quartz vs granite counter tops

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snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net wrote:

We all can agree on what granite is, but some of the comments in this thread seem to have some fixed definition of what quartz is, which is misleading. Unless you mean a sheet of quartz (glass?), which I don't think you do, you have some brand name in mind. For example, Granite Transformations' Cristallino product is fragments of glass and other hard aggregates held together with binder. This is a veneer product made for retrofits. There are full solid countertops at Home Depot with the brandname Silestone, and some of the patterns contain glass bits. There's also another brandname that I forget. None of these products will burn or scratch. They are functionally superior to natural granite and Corian. They don't require sealing because they are not porous like granite. They do come in some nice patterns, glass chips give a nice depth. However none of them have the natural veins that granite can have.
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Some misinformation above: Quartz is not glass: quartz is crystalline, and twice as hard as, say, window glass. Silestone is over 90 per cent quartz, no glass at all, but a fair amount of plastic. Granite cannot be dismissed as functionally inferior to Silestone, Zodiaq, etc. Sealing granite takes 10-20 minutes to seal - for a whole kitchen - once a year.
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Roger Taylor wrote:

If you going to call anything misinformation, you ned to be able to back it up, when in fact, you've reinforced my statements.

I didn't say it was glass, I asked whether it was. Hence the question mark. If quartz is harder than glass, it wrecks your argument, not mine.

OK, so it contains quartz, not glass. So it is even harder.

So what, it is still inferior in that respect, since Silestone, Cristalinoo need no sealing. If you want veins, you've got to get granite. Otherwise these artificial granites are superior. That ain't misinformation, that's fact.
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On 15 Oct 2005 13:01:13 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net wrote:

We have installed Silestone and have had now for about two years. We can and do put hot pans on it. I also sometimes clean it using a razor blade whitout scratching it, in fact I sometimes demonstrate to friends the hardness by trying to scratche it using a knife, can,t do it. We cut bread and other items on it and all we do is dull the knives, easy clean up after.
Our color has chips of mirror glass which gives it a nice effect, you can see a close up of my countertop at http://home.cfl.rr.com/inskeep/banjo.html and look at the Luscomb project. The entire counter top can be seen at http://home.cfl.rr.com/inskeep/clermont.html at the photo 8/22/03.
This stuff is very expensive and is extreemly hard, needs no sealer, will last a lifetime and I wouldn't trade it for any other product.
John
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I saw an episode of This Old House where they used quartz countertops. They were very positive about it being a very tough, durable, heat and scratch resistant man-made product, that was available in many more colors than granite. And TOH has never been known to skimp or cut corners with inferior products.
This sounds to me a lot like the arguments against any engineered products, by those that don't really know much about them. In many cases, the resulting product is superior to a natural product.
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snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net wrote:

Go to Home Depot and get some free samples of Silestone. I got some cast iron skillets extremely hot and set them on the Silestone and left them there until they cooled down. No problem. Then again, most people don't do that and it's not a smart thing to do with either granite or a quartz composite countertop as it could cause a stress fracture. Nobody recommends such abuse for either material, but in case of accidents both types would likely come out fine.
Silestone has about 4 times the flexural strength of granite and is less prone to crack. You can have longer unsupported overhangs of Silestone. Silestone has a more predictable pattern, while granite is a natural material, so you have both a more continuous grain flow, but also more risk for unsightly blotches, cracks or other imperfections. If you get granite, you really should personally pick out the slab and look it over carefully.
Silestone is non-porous, while granite can often have deep pits that catches food. Granite stands up better to direct UV radiation better than quartz composites. I think Silestone is now putting an antimicrobial agent in its binder material now, but I'd check with them about that.
The hardness and scratch resistance of each material is about the same. I think Consumer Reports gave Silestone as their top pick.
If you look at Silestone at an angle where it reflects a light source into your eyes, you'll see a characteristic pattern that makes it easy to know that it's not granite in case you come across a pattern where you're not sure.
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snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net wrote:

I think you've had a pretty good rundown of some of the pros / cons of the engineered stone products. IMHO, a lot of it comes down to esthetics -- the engineered stones have a very different look than the granites. Also, "granites" vary a lot in terms of porosity -- you really need to do the ol' lemon juice test on any granite that you want to use as a countertop (IMHO, sealant or no, a really porous variety of granite is a very bad idea in a kitchen).
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Andy Hill wrote: ....

I agree. Bring home a granite sample, seal it, give a few month's worth of cleaning with whatever cleaner you'd use, and then leave coffee, cooked blueberries, acids, (etc.) on it overnight to see if a stain is left behind. I've heard that granite sealers may only slow down stain penetration, but don't necessarily prevent it. I suppose it depends on the granite type. I tried to stain Silestone, but was not able to.
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What is the lemon test? Also, how different is a sample from the actual slab of granite? I've heard of people going to the quarry and picking their own slab which is why I ask this.
Eddie
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The "lemon juice test" is dripping a few drops (or more than a few drops) on the sample. If it quickly develops dark spots under the drops, it's very absorbent, and probably unsuitable for a kitchen countertop. If it takes a minute or more to be absorbed, then you can probably make it work with a decent sealer / impregnator. If it isn't absorbed at all, then you're golden. This is all stolen heavily from http://www.findstone.com/lemonjuicetest.htm , BTW. The findstone forums are an interesting read if you're coming up to speed on choosing a "granite".
Samples should be from the same vein (and preferably the same slab) as what you're going to be using, but it's going to depend on the supplier.
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