As you probably know, quartz countertops are some of the most lovely, durable, and easy-to-maintain kitchen countertops on the market today. Unlike their natural stone counterparts, they are not cut directly from the earth. Quartz countertops are man-made and it being such a fascinating process, we thought we would share it with you.
Where Do Quartz Countertops Come From?
Quartz is the second most common mineral on earth and it has a crystalline structure, usually hexagonal (six sided). The natural molecular structure of this stone makes it one of the most durable substances on earth. And because it is so plentiful, it is found on almost every continent in deep veins within the earth. This means heavy equipment and explosives are usually needed in order to access them.
In the USA, quartz mines are located within the Ouachita Mountains which is part of our nation’s “Quartz Belt”. The mountain range extends from Arkansas into Oklahoma. Once quartz is exposed it can be easily shoveled, pickaxed, or bulldozed right of the ground in all of its vast different shapes and sizes.
What Happens After The Quartz Is Mined?
Once pieces are mined, they get distributed according to quality and applicable uses. For quartz countertops, they are purchased by the ton and, for the most part, Quartz countertop manufacturers use white and clear quartz. Large pieces are ground into much smaller ones. They do this to create attractive patterns. They are ground so fine the quartz begins to resemble fine sand or perhaps just large pebbles.
These very small pieces of quartz are combined with resin and poured into a slab. Then, depending upon the color the manufacturer wants, during this stage, other minerals and pigments are added. Unique and special crystal flecks may be saved for this point for extra pizazz. Even recycled mirrors, glass, and other hard surfaces can be used for added eco-friendliness. In the end, each slab of quartz remains 97 percent quartz. The other three percent is a poly-resin used to bind all the materials together.
Once the slabs are poured into molds to fit their desired shapes and contours, they are “cured” in an oven and then cooled. The finished product requires no polishing. Quartz countertops come out as the glossy, smooth, durable and beautiful kitchen countertops you know and love.
Once those beautiful countertops are formed they are shipped to stores, contractors and other customers. And because the quartz used for countertops in the UK is mined, fabricated and shipped to vendors in the UK it saves fossil fuel resources, overhead shipping costs, and helps keep your dollar hard at work in the UK, not to mention the price of the actual quartz countertop is then reflected in those savings.
We hope we have shed some light on the process of how quartz is made. And perhaps this will help you do some research of your own into buying some quartz countertops for your new kitchen or bath areas.