Quartz countertops are manufactured using approximately 95 percent stone and 5 percent filler or resin. This mixture results in a strong material with a natural stone appeal that comes in a wide selection of colors. Concrete as a countertop material may be painted, stained or stamped to fit just about any style requirement. Both products have positive and negative traits.
Both quartz and concrete are extremely durable materials and will withstand the temperature fluctuations, moisture and everyday wear and tear of the kitchen. Concrete itself is extremely heat-resistant but requires a sealer that may become damaged if hot pans are placed directly on the surface. This is not the case with quartz, as it requires no sealers and usually offers better heat resistance. Quartz and concrete are both resistant to staining, scratching and chipping. If a chip does occur, both are fairly easy to fix depending on the size of the chip. Concrete sealers must be redone every few years, meaning upkeep is a bit more costly than with quartz.
The price for countertops of any material will vary greatly depending on a number of factors. Homeowners should keep in mind that the cost of the material may or may not include installation, and there may be an additional fee for sealers. According to Galttech.com, the average price for quartz countertops ranges between $45 and $90 per square foot as of time of publication. Concrete, which often requires additional support due to its weight, may run between $80 and $120 per square foot.
Since quartz in nonporous, unlike concrete or granite, care is fairly simple. No sealing is required, and the surface will remain glossy without polishing. Avoid the use of bleach and abrasive cleaners, as bleach may cause discoloration, and abrasive materials may cause surface scratches. A simple wipe down with a damp microfiber cloth, window cleaner and a paper towel or a plastic scouring pad are ideal. Acidic foods or liquids -- citrus, tomatoes, vinegar -- need quick clean-up to avoid discoloration or other aesthetic problems. Because quartz is a nonporous material, bacterial growth is of little concern, making it one of the most hygienic materials on the market. Concrete, as long as sealing is kept up to date, should have a similar resistance.
Concrete is a naturally porous material and as such requires sealing to prevent staining and water damage. These sealers are where the majority of problems may arise with everyday use. Though concrete itself is extremely durable, cutting directly on the countertop may scratch the sealer, while hot pots and pans may cause cracking or discoloration of the sealer. Sealants need reapplication every few years, a process that may require the help of a professional. Consider having metal or ceramic trivets installed to make it safer to place hot dishes on the countertop. Both products are long-lasting and durable as long as cared for properly. Most manufacturers will provide a warranty in the case of damage, and homeowners should expect to pay about the same or a little more as they would with mid-level granite.
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