The lowdown on Arenastone quartz for interiors
Tuesday, 7th May 2013, Lucy Mccoy
Arenastone quartz is a popular choice for homeowners keen to fit out their kitchen or bathroom with an extremely tough yet aesthetically attractive material.
If you are looking at installing quartz in your home, chances are you have decided that you want to make a real feature out of your worktops, with the aim being to create an original selling point for the property. The difficulty from this point is that there are different types of luxury materials within this niche category - which one should you buy?
The decision-making process is much the same as for other areas of the house - find out as much as you can about the material and see how this fits with your own requirements or limitations. It is not about working out which material is categorically 'best' - instead, it is all about getting the right fit for you.
How it's made
Italian-made Arenastone quartz is made up of more than 90 per cent natural quartz - AKA silicon dioxide - which is then combined with certain resins and pigment to make the final product. Quartz is one of the hardest materials in the world with a seven on the Mohs scale (much tougher than natural granite) and sits behind diamonds, sapphires and topaz at the top of the rankings.
By combining the hardness of quartz with its other ingredients, Arenastone quartz is essentially able to maintain its natural toughness while keeping a degree of uniformity to its colour, as well as being able to be produced in more extravagant shades than natural granite.
Advantages for homeowners
The advantages for homeowners revolve around three points: toughness, lack of maintenance and colours.
The toughness of Arenastone quartz means that you are unlikely to see any damage in your lifetime - in fact, Arenastone is often recommended for places that are heavily used, such as restaurant kitchen worktops, as the material is nigh-on indestructible. As a result, domestic bathroom or kitchen activity is not likely to cause too many problems.
What does toughness actually mean though? It means the material is resistant to shocks (physical bumps), abrasions (scratches or cuts), moisture, staining (natural or artificial dye) and contact with acidic compounds. However, even though it is generally resistant to issues, you are still advised to take care - wiping down surfaces and protecting them. So this may mean using heat pads for hot pans, or washing down surfaces if corrosive or acidic liquid comes into contact with the worktop.
It is just good sense to take care of your property, so even though an Arenastone quartz worktop is non-porous, extremely durable and involves less maintenance than natural granite - it does not mean you should try to break it!
Due to its composition, Arenastone quartz offers a wide variety of colours (more than 30 colours are available) to choose from; ranging from the softer 'crema' (cream, in Italian) options to bolder shades such as 'rosso stelline' (red) and 'blue stelline' (blue). The good news for interior designers is that this means there should be a colour that complements the rest of the bathroom or kitchen design - the bad news is that this makes a final decision harder.
A quartz worktop can work well in a both a modern and a traditional property, although some of the more sparkling and bolder options clearly align more with a contemporary aesthetic. The Arenastone range includes marbled, pebbled and sparkling effects, so it is not just the more glitzy interior designs that are suited to such worktops.
When choosing a colour, be sure to think about what colour sealant you will have running along the edges, along with more prominent factors like what materials and colours will be used for surrounding furniture and decor. Obviously, it is not necessary to match colours; sometimes a deep contrast can be particularly striking.
In terms of where to use Arenastone quartz, this is very much a personal decision. The most common places are kitchen worktops and bathroom surfaces, but another option is to set up a quartz surface as a bar at the edge of your lounge - it is a classy addition to the space where you make or serve drinks. Speak to a professional if you are unsure of whether your quartz plans will work.