Consumer

/

Home & Leisure

Everyday Cheapskate: The Case for Quartz Countertops

Mary Hunt on

In a recent column, I suggested to a reader that quartz countertops would be a good choice in her quest to find the most durable and easily cared for option, because quartz doesn't stain, doesn't require any kind of sealant and cleans up like a dream. And it's cheaper than granite. In no time, I received this email response:

Dear Mary: I was in the kitchen and bath remodel business for over 30 years. I worked with laminate, granite and quartz. The quartz countertops do not perform better than granite. I had complaints of staining all the time. Also, you cannot set anything hot on them, because it leaves a ring. One more correction you need to make is that quartz is definitely NOT cheaper than granite!! I know from experience. -- Mary Lou

It took only a few hours in research mode for me to realize that Mary Lou is right; I was way too general in my response. Here's what I've learned:

There's quartz, and then there's quartzite. They're often confused but not the same. It's important to know the difference.

Quartzite is natural stone formed from sandstone and quartz, found all over the world. It is mined and sawed into slabs, which are later precisely cut to become countertops.

Quartz, on the other hand, is engineered; factory-made. Ground-up quartz rock is mixed with resins, polymers, binding agents and pigment to form a very hard granite-like product that does not require any sealing in order to resist stains.

Quartz is not super high-heat tolerant, which makes trivets and hot pads absolute must-haves for use on quartz counters. The resin used to make quartz is plastic making it prone to damage and even melting if a very hot pan is set directly on the surface.

Quartz is hard but not hard enough to hold up against chopping and cutting on it directly. Always use a cutting board to avoid ugly scratches.

--Sponsored Video--

While quartz will resist permanent staining from wine, vinegar, tea, lemon juice, fruits and vegetables, it's a good idea to wipe up all spills immediately before they have a chance to dry. Use a mild dishwashing detergent like Blue Dawn and a soft cloth.

For dried spills and heavy stains, use glass cleaner and a nonabrasive sponge. Keep a plastic putty knife handy to scrape off gum, food, nail polish, paint or other messes that have hardened.

For really tough stains -- permanent marker, for example -- moisten a cloth with Goo Gone (found in some home improvement stores and online) and rub it into the stain. Rinse thoroughly with warm water followed by mild dishwashing detergent to remove any residue.

Never use abrasive cleansers or scouring pads on quartz, as both may dull the surface. Fortunately, soapy water will usually be all you need. And should harsh solutions like nail polish remover, drain cleaner and dishwasher rinsing agents come in contact with the quartz, rinse the surface immediately and thoroughly with water.

As for price comparison to granite, there's no set answer. Sometimes quartz is cheaper; sometimes not. You have to shop around!

========

Mary invites questions, comments and tips at mary@everydaycheapskate.com, or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com, a personal finance member website and the author of "Debt-Proof Living," released in 2014. To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

Copyright 2018 Creators Syndicate Inc.
 

Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus

Social Connections

Comics

Blondie One Big Happy Aunty Acid Mike Luckovich Zack Hill Long Story Short