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Beyond the kitchen, the unique properties of quartz surfacing make it a suitable alternative for unconventional applications where stone would be impractical (or impossible) to use. Shower walls, floors and fixtures, tub surrounds, tabletops, fireplace surrounds and even entire room floors can be craft- ed from quartz.

The first step in a typical installation (a shower surround is installed here) is to make cardboard templates of the areas so that the panels can be cut to rough size at the factory.

Installers make the final cuts on site to ensure a tight fit. Diamond-coated blades are necessary to cut through the hard quartz.

Natural quartz surfacing is usually installed by trained dealers because it’s so heavy and requires special cutting tools, but it’s slowly entering the DIY arena. For example, Silestone products include ready-to-install vanity tops as well as a series of backsplashes perfect for DIY applications.

How it’s installed

When you order a quartz surfacing prod- uct, an installer will come to your home, verify that the substructure can adequately support the product and then make card- board templates of the necessary panels (see “Typical Quartz Installation,” p. 25). The factory will use the templates to cut panels to approximate size, and when the product is delivered, the installer will trim them to ensure a tight fit.

Special construction adhesive is used to secure the quartz panels, and if necessary, wood braces hold the panels in place as the adhesive cures. Finally, color-matched caulk is applied at all the joints to ensure a watertight installation.

A special adhesive is applied to the backs of the panels; then they’re pressed into place and braced in position while the adhesive cures.

After all of the panels are installed, color-matched caulk is applied at all joints. The result is a watertight installation that requires very little maintenance.


Quartz is the most common mineral on Earth and is found in nearly every geological environment in almost every type of rock. Larger quartz crystalline structures include amethyst, citrine, rose quartz and smoky quartz. Smaller crystalline quartz struc- tures can be found in such formations as chert, chalcedony, agates, onyx, carnelian, flint, jasper and bloodstone.

Although quartz requires very little care, you’ll want to wash the surfaces with a mild soap and water after installa- tion to remove any dust left behind from the trimming process. After that, all it will need is an occasional soap-and- water washing. In fact, the hardest part about caring for natural quartz surfacing will be tearing your gaze away from the d e e p , g l i t t e r i n g a p p e a r a n c e o f t h e s e m i - p r e c i o u s s t o n e .

Quartz is extremely durable and rates a 7 on the Mohs scale (a measure of hardness developed by German mineralogist Frederich Mohs in 1812). In fact, the only mineral fami- lies harder than quartz are topaz, corundum (sapphires and rubies) and diamond. — MB

For online information, go to www.HandymanClub.com and click on SOURCES ONLINE.

Cosentino (Silestone) www.silestone.com 866-COUNTERTOPS


HANDY N OV E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 0 4


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