If you’re looking to change the counters in your home, you’ve heard about quartz countertops. These countertops are extremely popular thanks to their beauty, durability, and low maintenance, making them a smart choice for many homeowners. But have you ever wondered, “Where does quartz come from,” or “How are quartz countertops made?”

Granite 4 Less is here to answer those questions and ensure you know all about quartz before adding it to your home.

What Is Quartz?

Quartz is a naturally occurring mineral primarily composed of silicon dioxide (SiO2). It is one of the most common minerals in the world and is used in many different products we use every day, including bricks, cement, gemstones, and quartz countertops. Quartz is known for being a hard material resistant to chemicals, which is why it’s an ideal mineral for so many applications.

How Is Quartz Formed?

Quartz is unique because it can form in various geological environments when silicon and oxygen — the two most common elements — combine. Here are a few ways how quartz is formed.

  • Magma: As magma cools beneath the earth’s surface, it starts to crystallize. When this happens, fluid that is rich with silica is released. While the magma solidifies, this silica-rich fluid starts to crystallize separately, creating quartz veins in the surrounding rock.
  • Hydrothermal: When hot water carrying dissolved minerals, including quartz, flows through fractures and faults in the earth’s crust. As the water cools, it deposits quartz along the walls. Quartz that is formed this way usually forms alongside other minerals, like gold, silver, and sulfides.
  • Metamorphic: Quartz can also be formed through the metamorphism of pre-existing rocks. During this process, rocks are subjected to intense heat and pressure, so any minerals in them, like quartz, can recrystallize and rearrange. The quartz minerals get reorganized from sediments into quartz crystals.

Where Does Quartz Come From?

If you’re wondering, “Where is quartz found?” we’re happy to tell you! Quartz comes from various places around the world, with Brazil, China, India, and the United States being top-producing locations. In the U.S., Arkansas, California, and North Carolina are known for their quartz crystal mines.

How Are Quartz Countertops Made?

While quartz is a natural mineral and crystal, it is not large enough on its own to be turned into a countertop. This means that while containing natural materials, quartz countertops are an engineered product instead of a natural stone like granite or marble.

There are several steps to how quartz countertops are made, and we’re here to break them down for you.

Extraction

Before the countertop manufacturing process can begin, the raw quartz crystals need to be mined from a quarry. This extraction is done using various techniques, including drilling, blasting, and excavation to get to the quartz. Once the quartz is mined, it is inspected and sorted based on size, clarity, and color to ensure there is consistency in the final countertop product.

Mixing

Once the quartz is extracted and sorted, it has to go through a meticulous mixing process to get the slurry needed to make quartz countertops. If you want to know, “What are quartz countertops made of?” we’re happy to tell you. The quartz crystals are crushed and then mixed with resins, pigments, and other additives to create the structural integrity of the countertop as well as the desired color and pattern. This mixing process helps create consistency and uniformity throughout the entire countertop slab.

Vacuum Vibro-Compression

After mixing, the quartz slurry needs to go through vacuum vibro-compression. This is a critical step where the quartz mixture is poured into molds and subjected to extreme vibrations and compression in vacuum-like conditions. The vacuum vibro-compression helps eliminate air bubbles in the slurry and compacts the material to create a dense, solid surface. This process is crucial to ensure the quartz countertop is high-quality and durable in every application.

Heating

Following the compression, the molded quartz slab must be cured — or heated — in specialized ovens. Using heat activates a chemical reaction between the quartz particles and resin binders, causing them to merge and create a strong bond. The curing process enhances the countertop’s structural integrity and heat resistance, helping it stand up to everyday use in kitchens and bathrooms.

Cooling

Once the heating process is finished, the slab needs to be cooled to room temperature. Cooling is done slowly to help stabilize the structural balance of the minerals in the countertop. The cooling phase must be done gradually to prevent thermal shock, which would lead to cracks or other defects forming in the counter that could comprise the entire integrity of the quartz slab.

Polishing

When the quartz slab is completely cooled and passes a quality assurance check, it moves to the polishing phase, the last step in the manufacturing process. The countertop is ground and polished using diamond abrasives to create a smooth, lustrous finish. Polishing improves the look and feel of the quartz countertop and can be done with a glossy or matte finish to match any design style.

Benefits of Quartz Countertops

There are many reasons why quartz countertops are such a popular choice for homeowners. Here are the top benefits of picking quartz countertops for your home.

  • Affordable: Quartz countertops offer the high-end look of natural stone, like granite or marble, without the high-end cost. Since these are engineered products, they tend to be more affordable and a more attractive choice for a budget-friendly design.
  • Various design options: Quartz crystals come in a variety of colors, meaning quartz countertops can be made with a wide range of colors, patterns, and finishes. This gives homeowners more design options to ensure their countertops match the look of their home.
  • Low-maintenance: These countertops, unlike some natural stone options, are non-porous and resistant to stains. This makes them extremely easy to maintain, which is an appealing benefit for many people.
  • Crack- and stain-resistant: Thanks to being an engineered material, quartz countertops are highly crack-, chip-, and stain-resistant, making them ideal for high-traffic areas like a kitchen or bathroom.
  • Easy to clean: Since they are non-porous, spills won’t seep under the countertop’s surface. That means that quartz countertops are easy to clean with just a mild soap, warm water, and a soft cloth.
  • No sealing: Quartz countertops don’t need to be sealed like granite or marble, meaning they retain their beauty and durability naturally. This saves homeowners time and money since they don’t need to reseal their countertops every few years.
  • Reliable and durable: Engineered quartz countertops are designed to be durable and long-lasting, ensuring they can hold up to the demands of everyday life.

Quartz Countertops FAQ

After wondering where quartz comes from and how quartz countertops are made, many people still have questions before they make a final decision about adding these counters to their homes. Here are some of our most frequently asked questions about quartz countertops.

Which colors and patterns do quartz come in?

Thanks to the variety of quartz crystals and different additives in the mixing phase, quartz countertops can be manufactured in various colors and patterns. Whether you’re looking for a classic neutral like white or gray or want to go bold with a blue or red, you can find a quartz countertop to match your preferences.

Where can I use engineered quartz?

Quartz is durable and versatile, and it can be used in several ways, including kitchen countertops, bathroom vanities, backsplashes, and more.

How can I clean my quartz countertop?

You just need mild soap, warm water, and a soft cloth to clean your quartz countertops! Just avoid using any abrasive cleanser or cleaning device, as these can dull the countertop finish over time.

Is there a difference between quartz and quartzite?

Yes. Quartz countertops are manufactured from quartz crystals and resin binders. Quartzite, on the other hand, is a natural stone formed from sandstone.

Are quartz countertops heat-resistant?

They are generally heat-resistant. However, it’s always best to place hot pots and pans on a hot pad or trivet to reduce the risk of possibly damaging the surface of the countertop.

Quartz Countertops FAQ

After wondering where quartz comes from and how quartz countertops are made, many people still have questions before they make a final decision about adding these counters to their homes. Here are some of our most frequently asked questions about quartz countertops.

Which colors and patterns do quartz come in?

Thanks to the variety of quartz crystals and different additives in the mixing phase, quartz countertops can be manufactured in various colors and patterns. Whether you’re looking for a classic neutral like white or gray or want to go bold with a blue or red, you can find a quartz countertop to match your preferences.

Where can I use engineered quartz?

Quartz is durable and versatile, and it can be used in several ways, including kitchen countertops, bathroom vanities, backsplashes, and more.

How can I clean my quartz countertop?

You just need mild soap, warm water, and a soft cloth to clean your quartz countertops! Just avoid using any abrasive cleanser or cleaning device, as these can dull the countertop finish over time.

Is there a difference between quartz and quartzite?

Yes. Quartz countertops are manufactured from quartz crystals and resin binders. Quartzite [link to the new blog we wrote Quartz vs. Quartzite], on the other hand, is a natural stone formed from sandstone.

Are quartz countertops heat-resistant?

They are generally heat-resistant [link to the new blog we wrote How Heat-Resistant Are Quartz Countertops]. However, it’s always best to place hot pots and pans on a hot pad or trivet to reduce the risk of possibly damaging the surface of the countertop.

Where Does Granite 4 Less Source Our Quartz Countertops?

We source our quartz countertops from reputable manufacturers that deliver quality materials and support sustainable practices. Our goal is to give you a top-quality product every time. So, when you wonder, “Where do quartz countertops come from?” you can trust that you’re getting the best of the best from Granite 4 Less.

Explore a Wide Range of Premium Quartz Options

When you’re ready to upgrade to quartz countertops in your home, contact Granite 4 Less. Our expansive collection of premium quartz options will suit any style or design preference, so you’re sure to find something you’ll love.

Additional Resources

Looking to learn more about quartz countertops before putting them in your home? Check out these helpful blogs.

Can You Chip Quartz Countertops?

 

Preventing and Removing Stains on Quartz Countertops 

 

Do Quartz Countertops Stain? 

 

Granite vs. Quartz: Which Is Better? 

 

The Do’s and Don’ts of Quartz Countertops 

 

Four Benefits of Quartz Countertops