Posted by: pdxgraniteguy | May 20, 2009

Granite vs. Quartz – How they are “made”

In completing this 3-post explanation of the differences between granite and quartz slab, I must mention that my wife and I have had both products in our kitchens over the years and I can recommend them both enthusiastically.

Now to how Granite and Quartz slabs are “made” –

Granite is quarried, literally cut out of the earth, into giant blocks about the size and proportion of a small dump truck turned on its side.  The blocks are then cut into slabs, much like a loaf of bread.  From there the slabs are run through giant machines that actually shave each slab down to the desired thickness and polish the surface. 

Next the slabs are inspected, crated, and shipped to “Importers” like Elemar and Oregon Tile and Marble who then sell the slabs to customers and their fabricator.  An interesting fact: almost all the granite slabs you will see are imported from around the world.

Quartz slabs are made up of two materials – mined quartz crystals and colored resin.   At the factory a combination of 90% quartz crystals and 10% liquefied resin (binding agent) are mixed in a large vat then poured into a slab sized form.  From there, a gigantic machine compresses the slab, forcing the resin into every microscopic void, making it essentially “non-porous”.  Shortly following this compacting, the slabs are “cured” in a giant oven then staged to cool.

At this point, the unfinished slabs are put through machines, similar to those used for granite, to be polished.  Finally, the slabs are crated and shipped to the distributor.

In summary, I would like to describe the differences between the two products by comparing them to different professions and the personalities that gravitate towards them.   Entrepreneurs, sales people, and designers are like granite – unique, on the move, and prone to wild fluctuations.  Engineers, accountants, and attorneys are like quartz – consistent, steady, and technical to scientific specificity.

While this is a sweeping generalization, a subjective evaluation of what these professionals prefer, does tend to support it.

If you’d like more info or to disagree with this last point, I’d love the discussion or the debate.  Just send me your comments!

Aaron J Crowley – PDXGraniteGuy

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