Countertop Geology, Part 5: Marble, Quartzite and other Favorites

karin_mtJanuary 14, 2014

This is round five of the Great Rocks Thread!

Please post your rock questions here. I've copied the basic info about quartzite and marble here because this is the most frequent question.

Quartzite and marble are hopelessly (deliberately?) mixed up in the decorative stone industry. My point, aside from just loving rocks, is to help folks learn how to tell the difference between the two so you are not at the mercy of a sales rep when a multi-thousand dollar purchase hangs in the balance.

Quartzite is much harder than marble and will not etch when exposed to acids. You can tell the difference between quartzite and marble by doing the scratch test and the etch test.

Scratch Test
Take a glass bottle or a glass tile with you when you go stone shopping. Find a rough, sharp edge of the stone. Drag the glass over the edge of the stone. Press pretty hard. Try to scratch the glass with the stone.

Quartzite will bite right into the glass and will leave a big scratch mark.
Any feldspar will do the same. (Granites are made mostly of feldspar)

Calcite and dolomite (that's what marble and limestone are made of) will not scratch. In fact you will be able to feel in your hand that the rock won't bite into the glass. It feels slippery, no matter how hard you press.

PS - don't press so hard that you risk breaking the glass in your hand. You shouldn't need to press that hard!

Etch Test
Etching is when the surface of a rock is dissolved from acids like lemon juice, vinegar, wine, etc. It is the primary bummer about using marble in a kitchen. Etching is most noticeable on polished rocks. Etching is not prevented by sealers, no matter what you hear from the sales rep!

Doing the etch test is simple: bring home a sample of the rock and put lemon juice or vinegar on it. Even after a few minutes the results are usually obvious. Etched areas look duller and are discolored compared to the rest of the slab.

Some people get conflicting results with these two tests, but normally anything in the marble family will not scratch glass and it will etch.

Quartzite and rocks in the granite family will scratch glass and will not etch.

For reference, here are links to the other rock threads, in which many types of rocks have been discussed.

Rocks 101: The Lowdown on Super White

Rocks 102: Marble, Quartzite and Other Rocks in the Kitchen

Rocks 103: Countertop Geology: Marble and quartzite and granite, oh my!

Rocks part 4, Marble, Granite, Quartzite

With that, let the rock conversations continue!
-Karin

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hank-mountainmarble

Thanks Karin

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 7:04PM
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karen.ohio

Yes,

Thanks Karin.

I have installed Blue Pearl and am pretty happy with it. My husband had the honor of breaking the first porcelain cup on the counter.

The stone came with a sealer because I assumed they would not put it on, unless I requested it. Guess I will see how it wears since I will not pay to remove it. Same as I will not pay for a fix where the TV hangs that the architect should redo because it is not what I wanted. Have to live with that mistake staring at me every time I watch TV. Sorry, I digress. The marble counter at the TV area looks beautiful. I had that piece honed. So much easier to keep dust from showing. The beautiful Blue Pearl shows all of the mess. (i am messy.) Dust isn't the issue, though.

Glad this thread is till going strong.

By the way, the fabricators and installers did a great job.

One thing I insisted upon was that I wanted to see where the layout was placed on the slabs. I did chose the slabs for this also. The guys had the slabs flat and showed us every angle in the light and where they would place the patterns. They showed where the seams would be and we were all in agreement after the meeting.

Karen

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 8:40PM
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YuliaO

Oh, I am so happy! I showed my husband the etching on the Super White and he said he'll be fine with itâ¦Yay!! I really wanted light/grey countertops but i am fine with etching/staining/patina, i actually like it a lot! But my husband is the one who went nuts when i showed him a piece of stained marble⦠I am still going to repeat the staining test overnight just to make sure, but YEY :)))

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 10:31PM
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anj2000

Hi Karin,

I'd love to mail you my samples to see what you can find - I'm so curious!

I've sent you an email with my email address, so you can send me an address...

Best,
Anj

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 12:41AM
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YuliaO

left my sample with wine and teaâ¦it stained :(((( not as bad as marble, or maybe marble was not sealedâ¦.but anyway, that Super White is out of the question, we have 3 kids, i don't want them to be scared to use the kitchenâ¦.

what about this jet mist honed? any reason to believe it would not stain?

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 8:07AM
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YuliaO

the first one is also called virginia mist

and another back-up plan, Silver Waveâ¦is it granite?

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 8:09AM
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JoanLast

Rock on is right! Thanks for continuing the thread:-)

Joan

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 11:32AM
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cloud_swift

YuliaO, you could ask the fabricator to seal your sample and then try the staining test again. Sealing should prevent it from staining.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 8:52PM
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YuliaO

My sample was sealedâ¦. :( she clearly told me that and she said it never etches or gets stains :(

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 8:56PM
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hank-mountainmarble

I love Jet Mist, Virginia Mist, Ebony Mist, American Black different names for a stone coming from two quarries in Culpepper VA, one of the nicer local stones in my opinion.. Make sure you choose your slabs as the amount of "white veining" varies tremendously. As fabricators we use Miracle Sealant 511 Sealer/Impregnator, but never the less don't leave your oil bottle in contact with the stone. The sealers slow pentration they don't preclude it. I know some question the use of sealers for some stones but I have never particularly understood the reasoning. Maybe someone can help me understand.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 9:14PM
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karin_mt

Andrea posted a question as post #150 on the last thread, so I will paste it here and answer it.

So just so I have my details clear - quartzite and granite are the best choices for durability in a kitchen correct? Did I read that quartzite can still etch, but doesn't scratch and that granite doesn't etch or scratch?

Not quite. Actual quartzite doesn't etch. But quartzite that is really marble but is sold as quartzite does etch. Similarly, that same mislabeled quartzite will also be scratched easily if it is actually marble. The bottom line with quartzite - you have to test it to find out what it really is. Actual quartzite is wonderful if you can get it!

We spoke with the owner of the granite place and they will replace our stone. As much as I love the super white look I need something that won't cut when the pizza cutter rolls off onto the counter and that won't etch badly if things like fruit juice are spilled on it. Any suggestions on what type of stone is best as well as any more specific suggestions on a light color that has a similar look to super white? Thank you all so very much for your help!

Awesome that your shop will do this, good for you. Light colored granites include River White, Kashmir White and plenty of others that I don't know the names of. But they won't look like Super White.

If you can find it, White Macaubus quartzite is stunning.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 11:46PM
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karin_mt

Karen Ohio,

Congratulations on your Blue Pearl! It's always nice to hear about successful installations since it seems like we only hear about the botched ones. Sounds like your fabricators did a super job and you were smart to spec out every last detail.

Yulia,
Keep looking! I think a granite is a better fit for you guys. You're getting closer!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 11:49PM
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strayerdarb

"If you can find it, White Macaubus quartzite is stunning"
_____

River White granite is really pretty and the plan was to use that if I couldn't find the White Macubus. I saw some River Whites that had really nice movement and coloration.

If you're going to look for Macubus, get familiar with how it looks. Some shops told me they had it, but what they actually had was a different kind of quartzite or something that I knew probably was marble.

I did have to hunt a bit longer than if I had gone with the River White right off the bat, but I knew I wanted the macaubus so I just kept looking.

I posted a picture of my macaubus in thread #4. Here's a closer shot to see the coloration. It's white with blue-grey lines and rust-colored lines.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 9:39AM
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emcn

Hi everyone. I came across gardenweb during my research of kitchen counters. I've enjoyed following everyone's progress over the last 4 threads. I want to use white quartzite and have not been able to find "real" quartzite in my search. I too have had the same experience as recent posters where my sample cut glass, but also etched with a lemon wedge. It did stain a little with red wine, but not as bad as the White Ice granite sample, which seemed to soak up everything. Thank you for your knowledge and experience. It has saved me from a kitchen nightmare! I will continue with my search.

Also, the granite yard told us that we would have to sign a waiver if we used quartzite, is this common practice?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 11:22PM
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YuliaO

(copying here hoping for more responses)

We walked into one showroom couple of days ago and they had kitchen on display with jet mist honed countertopâ¦.I hated it! Even though i liked the slab, i absolutely hated it in the kitchen for some reason!

So, we've decided to go with Super White honed for our kitchen.
Although it comes sealed i do need to apply more sealer, right? What kind of sealer should i get? And how do i apply it?

Someone mentioned Method's granite cleaner. Do you just clean with it on daily basis or apply before using, like a sealer?

What else can i do to make sure my SW stays nice and clean for as long as possible?

What product can i use to get rid of the stains if they happen that does not etch the countertop ? And daily maintenance, what should i use?

Did anybody notice if whiter Super White stains more then grayer one? We have two suppliers and their super whites are different. One has very grey super white (that we actually like)-attached photo⦠and other has regular super white.

Would appreciate any advice! Thank you!

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 10:01AM
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karin_mt

Hi Emcn,

What was the waiver for? Was in in case they quartzite turned out to be marble or was it for other reasons? I haven't heard of that before. I'm glad these threads are helpful - saving you from trouble is exactly my intent!

Yulia,

I'd be careful with "granite" cleaner on marble, because it might have acids in it. Read the label carefully and only use it if it specifically says it's OK for marble. I don't have any knowledge of cleaning products but hopefully others can chime in.

As for staining, I would bet that the porosity and "stainability" is the same between the white and grey versions of Super White, but on the grey stone the stains would be less visible.

Hope that helps,
Karin

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 10:28AM
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YuliaO

Thank you Karin! So you say i should treat Super White as marble, not granite or quartzite?

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 11:14AM
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karin_mt

Right. It is marble and therefore should be treated as such.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 1:56PM
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OOTM_Mom

Hello experts! The counter I want is Onyx. Bummer, I found a rough edge, and took a knife and literally scraped a bit of powder into a shot glass. (The shot glass was never gonna get scratched on the edge, so decided to collect some rock into it and drip my lemon juice into the shot glass.) no bubbles formed from the powder interacting with the lemone juice. Is that good or bad? The powder I scraped was from a whiter section of this...any chance the colored areas are something much harder?

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 4:24PM
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karin_mt

It's hard to tell what to make of your results. Even hard rocks can crumble, so the fact that the rock crumbled doesn't actually tell us if it's harder than glass. Or did you try to scratch the glass with the rock?

The lemon juice may or may not fizz. Vinegar probably would fizz, but the go-to test for actual fizzing is diluted hydrochloric acid, which isn't something that normal people have on hand. That's why the test for etching (rather than fizzing) is a better one.

Is the rock likely to be harder in different spots? No, not really. And even if it was, the weaker spots are still cause for concern.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 5:14PM
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OOTM_Mom

I did try to scratch the shot glass with the edge, I couldnt. I scratched a mason jar at home with a sample of another material, and it did scratch, so I'm pretty sure I applied the right amount of pressure. What ended up in the glass was a very fine powder. I guess I just have to decide how much upkeep I want, lots of sealing, and the inevitable dents/scratching from dropping a mug here or there in exchange for a lovely island and perimeter counters.

Thank You Karin_MT

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 5:26PM
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Andrea01

So I'm sad that I will be losing the look of the super white - which will be taken out soon. But I am very excited to have a usable kitchen again and not be so frantic all the time about every little thing that etches and scratches the counters. Here is one of the slabs of Alaska white that we picked out - the pic is kind of bad. (I had asked about the white macaubas - but the samples they had were not as attractive as what I have seen others post and they said that they etch...so now that I have read that true quartzite doesn't etch it must not be that). In any case I need to decide if we should have the alaska white honed or polished. Our current super white is honed and I like the look of it. Anyone ever see Alaska white in a honed finish?

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 7:05PM
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susanlynn2012

I love this Alaska White slab! Beautiful!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 10:27PM
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karin_mt

I think it would look cool honed - a friend has a similar one honed, or perhaps even leathered (is that the name of the rougher finish?) - it's a neat look. Hope you can find what you want!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 12:17AM
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karen.ohio

When I went to the parade of homes show in Plain City, Ohio, I saw an island of honed + polished stone that I absolutely thought was the best thing since sliced bread. It might have been Alaska White, but I can't remember now because no one else cared for it. Anyway, it had been honed and some areas of different minerals were not dull, they stayed polished. You could see this effect mostly from a distance or at an angle to the top of the table.

Karen

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 3:35PM
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muppetmom

Thanks to everyone who has been helping me so far! I now have a sample of the Verde Borgonga Granite (or is it Serpentine?). I have tried the following tests on it:
1. Scratch test - The granite scratched the bottom of a glass.

2. Scratch Test 2 - The Granite was scratched by a serrated knife, finger nail clippers, but not my fairly dull paring knife.

3. lemon test - the Granite showed no etching when a lime slice was left on it for an hour.

4 Vinegar - The granite showed no etching when vinegar was left on it for an hour.

5. lemon test 2 - I left a lime on the Granite overnight. The Granite had etched, but only where the cream/white streaks were located. It really brought out the white in the piece. The green parts were unafected.

6. Oil - I left olive oil in a puddle on the granite overnight. It did not make a mark or seem to be absorbed in any way.

I think this means that it will work fairly well in our kitchen. I, while not being the best housekeeper, should be able to wipe down the counters after parties and before going to bed at night.

Did I miss anything that I should have done? Does that shed any light on what kind of rock this is? Will it be a good rock for a working kitchen?

Thanks,
Muppetmom

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 4:29PM
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karin_mt

Great summary! Your post gets a gold star for top-notch reporting of your rock traits.

The white parts of the rock that etched are cracks in the rock that have filled in with the mineral calcite. That's what marble is made of too which is why it etches also. Calcite-filled cracks are very common in lots of kinds of rocks. Those cracks happened a long, long time ago and the calcite filling has healed them over. That said, the white parts probably are somewhat weaker but most likely are nothing to worry about.

The fact that a knife scratched the rock is also not uncommon. A knife blade is about the same hardness as feldspar and quartz.

I agree, I think this rock is a go for a kitchen. Nice work!

As for what the rock is, it's still hard to say. I doubt it's serpentine with that hardness. But green rocks are a little tricky to ID. Can you post another picture or two?

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 7:34PM
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srosen

Karin will have to take the verde borgogna to the lab to ID it!
It is called granite,marble and or quartzite by many different stone importers or distributors..
I think it may be similar to a rain forest green which is a serpentinite.
Very beautiful stone!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 4:39PM
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karin_mt

Yeah, I'm not fluent with serpentinites. I think they are soft though - the minerals in the serpentine group are like 2.5 - 4 on Mohs hardness scale. But I keep hearing about harder serpentinites so I don't know what that's all about. Still more to learn!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 9:00PM
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YuliaO

As i understand not all marbles are the sameâ¦Do you think some are more stain-prone then others?

The ones that are in my price range are Pearl Grey and Royal Danby, Verde Saltan (its black, does it stain anyway?) and Carraraâ¦

Are they all the same?

I just went to pick up my daughter from playdate and they have marble in the kitchenâ¦.oh my, it's SO beautiful!! its so warm and cozy!!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 10:59PM
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karin_mt

Yulia, I linked a site below that has the water absorption rate of many types of marble. That absorption rate tells you how much water can soak in and how porous it is. That is also related to it's likelihood to get stained. However, sealers do a good job of preventing staining.

As always, you need to bring home a sample and test it. If you are concerned about staining, you'll need a sealed sample so that the tests are the same as how it would be in real life.

BTW, on the link below, the formatting is all wonky. The info is good though.

Here is a link that might be useful: chart of popular marbles

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 11:09PM
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YuliaO

karin_mt,
thank you so much! I looked through your link yesterday.

I went to 2 stone yards todayâ¦i loved some of the marbles but i still was scared to get itâ¦

I drove myself crazy, my husband could not go with me so i had to make a decision for both of us⦠And his taste is very different from mine⦠i was so nervous and overwhelmed I felt really sick and dizzy at some pointâ¦

So i just went with soapstoneâ¦I am not sure if i will regret this decision later or notâ¦The one i picked is quite soft..but the other one they had, the harder one - was shiny and very very darkâ¦

As long as it does not stain i think my husband will be happy with itâ¦.And i am reading about sanding and oiling and all that :( I am not sure i quite recognize the amount of upkeeping i got myself intoâ¦.Butâ¦we'll see :)

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 4:59PM
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YuliaO

close up
it has freckles, its not water dropsâ¦.

do you know what kind of soapstone it might be? they didn't have a name for it, it just arrived :)

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 8:24PM
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cloud_swift

OTTM mom, onyx is a calcareous stone (i.e. one that has calcium in it, similar to marble) so acids will etch it. It probably is soft too. The slab looks lovely, but you would need to be willing to live with the surface acquiring a patina from scratching and etching.

Editing to correct after looking a bit more - apparently real onyx isn't calcium based - it is made of silica minerals (e.g. quartz) so it is relatively hard and shouldn't etch, but a common stones that look similar like banded calcite are often also called onyx and those have calcium.

This post was edited by cloud_swift on Mon, Jan 27, 14 at 21:00

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 8:48PM
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karin_mt

Congratulations Yulia!

I'm not very good at knowing all the names of commercial varieties so I'm afraid I can't help with the name. Hopefully the stone yard will come up with the name for you. But regardless, I hope you love it!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 11:09PM
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YuliaO

Thank you!

Is there a Soapstoneology 101 type of information somewhere? In regards to how to take care, what oils to use, waxing and all that?

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 11:33PM
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karen.ohio

The only oil I have seen used is food grade mineral oil. I wanted to use slate, but had my fingers slapped. Chose Blue Pearl instead. I did get my slate from Pennsylvania, but had to use it on the floor of my entryway.

I think I could have used soapstone, but I couldn't find the stone I liked.

Karen

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 2:32PM
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fishymom

We went to see my slab templated this morning and had to make one compromise. We wanted to do a mitered corner because of the flow of the rock, but the slab was a hair short. It was a huge slab, we got 58 square feet from the one slab, just not big enough. And my husband just got home and tells me they are going to do the install tomorrow, I am so excited! I have to admit, I am ready to have my sink and dishwasher back.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 8:16PM
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oldryder

Message to karin:

Thx for sharing your expertise here. I've worked with stone for 14 years and still come across new materials regularly so your insights are quite valuable. Sometimes the new colors we get are a nightmare for the fabricator (schists in particular)

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 6:07PM
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YuliaO

I have a question (again)

Our soapstone was installed and looks niceâ¦It scratches like crazy, though. The fabricator will have to come back and refinish the whole area because they scratched it in many areas during installation.
Anyway, they gave me a small piece of my slab that they just cut.

I never had soapstone before but i wanted to make sure it does not stain. It does not. But the oil left a very strange stain. It kinda went inside and made parts of the stone see through if it makes senseâ¦I can't get rid of it, nothing cleans it upâ¦
Thoughts?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 6:12PM
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YuliaO

side of the piece

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 6:13PM
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karin_mt

Hi Yulia,

I've been out of town so I haven't been keeping up with GW. It looks like your soapstone absorbs oil, which I guess is the point of oiling them and that does change the look. Did your oil spot become less noticeable or did you come across another solution?

OldRyder,

Thanks! I've learned a lot from you too - we're coming at it from opposite ends and I do think we compliment each other nicely. I can imagine that you see new things with some regularity, and you have to figure out each new stone you work with. Agreed, schists are so tricky with all that mica. But they're blingy, so that makes up for it, right?

So here's a question for you OldRyer - my local stone yard emailed some pics of a plane Jane tan limestone with a vivid orange color inside a crack. I need to go see it in person. There are some vivid orange minerals but it's not a common color. I'm wondering if it could be something similar to the dreaded 'green bloom.' Have you heard of anything bright orange appearing in slabs?

Thanks!
Karin

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 12:09PM
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AESDreamer

Hello all:

I just joined the site today so I could post here. I stumbled to the Rock 101 yesterday as I was researching for kitchen counters and spacing and after 2 days of reading, and side tracking to other stones sites, all the way from 101 to now 105 I have to say this thread is detrimental to health! (its so addictive I stayed up till 4:30am and have at it again about 9am this morning again).

I must thank all of you for your valuable input. I'm years away from getting my dream kitchen but now I have an unstoppable desire to renovate my punny apartment kitchen in Vancouver Canada. :( which all my friends and relatives told me not to because I had plan to sell it in the near future... so I'll just painfully drool over while I continue to read this thread ;P

I do have a question though, while reading through this I stumbled across a marble Calacatta Lasa (Biano Lasa come very close, in fact they look almost the same to me) which I just fell in love with immediately. Being terrible in the kitchen I have no faith I can keep it nice for even a week. So I went searching for close alternative granite or quartzite and found this Taj Mahal and the site have this "aka calacatta brazil" labelled behind it. It's nowhere close to the actual Calacatta Lasa I see on other website. I'm wondering if people here might have seen something else? I'm also wondering is it possible to self repair stained, etched, dented, scratched marble so its not too noticeable?

Anyone here has a Calacatta Lasa or Biano Lasa countertop they can share their experience here?

I'll be going to Vancouver Buildex in a couple weeks. Hopefully I can meet some suppliers there. Many thanks everyone, I really enjoyed really this very long, fun and informative thread!

PS: I have no idea how to post with photos, I uploaded the samples but not sure they'll show up?

AES.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 9:05PM
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AESDreamer

Hi hi, its me again, I couldn't figure out how to post multiple photos in the same post so sorry for the multiple posting. I just want to get the photos up.............. so sorry, I'll try and learn how to do that before I post again after today. My original post above show the "aka calacatta brazil".

This is Calacatta Lasa:

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 9:08PM
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AESDreamer

And last but not least this is Bianco Lasa:

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 9:10PM
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karin_mt

Welcome AES!

I'm glad you've enjoyed the geologic reading here. :)

So, I can't quite tell what your question is about Taj Mahal vs the other two. But if you like the look of marble and are concerned about the upkeep then genuine quartzite is certainly a good choice. As you've learned from your reading, there's lots of confusion about marble vs quartzite and the naming, re-naming and mis-naming of rocks from the stone yards. But you've also learned how to tell the difference. So in any case, regardless of the label, you'll want to do the tests to see for yourself if its quartzite or marble.

If you are wondering if Taj Mahal, is the same thing as Calcatta Lasa I would say no. They don't look alike in your photos. I'm not sure why one would expect them to be the same?

As for self-repair of marble I think that's very difficult if its polished and is somewhat possible if its honed. Even so, you end up with an area that looks a little different from the rest of the stone. It's not a strategy I would count on.

I'd encourage you to go for actual quartzite; it sounds like that is the best fit for you.

Happy rock-hunting!
Karin

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 10:05AM
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oldryder

Karin:

"my local stone yard emailed some pics of a plane Jane tan limestone with a vivid orange color inside a crack. I need to go see it in person. There are some vivid orange minerals but it's not a common color."

Only one guess - since it's in a crack maybe it's an adhesive applied by the quarry. If it's adhesive the orange color is probably a mistake. you would probably see other evidence of the adhesive on the back or edges of the slab if thats what it is.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 10:30AM
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karin_mt

Excellent, that is a good suggestion, thanks. I was just browsing through a list of orange minerals and there are more than I thought - they are unusual but not impossible. I think by looking at the slab I might be able to tell, but we'll see.

One thing that's making me lean toward it being natural is that if it were an epoxy or filler it might be visible in the other void spaces in the rock, like those little pockets seen throughout the rock. But it's just in the vein. Groundwater circulates through those veins and it can bring in different ions and cause chemical reactions and novel minerals.

Here's a pic.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 11:11AM
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cloud_swift

Karen, I'd be interested in any insights you have about the make-up of the "granite" my kids are buying for their kitchen island.

It's labeled Galaxy Blue. I don't have a picture but it looks a lot like this slab:

Kitchen Countertops by Westville Tile, Stone & Countertops Stone Park USA Inc

There are shiny metallic looking flakes in it.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 3:36PM
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oohIlikethat

Hi Karin,
I don't know if this has been asked before but with all the hubbub about etching marble, has anyone just taken a spray bottle of lemon juice or vinegar and drenched the whole slab or their entire countertop, thus etching the entire thing? It seems to me that unless it changes the color of the marble, it would take a lot of the worry out about etching. What do you think about this tactic?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 7:25PM
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hank-mountainmarble

Sorry to have been so scarce lately!
Oohlikethat
Perfect
We often recommend re- honing with white vinegar as the perfect solution to blotchy sheen that comes with acid etching

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 9:06PM
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srosen

Yes you can hone your marble with lemon juice or similar.
Here are some of the reasons I might not do it that way.
Many different types of marble out there and grades as well.
It could be hard to get a uniform finish as you have no real control. How long do you leave the acid on the surface?
The stone will neutralize the acid making it weaker in some areas. In some stones weaker veining systems could be eroded somewhat.
I think the biggest drawback is that you open up the pores or surface of the stone to soiling. It will be rougher and therefore harder to clean.
A more uniformed smoother surface can be attained using abrasive such as silicon carbon, aluminum oxides, diamond abrasives etc.
Using these abrasives you can control the finish to your liking.
We have had folks hone their countertops using muriatic acid dilutions. In some cases the damage was so severe the surfaces had to ground using very aggressive abrasives to remove the damage.

This post was edited by srosen on Fri, Feb 28, 14 at 6:39

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 10:56PM
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susanlynn2012

This is a great thread! I never understood what etching was but now I do! Thank you!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 11:41PM
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susanlynn2012

Andrea01, I LOVE that Alaska White slab! Perfect! Gorgeous!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 11:49PM
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sowngrow

What depth of marble is typically used on bathroom vanities? It seem like 2 cm rather than 3 cm from photos I've seen. I'm choosing marble for the vanity on our master bath remodel. Thank you!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 5:35PM
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strayerdarb

I am just checking this thread after having been busy for a few weeks...

Karen, my leathered antique brown has that different kind of honed plus reflective quality to it. Maybe that is what you saw at the parade of homes, a leathered finish.

There are several places where things sort of shine out, and from an certain angle these places shine like stainless steel. There's a tiny shooting star, a sunburst, and other things that the kids have found, depending on how the light is coming in.

I really love it.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 12:11AM
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ronniepuddle

Can you just tell me what to choose for my 1920's redo bathroom for small vanity countertop. Yes, I love marble on the white sideâ¦like Carrara or White Rhino...but I have kids and this is for a well used (our main) bathroom. Please someone just tell me what to do! I am dizzy from reading this wonderful gardenweb.com for a week now, my laundry is piling up! Thanks in advance.
Basket weave on floor, small white crackle white tiles on the wall.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 7:03PM
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karin_mt

Hmm, I'd post that question, along with pictures in its own thread. This thread is more about the qualities of stone than the aesthetic decisions. I'm sure if you post pics you'll get some opinions. Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 7:55PM
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gnocchinow

Dear Karin-
I'm contemplating marble counters for my kitchen. I fell in love with a slab called Fort Stone Marble. I've been unable to find info on this particular type anywhere. The coloration is dark grey with white veins (honed). Picture below. Any insights you might offer on the qualities of this marble versus more popular varieties would be sincerely appreciated. As it is, marble counters make me nervous. I've never owned them, and my counters get heavy use. If for some reason this particular marble is even less resilient than popular types, I'd probably rather switch to something more durable - such as Virginia Mist Granite (honed). Thank you for your comments!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 4:04PM
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cani123

Karin, first thank you so much for your informative articles. I was lucky to get a sample piece of a slab of super white and thanks to your articles did tests on it. It scratched glass but etched so I ruled it out. They sealed my little piece but i still had etching.

I am now looking at Taj Mahal. I can't get a sample of it so have no way to test it. Is Taj Mahal a true quartzite?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 1:58AM
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karin_mt

Good job on your testing!
Yes, Taj Mahal is quartzite. Ideally you'd be able to confirm that somehow, even with a couple drops of vinegar on the slab at the stoneyard.

Happy stone hunting!

Ohhh, rats I had posted a response to the dark marble question above and it disappeared. As a quick recap, I also responsed in the separate thread on that particular question, but the short answer is that dark marble has all the same properties as a light-colored marble. I don't have any insights on that specific stone, but certainly it will etch, just as they all do.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 9:47AM
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bethinnc

In my experience (dark marble bathroom vanity top) dark marble shows etching much more than light marble--the etches are white against the dark marble (on a white marble, etching shows up when the light hits it in a certain way, and it can be mitigated by having a honed finish). I don't think dark marble would be practical in a kitchen at all, unfortunately.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 10:35AM
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jett254

I just finished reading all 5 threads after bringing home 2 "quartzites" that failed my testing. Here is my question - has anyone found a grey and white quartzite that is actually a quartzite? I really wanted cool grey tones for my kitchen with white to pull in my white cabinets. However, after doing all the reading, it seems like all of the gray/white combos like Super White, White Princess, White Arabesque are really marbles. If so, I'll go with my back-up of Taj Mahal which I tested and passed, but just want to confirm and make sure!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 5:26AM
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karin_mt

Check out White Macaubus, and the cross cut version called Bianca Calacatta or Calacata Macabus. Sea Pearl is also a nice one.

You are correct though, that there are more imposters than there are genuine quartzites. Impressive that you read all 5 threads - that's commitment!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 9:24AM
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catat2

Have just joined this amazing forum after reading through all of the posts in Karin's 5 Countertop Geology primers. Many thanks for all the great information here!

Am trying to make an informed decision on purchasing granite countertops for our soon-to-be constructed home. I've located a stone called "Cielo De Marfil" (see photo below) which the stone yard tells us is granite. Cannot get a sample to test it until we commit to our fabricator with 50% deposit, and they receive the slabs. Has anyone heard of Cielo De Marfil or used it themselves? If so, please share your experiences. Karin, are you familiar with this particular name? Many thanks!!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 10:15AM
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JoanLast

Everything I have found with the work marfil in it has been a marble. I would be very careful. Err on your side! I wouldn't put any money down until I was positive and had a guarantee that it was not marble.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 7:37PM
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kitchen-reno

I have heard of Cielo de Marfil. My local place also calls it granite, and it was priced similar to granite (not marble or quartzite). I have no other personal experience with it but wanted to share that at least :)

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 9:32PM
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karin_mt

I'm pretty sure that's 'granite.' I use the quotes because it's not quite what a geologist would call granite, but it's in the same family. So from the kitchen point of view, yes, it's granite. The picture leaves a little bit of question, but when I googled it I found other pics that are more definitive.

Still, if you can get a sample you really should.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 9:51AM
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illinigirl

I am hoping one of the resident stone experts can help me identify this granite. Our local granite yard labeled it as "Omega" but I'm certain that's a name they made up themselves. The tag said country of origin is Italy.

I have photos of two slabs. The color in my photos is a bit off. It is a bit warmer in reality. The large veins are creamy white. There are smooth large 'blotches' of sheer gold that wash over it in areas, and there are very few tiny deep garnet colors spotting here and there. It reminds me a bit of River White, but definitely different.

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can anyone please help so I can understand what I'm buying (or may buy) a bit better?

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 7:33PM
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nhbaskets

Hi Karin, thanks so much for providing all this amazing information!

We have picked out 3 slabs of Super White for our new build kitchen and master bath. The supplier has called it a quartize, but from reading here I know it's really a marble. They have a "permanent sealer" which they have offered to apply once the counters have been installed and say it will last for 10 years. At $800, I want to be sure it's worth it or will I be throwing my money away. The website link below is from the company. Even though it says it's for granite, they've assured me they can put it on the SW. I don't want to ruin this beautiful stone before I even move in!

Any recommendations?

This is one of our slabs. They templated today and we're going on Wednesday to place the templates. Thanks!

Here is a link that might be useful: Permanent Sealer

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 9:07PM
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karin_mt

Illinigirl,

Yes that is like River White, geologically speaking anyway. It's gneiss, a metamorphic rock that has similar minerals as granite. The creamy white is feldspar, the garnet-colored mineral is garnet, and the gold is mica. I don't know the commercial name.

I'd expect it to be plenty hard and it won't etch. Some of the lighter colored granites can be prone to staining.

Is that what you needed to know?

NHBaskets,

Good that you know what you're getting with Super White. I don't know that much about sealers, but Srosen, Trebuchet, and Old Ryder do. You might consider putting up a new thread to catch their attention.

I don't think that Super White needs a particularly special sealer.

Good luck to both of you!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 12:05AM
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illinigirl

Oh Karin, thank you!!!!

excellent news for me. Do you think they have labeled the country of origin accurately as being from Italy? I searched high and low on google and couldn't find anything similar with Italian origin. And if I'm not mistaken River White is from Brazil.

Thanks again for your helpful information!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 2:07AM
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karin_mt

Illinigirl, I'd have no idea on the country of origin, as that's a fairly common type of rock. But Italy sounds exotic, so let's go with that!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 11:50PM
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illinigirl

Thanks Karin,
lol on sounding exotic. I asked the stone yard if they could come up with any aliases/commercial names- and they couldn't.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 11:02AM
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strayerdarb

Jett254

Look for White Macaubus Quartzite or the other one which I think is the same stone, but cross-cut (Calactta Quartzite?) It has blue/grey on a white base. Also a little bit of a rust color in there. The base of the stone is very white. I used Sherwin Williams Pearly White paint on my cabinets which matched the base of the Macaubus.

The Macaubus has striations of color, and and the Calacutta has more swirly lines and movement.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 12:35PM
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cloud_swift

Karen, did you miss my post on Galaxy Blue above? Any idea what kind of stone it is or what makes the silvery metallic flakes in it?

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 5:08PM
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karin_mt

Whoops! Yes I totally missed that, sorry. Thanks for posting again. That rock looks like a schist, which is a metamorphic rock that contains an abundance of mica. In this case, the silver mica is called muscovite.

Some slabs with a lot of mica can be troublesome to fabricate because it can't be polished smooth, particularly on the edges. The mica minerals form in little flakes that sometime continue to flake. I don't know if this applies to Galaxy Blue or not.

It's beautiful though and would be a dramatic countertop!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 11:56PM
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christina222_gw

These threads have been so informative! I now know (after reading through all 5 threads) that we were fortunate to find actual quartzite. Ours looked just like Super White but was called White Mountain. It scratched glass, didn't etch but I was able to scratch it with a knife. So why that past tense? Because in transport to the house it cracked badly. Obviously I refused to accept it and the stone yard was great about it. They inspected all their slabs and said all had the same fissure that caused the break. Back to square one. They had another quartzite in the yard. They didn't offer it to me, I think because it was more $$$$. I saw it though and loved it and they're giving it to me for the same price. I hope it's also quartzite. They say it is and that it's even tougher than what I first chose (no fissures.) So far they've been very honest with me. We were in such a hurry to find a replacement that I didn't do the acid test. They're calling it Fantasy White, but I've found that this yard seems to use their own naming conventions. Picture is of the new stone.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 12:02PM
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karin_mt

Aww, so sad about those slabs. I hate hearing about stuff like that.

I would urge you to test the new rock. Even well-intentioned salespeople can be wrong. It's really pretty though, so I hope it really is quartzite!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 11:31PM
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christina222_gw

Thanks Karin. I may run up there on my lunch hour. One thing that gives me confidence is that this yard is so adamant against marble that they don't have any marble slabs in the yard. They will special order slabs for you but you have to sign a waiver that you understand the risks.
That said I'd still like to test it. I'm not opposed to marble and the etching doesn't really bother me. I think it would all kind of blend in after a while but I'd treat it differently if I knew it was marble.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 6:20AM
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christina222_gw

I posted these pictures on my thread about getting the counters installed but I'm posting them here in the hopes that Karin might have some comments on them. (Thank you Karin for all your fascinating posts here, I've learned a ton!) They do not etch as far as I can tell. I cut up a lemon on the cooktop cutout piece that they left me and I left the lemon, the slices and the juice on it for several hours with no problem. I was not able to scratch glass with it. So a mixed result.





    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 12:15AM
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karin_mt

Hi Christina,

I'm glad you posted here - I saw your post in the other thread yesterday but didn't have time to respond. I love your stone! My hunch is that it's real quartzite. The glassy, translucent look in that 3rd picture is one of the visual differences between quartz and marble.

The fact that it didn't etch is also very telling, so perhaps with the scratch test you didn't get a nice sharp edge to scratch with, or possibly you didn't press hard enough. But I think you've got quartzite. It sure is gorgeous! We are definitely going to need more pics with your white cat too.

Yesterday I went on an amazing backcountry ski adventure (still quite wintry here in MT) and I saw some nice quartzite rocks below the snow line. All I could think about was countertops! Funny how we like to obsess about these things. :)

Enjoy your awesome kitchen!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 9:54AM
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christina222_gw

Thanks Karin, it's over 90 here, wish I had gone skiing! My counter is very translucent, you feel like you're looking into a chunk of ice in some places. Its good to know I don't have to be too psychotic about my family putting down a glass on it!

Thanks for your input, it's greatly appreciated!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 2:27PM
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cloud_swift

Hi Karen, I think you are correct that the Galaxy Blue is a schist. It was kind of a saga but the ending is happy.

When they chose it they had heard that it could be difficult to fabricate. They checked with the fabricator A their GC planned to use and he said it was fine.

When it came time to install, fabricator A was booked many weeks out so the GC was going to use fabricator B. Fabricator Bgot the slab and didn't want to work with it and when pushed proposed an outrageous fabrication cost.

So my son suggested using Fabricator C - the stone yard folks had recommended back in the beginning as someone who has fabricated the stone before and would be good at it. Fabricator C's quote was good and he could deliver on schedule so the slab was transferred to them.

Unfortunately the slab broke during the transfer. The slab yard had other slabs. It wasn't clear where the fault was but the slab yard provided a discount on the replacement slab and the GC and the two fabricators agreed to split the cost.

After a nervous wait - Was it a weakness in the slabs or mishandling that caused the crack? Would there be unacceptable chipping? - the new island counter top was fabricated and installed.

There was some edge chipping during fabrication but they blended the patches in very well. We have trouble seeing where they are even when they are pointed out.

Here is a bit of the installed stone (with the corner of the induction cooktop):

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 5:47PM
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karin_mt

Phew, that sounds dramatic, so glad it worked out in the end. It sure is neat looking, especially next to that sleek induction cooktop.

Thanks for the follow-up, especially since it's a happy ending!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 11:23PM
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christina222_gw

Got a weird one! Over the weekend, I noticed what appeared to be an etched spot on my counter. I could feel it though, and I had heard that etched spots couldn't usually be felt. My sample had passed the etch test with flying colors and everything indicated that my stone is quartzite. I didn't freak out too much as I had already resigned myself that if I ended up with Marble I was going to allow it to patina gracefully and not be a psychotic maniac about babying it all the time. So I grumbled a bit and moved on. It is what it is and the etching could only be seen from a certain angle.
Last night we had a great big messy family dinner. After I cleaned up I got out the counter polish and gave it a good shine.
This morning, 'etch' is gone. I know where it was and I couldn't see it at all from any angle and I can't feel it anymore either. I have no idea what that was. The installers sprayed the counter with polish and polished it after install so maybe it was just the polish was removed by whatever got on the counters and it didn't actually do anything to the stone itself. Is that even possible?

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 10:36AM
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cloud_swift

Perhaps it was a spill of something relatively transparent that had dried on. Sometimes you can only see that sort of thing from an angle but you can feel it as a rough area. Glad to hear it cleaned away.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 11:55AM
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karin_mt

I was thinking the same thing as Cloud Swift. Either way, what a relief that it's not an etch!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 8:22PM
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gch14

Hello all. I have read through all the postings and really appreciate how much good solid information you all are sharing. Although I started out thinking granite or marble would be right for my kitchen remodel, now quartzite seems right for our family lifestyle.

I saw this beautiful slab called Lumen (picture attached") which I was told is "marble quartzite", and I've seen it referred to by the combined name online as well as seeing it called quartzite. The stone yard doesn't have samples for me to test. Does anyone know the true classification of this rock? Many thanks!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 1:39PM
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karin_mt

Well even though there really isn't such thing as 'marble quartzite,' at least this name does accurately reflect the confusion surrounding marble and quartzite. So on that basis, I like the name!

I suppose it's possible that of the two colored areas in the stone, one is quartzite and one is marble. But the only way to know is to test it, sorry. You probably knew I'd say that, since that's what I always say, right? :)

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 1:58PM
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LeeMiller

That beautiful swirly blue and white looks just like what we saw this weekend, which was priced and labeled as marble. But I really hope it isn't, because I love it!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 4:36PM
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ojai

Would love to get some insight regarding "Crystal Ice" -- was told it is a marble from Brazil. Unfortunately I didn't have a glass jar w/ me to do a scratch test. It's practically pure white with these crystalline structures in it, and larger facets reflect the light beautifully. Thinking about this for the bathroom counter top and shower wall. Some shampoos/toiletries may have citric acid in it (though one of the last ingredients).

Has anyone heard of this and/or have any experience with it? Is it truly a marble? or...

Christina222 - what is the name of your stone? It's beautiful!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 7:47PM
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christina222_gw

That's beautiful ojai! My stone was labelled 'fantasy white' quartzite but the yard where I got it uses their own naming conventions. I've since found that the supplier where they got the slab called it 'iceberg quartzite', which matches slabs I've seen online.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 8:48PM
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karin_mt

My guess is it's marble. The mineral calcite has a subtle, telltale geometric pattern in it that I think is visible here. Goodness it's gorgeous though!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 11:50PM
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marykh

Karin (or any of you faithful countertop geology readers) any experience with or information about Cold Spring? White and cream background with sections of large, and sections of tiny, distinct brown/taupe (looks black in the photo) frost-like crystals. Testing a sample now.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 11:13AM
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marykh

And a close up.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 11:14AM
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karin_mt

Cool. That is pretty similar to a rock called 'graphic granite.' If you google that you'll see some other examples. Basically it's mostly feldspar - that's the white-ish colored mineral. And the little brownish bits inside the feldspar might be quartz.

The larger black sections look like biotite to me. That's a mica mineral, it forms in flakes and when seen end-on it's very flat.

Overall that rock falls into the granite family and should be fine as a countertop. The biotite can be a bit of a problem because of its flakeyness. It doesn't always take too well to polishing.

That's a cool one though! Made me reach way back into the depths of my geologic memory.:)

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 2:55PM
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ojai

Alas, I shied away from the Crystal Ice but came across another lovely slab "Calcite Blue" (maybe the same as Iceberg Blue that Peke shared in Part 3 of this thread?). I'm thinking of this for our bathroom -- countertop & backsplash, tub deck, shower surround & bench. Any thoughts on how it might fare in those conditions?

I don't know how to upload multiple images, so here's 1 of 2.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 3:14PM
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ojai

Here's a close up of Calcite Blue!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 3:16PM
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LauraFaye

Does anyone have any experience with Striato Apuano? It was sold to the stone yard as a quartzite, but I'm fairly certain it's a marble. I will get a sealed sample to play with but not for awhile. Anyone have any insight? Terrible for a kitchen island?

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 3:27PM
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anj2000

ojai - that's a lovely slab! I've seen something similar looking, in terms of the crystal formation, called Lorena White -- and unfortunately, the sample of that etched. However, for a bathroom, even if you get something etch-prone, that might not be a problem. I ended up using Super White quartzite (which is actually dolomitic marble) in my bathroom on the counters and backsplash, tub deck, and shower bench. We have had no problems at all with any staining or etching -- but we have been careful (making sure we don't spill saline solution on the counter, cleaning with marble-safe cleaners, etc). I would never go with anything marble-like in the kitchen (because we like things looking new), but it's worked for us in the bathrooms... Hope that helps!

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 9:53PM
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christina222_gw

Ojai, that slab is beautiful and looks very much like my iceberg quartzite. Can you get a sample to test it? Mine doesn't etch. It passed the etch test and has been in use since the beginning of May with no problems. We aren't careless but it's had various foods on it, including fruits, tomatoes, wine. No etching. I've found water doesn't show well on it so I've accidentally left water splashes on it for hours and no problem with that either.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 10:02PM
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karin_mt

Ojai, I'm pretty sure that's marble. One, the name 'calcite blue' is a pretty good giveaway since marble is made from calcite. Also, the geometric pattern of the crystals looks like calcite. As always, test it and you'll know for sure.

Laura, the Striato Apuano comes up as marble in a google search, so that'd be my bet as well. I love that crisp linear look though, super sleek!

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 11:45PM
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anj2000

LauraFaye - have you looked at Luce di Luna (also called White Macaubas)? It's very similar to the slab you posted and it seems that for many people on the GardenWeb forums, it has been a true quartzite and hasn't etched. I have the cross-cut version of Luce di Luna (so, same stone, but slab is cut vertically so that the veins are less linear) in my kitchen and it performs just like granite -- no staining or etching and very hard. Might be a good option for you...

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 11:10PM
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LauraFaye

Anj2000- I have heard of it, I fell in love with this slab when I saw it and they had no other quartzite that compared. I should call around and see if any of the other stone yards do have white macaubas. I'm crossing my fingers that perhaps this will pass the test once I get my sealed piece to play with.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 3:31PM
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joanmhe

I have really enjoyed reading much of this very long discussion.
I'm looking at a remnant piece of super-white quartzite for a bathroom vanity. I have not tested the sample yet, but the sample is from a different lot. The piece that I have on hold has a rust stain where we would cut out the sink. How likely is it for quartzite to stain? I previously had a bath vanity that was supposed to be granite, but it "etched" very easily with some bathroom cleaner, so want to avoid this type of mistake again. I read somewhere that some black granite is actually a lighter material that has been colored, which is why it etched - the color was actually bleached out, leaving the white rings. Even whitening toothpaste left white spots.
My kitchen granite from a later renovation has held up to everything so far, though.
If it turns out that my quartzite is actually dolomite, then I will just have some fun picking out a nice granite remnant, having been inspired by all the beautiful photos posted here. Or get a nice funky piece of soapstone.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 5:41PM
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musicteacher

Does this look like soapstone to you? This guy doesn't know anything about soapstone so I worry that it might even be identified incorrectly. When wet it looks almost black, and the veins are slightly greenish.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 11:54PM
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karin_mt

Joanmhe,

The rusty area on the stone is probably not a stain. It's more likely iron oxide (aka rust) that is naturally occurring from a little bit of iron in the rock. That said, some quartzites definitely stain, you'd want to seal it for sure.

There are problems that can happen with dark granites. Some are dyed, some are sealed when they shouldn't be and that causes problems. Honestly I don't quite understand it, but enough people have reported problems that it warrants care when selecting dark stones.

Stone yards have such fun collections of remnants so you will find something, no doubt!

Musicteacher, did you mean to post a photo? It sounds like soapstone. :)

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 12:31AM
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karen.ohio

What kind of problems do you find with stones that have been sealed that should not have been done? I have Blue Pearl and I forgot to say I didn't want it sealed and it was sealed. So far, it is okay, I guess.

Karen.Ohioi

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 12:43AM
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serendipitydoo

Urgent question about fissures (?--they go through all slabs in the block, so I think this is what they're called?) that have been repaired: I have 3 slabs of Super White quartzite (passed the glass scratch test--thank you Karin!) from 3 different blocks at 2 different suppliers on hold till July 9. The most beautiful one, the whitest, has the most repairs; the next whitest one has fewer repairs, and the darkest one has no defects.

The salesperson says the risk is to the fabricator ( it's trickier to work with) and once the counter is installed, the counter is at no greater risk than one of stone with no defects. BTW, all the slabs have been treated with resin, which they say is standard practice.

My impulse is to go with beauty--i.e. the whitest, most "damaged" one, since the repairs don't bother me aesthetically, but if the health of the counter is at stake, I need to know. Can you savvy people please help??! (I've been lurking for ages, but just registered today, so I can ask this question :>)

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 6:23PM
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serendipitydoo

Please forgive my multiple postings of the same question--as a newbie, I'm still learning how to post. However, I've read all 5 threads all the way through and am now a devoted groupie. Thanks for your patience!
--Serendipitydoo in a quarry quandary

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 10:49PM
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karin_mt

Hi Serendipity, welcome.

True that a fractured rock places more burden on the fabrication, transportation and installation, none of which is your problem. I would watch out for cracks near the edges or corners, cracks on overhanging areas, and places where cracks may run parallel to edges. In those cases you might have a problem down the road. But if it's epoxied and supported from below, then it should be OK once its in place.

Super White is technically a 'breccia' meaning it's a rock that was all fractured while it was still far underground, and then those pieces fused back together. In some cases the material that did the fusing is quartz, which is good because it's nice and strong.

The only problem there is that those quartz bits can confuse the glass test, where some parts of the rock scratch glass and some don't. That's because most of the rock is marble and some parts have quartz. So be sure to try the etch test too, not just the glass test.

Karen Ohio, I just saw your question, sorry! If a rock is really dense the sealer can accumulate on the surface without soaking into the pores. I'm not sure exactly how this happens because the sealer should be wiped down and wiped off when its applied. But anyway, there are plenty of reports of a whitening or etched-looking effect from the sealer sitting on the surface.

Hope that helps!
Karin

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 10:56AM
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karen.ohio

Thanks Karin,

I don't see any of those problems yet, but I will watch for them. Maybe they wiped it on and wiped it off without it penetrating! That would be an effort in futility and money in their pocket.

Still love my Blue Pearl.

Karen.Ohio

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 12:04PM
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karin_mt

Agreed Karen, but that's great that it's behaving nicely for you. Blue Pearl is a classic and a beauty. Enjoy it for a nice long time!

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 2:23PM
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Zoladub

This is labeled Oceania quartzite but can't find much on this on internet and can't get a sample. Thinking of using this or Taj Mahal. Any ideas if quartzite and if called something else. Other stones all seem to be labeled with names I recognize.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 5:52AM
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karin_mt

Not sure what that one is, except for that it's one of many stones that could be either marble or quartzite. If you can't test it then I would not recommend buying it. That's just a huge leap of faith that seems like an unfair burden on the customer.

That said, even if it is a name you recognize, you'll still need to test it for sure. Too many variables and imposters out there to trust the name.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 9:29AM
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Zoladub

thank you, it is crazy that i am expected to pay thousands of dollars but cannot test product. i have been reading all the posts and i am so grateful for all your help.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 9:33AM
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serendipitydoo

Karin and others, thank you for your help with my question about cracks in SW. My fabricator warned me away from this slab, so now I'm looking for other white quartzite--SW, White Macaubus, White Extra, White Princess, Luce di Luna, and the bewildering array of other names that duplicate or contradict one another. Almost ready to settle for an engineered quartz--Cambria's Waterstone Torquay, but I've not yet given up the fight! Thanks again.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 7:42PM
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polkadotz

Oh my gosh, I've just read through all the rock threads. WHEW. karin and many others of you have been a fount of knowledge. Thank you!

I visited a slab yard in Anaheim the other day. I went in thinking that I wanted quartzite because of it's durability but secretly I wanted marble. I got a wonderful salesman, who happened to be the factory's manager in Italy. (He was in town because his wife had had a baby and they were visiting family.) He showed me the white macaubus quartzite he had in stock which was not very WHITE at all. The only other white looked like a super white or princess. i asked him about those slabs and he said although they are grouped here with the quartzite they're dolomitic marble and not as hard as quartzite. Wow! I was shocked that he was so knowledgable and forthright. I was expecting the worst after reading this thread. After that, he pointed me toward the marble section and we talked through all the options there. He showed me an 8 year old countertop (someone had returned b/c they were remodeling kitchen and needed a larger slab.) He showed me what the etching and patina and stains looked like. I decided they didn't diminish the beauty of the stone and I could get over it.

I found some beauties. My favorite is a type of carrara called Bianco Venetino, seen in the photo. My question is... within the marble spectrum, is there anything I need to know about the different varieties? Other than price and looks, what do I need to consider? Honed vs Polished? Leaning toward a 3" mitered edge. This is for my island which will be 10'x4'. The rest of kitchen will probably be Caesarstone Raven.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 1:23AM
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karin_mt

First off, congratulations for reading all 5 threads! For that, you get an honorary degree in Countertop Arts and Sciences.

Sounds like you are going into your marble decision with eyes wide open, so good for you. As you've already learned, dolomitic marbles are a little bit more resistant to etching compared to the pure calcite types. Honed vs polished is personal preference. Some people say honed shows less etching, some say the reverse.

Probably the most important thing is to test a sample of the actual rock - that will tell you more than anything.

Your slab is gorgeous - glad you are having a good experience with the shopping!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 12:50AM
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annabelle6

Have made it through all five posts (what incredible amount of information,) as I now am searching for a creamy colored countertop for my island. Not a fan of marble but granite is so spotty to me it's difficult to find something that has more gentle movement. Found this piece of Dolce Vita and will go back to do the test but wondered if you would encountered it before Karin? It doesn't seem to be much traffic on this "quartzite". Any thoughts?

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 10:15AM
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karin_mt

Hi Annabelle,

That's a pretty one, but I'm not familiar with it. Just looking at it, it could be either quartzite or marble, can't tell from here. Let us know what the tests turn up, good luck!

Karin

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 1:20PM
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scaredreno

I just found this thread and I have a super white question. The stone yard that I'm dealing with lists it as granite. My fabricator says its quartzite. But then everywhere I look, people say super white is marble. The same stone yard also carries (and lists differently) arabescato quartzite which i read is also known as super white. The woman at the stone yard told me that arabescato quartzites is like marble so steered me away from it. With super white, she said it was very durable and strong like granite. My fabricator says the same and I was able to scratch glass with the corner of it (the sample that they gave me was clean cut so I just used the corner). What am I missing here?

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 8:51PM
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scaredreno

One other question. Loved a quartzite called frosty white. It's white with speckles of silver and gray. kinda looks like snow. my fabricator says that super white is more durable. anyone know about that stone?

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 8:56PM
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christina222_gw

The only way to be sure is to do all the tests these geology threads recommend. Stone yards label everything pretty randomly. Some Super White is actual quartzite, some is marble. Same with a lot of other stones. Get a sample, take it home. Do the scratch and acid tests. If it passes, it's probably quartzite.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 9:01PM
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scaredreno

thanks. everywhere i looked people said super white was a slightly stronger marble. i'm doing the test. the scratching was hard to do because i only had the edges (the sample i had was a clean cut), but after a few tries with the corner, it did scratch the glass. i'm using red white and pickle juice on tissue papers and leaving it on the sample over night. that's sufficient right? we'll see what happens.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 9:23PM
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karin_mt

That's right, you can only try the scratching with the edges of the rock. If the sample is yours to keep you can break it and get lots of edges.

Some Super White may scratch glass weakly on inconsistently, because it sometimes can have some quartz in it. So you have to do both the glass test and the etching test.

If your sample took a few tries to scratch glass, my guess is that it's not quartzite. Quartzite really gouges glass. :)

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 12:04AM
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robynstamps

Just wanted to thank all of you (especially Karin) as it helped me to finalize my quartzite choice about a month ago. It's called Brazilian White Quartzite and it is beautiful. The picture doesn't do it justice. It actually reminds me of a granite in person but has the feel of quartzite.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 1:15AM
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karin_mt

Wow Robyn, that is one amazing slab. Nice job in finding something so beautiful as well as functional. I'm sure you will love it in your kitchen for many years.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 9:29AM
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scaredreno

@Karin_MT So I did the etch test and i guess it failed. There was slight etching, You couldn't see it unless you looked at it at a particular angle, and my husband couldn't see it at all (but then he's generally blind about these things). does less etching mean more quartizite in the slab or the does the fact that it etches at all mean that it's dolomite. I will try breaking the piece apart to get a better edge to see. it does leave a nice sized scratch but only one corner seems to do it.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 11:19AM
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scaredreno

one other question, will sealing help with the etching problem at all or is sealing completely useless when it comes to etching?

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 11:21AM
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karin_mt

Your results sound exactly like dolomitic marble that has a small amount of quartz in it, which is what Super White is.

Mostly the less etching is because it's dolomite rather than calcite. The dolomite is slightly resistant to etching. The small amount of quartz doesn't really affect the etching situation, since it's a tiny amount of the actual surface area. All that quartz does is confound the scratch test results.

Sealer does not help with etching. It does help with staining, but that's it.

Well, it sounds like you have done an excellent job gathering the facts about your stone, and now you can make an informed decision.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 7:16PM
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scaredreno

Thanks for all your help. I really like the stone so I think I will end up going with it, but I'm not happy about what I was told by both the stoneyard and fabricator. One last question, is it hard to find pure quartzite? I found one slab (it was white with speckles of silver and gray) that I really liked but it was super expensive (more expensive than the super white, it was called frosty white and i think i saw it at another stone yard and they called it snowy white). I didn't get a slab of that, unfortunately. The fabricator told me that that stone was more prone to etching and softer than the super white but from what he told me about my super white stone, not sure I can actually believe him.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 1:31AM
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scaredreno

Here's a link to the frosty white that i liked. http://nash-inventory.smugmug.com/Other/QUARTZITE/i-KMPjHqV/A

any info that anyone can give me on this stone would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 4:38PM
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karin_mt

Yeah, I don't get why some industry people don't seem to make a more concerted effort to get the facts right. Nonetheless, you got it right, so you can make the right choice!

Real quartzite is not hard to find, although it is expensive and you really have to always check it for yourself since they all can look so similar. But White Macabus (which, I think is the one called Classic White in the gallery you posted), Calcatta Macabus (perhaps Carcalc from the gallery), Madra Perla, Taj Mahal, and Sea Pearl are some examples of real quartzite. Of course, the names are all jumbled up, so you really have to be ready to do a lot of testing.

The pure white slab you posted - hmm, if I had to guess I'd guess marble. But I shouldn't even make guesses because you really can't tell visually, particularly from just a photo. But I don't think I've ever seen a pure white quartzite in slab form. I've seen them out in the field, but never in commercial form, so to speak.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 11:52PM
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scaredreno

the white has that crystallized look. it doesn't appear to be etching, but I can't scratch glass. is that possible?

This post was edited by scaredreno on Thu, Sep 4, 14 at 21:12

    Bookmark   September 4, 2014 at 8:42PM
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karin_mt

Huh, that doesn't make a lot of sense. My advice would be to try both again. On the scratching, make sure you have a sharp edge to scratch with.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2014 at 9:45AM
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scaredreno

follow up: it etched. hard to see because the sample i got was in such bad shape as it. also scratched very easily. something, i assume real quartzite wouldn't do. now i'm going to take a look at macauba at the stone yard. will test to see how that fares. don't love the look, so if it passes, i'm going to have to make the hard choice between practicality or looks. not looking forward to it. ;-)

    Bookmark   September 5, 2014 at 11:40AM
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kitchendetective

Some on that site look like sandstone. One looked like onyx. Fun to look, if not being pressed for a decision.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2014 at 2:24PM
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karin_mt

Agreed kitchendetective, love those stone galleries as pure eye candy!

Well, Scaredreno, at least that second result makes sense. So that is marble after all.

Look for the crosscut version of Macabus, I thought I saw it in the gallery, called Carcalc. Geez, for all those slabs they are calling quartzite, you'd have to hope that a least a few of them actually are. The question is do you have the patience to sort that all out. (Of course the much bigger question is why do they mislabel them in the first place!)

Keep chipping away at it (nice pun, right?). You'll find the right one.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2014 at 10:20PM
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scaredreno

so i think i found it. tested the sample. passed both! and i kinda like it (although it has somewhat of a greenish/beige tint that i'm not sure of), but overall more practical for my kitchen. it's crosscut which i like better than the veincut.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2014 at 11:57PM
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karin_mt

Yeah, that's the one I was thinking of! Very good that it passed the tests, great job with that. Now you have to think about the aesthetics. Personally, I love it, but it's your kitchen so you need to mull it over.

Exciting though, you are getting closer!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2014 at 10:19AM
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susanlynn2012

scaredreno, I love the slab you chose in the last picture above!

Annabelle6, I just love the Dolce Vita counter slab you just shared!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2014 at 11:42AM
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christina222_gw

That's a gorgeous slab Scaredreno! When I chose my slab the only thing that gave me pause were some soft waves of greenish blue in the stone. Now, of course, those are my favorite parts of my counters!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2014 at 2:34PM
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lisa_a

Karin, these threads are so informative, thanks to you and the other experts (oldryder, Treb, I'm forgetting someone, sorry) for sharing your expertise and thanks to GWers for sharing their experiences, too.

I'm looking at 3 white granites but I'm not able to find much about them, specifically their water absorption rates. I hope you can help me.

IIRC the info in these thread (so much info, my brain is spinning and I'm sure I've forgotten at least half of what I learned), these are true granites and might possibly be gneiss, so they should be tough stones but might stain. Is that correct? We plan to seal anyway since we want the stones to be honed or leathered (we're not shiny surface people). Can you tell me anything about these stones?

Thank you!!

We're doing leathered Steel Gray on the perimeter, the above are options for the island.

The Steel Gray (aka Silver Pearl, I think) is tough as nails. I left lemon juice, ketchup, mustard ... can't remember what else I tested on them but everything wiped up without leaving any evidence behind. I left a puddle of water sitting on it for hours. When I wiped it up and dried the surface, there wasn't even a tell-tale mark of darkness where the water had been. And it hasn't even been sealed yet.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2014 at 2:10AM
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missymoo12

Lisa those slabs are beautiful and we are contemplating similar white ones but with different names. Where did you find these? Just want to know if its close to my area.
You are right the Steel Gray is bullet proof. It's my option if I cant get soapstone.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2014 at 11:15AM
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lisa_a

Thank you, missymoo12! I'm in the Portland Oregon area. Are you, too?

I'm going in today to see how they look with my paint colors and backsplash tiles. Fingers crossed that one or all of them work because I am *not* going to start from scratch on those choices. I love them too much.

If none of the granites work, I'll stick with PentalQuartz Carrara we originally chose. It's pretty and goes very well with our other choices. So why am I still checking granite yards? Because I'm slightly crazy. ;-)

    Bookmark   September 9, 2014 at 12:19PM
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kksmama

Lisa_a, your choices are lovely! I think I like the wine river leathered. Don't worry about being "slightly crazy", you are in good company. One could even say some of us have "rocks in our heads".

    Bookmark   September 9, 2014 at 6:52PM
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lisa_a

Thanks, kksmama! They are just as pretty IRL as they are in the pics, no wait, make that, they are prettier IRL than they are in the pics. ;-) If I was starting from scratch with my kitchen selections, I'd be hard pressed to decide which one to choose. But I'm not. They all look great with our perimeter counter but it's a mixed bag when it comes to how well they look with our backsplash tiles and paint colors for the island and hutch cabs and the walls. Yes, I could pick different tiles and paint colors but we *love* the accent tile we chose.

Of the slabs I posted above, Aspen White looks the best with our choices but I fear that it has too much movement for us. I have an inner ear disease so busy patterns can sometimes do a number on me (brings out my inner blonde, ha!).

Wine River leans towards the taupe side of gray and that just won't do.

Glacier White is very pretty and quieter than Aspen White, which is more to our liking but, hmm, I don't know.

So I revisited Bianco Romano, a stone that hubby and I have stopped and admired many times and well, what do you know, it looks very good with our choices. So I picked a slab with quiet movement and put it on hold until hubby and I can look at it in a few days' time. This pic is a slab from the same lot:

Next up, I need to call the fabricator and see about pricing to have leathered. The rep at the granite yard said it should come up with a fairly consistent texture, which is another plus. Here's a pic of it honed:

Traditional Kitchen by Greensboro Kitchen & Bath Designers Cabinet Concepts, Greensboro

Rocks in my head, yep, that describes me quite well!

Karen_mt, I can find info on Bianco Romano but I'd still love your take on the stone, please. Thanks!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2014 at 8:17PM
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karin_mt

Oh my, we've filled up another thread!

Replies to follow in part six of the continuing saga...

    Bookmark   September 9, 2014 at 10:06PM
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