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Over the past decades, quartz has garnered a steady fan base as a popular construction material.
The primary reasons behind such popularity are its easy availability and longevity. At first, it may not seem any different from other kinds of rocks. But on taking a closer look, it’s crystal clear how versatile quartz is as a mineral. And this is precisely what sets it apart.
There are numerous ways to incorporate quartz into one’s home. But before you jump onto the bandwagon and shell out your hard-earned dollars on quartz fixtures, take some time to consider a few points.
First and foremost, it’s important to ask yourself how you plan to use quartz, which then determines the location and manner of installation. However, what becomes most crucial in this case is the type of quartz that is required, based on your needs.
With the sheer number of properties, advantages, and drawbacks to each type, taking that decision is far from easy. To help you out, we have a nifty guide right here, to the various kinds of quartz and the pros and cons of each.
So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Types Of Quartz
A popular use of quartz in the form of gemstones is found in jewelry, which is coveted by rock collectors and enthusiasts. However, the most common application of quartz takes place within our homes in various aspects of building and remodeling.
The four main applications of quartz are found in countertops, backsplashes and tiles, flooring, and sinks. Outlined below is a thorough discussion of the nitty-gritty of the same, their advantages and disadvantages.
As is common knowledge, countertops are an integral feature in kitchens and a highly functional space that serve a number of purposes. Be it chopping and preparing food or turning it into a point of attraction, countertops come in handy. For many homeowners, these are also spaces for communal gatherings, such as in the case of one above a kitchen island in homes lacking a dining area.
Countertops are available in a number of construction materials with varying properties, uses, and drawbacks. Many houses of the past constructed them out of laminates which, thanks to their sheen, gave the appearance of quartz or other similar material. The reason behind this is simple. Laminates don’t cost an arm and a leg, making them an economic option.
Although easy to use and manufacture, such materials do have a flipside. Over time, they tend to lose their luster and also wear out due to continuous use. This is where quartz countertops have the obvious upper hand.
How Are Quartz Countertops Constructed?
You may think that to shape quartz into countertops, it is cut into slabs, shaped, and then polished. However, the process is slightly different. Instead of cutting, pieces of quartz, small and big, are mixed together using a binder. On adding color, the mixture is baked, made non-porous by eliminating air through suction, and it is only then that it’s made into slabs, polished, and shaped.
Advantages Of Using Quartz Countertops
There are a number of benefits of constructing one’s kitchen countertops out of quartz as opposed to other material.
In this regard, porosity is the primary factor. Being non-porous, unlike most other construction material, quartz is easier to clean and maintain, lasts longer, and you need not worry about germs and bacteria making their homes in it. Also, there are no chances of seepage, which protects the countertops and saves you from additional maintenance and/or repair costs.
The second most important advantage is its customizability. Depending on the size of your countertops, the quartz can be shaped and sized to the desired dimensions, and this isn’t an arduous task. However, it’s wise to remember that quartz isn’t as flexible as rubber; it comes with a few limitations with respect to the sizing.
Another attribute that makes quartz an attractive prospect is its resistance to abrasions and scratches. Highly durable and tough, quartz can prove to be a dependable companion in the kitchen. The only thing to remember is that the same level of resistance does not extend to heat. So, users must exercise a little caution before placing hot pots and pans on it. However, this is hardly a deal-breaker as the pros far outweigh the cons.
Lastly, users may find that the contemporary look of quartz presents a stark contrast to older styles of interior decoration. Minimalist and sleek, one can hardly expect it to blend in with a Victorian night-lamp! But this is where the user’s imagination and ingenuity come to play. If done right, the kitchen can transform into a primary point of attraction in the house, with a mix of modern and vintage styles.
Backsplashes And Tiles
One of the easiest ways to add flair to your bathroom or kitchen is by installing a backsplash, which also acts as a protective covering for the walls. Similar to countertops, backsplashes made of quartz are available in a variety of sizes. Moreover, they are usually mixed with other construction materials such as natural stones, glass, and mirrors to enhance the appearance as well as longevity.
Being non-porous, quartz is an obvious choice when it comes to making backsplashes. Also easy to clean and maintain, they do well and last long in a space like a bathroom. However, in case you’re going for a smooth and single slab, bear in mind that the final look may not be as seamless. Also, it’s wise to keep quartz away from direct heat sources such as a stove as it is susceptible to scorching.
Quartz tiles, similarly, can serve as attractive accents on the wall and floors. But flights of fancy can be wild and far-reaching. Who said it wasn’t okay to furnish a tabletop with quartz tiles?
As much as we love the material, quartz is not the ideal choice for prolonged outdoor use as it can be weathered down by heat and other external elements. Therefore, while purchasing quartz tiles, their location of installation must be kept in mind.
In such cases, quartzite offers a suitable alternative as it shares many of the original’s properties. Being more resistant to abrasion, it can withstand the outdoor elements while offering a great deal of aesthetic appeal.
As a flooring material, the popularity of quartz holds sway. Be it building a new home or refurbishing a part of your bathroom and kitchen, the material is extremely suitable for any flooring activity.
In most cases, synthetic colors are added to quartz as it is a light-colored substance. This is also why it is often the preferred choice for homes as it creates an illusion of a larger space and also remains free of external traffic, dust, and other pollutants.
The other reason why it makes for an appropriate choice of material is its durability and resistance to abrasions. Quartz is a heavy-duty material, so to speak, and can withstand considerable wear and tear over a period of time. However, it is important to remember that in spite of its longevity, light-colored flooring requires frequent cleaning.
Alternatives To Quartz Flooring
Available in a host of shapes and sizes, quartz for floors is a viable option for those with the time and inclination. For others who don’t fancy spending regular hours on maintenance, ‘stick and peel’ options work well, as these are floor coverings that resemble the look of quartz. Ideal for DIY projects, inexpensive, and convenient, these coverings, however, are nowhere near as strong and resistant as original quartz.
On the other hand, floors constructed wholly out of quartz can become slippery over time which poses an obvious danger to users, especially the aged. While it shares similar benefits with quartz countertops, floors are exposed to a considerable degree of footfall which also makes it dirty quicker than countertops. This is the only reason why quartz may not be the most suitable material for flooring.
In addition to stick-on coverings, epoxy flooring also makes for a good alternative. These are quartz-incorporated materials that show high resistance to wear-and-tear and can be therefore used in basements, storage spaces, and other industrial settings. However, what it offers in terms of durability, it lacks in aesthetic appeal and is not a very popular choice of material.
When it comes to sinks, it’s functionality over aesthetics. Sinks are among the most frequently used objects in the household and should also be able to withstand rough use. Therefore, with its combination of functionality and aesthetic appeal quartz becomes the most preferred choice of material.
As most varieties of quartz are a blend of the original stone and acrylic, its composite nature lends a significant degree of durability and beauty to the material. Being non-porous, it doesn’t run the risk of bacteria or other microbes growing inside. Also, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are also much less noisy than sinks made of stainless steel.
However, one must be mindful of quartz’s hardness, and as a sturdy stone, it can crack or chip the utensils if the user isn’t careful.
A guide to the different types of quartz remains incomplete without discussing methods of installation. This depends on a number of factors: the size of the project, level of complexity and expertise required, and time constraints. Let us go over the most common practices for installing quartz features in homes.
For Countertops, Backsplashes And Tiles, And Flooring
As projects that demand sufficient expertise and skills, installing quartz countertops and flooring requires professionals to be employed. Although there are tips for people who want to engage in DIY processes, these suggestions are hardly foolproof and may end up undoing whatever progress has been made. Taking the help of professionals, in this case, is worth the expense and supervision time.
Apart from precision in fittings, it helps to engage a professional service as quartz is a heavy material to work with. It is not easily carried and transported, and for the uninitiated, can be a daunting task. Also, the chances of accidents are considerably higher. In addition to this, it must be ensured that the spaces storing the quartz are sturdy enough to bear its weight.
To give you a clearer idea, the average weight of quarts is 20 to 25 pounds per square foot while a slab may well exceed 1000 pounds. Professionals have the tools and experience with such weights while also ensuring their own safety.
For DIY-ers, installing quartz floors, backsplashes, and tiles are a tempting project. However, although they are easier to deal with in comparison to countertops, they still require a certain level of skilled expertise. At the end of the day, the success of the project also depends on its size.
All said and done, it boils down to a simple fact. Installing quartz fixtures by ourselves is definitely economical as professional expertise costs money. But, given the complexity of such projects, the expense is worth it as it ensures precision, time-efficiency, as well as safety.
Installing Quartz Sinks
Sinks are the heaviest quartz fixtures to install. Significantly weightier than ones made of stainless steel, installing composite quartz sinks comes with its own set of challenges. DIY is hardly an option in this case as safety is of utmost importance; therefore, professional expertise is non-negotiable to make sure neither the user nor the quartz suffers an accident.
Another key point in the installation of quartz fixtures is the proper gear that must be worn in order to safeguard one’s self. Some of the items include safety goggles and respirator masks. While the former prevents chips from flying into the eyes, masks act as a barrier against the finer particles that can damage the respiratory system.
Care And Maintenance
So far, we have gone over the types and methods of installation for household quartz fixtures and established that as a construction material, it is relatively easy to care for. Given below are some tips elaborating on the same.
The first point to remember is that quartz does not take well to abrasive tools and cleaners, be it disinfectants or other liquids. While it has a high resistance to abrasion and can withstand regular wear-and-tear, a soft cloth for cleaning along with a gentle cleaner will ensure that it lasts longer and also simultaneously maintain its aesthetic appeal.
Next, food and liquid spills must not be allowed to sit on a quartz countertop. No matter how common an occurrence this is in household kitchens, letting food harden and liquids stain the surface is a strict no-no. A microfiber towel will easily take care of such mishaps and spare the quartz. Most importantly, cleaning professionals swear by this rule and we’re no one to disagree.
In case wiping isn’t a feasible option, gently scrape the hardened foodstuff using a putty knife or kitchen scraper. Quartz easily stands up to minor chafing, but in case you take the help of a cleaner to soften the residue, check the label for the contents as even the most resilient quartz countertops can fall prey to corrosive cleaners.
We’d recommend using dish soap and a soft rag or sponge as such materials do not corrode the quartz surface and save it from being exposed to further damage.
The above tips also apply to the cleaning of quartz flooring and tiles. In a house with such floors, shoes are best left outside as mud and rocks can leave the surface scratched and eroded. In the case of sinks, abrasive cleaners and disinfectants are again unnecessary and damaging for the material. Similar rules apply, and the best way to keep your quartz sink in top-notch condition is to dry it out regularly.
Suitable Places To Install Quartz
You might ask why this is relevant to the topic at hand. For one simple reason. It doesn’t help to learn of the various types and installation methods if we install quartz fixtures in the wrong places. Then, it would also not be worth our while to spend time and energy on their maintenance. Therefore, below we’ve discussed a few points to keep in mind while deciding on the location of installation.
For reasons mentioned earlier, high-traffic and footfall areas are best avoided when it comes to installing quartz fixtures. Light-colored ones are especially susceptible to stains and dirt, which means extra cleaning costs and measures.
User Safety And Comfort
As with most stone surfaces, safety and comfort are two major factors that must be ensured during installation. While quartz is high in aesthetic appeal and can transform any part of the house into a point of interest for visitors, it comes with a few risks that the elderly are especially prone to.
Quartz flooring in a bathroom makes for a gorgeous addition. But it also renders the floor slippery and lacking in grip. Needless to say, this increases the chances of accidents and among other things, quartz tends to have very low temperatures which may not feel comfortable on the soles. Such risks must be factored into a decision involving installing quartz floors. Additionally, anti-slip mats are a good preventive measure and they’re also cost-effective and durable.
Exposure To Sunlight And Heat
This is the primary area where care must be taken. Quartz fades in color when exposed to heat and sunlight for prolonged periods of time. While deterioration in quality and discoloration is a consistent attribute in every type of stone, given the rampant use of quartz within households, the location of installation also plays into the process. Therefore it is important to select the spot after sufficient consideration.
If at all it must be used in an outdoor area such as patios and pools, make sure to cover the surface when not in use. This will prevent untimely discoloration and preserve the quality of the quartz.
Before incorporating quartz into your personal space, there are some important points to consider.
Knowing the types of quartz and their benefits is certainly important, but knowing how to care for the material, its methods of installation, maintenance guidelines, and suitable locations also goes a long way.
The idea is simple – to ensure that your quartz installation lasts longer and brings you joy for years to come.
On that note, we will sign off. Till next time!