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zaphod42_gw

Quartz counter top questions

zaphod42
12 years ago

Starting to plan a kitchen remodel and I'm looking at options and ideas. My husband and I really like the look of the quartz counter tops. First, anybody have and like? I hear overall they're tougher than granite and supposedly less expensive. Is that about right? Also, any comment regarding price and quality between some of the brands? So far I've come across Cambria, Silestone, Ceasarstone, Zodiaq by DuPont, and Viatera from LG all carrying quartz lines. Recommendations? Also, has anyone ever gone through Lowes or Home Depot for this? How do they compare price and install quality from more independent source?

Thanks!

Comments (35)

  • ccoombs1
    12 years ago

    Actually, they there are many granites that are much tougher and also much cheaper. Quartz is not necessarily a money saving option.

  • mls99
    12 years ago

    I have had Caesarstone countertops for 2 years and love them. I have a modern kitchen, and wanted a clean look that did not have variation. How hard they are depends on the amount of stone vs resin: there used to be threads about this. I had one of the softer ones (very white) but I put pots straight from the cooktop down on it with no problems. Some granites are cheaper, some are more expensive.

    To me, the big difference is the look: the quartzes are homogeneous whereas the granites can be unique, and some quartzes need annual resealing.

  • chedanemi
    12 years ago

    I've had Cambria quartz for more than four years now, and it looks exactly like it did the day it went in; no marks, chips or nicks. It cleans beautifully and has pretty metallic flecks that sparkle when the light or sun hits it right. I loved it with my cabinets, and I didn't even compare the cost to granite. It was my splurge.

  • lolauren
    12 years ago

    what color, chedanemi?

  • sara_the_brit_z6_ct
    12 years ago

    I have Cambria too and am very happy with it. It was probably equivalent in price to a mid-price granite. We are pretty messy cooks, and I didn't want DH to feel I was 'policing' his work by wiping up after him all the time. I've left tomato sauce, lemon juice, vinegar, all sorts of stuff on the counters overnight (and longer, if I didn't see it) with no worries.
    My stepdaughter has quartz, through Home Depot - SIL did the whole kitchen, except the counters. They're very happy with the quality and installation service, , it looks great, and they don't worry about whatever mess their 4 year old is making . . .

  • okhouse
    12 years ago

    We have caesarstone - egg shell color- in our new house. It looks great with our contemporary house, and has been wonderful to live with. Nothing has stained it, nicked it, melted it, dinged it, etc., although there are only two of us so that is not the toughest test.

    I like granite, and we put it in when we redid the kitchen in our previous home. But in this house the white C'stone looks so crisp and clean and we love it. We went through a local Caesarstone dealer. We got three bids and they varied enormously! I think we ended up with the middle bid, for various reasons other than just the bottom line, as I remember.

  • mileaday None
    12 years ago

    I have Silestone in my kitchen and master bath and love it in both rooms. It always looks clean even when I know it isn't. I don't put any hot pots directly on it but other than that I don't baby it in anyway. It was more expensive than all of the granites I looked at but I liked it better with the cabinets I chose. I didn't want the counters to compete with everything else in the room. If you are looking to make a statement with your counter, quartz is probably not for you. But if you want a beautiful countertop with no more upkeep than a basic wipe-up cleaning, quartz is the answer.

  • davidro1
    12 years ago

    I'm getting quartz for the same reasons mentioned about. 1 is it won't compete visually with everything else. 2. is it's tougher than stone in many ways. The first response above was wrong to say the opposite.

  • michellemarie
    12 years ago

    I am doing quartz in my bathroom and I picked one of the most expensive colors so it was more than some granites I looked at. It isn't installed yet so I can't tell you how I like it. My bath has bright white subway tile, glazed white hex floor, and clawfoot tub so I originally wanted a marble countertop. After reading through posts on this site, I knew marble would be a bad choice for me as I have kids, like my makeup, and can't always clean up immediately. Good luck and you may not just be basing your decision on cost, but what will be best for your lifestyle.

  • theanimala
    12 years ago

    Another vote for Quartz. There was a thread here awhile ago, and while it's difficult to pull up the old threads, the gist of it is all of manufacture's of quartz are essentially the same. They all buy their machine that makes the product from the same place, the only difference is how they mix their colors to make their unique product. Warranties may differ but the product is essentially the same.

    We went with Caesarstone, Misty Carerra for our island and Raven for the perimeter. Only been 6 months or so by no issues so far. About two months ago we must have had a bit too much wine. We came down the next morning and when I lifted the glasses there were two huge red wine rings. I took a damp sponge and wiped it away in seconds. This was on the white Misty countertop no less.

    We didn't buy quartz to save money, we did it because we didn't like the "chaos" of granite. I see both products as being equal, just different styles.

  • cooksnsews
    12 years ago

    I chose quartz solely because of the colour, which coordinates perfectly with my blue cabs. Any of the common countertop materials (stone, laminate, quartz, etc) are hard and durable enough for us, since we don't abuse or torture-test any of our household elements.

  • arleneb
    12 years ago

    I used Zodiaq on my perimeter cabinets and granite on my island. I love both, but prefer doing food prep on the quartz because it's so easy to clean. I set hot pans directly on the small counter between stove and fridge -- it's there for that purpose, and I figure if I ever have a problem with heat damage, it will be a very small area to replace! So far, no problems.

    We've only been in the house for 9 months so I can't vouch for years of use, but so far I haven't had any issues at all.

    Padola, I can see seams if I look for them, but don't notice them normally. My quartz is dark grey-blue.

  • michellemarie
    12 years ago

    I am rethinking my original decision to do all granite and go with quartz on the perimeter and granite on my island.
    Has anyone else done this? I would love to see pics of quartz mixed with other materials.
    Thanks

  • sara_the_brit_z6_ct
    12 years ago

    One seam of mine is visible, but only because it's right by the window (I didn't realise this at the time) and so catches the light. If the blind is down, you can't see it - it all depends on where the light hits.

    I do really recommend going to inspect your quartz slab before fabrication though, as you would with granite. Some people have had odd spots where the resin has 'pooled', making for a solid colour blob: inspecting the slab allows you to avoid those (I checked mine, and there was no pooling anyway)

  • honeychurch
    12 years ago

    I had Silestone in my old house and thought it was great and low maintenace. We had a darker pattern (Black Canyon) and the seams barely showed. I was considering Cambria Hazelford for my remodel (until I discovered soapstone)--one thing I liked about the Cambria is that it is (according to the sample) the only quartz top made in the USA (if that matters to you).

  • zosogirl
    12 years ago

    I have Silestone quartz in Sienna Ridge. Love it. I have two seams - they are on either side of the cooktop so that they didn't end up in a diagonal corner anywhere. They are barely visible, because the color is busy enough to disguise them. The reason I chose quartz over granite was the ease of care - no sealing, no natural fissures, just easy and I loved the look.




    sorry the photos are so big!

  • davidro1
    12 years ago

    Heat is not a problem for a short time of seconds, or minutes if low enough temperature.
    Manufacturers won't discuss how much is just enough and how much is too much.
    Not letting high heat penetrate deep inside it is your responsibility.

  • emilynewhome
    12 years ago

    We have Zodiaq in our kitchen and master bath, Wilson quartz in the the other baths. We purchased it thru Lowes in Louisiana, who use fabricators/installers in Dallas TX.
    We are very happy with all the counter tops. The seams were pointed out to us by the fabricators, if they hadn't we wouldn't have known they were there.
    We have had numerous complements on the outstanding quality of the installation, compared to the local fabricators.
    The only drawback was it took about a month between ordering, their people coming out and measuring, and then the final install!

  • socalusa
    12 years ago

    We had Silestone for about 5 years before the remodel. It was installed by Home Depot and I believe
    we bought it during a sales incentive week. It was similar in price to a low end granite,
    but then we added the bullnose which immediately sends it into high end bracket.

    The quartz surface is a slightly duller, more semi gloss surface, while the granite, if polished,
    is quite reflective and shiny.

  • olga_d
    12 years ago

    Actually, they there are many granites that are much tougher and also much cheaper. Quartz is not necessarily a money saving option.

    I would agree with this. We found quartz to be more expensive than most of the granites we were looking at, so don't buy it thinking it will be a cost savings - not necessarily. Now if you have expensive taste in granite but like the cheapest quartz option then I'm sure you will save, but it's not a given.

    One of the reasons we went with granite is because of its natural look. Quartz always looks so consistent, even the patterned ones, it seems fake-looking to me because it lacks the natural variability. That said, if you are going for a certain look then it can absolutely be the right choice for you. If you are after a very consistent pattern or a bright colour then quartz may work better.

    As far as the durability, meh. Our granite does not need sealing, doesn't stain (I left some curry splatters on it for 2 days this weekend, cleaned up with a wet sponge, no problems). Some are more high maintenance but then so are some types/colours of quartz.

    Don't let people tell you that one is always better than the other. That's just not true, so much depends on YOU and your individual needs/wants.

  • joyce_6333
    12 years ago

    I've had Silestone (Kala Hari) for almost 9 years now, and will do it again in our new home. Great stuff!! At the time, Silestone was more expensive than Granite. I think I paid $89/sq ft. I don't live near a large metro area, so that makes it all more difficult. At a recent home show, the granite guy quoted me $70/sq ft for low end granite, plus install, etc. I don't really understand what they mean by "low end" granite. I'm assuming it means less dense? more apt to stain?? or more popular colors?

  • mondragon
    12 years ago

    I agree with the people who say that it depends on what YOU like. Natural stone and engineered "stone" have very different looks. The engineered can look completely artificial:

    {{!gwi}}

    or can suggest a more natural look.

    I like some of the engineered stones but much prefer the look of natural stones. Contrary to the sales literature and the people who repeat it, it's simple to find a granite that doesn't need sealing and doesn't stain.

    So go with what you like.

  • mondragon
    12 years ago

    @Hostagrams - you say the Zodiaq is easier to clean than your granite - what do you mean by that?

  • mindstorm
    12 years ago

    I agree and understand the recommendation to get that which pleases you more. In my case, my front runners spanned the space from a granite (black), to quartz (zodiac). I eventually chose the black granite. It doesn't need sealing or any such protection. But that's not why I picked it. I got it because I loved it and the cobalt blue winking speckles it had - very quiet stone, very uniform but then there'll be this flash of irridescence if you walk by it with the light just so. I love it.

    Some misinformation as usual to address in this thread:
    is it's tougher than stone in many ways. The first response above was wrong to say the opposite.
    Actually this admonishment above is incorrect. "Stone" covers many an animal but there certainly are stones that are much "tougher" than quartz. Stones (including many granites) that don't need sealing AND will be harder and more heat and scratch resistant than engg. stone.
    The reason is in engg stone's composition. Per the literature, the engg quartz slabs are between 93% - 97% crushed quartz (or stone in some cases) to 7-3% resin (binder). What is left out is that that proportion is the ratio by weight. Since stones - whichever - are much denser than resin, the volume ratio is more like 40-65% resin to 60-35% rock (depending on category, brand etc.). While quartz is one of the hardest materials around, resin is one of the softest. Ergo, scratch it and it (the resin) can score), chip. Even hot pans are not recommended because they can melt or at least discolour the resin, not the quartz in the engg stone but certainly the resin which then affects the overall look of the surface.

    Which brings us to misinformation #2:
    Along with all the others advocating dispensing with trivets etc. (actually they didn't actually advocate so, but readership is an oddly subjective thing).
    Heat is not a problem for a short time of seconds, or minutes if low enough temperature.
    Manufacturers ...
    Not letting high heat penetrate deep inside it is your responsibility.

    It isn't the "deep inside", it is the surface temperatures that are the caution with quartz. You don't want the surface to get hot enough to melt or discolour (with enough exposure to these hot pans).

    None of this is to say that these are quartz weaknesses. For entirely other reasons, I don't put hot pans on my granite although i have no fear of discolouring or melting granite!

  • riverspots
    12 years ago

    Quality of HD or Lowes installation will depend on who they subcontract it to. In my area, the same local fabricator is used by 4 different HDs for their granite work. But their Silestone and other quartz counters are done by a different shop. The seams in the granite were not so good but the quartz counters were excellent. You'll just have to inspect carefully what ever material you choose.

  • davidro1
    12 years ago

    Well said mindstorm. It impresses me.

  • seattle_rain
    12 years ago

    When people say that quartz looks like "fake" stone it always makes me scratch my head. For me, I love it because it is clean and uniform--if I wanted "real" stone with the variability that comes with real stone, I'd choose granite or marble. Saying it looks like fake stone is like saying that cork looks like fake wood. Two very different materials, two very different looks. Neither one is better--it's what style you prefer.

  • olga_d
    12 years ago

    When people say that quartz looks like "fake" stone it always makes me scratch my head. For me, I love it because it is clean and uniform--if I wanted "real" stone with the variability that comes with real stone, I'd choose granite or marble. Saying it looks like fake stone is like saying that cork looks like fake wood. Two very different materials, two very different looks. Neither one is better--it's what style you prefer.

    Exactly! But I have found that many people try to sell quartz counters saying they look like granite but are better/easier/tougher (which I think has already been addressed above). Some of their colours do appear to be in fact imitating the look of real stone. I don't think they do well at that, but I totally agree with you that it's a great choice if you want a uniform or clean look or their vibrant colours.

  • mondragon
    12 years ago

    I think there are engineered stones that try to look like natural stone, and are about as realistic as wood-grained formica. The ones that don't, though, some of them are gorgeous like zosogirl's.

    I want to add some clarification to what Mindstorm says about the resin used in engineered stone. "resin" is a very general term and can be used for materials that are soft or very very hard. The resins used for countertops (and even though everyone is using the same process I'm pretty sure they choose their own materials - stone and resin - so the hardness will vary) are the hard ones, so they won't scratch like regular plastics.

  • eal51
    12 years ago

    I won't get into the technical stuff but we had Zodiac installed 5 years ago and we would do it again. We have one seam that is barely visible. As to price, at the time is was about the same as granite. Both the counters and the island are the same color.

    It cleans easily and we have a shine to it. We do not put hot pots/ pans on it. I would not put any hot pot or pan on any counter top material regardless of what a manufacturer or installer said.

    Enjoy the journey.
    eal51 in western CT

  • capecodder
    12 years ago

    We had Zodiac installed about 6 years ago. Seam is barely visible, quartz very easy to care for. Recently I placed a hot pot lid on the counter and it made a mark...first time this has ever happened (I do not put hot pots on the counter!). This quartz was definitely not cheaper than granite...

  • arleneb
    12 years ago

    Mondragon: Maybe it's more accurate to say that whatever I do on the dark quartz countertop, I don't worry at all because I know it won't stain ever. My granite is textured and white with specks of color -- I just am more concerned about stains. Maybe I really don't have to be, but that's how it seems to me. I've never had granite before, so maybe it's just that I'm more nervous about it!

  • mondragon
    12 years ago

    Hosta - I was lucky enough to read these boards for a while before starting on my kitchen so I knew to do tests on samples of granite since the need for sealing can vary wildly. So I know that nothing is going to soak into what I selected.

    White stones are more likely to need sealing and if yours did, and was sealed well, then you have to be careful about using a cleaner that doesn't break down the sealer.

    For peace of mind, you could try leaving a spot of water on it for a while and then checking to see if it has darkened it when you wipe it off. If it doesn't, you should be good.

  • festusbodine
    12 years ago

    We have 2 colors of Silestone which were installed over the last couple days. White North on the perimeter cabinets, Olive Green on the island. Chosen primarily for the color, consistency in the look, and ease of maintenance. Most quartz now is more expensive than many granites which were over-quarried prior to the fallout of the residential construction biz. Quartz slabs are manufactured according to demand so the price stays steady and...often higher. Pics are below, along with links to our own stain tests that we performed on many counter materials including quartz, granite, marble, and engineered marble.


    Here is a link that might be useful: Our own countertop stain test pics

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