The trend of using quartz in the kitchen has been on the rise and it seems the popularity of it isn’t slowing down anytime soon. As the technology becomes better and is able to better replicate natural stones, consumers and designers are turning to quartz because of its ease to maintain and the details in the design.
According to Matthew Kahny, executive vice president of Dal-Tile Corporation, when you think of countertops and slabs, it starts with fashion, color, design and pattern. “The types and quality of visuals and colors that can now be produced are opening quartz up to even more applications,” said Kahny. “If you look at some of the most popular design and color trends right now, you see them leaning toward modern contemporary looks. Whites, off-whites and grays, as well as marble and stone looks with prominent veining, are really hot right now. Today’s technology is producing highly realistic visuals.”
Senior design consultant of Premier Surfaces Lise Smith said that the design world has influenced the countertop scene by emphasizing light/white and grays, ideally marbles look like Carrara’s and Calacattas. “Once our customers realize the porous nature, softness and maintenance of that material they are quickly deterred from marble, however they still want that look,” said Smith. “Marble inspired quartzes have become a desirable option. This also holds true for granite inspired quartz for the customers who do not want to seal or maintain their material.”
As the trend of larger islands becomes more popular and with consumers wanting countertops to be as free of seams as possible, extra-large quartz slabs are a perfect material to meet these needs. “We are building a new plant that will produce 79- x 136-inch slabs of quartz,” said Kahny. “These are huge chunks of quartz that our customers can really work with. The other thing that is helping quartz evolve is that we are doing interesting things with texture right now. There is a lot of innovation in matte and velvet finishes regarding texture.”
Designers and homeowners
Quartz seems to be a product that not only the design community enjoys working with, but homeowners are specifically asking for. “I think it really comes down to the virtually unlimited availability of colors and designs combined with the durability, ease of maintenance and value of quartz,” said Kahny. “You have marble looks, soft subtle limestone designs and urban visuals such as concrete. Quartz offers the vast array of selections that people want in a material perfectly suited to real life activity.”
“Quartz pairs great with the clean lines of a transitional kitchen or bathroom,” said Smith. “Designers also love the low maintenance of quartz when designing high-traffic areas like kitchens for their clients. The durability with quartz lends itself to allow for up to a 12-inch overhang on bars and peninsulas without the added cost of supports.”
When it comes to commercial projects, quartz gives designers more control, according to Kahny. “The incredible variation you have in natural stone is beautiful, but when someone is building a multi-unit hotel or condo, they want reliability and consistency so every room looks the same,” said Kahny. “They don’t want to worry about the potential variation in each room that could occur when using natural stone. So, if you are specking hundreds of hotel rooms and you need your designs to be the same, you don’t want to have to hand select 200 slabs to achieve the desired uniformity, you want to go with quartz.”
As far as color trends, light colors that look like marble with more consistent movement patterns seem to be the trend still. “For instance, Classic Statuary quartz looks like White Carrara, but has more consistent movement and offers less maintenance,” said Smith. “We also have a solid white quartz called Serenity that is very popular because it goes with any style, color backsplash. Solid grays and concrete inspired looking quartz.
The future of quartz
Where is the future of quartz going? It appears that quartz is only going to get more popular as the technology to produce it continues to improve. “I think the popularity of quartz will continue to get stronger and stronger. In the countertop and large slab market, quartz will continue to take a fair share,” said Kahny. “Although today’s technological abilities are exciting, they are still not fully developed yet when it comes to the visuals, textures and special effects that are possible. The range of products available will continue to expand. Also, for our company, an important trend that we are taking the lead on is production in the U.S. The new quartz facility that we are building in 2018 is a testament to our commitment to Made In The USA. Domestic production allows us to react more quickly to our customers’ needs as far as design and service. There is also no matching the quality we can get when we use workers from the U.S.”