Engineered Quartz

Engineered Quartz Information

Engineered Quartz

In the stone industry, there are a number of options when it comes to choosing a material for a kitchen or bathroom countertop. One of the more popular materials is quartz. Also referred to as engineered quartz, this man made material has proven to be very popular for surfaces for homeowners, business owners, and even architects and interior design professionals use this material. What is engineered quartz? What are its properties and characteristics? Also, what should be considered if you plan on fabricating with it? We will take a look at those questions and some other basic tips in this post.

What Is Engineered Quartz?

When people hear the word “quartz”, they automatically think of the natural mineral that forms in the earth. And why wouldn’t they? After all it is a mineral and is a memorable material. In fact, if you have ever seen it, you will probably remember it for some time. It often times has a crystalline look. However, the quartz we are talking about here, is the surface material that is engineered into slabs for use as a hard surface. So what is this engineered quartz made of?

There are people that are under the impression that quartz countertops are made from slabs of quartz. However, quartz countertops are man made surfaces. So let’s look briefly at what engineered quartz is. Engineered quartz is a combination of:

  • Coloring Pigments
  • Resins and Polymers
  • Crushed Quartz Mineral

The amount of each ingredient that goes into a given slab varies from one manufacturer to the next. Usually though, the mix is in the neighborhood of greater than 90% quartz and/or other raw materials and less than 10% resin, polymers, and coloring pigments. Additionally, these figures are based on weight. Each manufacturer uses its own mixture, so you will find that the amounts vary somewhat. The mixture is pressed into sheets and heated to form a slab (or sheet) of material. Once the slab gets a finish, whether polished or one of the other finishes, it is ready to be sold.

So quartz is a man made surface material that is composed of resin, raw materials (principally quartz mineral), and coloring pigments. So what are the properties of this popular countertop material?

Properties of Quartz

As you may be aware, the mineral quartz is a very hard material. In fact, it registers a 7 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. This translates into desirable properties when then mineral quartz is used as a primary ingredient for surfaces. So what are some of the properties of a quartz countertop? First, quartz is non-porous. This makes it very resistant to certain kinds of stains. Liquids stay one the surface of the material so they can be easily wiped up. This is unlike other materials that might allow liquids to penetrate the pores of the slab and discolor the material in that way.

Second, quartz surfaces are also scratch resistant because of the hardness mentioned earlier. This does not mean you can use them as cutting surfaces. Nor does it mean to scrub them with abrasives. Rather, it means you need not worry about them getting scratched through normal wear and tear on a daily basis.

Finally, there is a large range of colors available. And while the color availability may seem like a small thing, this property is an important one. And as we will see later on in our discussion, there are a wide variety of quartz colors available.

Uses for Quartz

Quartz is a versatile material and is used in a variety of applications. For example, quartz surfaces include:

  • Showers
  • Worktops
  • Ceilings
  • Flooring
  • Staircases
  • Wall Panels
  • Vanity Tops
  • Kitchen Countertops
  • Bathroom Countertops

The diversity of engineered quartz is not surprising given the appeal of its properties. Since so many surfaces rely on being cleanable and scratch resistant, quartz is definitely a good material to consider for the aforementioned uses.

Quartz Colors and Brands

One of the appealing properties that quartz countertops offer is that they are available in a number of colors. Furthermore, the wide color range is one reason that people choose quartz for their surfaces. Additionally, there is no shortage of quartz brands, each of which produces quartz slabs in its own color palette. The following is a list of quartz brands, each with its own color palette:

Fabricating Quartz

Fabricating engineered quartz brings with it some specific things to know. In this part of the post, we will briefly mention some of the need-to-know information that helps when fabricating engineered quartz.

Dust collection is one of the important things that needs to be kept in mind when fabricating engineered quartz. This is not a factor for only engineered quartz, but it is an important factor. Why is dust collection important when fabricating engineered quartz? One of the main reasons is that engineered stone may contain significantly more silica than does natural stone. As a result, this means it is at least as important to manage and control dust by means of dust collectors and water filtration systems when working with engineered stone as it is when fabricating natural stone. Additionally, there are benefits to water filtration and dust collection for fabrication shops that utilize these safety methods.

Another factor to consider when fabricating engineered quartz is that it is important to know about which polishing techniques are best for engineered stone. Using the best polishing pads for quartz or the proper polishing environment with quality polishing pads will get the best results when working with polishing pads.

So as we have seen, engineered quartz is not a slab of quartz that is cut out of the earth, but it is a man made material that is composed primarily of the mineral quartz and is a very versatile material that is available in a range of colors by multiple manufacturers. It does offer some benefits and there is specific information that is necessary for working with it. Additionally, best practices include fabricating with dust collection, water treatment, and proper polishing techniques.