Many people know that quartz countertops are different from natural stone countertops. Quartz countertops are a type of manufactured stone, made by binding together space-age plastic resins with ground-up particles of stone. Quartz countertops are unusual in more ways than people realize.
Quartz Countertops Aren’t Fully Quartz
Quartz countertops have some quartz in them, but no quartz countertops are fully made of quartz. At least 10% of the volume of a quartz countertop is made up of a cement-based or polymeric binder. The rest is made up of crushed up waste marble, granite, and natural stone or recycled industrial wastes like silica, glass, ceramic, mirrors, etc. There may be some actual quartz, perhaps even a substantial amount. The mixture of all this rock material is what gives quartz countertop its natural stone look and feel.
A quartz countertop should then be thought of as engineered or compound stone, to better describe how they are created. Indeed many industry experts are increasingly referring to it as an engineered stone.
Quartz Countertops Are Based on One Patent
In 1963, the Italian firm, Breton S.p.a, developed the technology that allowed quartz countertops to be engineered and licensed it as Bretonstone®. The process involves blending a mix of polymers with pulverized natural stone, sucking out the air, then heating and molding the mixture into slabs which will be as hard as stone and look like it as well.
Over 50 companies across the world have licenced Bretonstone technology, including Caesarstone, Cambria, and Silestone. Now, all manufacturers attempt to add their unique stamp to quartz countertops, but they are all using Bretonstone technology as the basis of their work. A lot of work goes into making quartz countertops that have unique looks. For example, there are quartz countertops which have fragments of mirrors and other types of glass, metal filings from brass, Some forms of quartz countertops now include fragments of mirrors and other glass, different mixtures of marble and granite, and brass metal filings.
There’s a Cheese Connection
Cambria quartz countertops make up a large share of the American market quartz countertops, but that is not all: the Davis family owned business, based in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, also makes cheese. The company began as a dairy business in the 1930s, before gradually expanding into a conglomerate of several businesses, Le Sueur Cheese COmpany, St Peter Creamery, and Nicollet Food Products. In 200, the Davis family entered the engineered stone business when they purchased quartz processing equipment. The same company that makes a large chunk of quartz countertops in America, still supplies around a third of a billion pounds of cheese every year to Kraft Foods.
Most Quartz is Not Used for Countertops
Homeowners tend to associate quartz with bathroom or kitchen counters, but the majority of quartz is used for Prada floors, shopping malls, and airports. There is a good chance you have walked on or seen quartz countertop material and never known it. Indeed, inventor Marcello Toncelli first used quartz to make mini slabs for floor tiles.