A Comparative Look at Top Brands of Quartz Countertops
Quartz countertops are a recent entrant to the stone countertop market. It was once a feature presented by interior designers to homeowners hoping to provide an alternative to marble and granite countertops. However, because it used to be even more expensive than granite and marble, it took a while before it gained traction with the residential market. Today, quartz countertops are giving natural stones a run for their money. More homeowners are getting on board with engineered stones for their kitchens as many cannot really tell the difference between them and natural stones.
This is not surprising, as quartz countertops can appearance of any natural stone, down to the solid and rich colors and patterns.
Quartz countertops contain pigments, resins and adhesives that bind the material together, achieving a consistency that is absent in natural stones. Purists say that it is not the same as the real thing, and they would be right. Quartz stone is something else entirely.
Quartz stone is available from different manufacturers under various brand names. While each brand has unique characteristics that differentiate them from the others, they all share one thing in common: the technology. Manufacturers of quartz stones, also known as engineered stones, all use the Bretonstone technology, pioneered by the Breton company half a century ago, the brainchild of Marcello Toncelli. The Breton company owns the patent and issued licenses to 52 companies from all over the world to use the machine and technology to produce quartz stones used in US homes today.
All quartz stone brands share the following characteristics:
• Approximately 93% quartz, which gives engineered stone a distinct feel and appearance, as opposed to the 66% mineral content of solid surface materials
• Elimination of impurities and softer minerals from using the Bretonstone process, which makes quartz stone harder and more durable than granite, which naturally has a quantity of these impurities and soft minerals
• Nonabsorbent, at 0.5% water absorption, similar to the water absorption rate of porcelain tile
• Heat resistant up to 360 degrees Fahrenheit for a short period as quartz is heatproof, but the binders are not, so prolonged exposure to high heat will damage the stone
• Edge profiles are built into the stone, not fabricated as the case with natural stones
The similarities of quartz stone brands are often hidden from sight. Visible differences between the brands include:
Each brand has a distinct range of stone designs, including color, mineral shape and size, striations, and streaks. Many brands add unique design characteristics, such as inclusion of recycled materials, shimmery material, and textures.
Each brand offers custom sizes to fit a particular project. Most buyers prefer to keep seams to a minimum, so it is possible to have a slab size and cutouts made to order and delivered ready for installation.
Quartz stone manufacturers all offer some type of warranty, but they vary in limitations, transferability, and length.
Quartz slabs are more affordable today than when they first came out, but the price depends on the manufacturer and their negotiations with wholesale buyers. Most manufacturers sell only to stone suppliers and installer, not direct to the consumers.
Below is a brief history and description of the largest manufacturers of quartz countertops in the US. These top brands offer the widest range of options in terms of design.
The most recognized brand in quartz countertops, at least in the US, Silestone is actually just one brand by Cosentino, a company based in Italy. Silestone countertops are known for its use of vibrant and bold solid colors not found in other quartz countertop brands and not in natural stones, such as orange, red, green, and blue.
These countertops have 142 colors available. You can get any of these countertops in one of 15 edge profiles. One of three textures, and one of three thicknesses (1.2, 2, and 3 cm).
Silestone also offers shower pans, vanities, and sinks to match their countertops. The Silestone warranty is 25 years, transferable but limited.
Caesarstone is the self-proclaimed “original quartz surface manufacturer,” which is not precisely true as the Breton company is the original. However, it is one of the first to bring quartz countertops to the mainstream home market.
Based in Israel, the company was founded in 1987. Currently operates two factories: one in the Bar Lev Industrial Zone, and another at the Kibbutz Sdot Yam. The quartz countertop industry supplanted the traditional terrazzo tile businesses, which were falling out of favor in the global market.
Caesarstone quartz countertops go beyond the typical stone designs. Some countertop lines include unusual components, such as petrified wood and semi-precious stones embedded in its Concetto Collection. Lace and crocodile skin textures are the unique feature of the Motivo Collection.
Caesarstone offers 53 distinct designs in 8 edge profiles. You can choose smooth, matte, or satin textures, and in 2 or 3 cm thickness. It has a lifetime warranty for the original buyer, and transferable on a 10-year pro-rata basis.
Cambria started out as a dairy product supplier in Minnesota in 1936, only going into the business of producing quartz countertops in 2000. It is a relatively new company in the industry. But managed to triple the size of the original 150,000 square foot plant within five years of entering the business. It is the only US based quartz countertop company in existence. And has the widest selection of quartz countertop colors, designs, sizes, and edge treatments.
Some contractors choose Cambria because it looks natural and has an excellent smooth finish and polish. In addition, it is available in larger slab sizes, and has a simple price structure, which benefits project handles and suppliers.
You cannot find Cambria quartz countertops in big box stores, however. You have to go to kitchen or bathroom remodeling company. Buy it from their accredited interior designers, contractors, or architects.
Cambria has 133 designs in 19 edge profiles. It is available fine, heavy, or mixed textures, and 1, 2 or 3 cm thicknesses. It offers a lifetime limited warranty to the original buyer, but it is not transferable.
If you are considering quartz countertops for your kitchen, you can order it through Granite ASAP. We carry a wide range of the best engineered stone brands in the country as well as natural stones. Over 100 colors of granite and marble slabs are available at our Chantilly, Virginia showroom. If you prefer engineered stone, we can offer you products from the top three brands described above as well as quartz countertops from MSI brands. You can choose what you want and we will deliver it ASAP!
We service the state of Virginia, including the cities of Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church, Fairfax, Chantilly, Herndon, Centreville, Tysons, and Washington DC.
Feel free to ask any questions over the phone, or get in touch using our contact form. We offer free estimates and quotes for any of your kitchen remodeling or bathroom remodeling needs.