Quartz worktops: Catching up with the news in our market

Quartz worktops news. Most of our blogs are focussed on one issue, but I felt that there were a few bits and pieces of information that we should gather in one article. So here goes – a newsy roundup blog.

Recycled materials in quartz worktops

Following our recent article on the new Obsidiana materials from Compac, we felt it was only fair to say that other quartz manufacturers are looking to get into the more environmentally friendly worktop market. Cosentino, makers of Silestone, and of the now-discontinued ECO range are trying again with what they are calling their new HybriQ+ technology. It isn’t clear exactly what this means, except that it appears to us to involve a use of recycled glass in very much the same way as the Compac product. We also hear that Caesarstone have more heavily recycled quartz worktop materials in the pipeline. We know that many of our customers are concerned with environmental issues, and we will try to bring you information and recommendations of good products as they come through from the different producers.

Compac Volcano Pearl CO201111 39125 171238a

Classic Quartz Stone joins AG's stable of regular bespoke quartz suppliers

At Affordable Granite we hold stock of a relatively narrow range of quartz worktop materials. On our website we also feature a number of companies whose products bring something special to the market place, and with whom we have worked effectively over the years. Believe me, we don’t feature all potential candidates – just the main players who can generally be relied on for consistent quality and decent customer service.

It has been a while since we added a new name to this list. We have worked with Classic Quartz since their inception in 2014, have stocked some of their stones in our own range, and have found them helpful and ever more on point so far as their products are concerned. As of this week, we feature their marble-heavy range as a separate page on our website – have a browse and enjoy!

classic quartz worktops affordable granite

First installation of one of Caesarstone's new "dark grunge" stones - Oxidian in Brighton, East Sussex

In a recent roundup of interesting slabs in the warehouse, I mentioned Caesarstone’s Oxidian. That job has now been fitted, and the customers are very, very happy indeed. They were kind enough to send through some images of their new kitchen – still unfinished in terms of decor and appliances, but giving us a look at what our fitting team had achieved.

There does seem to be a trend back to darker stones in general and to this kind of rusty darkness in particular. The look pioneered by the stunning Dekton Trilium is now available, more or less, in quartz materials. If you love the Dekton, you will want Trilium, but if you are concerned about the cost of chipping or breakage, a quartz may seem very attractive.  As and when we fit other materials from this Caesarstone range we will share further news.

Caeserstone Oxidian Brighton 143320a
Caeserstone Oxidian Brighton 143346a
Caeserstone Oxidian Brighton 143333a

Silestone drops "N-Boost technology" from all but a handful of products

We recently picked up from Cosentino/Silestone that they are no longer applying their N-Boost surface finish to most of their quartz products. Only a small range of darker stones still feature the technology.

N-Boost was launched with considerable fanfare in 2017 as a big stride forward in worktop stone. At some point in the intervening period Cosentino UK cleaning guidance was changed to preclude the use of Cif cream and other similar products with N-Boost stones, and now the technology seems to be close to being phased out.

Original N-boost video

We asked our rep at Cosentino UK for technical information relating to these changes, and the paragraph below has been updated after we received the company’s response. Our main concern was whether we have existing customers who have purchased Silestone N-Boost quartz worktops through us and who needed to alter their care/cleaning regime because of any known issues.

We have been told that Cosentino came to the conclusion that the benefits of N-Boost were negligible on lighter coloured stones. The company states that on blacks and other dark materials N-Boost enriches colours and makes a visible difference to cleanability. Because the N-Boost process adds a cost in manufacturing, it was felt that it made no sense to keep applying it where it made no discernible difference. That makes complete sense; there is no point spending money for no apparent benefit.

With regard to our concerns for existing Silestone N-Boost customers, we believe that there is nothing to worry about in terms of any technical issues.

For my part, the longer I have been in industry, the more I tend to take “the next big breakthrough” from any manufacturer with a slight pinch of salt. Or a squirt of Cif! 😉

Covid and Brexit: The Double Whammy on Supply

A month or so ago we mentioned the serious supply issues which were hitting our industry due to Covid hitting the quartz manufacturing plants and supply chains to get the material to us. Since then the problem, and especially the massive container congestion at Felixstowe, has hit the regional and national news more than once. It is clear that across a wide range of industries which import containerised materials (not short shelf-life stuff like food, but anything else from books to concrete), this autumn has already been a nightmare. We have had to disappoint a number of customers who were hoping for a quick turnaround – we feel our own reputation for speed and efficiency has been threatened by challenges beyond our control.

This nightmare is ongoing. One of our suppliers said today that they can’t see things settling down before April. This is because on top of the ongoing Covid and Felixstowe mayhem, we are about to see the Brexit issues relating to lorries coming in through Dover. Although this will hit short shelf-life goods hardest, we anticipate knock-on effects into our industry and many others.

kitchen worktops container ship

Ultimately the effect of Covid-closed factories and strained or broken supply chains may well be reflected in the price of quartz worktops. And we don’t yet know what deal, if any, will be done with the EU, and that too may have an impact on materials coming from EU suppliers. So between these various factors, we expect some rises in the New Year – possibly sharp ones, and a general period of uncertainty in 2021.

The point is that if you are considering granite or quartz worktops as part of a kitchen refurbishment in the first half of 2021, it is worth while to start your planning early, to be flexible about materials, and to get an order in that can lock a quotation before the new 2021 wholesale prices hit us. And we ask you to please be patient and bear with us (and many others in industry) as we try to navigate an exceptionally difficult period. 

We are Affordable Granite, the leading granite and quartz worktop supplier in Surrey, Sussex and across the South East. We are committed to providing you, the customer, with full, relevant and honest information about our products and our market.  If you have further information you can give us regarding any element in this article, please contact me, Andrew, via andrew.king@affordablegranite.co.uk And, of course, if you are doing work on your kitchen or bathroom – anywhere that needs solid stone surfaces – call us for a quotation on 01293 863992 or by email on sales@affordablegranite.co.uk.

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