What Are The Different Grades Of Quartz And What Do They Mean?

Are you searching for the right quartz for your countertops? There are several elements to consider for your project, including color, size, and grade of the materials. The thickness and colors of the slab determine the grade of quartz. Along with that, the minerals and resin contained in the quartz can also affect the quality. Choosing the right grade ensures that your countertop will last for years, withstanding normal wear and tear. Familiarizing yourself with the different grades can help you select the best option for your quartz countertops in Bucks County PA.

Different Grades of Quartz

Quartz grades determine the material’s durability, aesthetics, and overall cost of the product. There are three different grades of quartz:

  • first choice
  • commercial grade
  • second choice

First-choice quartz has bright colors with a few veins. In many cases, the smooth finish looks identical to marble. First-choice quartz is almost flawless, but it has a unique sparkle to the surface. While first-choice quartz is expensive, it is a durable and beautiful material for a countertop.

Next is commercial-grade quartz. You will often find this quartz in bars, restaurants, and hotels. This material is the perfect balance between price and quality. Commercial-grade quartz is not as flawless as quartz graded as first choice. However, it can be hard to detect flaws within the material.

Finally, some quartz is graded as second choice. This type of quartz is known as a builder’s grade material, and it is a basic option. In most cases, it can look dull compared to other quartz grades. Sometimes, you can notice the lack of luster on the surface.

How to Determine the Grade of Quartz Countertops

You can determine the grade of the quartz by looking for a few tell-tale signs. A decent piece of quartz will have a consistent color across the slab. If you want to have a uniform look in your kitchen, you need consistent color and appearance. Some quartz patterns will vary, but the base color and dye lots should look similar.

Natural quartz crystals are often fused with resin binders, creating a slab. Most reputable quartz manufacturers will use specific formulas to ensure their products have superior consistency. For that reason, many of these quartz materials will be either listed as a first-choice or a commercial-grade product.

You also want to look at the quartz’s patterns, patches, and veins. Higher quality quartz has patterns that seep through the slab’s body to the bottom of the piece. Those slabs with slight surface patterns are problematic. Those patterns can create a less-than-professional appearance if you have a waterfall edge or an undermount sink cutout. You never want to buy a slab that has a disappearing design or faded color.

Second-grade quartz will have poorly distributed resin and other materials. When that happens, you may notice pockets and pits in the slabs. Take a quick visual inspection to determine the uniformity of a slab’s thickness and color. A higher grade of quartz will usually contain minimal resins and polymer materials. That combination produces a color-consistent slab during the manufacturing process. With poor-quality quartz, the resin will often pool in one section.

Finally, higher quartz grades will have a consistent shine on the surface. The surface should always be smooth to the touch, whether the countertop is brushed, honed, or polished. A blotchy sheen is a sign of poor surface polishing and cheap resin.

A professional quartz manufacturer will test the slab’s luster with a special meter. Any quartz that is not polished correctly could be highly porous, which may become damaged after regular use.

Check the Quartz Grade With a Sample

Determining the quality of the quartz grade can be difficult with the naked eye. However, there are a few ways you can inspect a sample to test its grade. When you have the piece, always examine it. There should be no defects, such as chips, scratches, stains, cracks, or watermarks. Also, there should be a uniform level of thickness across the piece. Make sure to do the pen test on the sample. If a small mark wipes off, the quartz is a stain-resistant piece.

With a steel knife, you can test the hardness of the quartz. A sharp blade will create a dark line on the surface. However, scratches can develop white lines if you have a low-quality piece. High-quality quartz can withstand high levels of heat, up to 300 degrees. At that temperature, resin binders can melt within an inferior slab, causing the piece to change color or bend.

Along with that, you might want to test the sample with acid. Take lemon juice or white vinegar and place it on the surface. Lower-quality quartz will react to those ingredients.

Choose the Best Quartz Grade, Choose Marble Concepts

Quartz countertops are popular options because the materials are durable and resilient. They can withstand all that wear and tear found in most kitchens. Quartz requires almost no maintenance and comes in various varieties and colors. However, different grades of quartz can affect the countertop’s appearance and functionality. If you want a countertop that will last for years, select a first choice or commercial grade of quartz.

When you need to find the best quartz or granite companies nearby, turn to Marble Concepts. We have been in business for over 30 years, and our company has the largest variety of stones and materials waiting for your next countertop project. Schedule a consultation by calling 215-396-7393.