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Quartz Countertops for Kitchen...

Countertop trends: The Quartz invasion

By The Vancouver Sun January 10, 2008

If you're in the market for a new premium countertop surface and you think you'll be selecting granite, think again. After all of your research you'll probably end up selecting the highest rated and most popular option available - quartz.

Quartz countertops are the new worry-free, elegant alternative to high-maintenance granite. They are stronger than granite, require no resealing, are highly resistant to scratches and stains, and come in a huge variety of colours.

You've seen and felt it in homes across the country, in your local trendy coffee shops, in banks, high end restaurants, spas, salons and hotels. Quartz surfaces have been used in upscale homes around the world for more than 15 years but have more recently entered the North American market in grandiose fashion.

Thanks to increased manufacturer product development, quartz premium countertops are in high demand as a must-have in new and remodeled homes and businesses throughout the country.

"Quartz surfaces are experiencing incredible growth which is driven by the style, luxury and durability quartz delivers," explained Mark Hanna, President of Leeza Distribution Inc., distributor of HanStone Fine Quartz Surfaces.

According to the recent Freedonia Group Report on countertop industry trends, there has been a definite shift in the marketplace over the last few years as quartz has become the fastest growing market segment in the industry with 13 per cent growth compared to granite's five per cent.

Quartz has become the elegant answer for those who love the look of granite but are concerned about its drawbacks. Unlike granite, which can be permanently stained by cooking oils and grease, or etched by the acids in common household products, quartz is resistant to these stain hazards.

"Quartz surfaces are growing in popularity because they have the appearance of natural stone, but unlike granite, these surfaces never need to be sealed," Hanna said. "Quartz is a non-porous material, which means it will not promote the growth of mold, mildew or bacteria. This is why our HanStone surfaces are certified NSF 51 (with the National Sanitation Foundation)."

And while granite is subject to unpredictable variations in colour or pattern between slabs, making matching of sections of countertops difficult, quartz is an engineered stone which is consistent in colour pattern and texture.

Quartz (Silicon Dioxide) is the most common mineral on the earth's surface. It is present in nearly every geological environment and is a component of almost every rock type and exists in an impressive range of varieties of patterns and colours.

Quartz countertops are manufactured with up to 93 percent quartz and seven percent pigments and resins. This prescribed mixture results in a product that is non-porous, exceedingly durable, and more than twice as strong as granite.

In fact, Consumer Reports Magazine rated quartz as the top performer among countertop materials such as granite, ceramic tile, stainless steel, laminate, marble, limestone and concrete when it came to resisting prime kitchen hazards such as stains, heat and scratches.

The top rated quartz surface in the industry by designers, architects and developers alike is HanStone because it contains a higher quartz content than the norm and includes clear and multiple quartz colours bringing greater depth, dimension and style to its surfaces.

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