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You’ve probably heard a million things about the pros and cons of Quartz countertops. Some praise its virtues as if they were the physical manifestation of everything right about the world. However, on the other end of the spectrum you’ll hear enough of how bad it is that it’d paint anyone as a fool for even considering. Well, business propaganda and marketing bias aside, the truth, as always, is somewhere in between. Whether it’s quartz, granite or solid surface, choosing the right material depends on your lifestyle and aesthetic preferences, so it’s prudent to understand both the ups and downs” THE PROS Although its name might lead you to think of natural stone, the quartz we’re talking about here is really an engineered composite. It combines a high percentage of crushed quartz (about 90 to 94 percent) with a binding polymer resin to create something that has the best of natural stone and synthetics (e.g. solid surface, laminates). With that in mind, let’s explore the primary pros and cons of quartz countertops: 1. NON-POROUS – HYGIENIC, STAIN RESISTANT AND EASY TO CLEAN. Unlike natural stones that contain microscopic pores over its entire surface, the resin in between the crushed quartz bits evenly fill out the gaps and surface.This makes quartz countertops very resistant to stains as liquids and pigments won’t seep in and cause a mess, unlike natural stone. It also makes cleaning easier since any mess or spills simply glide off the surface. More important, however, is that non-porous quartz countertops are highly anti-microbial, a desirable characteristic where hygiene is a concern. Without gaps or spaces (pores) for microorganisms to latch on, it significantly inhibits their ability to grow and form colonies. Many common bacteria, such as staphylococcus aureus (which you can find living on your own skin!) produce dangerous toxins that are difficult to destroy. Therefore it is DEFINITELY in your best interest to not let them breed in the first place. In the worst case scenarios, pores can trap liquids in between a solid surface – making it the perfect place for many common types of bacteria to start building biofilms. This is a real problem since biofilms protect the bacteria and can make getting rid of them a gazillion times harder than it should. 2. HEAT-RESISTANT (~204 DEGREES CELSIUS). Compared to other synthetic-based options, such as solid surface and laminate, quartz will not bend and warp if it were to come into contact with hot objects. In addition, burn marks on quartz countertops can be repaired by sanding down the surface. This isn’t possible with solid surface or laminated countertops, which would’ve popped and sizzled into an unsalvageable mess and must be replaced. 3. SCRATCH RESISTANT. Composed almost entirely of hard quartz mineral, quartz countertops will blunt knives and other sharp metal objects before it scratches. But while the resin is soft and susceptible, very little of it is exposed on the surface, and is unlikely to scratch except in the most severe cases. Still, it’s far more durable than solid surface countertops are, which scratch and cut easily. 4. IMPACT RESISTANT. Quartz countertops exhibit greater durability to cracking due to impact compared to granite, thanks to the polymer resin in between the crushed quartz. Flexible and elastic, the resin serve as shock absorbers that disperses the energy from an impact before it reaches the hard but brittle stone – the same properties that makes Kevlar so resistant to high-speed projectiles. In addition, the granules of crushed quartz in the flexible resin polymer matrix provides even more “give” that further helps disperse high energy impulses which would otherwise be destructive to the surface. THE CONS If there is one often recurring theme in everything is that there’s always some give and take. While the polymer resin filling in quartz countertops contributes to many of its advantages, it is also the cause of most of the failings. Below are the main disadvantages of quartz countertops: 1. EXPENSIVE Probably the first thing anyone will notice is the price tag. Costing just a little less than granite (18% less), and significantly more expensive than solid surfaces (54% more) or laminate (270% more), quartz countertops are quite expensive. Nevertheless, its durability, ease of maintenance and hygiene benefits makes up for its price. 2. NOT SUITED FOR OUTDOOR USE. Although great at holding up in a kitchen environment, quartz countertops aren’t the best choice for outdoor use. Prolonged exposure to the elements will quickly fade as the polymer resin and colour pigments react to sunlight and chemicals in the rain and air. It is also more likely to get scratched as conditions are a little less controlled outside of an indoor environment. While that isn’t to say that quartz cannot be used outdoors, there are simply better options to choose from, such as granite, stainless steel or even concrete. 3. NOT PERFECTLY HEAT RESISTANT. While it will not melt and warp like solid surfaces countertops would, placing a hot object directly on quartz is probably going to leave burn marks or obvious discolouration. Using a pad or trivet will completely circumvent this problem, but there are times when you might just forget to use them. Also, what if your little kid started climbing out the window? There won’t be time to look for trivet… So, if you want/need AFFORDABLE quartz for your house countertop, the you should really look for STONE AMPEROR!
Stone suppliers in Singapore carry a wide range of kitchen tops. From natural stone like granite, marble and sandstone to solid surface kitchen tops and engineered quartz stone, each type of stone has its advantages and disadvantages depending on the desired aesthetic tastes and functionality. So how do you choose the right thickness for your countertop? There are several types of kitchen countertop stones which have their own physical characteristics. Depending on each homeowner’s individual lifestyle and expectations, different types of stone would work best. Today, we’ll take a look at the different thicknesses of countertops in production, their advantages and disadvantages. 10-13MM, OR ABOUT 1/2 INCH COUNTERTOPS. One of the first questions you’ll be asked by a stone supplier is the thickness you want. While thicker stones are preferred for their dramatic but minimalist look especially for natural stone or quartz, thin countertops have several advantages that any smart homeowner should consider carefully. THINNER AND LIGHTER. The biggest advantage that thin, 10-13mm countertops provide is lightness. Gravity does nasty things to a heavy slab that’s hanging off a surface, and trying to fasten it vertically would be a technical impossibility without special support systems in place. In many applications where the slabs hang freely and unsupported, excessive weight would jeopardize the structural integrity of the piece if special load-bearing or anchoring system is not in place. They are also much easier to work with and handle and do not require eight people just to move a slab from the ground floor up to your place. Stone Italiana Quartz carries exceptional 13mm quartz kitchen tops in three types of finishes; polished, rock face and grain. FLOATING COUNTERS, WATERFALL EDGES AND MORE. Thin countertops are a lot lighter than thick slabs, which makes it possible to build special applications. These include vertical surfaces such as feature walls, fuller backsplashes and waterfall edges. The sides of a kitchen island is a good example where waterfall edges have a nice touch. Thin slabs also make it possible to build floating counters where they are minimally supported by a foundation. Thin and light countertop slabs are also easier to cut and shape, which lends its suitability to integration work such as installation of a kitchen sink. If necessary, thin slabs can be laminated around a lightweight core material such as wood. This makes the countertop thicker without adding too much weight. 20-30MM, 1 TO 1 ¼ THICK COUNTERTOPS. MORE DURABLE Although heavier, more expensive and less versatile, thicker countertops are more durable than lighter ones; 30mm slabs are less prone to breaking compared to 20mm slabs, which in turn are more durable than 13mm ones. Countertops come in slabs as thick as 40mm or 60mm, but are often too expensive and too heavy for most homes to support. Soft stone such as marble and sandstone benefit significantly from the extra thickness. BUILT TO LAST AND CARRY HEAVIER LOADS. Thick kitchen top stones also last longer, which makes up for the difficult installation and high initial cost. Thick slabs of high-quality stone, especially when well-installed, also bring with it a nice hike in equity value, which alone is enough reason for stone suppliers in Singapore to recommend them. Thicker slabs are also best suited whenever high traffic/usage is expected, and a special emphasis on durability is required; e.g. kitchen tables, bathroom vanities, grilling stations (hard, natural stone like granite provide the best heat resistance), shower seats, decorative cutting boards and coffee tables. MORE KITCHEN TOP EDGE PROFILING OPTIONS. In addition, the extra material provided by thicker countertops gives homeowners more options for kitchen top edge profiling and fashions. You cannot cut deep curves into thin laminated countertops without biting into the laminated core. Edge profiles aren’t just for aesthetic purposes. For safety reasons, many interior designers and home owners opt for the bullnose edge profile, which is not something you want to accidentally hit.