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
Some misinformation above:
Quartz is not glass: quartz is crystalline, and twice as hard as, say,
Silestone is over 90 per cent quartz, no glass at all, but a fair amount of
Granite cannot be dismissed as functionally inferior to Silestone, Zodiaq,
Sealing granite takes 10-20 minutes to seal - for a whole kitchen - once a
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
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.
On 15 Oct 2005 13:01:13 -0700, email@example.com 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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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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