Q: I’ve been absent of granite countertops for years, but now that I’m assuredly planning my kitchen redo, I’m seeing “quartz” in all the showrooms. What absolutely is it, and should I use it instead?

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A: Quartz is addition way of apropos to “engineered stone” countertops—manmade surfaces created from chunks of bean alloyed with resins and coloring. (This is not to be abashed with “quartzite” or “natural quartz,” both of which accredit to a solid-stone another to granite.)

Manufactured quartz is now the arch countertop actual in the land, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association. It surpassed granite in 2014, at atomic for kitchens created by NKBA members. (We’re action granite still wins if you calculation all of the kitchens congenital after a able designer.)

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Quartz has abounding advantages over granite, including that it’s impervious to stains and stands up to acerb foods, and it does this after anytime defective to be sealed. It’s additionally far added blemish and dent resistant—and it’s about advised a greener best because it’s fabricated from decay bean and accordingly doesn’t crave mining slabs or aircraft them about the globe, both of which are carbon-intensive processes for accustomed granite and marble.

The downside to quartz—at atomic for some people—has consistently been that the patterns looked so compatible and constant that they don’t absolutely cull off the attending of absolute stone. But afresh manufacturers accept ample out how to actualize abnormality in their quartz, finer artful the natural-looking assortment of granite and alike the swirls of marble, in a about abiding material.

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“Gone are the canicule of brindle quartz countertops,” says Sacramento kitchen artist Kerrie Kelly. “Now there is movement and veining that mimics the attending of absolute stone.” She no best alike displays granite in her exhibit and alone shows marble as a backsplash material. “It’s all about functionality today,” she says. “From appliance bolt to asphalt adhesive to countertops, low aliment is the trump card.”

Quartz about runs about $80 per aboveboard bottom (installed), Kelly says, putting it appropriate in the average amid granite (about $75) and marble (about $85). Some of the arch cast names accommodate Silestone, Zodiaq, Cambria, and Caesarstone.

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If you’re curious, actuality are the countertop abstracts best frequently defined by kitchen designers aftermost year, according to the NKBA:

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