Quartz countertops are an excellent choice for anyone looking for a low-maintenance countertop option for their bathroom or kitchen. They're made by binding quartz shavings together with a polymer resin, then compressing the mixture into a slab. Unlike whole-stone slab countertops, quartz countertops never need to be periodically sealed in order to avoid water stains, and they're easy to clean. Manufacturers can add pigments to the resin in order to produce quartz countertops in any color, which makes it easy to find a slab that matches your kitchen or bathroom decor.

One decision you'll have to make when installing a quartz countertop is whether you want a polished finish or a matte finish for it. The main difference between them is the amount of light that they reflect, and picking the right one for your home will depend on which one fits the surrounding decor better. To learn more about the difference between these finishes and how to decide which one is best for you, read on.

What's the Difference Between a Polished Finish and a Matte Finish for a Quartz Countertop?

When a polished quartz countertop is manufactured, diamond grinders are used to polish its surface after it has been pressed into a slab. This reduces the size between the pores in the surface, which results in the surface reflecting a considerable amount of light — polished quartz countertops have a noticeable glossy sheen to them.

In order to create a matte finish, diamond grinders with a lower grit will be used to polish it. This results in larger pores on the surface, which scatter light instead of reflecting it. As a result, quartz with a matte finish appears significantly less shiny than polished quartz.

One downside of the larger pore size is that it's easier for a matte finish to pick up stains. Staining in a quartz countertop is normally caused when the polymer resin reacts to an acid such as lemon juice or tomato sauce. Liquids with strong colors can also stain the resin, like wine, tea, coffee, and cosmetic products. Since a matte finish has larger pores, it's easier for liquids to seep into the countertop and cause stains. Thankfully, it's easy to remove any stains that appear in a matte finish — you can scrub them out using a mild abrasive.

How Do You Know Whether a Polished Finish or a Matte Finish Is Best for Your Decor?

Since the biggest difference between a polished finish and a matte finish is how much light they reflect, it's best to pick a finish that complements your lighting and interior design. If you have bright lights in your kitchen or bathroom and are worried about excessive glare, then you may want to pick a matte finish. Similarly, if you already have a lot of shiny surfaces near your kitchen such as a hardwood floor in the adjacent dining room, you may want to select a matte finish in order to avoid creating excessive amounts of glare.

If you have a modern design in your kitchen or bathroom and want your countertop to be the focal point, however, then a polished finish is best. The shine from the polished finish naturally attracts attention, and it also highlights the beauty of the quartz.

One of the easiest ways to find out which type of finish will be the best match for your home is to contact a quartz countertop installer in your area and ask for samples. You can get a sample of a countertop with a matte finish and one with a polished finish, lay them on your existing counter, and see which one will complement the surrounding decor the best. Regardless of which you choose, you'll be installing a durable, low-maintenance countertop that is easy to clean and doesn't need to be sealed.