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If you love the way granite looks but are concerned about its drawbacks, quartz (engineered stone) may be the answer. Engineered stone is uniform in color, pattern, and texture which unlike granite makes it much easier to provide for nearly invisible seam matching. It provides nearly all of the benefits of natural stone without the maintenance.

Quartz is the most abundant mineral in the world. It has a hard, glossy appearance. Its crystalline form makes quartz a light-reflective, semiprecious gemstone. Next to the diamond, quartz is considered one of the hardest minerals, registering a solid 7 on the Mohs scale.  (Granite is ranked 6 on the scale).

To make a quartz slab, raw quartz crystals ranging from coarse grains to rock salt in size are ground and combined with resin and color, then heated and vibrated to form an impenetrable surface. The result is 93% quartz and 7% resin and pigmentation.

Unless a quartz countertops is made with 93 percent quartz it cannot claim the hardness, durability, or impermeability of a true quartz surface. Engineered stone products are non-porous and because of this require no maintenance. It provides stain and bacterial resistance which makes it a perfect countertop choice for commercial settings such as daycare centers, hospitals and foodservice providers.

Because the crushed stone can be mixed with pigment, you’ll find quartz countertops in colors that may not be found in nature. Take advantage of this fact and choose a color that matches perfectly with what you had in mind, all while still looking like a stone slab.  One thing that you may like about a quartz countertop as well is that you can have your sink integrated into the countertop just like you can with with solid surface countertops.

Quartz countertops come in various styles and are know by their brand or manufacturer. Some of the more popular and quality brands are Ceasarstone, Cambria, Silestone and Zodiaq.