It was recently brought to my attention that in the Fox Magazine section on the Fox News website, there is an article entitled “Why You Don’t Want Granite Countertops In Your Kitchen.” The article cites reasons why homeowners should choose quartz surfacing over natural stone. They include:
• Unlike high-maintenance granite and marble (they’re beautiful but fragile!) quartz is naturally stain repellent and impervious to acidic foods.
• It’s resistant to scratches and chips. Translation: You don’t have to worry about your countertops looking trashed from normal wear and tear.
• Quartz doesn’t require any sealing, whereas granite and marble require at least yearly treatments.
Now while some of the points made are true, they definitely are slanted and come from an “anti-stone” perspective — so much for unbiased journalism. First of all, it is inaccurate to lump marble and granite in the same category. As those of us who work in the stone business are aware, there is a difference between these two materials. Marble is softer and subject to more staining and every day wear and tear, but with the right maintenance program can be preserved. And while quartz surfacing is a manufactured product and considered to be stronger than most granite varieties, granite is a very strong material. To say that a countertop would look “trashed” from normal wear and tear is exaggerated and misleading, in my opinion.
This article is also very one sided. While it is quick to state the disadvantages about natural stone countertops, is doesn’t mention some things to consider about quartz surfacing. As an engineered material, it is more color consistent than most natural stones, but its color does have the potential to fade over a period of time if set in direct sunlight. Quartz surfacing also isn’t as heat resistant as granite, so homeowners should be aware of placing hot pots directly on the countertop.
Today, most distributors are carrying both natural stone and quartz lines, and fabricators are cutting both materials. And here at Stone World, we write about all types of stone as well as quartz. In fact, we have a focus on quartz surfacing coming up in our July issue.
The Fox Magazine article outlines a couple reasons why quartz countertops are becoming a growing trend, and I have to say, I agree.
• The biggest reason for the recent surge in quartz’s popularity can likely be traced to advances in the man-made stone’s aesthetic.
• Manufacturers have figured out how to remove the overly flecked and unnaturally uniform patterns and create the organic-looking swirls and variations of natural stone.
What it boils down to is customer taste. There are some homeowners who will favor the color consistency and aesthetic of quartz over natural stone, but there will be others who appreciate the beauty of a natural material. As members of the stone industry, the most important part for us is to educate the client. As you can see, there are still misconceptions out there about natural stone, and when media outlets such as Fox News publish misleading articles such as this latest one, it hurts all of us.