Quartz. Quartzite. The names sound alike. But although both of these popular countertop materials are derived from the same mineral, and both achieve a similar aesthetic when installed, they are not the same.
Quartzite is formed when quartz-rich sandstone is exposed to high heat and pressure over time as a result of natural processes. It’s found all over the world and in a variety of patterns and colors. Engineered quartz, in contrast, is factory-produced by combining quartz with resins, binding agents, and occasionally pigments.
Thanks to the latest leaps in the aesthetics of man-made stone, today’s quartz genuinely reflects nature’s splendor, but with an important upgrade: unlike natural quartzite, which must be sealed on a regular basis (twice a year, according to some experts), quartz does not require any sealing in order to resist stains, making it a very popular compromise. In fact, resin binders render quartz countertop nonporous, making the material impervious to mold, mildew, and stain- and odor-causing bacteria.
Whether yours are quartzite or quartz, you can maintain the surface using the same techniques.
Though quartz will resist permanent staining when exposed to liquids like wine, vinegar, tea, lemon juice, and soda, or fruits and vegetables, it’s important to wipe up spills immediately—before they have a chance to dry. Take care of fresh messes with mild dishwashing detergent and a soft cloth.
For dried spills or heavy stains, your best bet is a glass or surface cleaner, a nonabrasive sponge (sponges designed for nonstick pans are safe and effective), and a little elbow grease. Keep a plastic putty knife handy to gently scrape off gum, food, nail polish, paint, or other messes that harden as they dry.
Should you find yourself confronting a particularly sticky situation, your stain-busting might require a couple of extra tools.
• Removing cooking grease. If dinner was great but the counter took a beating, use a degreasing product, such as Krud Kutter or Easy-Off. Kitchen degreasers loosen and remove the grease from the quartz countertop surface. Follow the degreaser manufacturer’s instructions for use.
• Removing permanent marker.Permanent markers are supposed to be, well…permanent. When the kids get creative, make sure your counters are protected from their artistry by first putting down placemats or kraft paper, so the only thing they leave behind is a happy memory. Should you find an ink or permanent marker stain after craft time, moisten a cloth with Goo Gone (view on Amazon) or a comparable product, and rub it into the stain. Rinse thoroughly with warm water to remove any cleanser residue.
Daily wiping and attention to spills and messes will satisfy your countertop’s basic daily maintenance requirements. But experts also recommend an overall deeper general cleaning at regular intervals. For best results, spray a generous amount of a nonabrasive surface cleaner over your countertop and let it sit for 10 minutes. Wipe away with a non-scratch sponge.
When it comes to caring for quartz countertops, the dos are easy and straightforward. Preserving your counter’s integrity and appeal is more about adhering to the list of don’ts.
Combining the best of authenticity and ingenuity, quartz is truly the rock of all ages. Be kind to your quartz countertops with regular attention and cleaning, and they will give you a lifetime of pleasure!