Quartz countertops are now almost as common as granite, battling it out among solid surfaces to become the most popular pick of all. However, most homeowners still answer a resounding, “Granite!” when asked which high-end surface is the most in demand, and they’re not wrong.
But just because a solid surface countertop is good quality and well-known, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the best choice for you.
Quartz is the most abundant mineral we have, it’s the toughest countertop material, and its popularity has been on the rise for the past 50 years.
Around 1960 is when manufacturers realized they were sitting on a gold mine (or a quartz mine), and began marketing quartz as a popular alternative to granite. It requires no maintenance, isn’t porous and is sturdier than granite. Plus, it also offers many colors and patterns, since some manmade effort is required to get it countertop-ready.
How Quartz Is Made
Quartz is mined just like granite, but needs to be engineered by pressing resins into a natural quartz crystal. This process was created by an Italian manufacturer in the early 1960s. The original creator of the process, Breton S.p.A., is still a top supplier of stone-making equipment today. The founder, Marcello Toncelli, was one of the first to see quartz’s potential and began immediately coming up with technology and manufacturing processes to create the best compounded stone products.
The process involved taking a mineral, reinforcing it to create a solid surface and turning it into a pore-free surface. The process evolved so that a number of products could be created with endless color and grain options by adding pigments and sparkles into the manufacturing procedure. Producers then began adding glass, which gives quartz that unique look that’s so in demand today.
The Real Italian Stallion
Unsurprisingly, the first place quartz became popular is where the manufacturing process began: Italy. Well before quartz became trendy in the United States, it was featured in gourmet European kitchens for decades.
This is common, as European trends often take a while to make their way to America. Plus, Americans were pretty happy with their granite countertops. Some Americans were even clinging to their laminate countertops from the ’60s and ’70s, and embracing a new material seemed a little intimidating at the time.
Thanks to more widespread knowledge about quartz in the ’90s, especially with shows on HGTV regularly showcasing the beauty and benefits of quartz, it began to be heralded as a top-ranked countertop. In fact, HGTV reported that the sale of quartz shot up 60 percent between 2003 and 2004. It always takes a little time for a seemingly newer material to be widely embraced as a lasting mainstay instead of a trend.
For more information on solid surface countertops, from quartz to marble, contact Creative Granite today.