quartz benchtop

Quartz is one of the more popular benchtop choices we see installed for our customers. And while there’s no perfect kitchen benchtop, quartz is certainly a fantastic option. With a strong balance of design aesthetics, durability, and cost-effectiveness, it’s clear to see why so many opt for this material. Nothing upscales a kitchen quite as effectively as stone. With that said, it’s important you also understand the potential issues with quartz and the subsequent workarounds. When used in the right setting and cared for appropriately, you’ll enjoy your quartz benchtop for years to come.

1) Heat Resistance

It is not the actual quartz that is the problem, but the embedded resin and polymer fillers that burn. When you take a hot dish out of the microwave and place it down, it can quickly melt the resins which lead to permanent damage. This can manifest as a cloudy type of appearance, or undesirable burn marks. This of course means that hot cookware should never be placed directly on your quartz benchtop. If the workspace is limited in your kitchen, this can be a functional challenge while juggling several pots and pans.

The obvious solution is to use hot pads, trivets, coasters, and other similar types of protective items. These do indeed work well and are your first line of defence. It is also possible that old burn marks can sometimes be repaired. If you have a bothersome spot, it is worth having a professional inspect the area. The cost and success of the repair will depend on how severe the damage is.

2) Keeping the Cost Down

Quartz is not the highest priced option for kitchen benchtops, but it’s also not the lowest. This does not mean it cannot be affordable, however. We asked our design experts for the single most cost-saving tip they could offer. The solution as it turns out is so simple you could easily overlook it. It all boils down to making your design measurements work to your advantage. If you calculate your desired dimensions to fit within the size of a single quartz sheet, it brings your raw material costs down. At Archant, our selection of quartz is available in large sizes measuring 3200x1600 with a thickness of 20mm. Using these specs, you can create your layout using just one sheet as opposed to two or more.

3) Discolouration from UV Rays

Much like a car’s paint can fade in sunny regions, quartz can also get discoloured from strong UV rays. This is not common indoors, however, as the glass in most windows reduces the effects of the rays. If you are designing an outdoor space though, a better benchtop option is porcelain which will not be affected by the sun. For kitchens with an abundance of natural sunlight, consider a lighter colour such as white, beige, or grey. Fading with these options will not be as apparent as it is with black and other dark selections.

4) Cleaning and Maintenance

Let’s face it, we’re going to spill things in the kitchen on occasion. And while it’s often tempting to just leave it until after mealtime, you should clean them up right away. Quartz has a non-porous quality which means that liquids won’t penetrate the surface easily. This also makes it quite hygienic since the bacteria have nowhere to hide and grow. One potential area of concern though is with acidic foods and beverages like coffee, red wine, and citrus. If these spills are left to dry, they can potentially stain or leave a sticky residue behind. Thankfully, the clean-up of a quartz benchtop is quite straightforward. You don’t need a special cleaning product or sealant for the most effective maintenance. Warm soapy water with a non-abrasive cloth or sponge will get the job done without harming the surface. We recommend avoiding harsh cleansers with degreasing solutions or bleach as they can negatively impact the beautiful lustre of quartz.

5) It’s Durable but not Scratch Proof

Being comprised of both natural and manufactured properties, quartz is one of the more durable benchtop materials on the market. It’s typically made of 93% natural quartz and 7% resins. It’s this high percentage of quartz that makes it highly scratch-resistant. With normal use, noticeable scratches will be quite uncommon. Like most stones though, it’s not indestructible. Using intense pressure or heavy force can leave a mark. To keep quartz looking its best, it is advisable to use a cutting board when prepping food as knives can leave permanent scratches.

Do the Pros Outweigh the Cons?

We know the kitchen is one of the most highly-trafficked and utilized areas of a home. As such, it needs to be able to meet the demands of daily life. Can it stand up to the rigours of your family’s needs, or would you be better suited with porcelain? In a detailed review on quartz, Forbes magazine recently concluded, “If your budget allows the inclusion of high-end countertops, quartz may be the right material to meet your demands.” Cared for properly, we believe they can last for several decades and even the life of a home. For added peace of mind, we provide a 12-year warranty on all quartz benchtops.

Where Should I Go from Here?

Like most big design decisions, you’ll want to consider all the above variables carefully. And while educating yourself is always a great start, perhaps the next best step is to order a sample or pop into a showroom to speak with a design expert in your area. You can even download a catalogue as a PDF to kickstart your creativity. We’d love to help organise your next project.