Quartz vs. Natural Stones vs. Solid Surface (Corian)

Quartz-based Surfaces

Made of: Crushed quartz crystals, polymers, and pigments.

Quartz is found in great abundance in the earth, it is second only to water as the most common mineral-based form on our planet. It is naturally hard and scratch resistant. Quartz even ranks a 7.0 on Moh's Hardness Scale, which is used to measure the scratch-resistance of a material. Only diamonds, ranking 10, topaz, and sapphire are harder than quartz.

Quartz counters are really rock with an attitude, they are manufactured with nearly 100 percent quartz. In contrast, granite may contain only 50 percent quartz. The other minerals found in granite leave it soft, porous, and vulnerable to scratches and stains. Industry-wide, all quartz countertops are made with 93 percent quartz and 7 percent pigments and resins or they cannot claim the hardness, durability, or impermeability of a true quartz surface. The prescribed mixture results in a product that is non-porous, exceedingly durable, and heat resistant.

The engineering and finishing phases of quartz-counter manufacturing are virtually the same throughout the industry and many offer warranties for up to ten years on their products. Also, since these countertops are engineered using a controlled process, quality-control measures exist for quartz that are not possible for natural granite countertops.

Companies say quartz aggregate improves upon granite in a number of ways. For one thing, unlike granite, the product has no fissures. This consistent surface makes it nonporous and less likely to harbor bacteria. Sealing granite guards against absorption, but the material requires periodic resealing to keep it food-safe. Quartz surfacing, in contrast, requires no sealers. Quartz's impenetrable surface also makes it highly resistant to stains and the etching effect of acidic liquids such as wine, lemon juice, and vinegar. In addition to quartz's performance benefits, the manufacturing process enables companies to mimic other, even more troublesome natural countertop materials, such as limestone, which is very soft and prone to scratching, and concrete, which is porous.

Quartz is competitive with the hard, shiny look of granite, but it offers more colors. Quartz is also available in vibrant hues that Mother Nature has neglected to provide, including bold and iridescent reds, yellows, and blues.
Quartz is consistent from slab to slab, and do not require special maintenance such as sealing. The surface is very hard to scratch or burn. A quartz surface is solid and remains impervious to water, moisture, or bacteria. With these advantages, it's a solid alternative to granite that requires little maintenance, just clean with mild soap and water.

Natural Stones (Granite, Marble, Quartzite, Soapstone)

Made of: Natural minerals from earth.

Natural Stone Characteristics:
Is crystalline in structure, so it always has tiny pits or spaces between the various mineral crystals.

It does not have a uniform pattern or color. The appearance can vary widely between slabs, and even within a single slab. It is impossible to hide the seams in natural stones. Natural stones have a certain degree of porosity and must be sealed before use with a solvent-based product which leaves only negligible surface residue. The stone must be resealed at least once every three years. If you only have to seal your granite countertops once in a while and you love the look of granite, go for it! That natural look cannot be matched in quartz, only assimilated. However, if natural stones are not sealed correctly, some pigments or oils can be absorbed into the surface. This could cause discoloration. The sealer does not prevent this discoloration, but it slows it down to allow more time for clean up.

Solid surface-Corian

Made of: Polymers, acrylics, and resins.
Characteristics: These surfaces are stain resistant and impervious to damage from acidic foods and scratches buff out. Easy to maintain, doesn't support microbial growth, it's non porous, durable, non toxic, non allergenic Solid surface is a man-made material usually composed of a combination of alumina trihydrate (ATH), acrylic, epoxy or polyester resins and pigments. It is most frequently used for seamless countertop installations.

Common Uses: Healthcare, retail, furniture, restaurants, Kitchen & vanity tops with seamless integration of solid surface sinks, shower pans, and shower walls, and wall cladding. Customization is limitless