especially in areas with hard water.
It is possible to damage quartz surfaces, but it will take some doing. It is not proof against a hammer blow, for instance, or striking it with a sharp, metal edge or object with force, but why would you do that with your beautiful counters. Under most circumstances with reasonable use, your quartz stone will remain unscathed. One possible weakness of quartz stone is heat. It is possible to crack it if you place a very hot pot directly on it because of thermal shock. At the very least, it may discolor the stone. You can keep this from happening by simply using a trivet.
Installation and pricing
Most quartz stones are more expensive than natural stones, but a big plus is that you can get it on demand. You can also have one customize to be longer than the standard slab, so you can have fewer seams if you wish.
The price for a standard length quartz stone with a 3 cm thickness is from $75 per square foot. Add on the costs of fabrication, installation, backsplashes, and fixtures, and you have your total cost. This is typically comes out to about $350 per square foot.
American Quartz and Granite help clients in alleviating sticker shock by working with them to come up with a package that will be nearer their desired budget. We usually advise our clients to choose slabs on clearance, or to do their remodel during the fall or winter, when it is off season. They can also choose slabs from the remnants (previously used slabs) if they only need a small piece.
Note that quartz stones that come with a warranty require that it be installed by an authorized installer. We are more than happy to accommodate you in that instance.