A drop in the price of natural stone and the increasing popularity of porcelain have placed increased pressure on the agglomerate tile market in North America. Nevertheless, agglomerate tiles and slabs, often referred to as engineered or composite stone, have begun to find new markets following the introduction of quartz-based products. Unlike its marble counterpart, the quartz agglomerate does not require waxing, sealing or polishing after installation. Because of its hardness, the surface finish has long life and, in addition to the low maintenance factor, quartz agglomerate has little or no colour variation throughout the entire slab. The durability, hardness, surface finish and high flexural strength of quartz agglomerates means that they are finding many applications in buildings.