Quartz: An Investment in Timelessness

By Dianne M. Pogoda

Quartz is universal, versatile, low-maintenance and long-lasting — attributes that have propelled it to the top of homeowners’ remodeling lists.

The last thing any homeowner wants is to spend a lot of money on a remodel and have it feel dated in just a few years. That’s why choosing timeless materials — like quartz — on big-ticket items — like countertops and backsplashes — is essential for a long-term investment.

Granite has been a durable, beautiful material since coming on the scene four decades ago. It was certainly a status symbol and the preferred material for kitchen renovations during the late Eighties, Nineties and into the early 2000s. At the turn of the 21st century, granite was the ubiquitous choice for upgrades in kitchen and bath remodels. In fact, builder-grade granite became so widely available, it was almost expected in new-construction homes and condos, and became synonymous with base or entry level, according to realtors in a Better Homes & Gardens article.

That ubiquity has caused granite’s popularity to slip. In a recent story on MarthaStewart.com, designer Caren Rideau of Kitchen Design Group in California noted that granite has taken a step back in favor of engineered quartz counters.

A Healthy and Stylish Choice

Wellness design consultant and award-winning author Jamie Gold, CKD, CAPS, MCCWC, shared the wellness benefits of quartz in person at Vadara’s Nashville showroom reopening event, and highlighted how this versatile surface fulfills of the facets of wellness design in her book, Wellness by Design (2020, Simon & Schuster) and her bonus chapter, available online.
Among the key advantages of quartz, Gold said, are:

• Safety and Security. “Because quartz is nonporous,” she explained, “it’s more resistant to absorbing the types of kitchen countertop contamination that can lead to serious illness and worse.”

• Functionality: “Quartz is highly durable and resilient, leading to a long household life. It’s also low maintenance, never needing to be sealed or polished, making it a very family-friendly surface.”

• Comfort and Joy: “Quartz definitely fulfills everyone’s favorite facet of wellness design,” Gold added. “Since I first started specifying it at the beginning of my career in 2004, it has come a long way in attractiveness and versatility. It’s often hard to tell today which is natural versus engineered stone, and offers homeowners so many aesthetic choices to fulfill their personal vision for their home.”

In its exclusive 2024 Kitchen Trends research study, the National Kitchen & Bath Association revealed that 71% of designers said their clients prioritize minimal maintenance and easy cleaning in new countertops. Some 64% noted that improved usability — like heat tolerance and stain resistance — is important, while 35% said clients want to create a design focal point with their countertop material.

Quartz meets these goals by a healthy margin. The greatest percentage of designers in NKBA’s survey — 73% — predicted it would be a top choice among countertop options, while just 32% chose granite.

Other key countertop trends headed into 2024 show that lighter colors will prevail, often with honed or matte finishes. Designers said the colors may vary throughout the space, with 53% opting for the same color countertops, while 47% noted that colors may contrast on, say, perimeter counters compared to island surfaces.

Rideau suggested incorporating matching backsplashes to bring the room together and create an elevated design. Carrying the countertop material up onto the backsplash produces a seamless look, with 61% of designers in NKBA’s survey noting slab or solid surface materials like quartz make a bold statement. With minimal or no grouting, the look is sleek and cleaning is easier.

While being virtually maintenance-free and non-porous are key draws for quartz, the fact that it is engineered means it is consistent in color and pattern and available in a nearly unlimited range of designs to match any style. And, as subtle wavy patterns on light or white backgrounds gain in popularity, quartz leads again, over the waning popularity of small flecks typical of natural granite stone, making quartz a more modern choice.

This kitchen features a white quartz countertop and white and dark brown cabinets.

The Home Value Factor

It’s difficult to determine the exact percentage that quartz counters will boost a home’s selling price. Many factors affect home values, from the state of the individual real estate market to supply/demand to square footage and much more. But research from home-improvement platform ANGI showed that quartz can boost a home’s selling price by 2 to 3 percent, depending on the market.

Bob Wilhalme, Broker Associate for Weichert Realtors in the exclusive community of Mountain Lakes, NJ, said features like stone countertops (whether quartz or other material) and hardwood floors attract more buyers to a property. Stone is definitely an advantage over laminate or other types of counters and can affect the selling price.

“Quartz is becoming more popular than granite and the main reason is the color,” he said. “Both are very durable and have little to no maintenance. With granite, however, the color is the color. Quartz is available in more solid colors, which makes it more desirable. It’s easier to match the decor of a new kitchen to a quartz color than granite.”

In fact, with quartz, color matching to Pantone is possible, according to Apartment Therapy. With white, gray and lighter colors prevailing, the darker, reddish-brown, deep yellow-brown and flecked black surfaces typical of many granites look dated. And while granite is available in homes of nearly all prices, when prospective buyers are looking at homes priced north of $600,000 or $700,000, they want quartz. It just has a more luxurious look, with more options in finishes, from polished to honed, matte and even suede-like.

“There is a direct correlation between builder-grade finishes and price,” said Susan Jakubowski, global advisor for Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, in the Better Homes & Gardens story. “The more builder-grade products, the lower the price. Likewise, the more custom finishes, the higher the price.”

The National Association of Realtors noted that countertops are one area where homeowners are willing to splurge. Quartz dominates, with 42% of renovating owners choosing the engineered product.

The National Association of Realtors noted that countertops are one area where homeowners are willing to splurge. Quartz dominates, with 42% of renovating owners choosing the engineered product, mostly in white, compared to 24% who picked granite. And with islands getting larger, the surface becomes even more of a focal point and significant design element.

The Bottom Line

There are lots of options for countertops on the market today. Homeowners who seek durability, uniformity, stain, scratch and chip resistance, heat tolerance, zero maintenance, and a non-porous surface that discourages bacteria buildup, can’t go wrong with the good looks and superior performance of quartz.

Comparing Quartz Countertop Styles