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    Technology, Beauty, Practicality

Affordable Granite: An Extensive Range of Quartz Worktops

Our name – Affordable Granite – goes back to the days when almost all the kitchen worktops we produced were made of natural stone. Natural stone doesn’t necessarily mean what a geologist would call granite, of course, but it is a useful name to distinguish naturally occurring rocks from some kind of man-made or synthetic material.

Anything stone-like which has been made / stuck together in a machine is called an engineered stone. These days this term covers a range of materials, but a large group of them are called quartz. Quartz makes great worktops, and comes in a huge range of colours and prices.

Quartz worktops are made from particles of a variety of materials – naturally occurring quartzite or silica, man-made glass or mirror, or recycled and modified materials – which are effectively stuck together with a polymer resin to form, an engineered stone with many of the properties of natural rock. The amount of polymer resin – plastic – is quite low – only 7 or 8%. This is sufficient to effectively bind the stone, but low enough for the product to be extremely hard. In fact, that little bit of polymer gives quartz slabs a greater flexural / tensile strength than natural granite, and allows us to make quartz worktops thinner than granite ones. Particles of quartz and other minerals are bonded with a plastic resin to create a hard, non-porous composite which machines and polishes like granite.

The leading manufacturers of quartz worktops all use machinery made by one company – Breton. Breton is at the forefront of technical development of engineered stone worksurfaces. One of their slab-making machines is pictures here.

Because the “ingredients” of quartz can be carefully selected, and other minerals, glass, mirror and metal can be added, there is a tremendous range of available looks. Dyes can be  injected into the slab-making machines, giving an even wider range of colour and appearance can be achieved. Quartz manufacturers are constantly developing new products, with some materials having a strongly synthetic appearance, and others being very beautifully made copies of natural stone.

In terms of the obviously man-made look, perhaps the best-known would be the very pure colours, and especially whites like our own Affordable White, and the sparkly mirror flecked quartz, like Silestone Blanco Stellar, seen in a Sussex kitchen here. We have many articles dealing with marble-look quartz worktops – you could start here. For information about the differences between granite and quartz, and the pros and cons of each material, please see here.

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As well as purity of colour, saturation and vibrancy can also be achieved with quartz. In the early days of these products a vast range of very bright colours was available, including amazing pink surfaces from pale flamingo to stunning fuchsia, purples, strong blues, through to orange, apple and lime green. Many of these were also available in mirror fleck versions.

More recently, with a general trend to softer, more natural colours and materials, and massive progress by quartz manufacturers in emulating real stone, the picture has changed. Almost all manufacturers make marble-look stones, but some brands, like Caesarstone and Silestone, are especially known for natural looking marble. Others, such as many of the Cambria products, are almost hyper-natural, with strong textures and veining combining with subtle sparkle to give a look which is Nature-Plus. And Radianz produce, in their Noble range, materials whose earthy tones make them work in contemporary kitchens, but whose little nuggets of metallic sparkle set them apart.

In order to be able to offer our customers the widest possible choice in terms of colour & price we have a range of stock colours (for quick delivery and cost efficiency), but also supply a huge range of quartz worktops from leading manufacturers including Silestone, Cimstone, Arenastone, Samsung Radianz, Compac, Quarella, Diresco and the stunning range from Cambria.

Why so many brands? Is buying from a big brand worth it? See here for some thoughts on the subject.

You may have heard that dangerous dust can be an issue in making quartz worktops. We have thought about that too.

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See more about these Acadia quartz worktops we fitted in Crawley, West Sussex


If you would like samples or if you have seen something you like but can’t see it here please ask as we may be able to source it for you.

Telephone: 01293 863992 or Email: sales@affordablegranite.co.uk

Images from Affordable Granite, with the quartz slab machine images from Breton Machinery.