Granite is the gold standard by which all other counter- tops are measured. The stone offers incredible range of colour and pattern (it is created by cooled magma that incorporates all sorts of other minerals, such as quartzite, feldspar, mica, and amphiboles) and has little risk of the staining, chipping, and etching that can affect other stones. That's why most kitchen designers choose granite for their projects. But you might be surprised that more designers now specify quartz, a man- made product that consists of chunks of the stone quartzite mixed with acrylic resin. (Quartz is
different from quartzite or natural quartz, which are solid-stone products.) New manufacturing techniques give quartz irregular, varied patterns that create the convincing look of real stone. But quartz won't stain, chip, or etch like solid stone can (even granite)—and it never needs to be sealed. You can get quartz that looks like marble, providing the beauty of Carrara or Calacatta without the extreme risk of scratches and
food-acid damage—or the seemingly constant sealing and cleaning—that are a part of living with the real thing. Quartz is also generally considered to be a greener choice than granite or marble because it's made from waste stone and doesn't require mining slabs and shipping them
thousands of miles around the globe.
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