Quartz is one of the strongest materials on the planet, which makes it ideal for your new countertop space. The durability, customizability and beauty of quartz make it a designer's and a homeowner's dream. Quartz starts as crystals in the ground and goes through an interesting process to become a countertop: read on to learn more.
Quartz is the second most commonly found mineral on earth, and some varieties of it are considered semi-precious gemstones. It forms a crystalline structure that usually is hexagonal in shape, and this structure makes it one of the hardest minerals on earth. Quartz forms with many different colors quartz countertops, but the most commonly used quartz for countertops is usually whitish or clear.
At the Quarry
Quartz is mined on every inhabited continent on earth. To get to the quartz, heavy machinery and explosives are used to break through any ground or stone blocking access. Once the quartz is exposed, mining is a simple process. Miners can pick up loose crystals with their hands and loosen fixed crystals with shovels and pickaxes.
Unlike other stone countertop materials, quartz does not come in large sheets, so manmade processing is necessary to make it into a solid slab. Once the crystals have been harvested, they are ground up so that they can create countertops. A fine grind allows for a more uniform appearance to the counter, whereas a larger grind allows the countertop to have more sparkle and depth.
Mixing with Resin
The ground up quartz is now mixed with a coloring agent and a small amount of resin to create a hard countertop surface. The amount of color and resin is minimal: only around 3% of a quartz countertop is anything other than pure quartz. Yet the coloring can make a world of difference; you can have a quartz countertop in almost any color imaginable! Other materials may also be added at this point if the client desires, including semi-precious quartz varieties, recycled glass or small flecks of precious metals.
Once mixing is complete, the quartz material is pressed into a mold and then cured in an oven. Molding can be customized to allow for the consumer to determine an edging style and the counter's dimensions. After curing, the countertop is allowed time to harden and cool. At this point, it already has a glossy finish and just needs whatever sink, stove, faucet or fixture holes made before installation.
Once the appropriate fixture holes have been made, your quartz countertop is ready to be installed in your home. Most quartz manufacturers only guarantee work that is professionally installed, so it is recommended that you have a professional install your new quartz countertop. When the adhesive has dried and the fixtures have been mounted on your counter, it is ready for many happy years in your home.