Sinter is Coming - is the season for quartz winding down?

 

This guest post was written by our friends over at Modern Surfaces.

There is no denying the fact that materials evolve and become better, add features and outperform legacy materials.  Sintered stone does just that: it builds upon the shortcomings of quartz and will undoubtedly replace some portion of that market.  

 

A lot of companies don’t want to see sintered stone take hold, because they are:

 

  • Resistant to change
     
  • Heavily invested in Quartz
     
  • Afraid of new materials
     
  • Not prepared for the future

 

Which one(s) are you?

 

Most men would rather deny a hard truth than face it.

In the building materials industry, apathy is a tool used to resist change.  The same is true in many industries, but never before has the truth been bearing down as relentlessly at is in the surfacing world.  For the last few years, Quartz has been the material of choice for the mid- to high-end homeowner and many commercial projects. Along with granite, it has been among the large share of hard surface installations in the last decade. The hard truth though, is that there are a myriad of challenges facing quartz today - some brought on by the industry’s own doing - and others exacerbated by greed, competition, and design fatigue.  

 

The truth is that it is time for a new entrant, a new material that improves upon the shortcomings of quartz: its health hazards, its inability to be used outside without fading, and its use of plastics and resins in its composition.

 


A lion does not concern himself with the opinion of sheep.

Cambria, the largest US quartz manufacturer, had enough of the competition from Chinese quartz, with low-cost entrants swooping in and plummeting the quartz market into a bottom-feeding war of commodity vs. quality.  Unconcerned for their fabricators and the hundreds of lesser-known brands of quartz (some reputable) coming out of China, Cambria filed an anti-dumping and countervailing lawsuit to quell the influx of Chinese quartz.

 

In preliminary rulings, they have come out victorious.  Not all market players were thrilled with the lawsuit, with some having built their business model around the ability to source cheap quartz.  Cambria even raised pricing in response, further distancing itself from the large number of companies that were scrambling to bridge the gap on jobs they had aggressively bid, assuming cheap quartz material would be available -- and it no longer was. Cambria was concerned with its brand, not with the others impacted by the outcome of the legislation.

 


Chaos isn't a pit. Chaos is a ladder.

The industry continues to battle it out in front of the International Trade Commission:

 

“Hey, this cheap material actually allowed us to employ thousands of people in the US”

-The plea of the newly founded American Quartz Worker Coalition

 

“Don’t worry we got you covered, we are not made in China”

-The claims of Hanstone, Silestone, Caesarstone.

 

“Glass?  You are swapping ground glass for quartz to thwart the ruling?  Nice try, China. We are adding that to our petition.”

-Cambria

 

While the aforementioned factions are blindly fighting to be the last man on the quartz battlefield,  a new player arrives with a fresh outlook that could free us from the confines of our traditional views of the surfacing world. This player is stronger, more resilient, can withstand the ice and the fire -  a game changer.

 

Sinter is Here.

When you play a game of thrones, you win or you die.

There is room for many players in the surfacing world.  There is no ‘one king’. But choosing not to embrace new materials has been proven to be the demise of many.  Many will fall with the tariffs on Chinese quartz. Cut to size, straight from China jobs are going to suffer and containers will pile up at the port as purchases have to pay 3x the value to get them out of hock.  The winners will be those that embrace the change and move onward, not those who hunker down, defenseless and hope for the best.

 

Position your company for success.  Don’t bank on the past, but envision the future.

 

Embrace the new player and don’t let the lifeless past drag you down.  There is a balance, but that balance should always include a look toward the future.


Can a man still be brave if he's afraid? That is the only time a man can be brave.

Change is difficult.  It means learning new things, buying new equipment, training new people, or teaching old dogs new tricks.  Change is scary. But now is the time to change. Don’t double down on quartz and bank on cheap material coming in from China.  It often is not fully cured, has residual styrene on the surface (probably carcinogens) and is loaded with silica, which means, when you mine it, and when you cut it, there is dust that is notoriously known to cause black lung or miner’s disease.  This is an issue on which you should move now before it is too late. With health, human health, you pick a side, but pick the right side.


 

Why is it that when one man builds a wall, the next man immediately needs to know what's on the other side?

We believe that Lapitec has created a game changer.  The material that defines sintered stone. Flanked by patents and Breton’s decades of technical innovation, Lapitec sintered stone is a sea change in the surfacing world.  It is no wonder that it is coveted by many, and its composition and the machinery behind its innovation are envied by many in the quartz and ceramic industry. As we come to a crescendo and the powerful fall, it is the forward-looking leader who had the best strategy who should come out on top.  

 

Sinter is Here.

Sintered Stone will reign.  

Lapitec is Sintered Stone.

 


Related Articles:
Quartz Countertops are Officially a Commodity 

Update: Trifecta of Tariffs Take Down Quartz Surfacing

Glass Half Empty: Quartz Companies Looking at Glass to Fill Their Coffers

Quartz Companies Coalesce: Calling Out Cambria

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