Quartz countertops have been around since the 1970s, but it has only become the top choice for kitchen countertops in the last year or so. Designers considered it a “fad” when it first came out as an option when marble and granite countertops were not available, mostly because it was manmade and quite expensive to boot.
The early brands made a point of making their products look as much as natural stones as possible, which further enhanced its reputation as a novelty. However, it has since gained a following among designers and homeowners alike, and only the most discerning can distinguish it from natural stones. There are about 50 different brand names of quartz countertops available in the market today. Here is a brief overview of the top brands.
Quartz stone is a type of engineered stone. Many types of engineered stones are available, but the ones containing quartz are among the most popular. Quartz countertops can mimic the look of natural stones quite well, although with much more consistency than you would expect from naturally formed stones. However, they are almost natural stones in some ways.
Quartz stone for countertops come under different brand names, and each brand is unique in terms of style, color, and designs. However, they do have some important commonalities. All engineered quartz countertops have undergone the same process: the patented Bretonstone technology developed by Marcello Toncelli.
Owner of the Breton Company located in Italy, Toncelli perfected the system of binding minerals with resins and pigments to create a highly durable, beautiful material for countertops and other building uses. The company licensed more than 50 companies globally to use this technology to produce their own products.
Other characteristics shared by all quartz stone brands include:
• A minimum of 90% quartz content, which produces the distinctive appearance and much-vaunted durability of engineered quartz countertops; solid surface countertops contain only 66% minerals
• The absence of softer minerals and other impurities as a result of using Bretonstone technology; this makes quartz countertops harder than granite, which does contain a mix of these relatively softer mixes as part of its formation
• They have the same rate of water absorption as porcelain tile (approx 0.5%), which makes them ideal for use as kitchen countertops as well as bathroom vanity tops, wall tiles, and flooring
• Ability to withstand temperatures up to 360 degrees Fahrenheit for short periods without sustaining permanent damage; sustained exposure to high temperatures affect the resins in the stone, not the quartz, but it will still damage the countertops
• Quartz stone manufacturers build in the edge profiles, as opposed to fabricating them in granite or marble slabs
While quartz countertop brands do have many similarities, these are not obvious to the casual observer. The differences, on the other hand, are visible.
Quartz stone brands have proprietary designs that distinguish them from each other. These include the shape, size, and placement of the crystals streaks, and striations, as well as the colors and combinations. Some brands put in distinctive characteristics to their design, such as recycled substances, textures, and even glitter.
Standard sizes do prevail for all stone slabs for countertops, although quartz stone brands can offer custom sizes for particular products. In some cases, a client can have a slab customized so that there are no seams. Not all brands offer this option, however.
As an engineered product, most of the top quartz stone brands offer some type of warranty to their clients. However, these warranties vary greatly in their terms and conditions, so it pays to read the fine print.
While quartz stones are much more affordable today, they are still typically more expensive than natural stones. Some quartz styles and brands are also more expensive than others are. The price may also depend on negotiations between the manufacturer and the supplier, as quartz stone manufacturers do not sell directly to end users.
You will find a brief overview of the top brands of quartz countertops in the US with the widest design offerings.
Caesarstone claims to be the “original quartz surface manufacturer,” perhaps because it was one of the first companies to get a license from the Breton company and bring it to the mainstream. Technically, however, they would still not be the “original.” That said, it is still one of the top quartz stone companies in the US.
Caesarstone comes out of Israel, founded more than three decades ago, and manufactured in two areas: the Kibbutz Sdot Yam and the Bar Lev Industrial Zone. It supplanted the native terrazzo tile industry, which was already becoming unpopular globally.
The design lines of Caesarstone quartz countertops are distinctive, using uncommon materials such as semi-precious gems and petrified wood piece (Concetto Collection). You might also find crocodile skin, and lace textures (Motivo Collection).
You will find 53 Caesarstone design lines in 2 and 3 cm thicknesses, available in eight edge profiles, and a variety of textures, including satin, smooth, and matte. The company offers a lifetime warranty with conditional transferability.
You probably recognize the Silestone brand more than any other for quartz countertops in the US. However, Silestone is just one product by Italian company Cosentino, which also produces other types of surfaces.
Silestone is distinctive in the quartz countertop arena. Because it uses bold and vibrant colors for their design lines, many of which you will not find in natural tones. They have 142 color varieties with 15 types of edge profiles. You can also choose one with an option of three thicknesses and three textures.
Silestone also has a line of sinks, vanities, and shower pans to go with their quartz countertops. Cosentino provides a 25-year limited, transferable warranty for its Silestone brand.
You may be surprised to learn that Cambria, one of the top quartz brands, was actually not into manufacturing at all, but in the dairy business. This Minnesota-based company started out in 1936 and became a major supplier of dairy product in the US. It only began manufacturing quartz countertops in 2000, when it acquired a license for the Bretonstone process.
It began small with just a 150,000 square foot factory, but quickly tripled its production in the next five years. Today, it is the only quartz stone company in the US. It has a large range of design (133), colors, edge profiles (19), and sizes.
The key to rapid rise of Cambria in the quartz stone industry was its smooth polish and natural looks. Designers and homeowners like it because you can get it in large slabs. Suppliers like it because it has an uncomplicated price structure.
Like most quartz stone brands, you cannot purchase it from non-specialty establishments. Cambria deals only with remodeling companies, accredited contractors, and selected architects and interior designers. It offers a limited lifetime, non-transferable warranty.
Quartz countertops are definitely a contender for your next kitchen remodel, and it might be wise to stick to the recognized brands in the industry. You can get them from reputable countertop specialists in your area. If you are in the areas of Columbus, Ohio, Delaware cities, Lancaster and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, then Keystone Granite & Tile can help you.
Our showrooms in Lancaster and Horsham, Pennsylvania as well as New Castle, Delaware and Columbus, Ohio. We will walk you through each slab and explain how each can benefit you in your kitchen or bathroom remodel. We carry the top brands in the industry such as Cambria, Caesarstone, Silestone, and MSI, all with manufacturer warranties.
Once you have chosen your slabs, we provide free professional design consultation and quotes so you know exactly where you are before committing. We also have a quick turnaround, so you will get your products on time and on budget. We are experts at fabricating and installing engineered quartz, marble, and granite countertops, so you can be confident that you will get the very best in product and service quality.
Give us a call or send us an inquiry through our website to set the ball rolling!