Quartz countertops are a huge contender in the countertop market. It’s durable, non-porous, and more affordable than granite or other natural stones. That’s right, quartz is not a “natural” stone. Meaning that the slabs are made in a factory, not extracted from a quarry. It is made from natural quartz material, however. Confusing? don’t worry, we’re going to share exactly where quartz countertops come from and how they’re made.
Quartz Crystal Extraction
First, clusters of quartz are extracted from the ground, usually in pit mines. Because quartz can be damaged if it is suddenly exposed to a change in temperature explosives are rarely used. Instead, mining operations use bulldozers and backhoes to remove soil and expose the quartz crystal veins. It’s then dug out in clusters. The good news is that Quartz is the second most abundant material in the earth’s crust, making the use of quartz very environmentally sustainable.
The clusters of quartz are carefully weighed so manufactures can be sure there is an adequate amount of the crystals in the final product. The exact percentage varies slightly depending on the brand, but the goal is to reach about 90% quartz
Once the proper amount is weighed out, it’s crushed and combined with polyester resins, pigments, and more. This is the cool part. Engineered stone can replicate the look of natural stone or be turned into something completely new you’d never find in nature. The possibilities are endless.
Making The Slabs
After everything is mixed up into the right quartz potion it’s poured into a mold and pressed into slabs. The use of vacuums and vibration helps to remove all of the air. The slabs are then baked using a special process of heat and pressure, making them non-porous and resistant to bacteria growth.
Finishing the Quartz Countertops
Once the slabs have been pressed and cured they’re finished. Traditionally quartz countertops were done with a polished finish, but now there a lot of options from high gloss to matte.
Are you interested in using quartz for your next project? Let our expert staff help you find the perfect stone for you!