Choosing Countertops: Manufactured Quartz

Low-maintenance and lovely, quartz countertops suit a variety of design styles.

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If low maintenance is ranked high on your criteria for choosing a countertop, consider manufactured quartz. It's highly durable, easy to clean and stain- and scratch-resistant. Composed of quartz blended with a resin binder, it imitates the look of granite, marble or limestone but still appeals to people who want a more even, balanced pattern. "It's not as busy as granite and it's warmer to the touch," says Judy Adams Hunt of Eurotech Cabinetry in Sarasota, Fla.

Design Tip: Use quartz instead of granite if you want a light-colored top. Lemon juice, red wine and vinegar will not stain quartz, says Adams Hunt.

Maintenance: Clean with warm water and non-abrasive cleanser. No sealing is required.

Cost: From $110-$250/lin. ft., installed.

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