If you are going to undertake a kitchen makeover, one of the most important factors is the worktops. This is because from the point of view of cooking they are going to be in constant use, and from the point of view of appearance they are going to be very apparent, whatever material you choose for them. It is a decision that is not to be made lightly.
Today, more and more homeowners are going for stone worktops for a number of good reasons, as we are well aware at Marble & Granite. They are cool to the touch – especially marble – which is good for rolling out pastry. They are relatively durable, although some such as marble can get scratched. But very importantly, natural stone worktops are all created from individual slabs, each of which is unique. Many have swirls and veins in them and come in a range of colours. They can also have a polished finish which many people love, or they can have a more matte appearance as required.
Many people believe, quite rightly, that quartz is a natural stone, and it is true that it is. It is the second most abundant rock on the planet, so there is a lot of it about, and it is used to make worktops – but not in its’ natural state. This is where some confusion creeps in. Quartz worktops in North London – or anywhere else – are made from engineered quartz, but the confusion is that most people still refer to them as quartz worktops.
Engineered, or man-made, quartz worktops are made by taking the natural stone and grinding it down into fine particles. To this are added polymers and resins which bind the particles together, along with pigments to provide colour to the finished quartz slab. Sometimes, recycled glass specks or metal flecks are added to jazz up the design.
Engineered quartz worktops have several benefits, not the least of which is that they are totally non-porous. This is perfect for something upon which you are going to prepare food because it means that there is no way that any bacteria can get into the slab. In order to keep them clean, all that quartz worktops need is a quick wipe over with some soap and water, or even just a damp cloth.
Quartz worktops are very durable and hardy and very difficult to scratch or chip, although as with all worktops one shouldn’t take liberties. On the Moh’s scale of hardness, quartz is rated at 7. Diamond, which is the hardest stone, is 10, while by contrast marble is typically rated at between 3 and 5.
Furthermore, because quartz worktops are non-porous, they will never need sealing, unlike marble or granite for instance, which will need to be sealed on a regular basis.
Some manufacturers of quartz worktops provide very long warranties. Silestone, for example, offers a 25-year warranty that the quartz worktops will be free from manufacturing defects, and if you sell your home the warranty can be transferred to a new owner.
Another feature of quartz worktops is that the stone can be produced in a wide range of different colours and these will be the same all the way through the slab. True, many people love the huge range of variations that come with many natural stones such as marble, granite, and so on, with all the different veins and patterns that appear according to the different minerals that were included at the time of formation of the rock. However, if you are not a fan of these and want a worktop that is exactly the same colour all the way through, then quartz may be an ideal choice.
With that said, some manufacturers also make quartz slabs that have designs in them to look like marble or granite, so you can have the benefits of quartz yet the appearance of natural stone.
If quartz worktops have a downside, it is that they can be quite pricey. The other thing to watch out for is that they are not totally heat resistant. This is because of the polymers and resins that they contain, which can melt if a hot pan straight off the hob is place on the worktop. Those two points aside, there is a lot to be said for choosing quartz for your worktops.