The most popular kitchen surface material

The most popular kitchen surface material

It seems like yesterday I was lamenting the ubiquity of granite, hoping I’d never have to see it sullied in a kitchen again. Now, after several years of declining use, the day has come: another surface has officially surpassed granite in popularity. Can you guess what might be the new table du jour?

It is quartz, otherwise known as engineered stone. The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) reports that while granite is less desirable today, the use of quartz is on the rise (by kitchen designers anyway. It’s not clear what’s most used by DIYers or those planning their own kitchens). What happened to change the minds of the homeowners?

If you need an upgrade quartz countertops, here you go: Engineered stone consists of at least 90% underground quartz, which is mixed with a binder such as resin, and shaped into slabs. Add pigment to the manufacturing process and the sky’s the limit when it comes to color. Because it is made from small pieces of leftover ore, as opposed to being mined in whole slabs and shipped around the world, it is also considered a good environmental choice. It emits negligible radon, however latest reports suggest that construction workers may have high exposure to silica while inhaling dust during cutting and installation, which may lead to silicosis.

If you want the look of natural materials like soapstone or marble, but not the look, quartz is an attractive alternative. It was usually only available as a solid color or as a marking, depending on how the quartz was ground during the manufacturing process. If you like a very minimalist and manufactured look, that was fine, but the overall effect was quite cold and impersonal and didn’t resonate with customers. Today, technology produces organic-looking variations of quartz that resemble real substances found in nature. Like Dektonthis makes a huge difference to the look of a room.

Engineered stone manufacturers have also expanded their lines to include different finishes. There’s still the standard smooth, shiny quartz you’ve seen for years, but now it’s also available polished or polished (with a smooth, brushed feel) or with more holes like “volcanic” rock or concrete. These latest offerings are definitely less glitz and glam, with a warmer, more inviting texture.

Quartz’s main selling point is its durability: it remains one of the lowest-maintenance materials, and is relatively impervious to etching, staining, cracking or chipping. (Note that certain finishes require more daily maintenance. Caesarstone, for example, says they’ll show more metal marks, fingerprints, and other signs of daily life on their polished or concrete finishes.) You don’t need to seal the surface during installation. , or stamp again down the road. However, these surfaces are not tolerant of high heat, so it’s a good idea to use a trivet under hot pots and pans.

Because engineered stone is non-porous, it is relatively resistant to mold, mildew or bacteria. Cleaning is easy with soap and water or a mild detergent. Silestone advertises the use of Microban (an additive with antimicrobial properties) in their products, which is something to consider if you don’t like the idea of ​​added chemicals.

Engineered stone remains one of the most expensive countertop options. Quartz generally costs about $70-$100 per square foot installed, depending on location, quality, and the options you choose. IKEA also sells Caesarstone, priced between $43 and $89 per square foot, depending on thickness and quality level. Don’t forget: if you time your shopping with the annual kitchen sale, you’ll also get a 20% discount.

Do you have quartz countertops? What is your experience with this material?

Re-edited from a post published in 2017.

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