Deciding what type and colour of kitchen countertop you want in your new kitchen can be difficult. Throw in having to understand what it means when people say that there are different qualities of quartz countertops, and you might feel at a complete loss. However, the team at Mo’s StoneX like to make things as simple and easy as possible. That’s why we’ve put together this article so you can be in the know about the different grades of quartz worktops. 


Understanding the different grades of quartz


There are three main grades of quartz that are used within residential homes, and each grade influences the cost, durability, and look of the quartz. The grade you choose can also make an impact on the overall value of your home.


First Choice Grade


First Choice is the highest-quality grade of quartz, which means it is the most expensive. However, the price you pay is reflected in the standard of quartz you receive. This grade of quartz is almost flawless, with some styles being mistaken for marble. Its bright, vibrant colours with minimal veining and it’s smooth finish look stunning in any home. Plus, the material has a unique sparkle that helps it stand out further. 


The prominent features of First Choice are:


  • Smooth finish, which can be mistaken for marble
  • Rich and vibrant colours with minimal veining
  • An almost flawless condition with a unique sparkle
  • The most durable and stunning grade quartz
  • The typical resin consistency is between 7-8%


Commercial Grade 


Commercial Grade Quartz is the second-best grade you can buy. However, this is usually found in commercial areas (hence the name) such as restaurants, hotels, and bars. Although Commerical Grade is not as flawless as First Choice, any flaws can be hard to detect. This grade of material is the perfect blend of quality and price.


The standout features of Commercial Grade are:


  • Made with commercial areas in mind, such as bars and restaurants etc.
  • The best balance between quality and price
  • Not as flawless as First Choice but still durable, and defects are hard to spot
  • Typically made with 8-11% resin


Second Choice Grade


Known as the “builders grade material” Second Choice is the most basic quartz grade. It is much duller than First Choice and Commerical Grade giving it a lacklustre appearance. However, it is perfect for entry-level and first-time projects, as well as being popular in pre-fabricated models. 


Second Choice doesn’t have many standout features, but the following do apply:


  • Great for first-time/entry-level projects
  • Typically used in pre-fabricated models
  • A basic, construction-grade material with a lower price tag
  • Duller than other grades of quartz
  • Usually contains more than 12% resin


How to determine the grade of quartz


When you know what to look for, spotting the different grades of quartz can be easy as there are a handful of tell-tale signs. Below we’ve listed what you should check when purchasing your own quartz worktops.


Consistency in the colour


A high-quality quartz slab will have colour consistency throughout the entire material. Although each quartz slab is different from the one before (intentionally, through the veining), the base colour and patterns of movement on the quartz should look very similar. If the colour variation is jarring, this is a sign that the manufacturers used a low-cost and less precise manufacturing process. Choosing a reputable brand with a good warranty on the quartz is one of the best ways to ensure your slabs will be of higher quality.


Body colour and aggregate setting


Looking at the veining on a quartz slab, including the patterns and textures, can be an indication of the quality of the worktop. The “aggregate” – crushed materials that form a pattern on the quartz – is something you need to keep an eye on. The aggregate needs to be equally distributed throughout the material so that the pattern does not fade halfway through the slab. This is the same for the colouring. If you have your heart set on a waterfall edge, this will look cheap if the colour and patterning disappear halfway through the edge. 


Poorly distributed aggregate can also cause fragility in the slab due to pits, pockets, weight, and density imbalances. This will reduce the lifespan of the quartz and make it easier to chip or crack. Always make sure you are viewing the slab in person so you can check for the above as well as a constant thickness before buying.


Resin quality and consistent shine


Poor resin and inconsistent use of the resin can result in pooling on the surface of the slab. A poor-quality resin can also indicate that it is manufactured using unknown chemicals and sub-par materials, which can be unhealthy. If the quartz supplier cannot tell you much about the resin used, this can be an indicator of poor resin, and you should try to avoid this. 


Poor and cheaper resin can also cause the surface of the quartz to be less polished with an inconsistent shine. You should be able to see the smooth gleam of the slab from eye level, which indicates a high-quality worktop. A sheen which is blotchy in places and not smooth could mean that the polishing was completed by someone inexperienced, the pads used were past their “use-by” date, and, as mentioned earlier, the resin is of cheap and poor quality.


How Mo’s StoneX can help


Besides checking the quartz in person yourself, it can still be hard to tell the quality of the slab. This is where we come in. Mo’s StoneX is a trusted and experienced team with over 10 years of experience manufacturing, supplying, templating, and installing premium luxury quartz worktops. Take a look at our worktop process video to view the rigorous details that go into every single slab. 


We trust our process so much that every quartz worktop comes with a 25-year manufacturer warranty for your peace of mind. 


If you’re looking for premium quality quartz and a team of experienced professionals to help you with your kitchen renovation, contact us today or get a free quote to put you one step closer to your dream kitchen!