One consequence of the housing boom of the early aughts was that potential homebuyers now expect stone (or an engineered stone surface that mimics the natural material) in their kitchens. More and more, that option is composite quartz surfacing, its popularity soaring from 8% of home kitchen countertop replacements in 2011 to 17% in 2016, according to Home Innovation Research Labs, an independent subsidiary of the National Association of Home Builders.
Made from a combination of 93% natural quartz, combined with resin and colorants, composite quartz engineered stone is a versatile surfacing option that can be fabricated to look like almost any stone, including soapstone, marble, and slate. In addition, it’s available in a wide variety of colors including bright reds, yellows, and blues, and can even be made to look like concrete.
To be clear, granite is still the No. 1 kitchen countertop option, accounting for about 40% of home countertop replacements in 2016, Home Innovation Research Labs says, but it’s quartz that has seen a dramatic jump in homeowner interest.
- Kitchen Designs That Deliver Big on Form and Function
- What Buyers Want—Recent Consumer Preference Research
- Kitchen Design Inspiration and Ideas
- What Do Homebuyers Want? Builders Adopt a New Strategy
Why Is Quartz Surfacing So Popular?
According to Home Innovation’s website, there are several reasons for the rise in quartz surfacing’s popularity: “For one, manufacturing capabilities are much better now, bringing us more attractive designs, colors, and styles. Also, good merchandising displays in prominent places in home improvement stores have brought this category into the reach of any household. And last, but probably not least, it has been picked up as the darling of home improvement TV shows for kitchen remodels.”
The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) is seeing equal growth among its member designers and their clients and says on its website that quartz is growing fast as a countertop choice in the kitchen and bath, while granite is trending downward. “In a constantly changing industry, quartz thrives,” NKBA says. “It is a timeless option that can be molded to enhance any design, and it continues to be favored.”
Strangely enough, the growth of quartz hasn’t really hurt the trajectory of granite, according to Home Innovation. Instead, it has hurt solid surface. “In the wake of Quartz’s ascent, the popularity of Solid Surface material has suffered some in this category,” the group writes. “But it’s not all gloom and doom for this material. Its use is shifting to a higher-end alternative to one-piece cultured marble vanity countertops, and it is [being] used as a highly durable and maintenance-free shower surround and commercial interior and exterior wall material.”
Quartz Surfacing Products
Neolith sintered stone surfacing is a 100% natural material made from combining granite minerals, glass minerals, and natural oxides. In a matter of hours, the sintering technology replicates the thousands of years–long process by which natural stone is formed, the company says. During manufacturing, the raw materials that form the slab are subjected to extremely high pressure to create a surface that is low maintenance, highly durable, and comes in various thicknesses (20 mm thickness, shown).
Caesarstone Solaris Outdoor Collection
Solaris from Caesarstone is a brand new line in the manufacturer’s Outdoor Collection of quartz that offers UV protection and has been tested in temperatures from 125°F to -30°F. Able to withstand any climate across the country, the company says, the product comes in three colors—Palm Shade, Midday, and Clearskies (shown).
Cambria Luxury Series
Part of Cambria’s Luxury Series, Mersey is one of the darkest options in the Black Marble Collection. The product offers deep, glassy black daubed throughout with dramatic white streaks. Cambria says the product is nonabsorbent, highly scratch and chip resistant, and doesn’t require sealing or polishing.
Formerly known as Zodiaq, Corian Quartz surfacing merges the best of nature and science, the company says. The product is made from pure quartz crystals, resin, and other colors and is highly resistant to heat, scratches, and stains. Offered in ¾- or 1 1/5-inch-thick slabs, Calacatta Natura has pronounced veining and variations in gloss, color, and background tone that give each slab unique characteristics.
Cosentino USA Dekton Stonika Xgloss Collection
Helena is part of Cosentino USA’s Dekton Stonika Xgloss Collection. The ultra-compact product draws inspiration from natural stone, offering shine and durability, as well as low maintenance, the company says, and high resistance to thermal shock, impact, scratches, and stains. The product is available in a range of thicknesses and slab sizes.