The Science Behind Quartz: How Is Engineered Stone Made?
Homeowners who want to breathe new life into their kitchens have probably heard about quartz benchtops. Thanks to their nearly indestructible nature, attractive appearance, and impressive longevity, these benchtops are all the rage in the kitchen furniture industry.
Although commonly referred to as quartz benchtops, these sought-after kitchen elements are from engineered stone, not natural quartz.
With the basics out of the way, let’s dig into how engineered stone benchtops are made step by step.
How Is Natural Quartz Formed?
Quartz is a natural mineral and one of Earth’s most abundant. As such, almost every natural stone (especially metamorphic, igneous, and sedimentary rocks) you encounter will contain some quartz.
As a material, quartz is impressively tough. So, when the rest of the stone erodes, it stays put. You’ve probably seen this occurrence firsthand, as many white sand beaches are made of quartz.
Natural quartz is the basis for engineered quartz and, thus, every engineered stone benchtop.
How Is Engineered Quartz Made?
Engineered stone benchtops usually come in giant slabs of stone that can be cut and shaped according to the homeowner’s needs. Let’s examine how that slab comes to be.
Step 1: Extracting Natural Quartz
Since natural stone is the foundation for engineered quartz, the process most frequently starts at a quarry. There, miners extract pure white quartz and send it to the manufacturing facility.
Step 2: Sorting the Natural Quartz
Once the natural quartz reaches the manufacturing facility, it’s time for quality control technicians. They sort the natural stone based on its shade of white. The whiter the quartz, the higher the quality. Only pure white quartz gets transformed into a quartz slab for engineered stone benchtops.
Step 3: Crushing the Natural Quartz
Once the technicians hand-pick pieces of natural quartz, it goes to a crusher or a grinder. The names of these machines are pretty self-explanatory, so the next step in the engineered stone benchtop manufacturing process is grinding down the natural stone into varying sizes. For slabs, the stone isn’t crushed into dust. Instead, the result resembles quartz crystals.
Step 4: Binding the Crushed Quartz
The magic happens in this step – a pile of quartz crystals becomes a beautifully engineered stone benchtop. To achieve this, manufacturers blend the crushed quartz with a mix of polymer resins and pigments. At the same time, the air gets vacuumed out of this blend through vibration. Once all the air is out, the product is heated and shaped into the desired slab form.
This unique manufacturing process makes the final product denser than granite yet non-porous, making maintenance a breeze.
It’s important to note that every part of this process has a purpose. For instance, the added pigments are responsible for the slab’s attractive (and consistent!) appearance. At the same time, the heating portion ensures that the final product resists heat, stains, and scratches better than most benchtop materials on the market.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you should abuse your quartz benchtop excessively. Taking proper care of your benchtop will ensure this attention-grabbing surface adorns your kitchen (or any other room) for years.
Step 5: Sealing the Quartz Slab
Once the slab is fully formed, it’s time to protect its surface. Sealing the slab and applying a finishing coat creates an impervious surface that will stand the test of time. This step minimizes the risk of silica dust generation by encapsulating the slab’s surface. Given how dangerous silica is (it can cause severe respiratory issues), this step is crucial, both for factory workers and future owners of the engineered stone benchtop.
The Final Step to Greatness
Now that you know how engineered stone benchtops are made, there’s only one step left – finding a reliable dealer. Enter Quattro Stone.
Quattro Stone is one of Australia’s leading wholesalers of high-quality engineered stone. The company boasts an impressive collection of slabs, with the eye-catching appearance of natural stone and the strength and resilience of artificial creation.
Although most commonly used for kitchens, these slabs can transform into attractive vanities, tables, reception desks, and more. Reach out to our representatives to take your home or business’s décor to the next level.