Low-maintenance engineered quartz infuses kitchens and baths with permanence and beauty. Engineered quartz is quickly rising in popularity as a stone surface in kitchen and bath design. And for good reason: It can be used for anything from countertops to tub surrounds. Essentially a hybrid of natural stone and solid-surfacing, this material is typically made of 93 percent quartz and 7 percent polymer resins, which bind the quartz particles together and supply color. Unlike granite and other types of stone, natural quartz forms in clusters rather than in large blocks -- that's why it must be engineered.
Easy to clean and maintain, engineered quartz is among the hardest mineral materials; only diamond and a few others are harder. It's scorch and stain-resistant: Not even coffee, nail polish remover, and bacteria can penetrate it. Because engineered quartz is uniform in appearance, it lacks the pattern variations of natural stone.
Engineered-quartz countertops generally cost $50 to $100 per square foot, comparable to granite. But look further than price, urges Kathy Johnson, National Kitchen & Bath Association member and showroom manager at The Bath & Kitchen Showplace in Houston. "You get more for your money with quartz," Johnson says. "You'll never have to reseal it, and maintenance is much lower." Plus, engineered quartz is available in a wide variety of options and applications.
Engineered quartz can be used for a variety of indoor applications:
-- Vanity tops
-- Shower wall cladding
-- Tub surrounds