Anyone opinions/input on quartz countertops?

goldengirl327February 6, 2009

We're planning to replace our kitchen countertops and I've heard a lot of buzz about quartz...less upkeep,harder surface, less porous, more "food safe" compared to granite. I'd appreciate any input you might have. Thanks!

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We've had ours in for almost 3 years now. Cambria quarry series. Fantastic, no fuss, no problem, no sealing. I clean it with Windex and a soft cloth, it cleans like glass. It hasn't scratched, and it's the most carefree countertop material I've ever had. We also put it in the bathroom vanities. Can't recommend it enough.

The newer products have a more realistic stone look, in some cases almost imperceptible from grantie or natural stone.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 11:48PM
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I just had Zodiaq quartz installed - in Smokey Topaz, which is one of the large particle colors that looks more like stone. Too early to say how well it'll wear in the long term, but it looks pretty, and so far, so good. :-)

    Bookmark   February 7, 2009 at 12:12AM
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I posted a response to your post on the decorating board. I don't agree with the buzz you mention, possbly the buzz of a quartz dealer. BUT if I had it to do again, I think I would give quartz a second look because of all the granite/radon hoopla I hear. I'm not saying its true, but it has been investigated.

Now I must run outside and have a ciggie! duh

    Bookmark   February 7, 2009 at 2:20AM
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Thanks for all of the input. It looks like I might have to speak to a few more sales people. This might seem like a dumb question, but I see the word engineered and fabricated in some of the feedback -- are quartz countertops a composite/manmade product?

    Bookmark   February 7, 2009 at 8:07AM
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Yes, it's a composite stone made of mostly quartz particles (Zodiaq is 93% quartz) plus a binder to hold it all together.

Do some searches on this forum for quartz countertops - there have been a lot of threads comparing quartz to granite.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2009 at 8:29AM
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The Silestone new Mountain Series are more "granite looking" than the other colors (which are great too). However, if you put a piece right next to stone granite, you can easily see the natural/man-made difference. But I still chose Silestone over the granite anyway. I have Silestone Sierra Madre on order for kitchen. Can't wait!

I've done Silestone in two bathrooms and I like them a lot. In one bathroom I got solid black. water/soap spots do show a lot and I am wiping it down frequently, but I think that would happen with any black material.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2009 at 8:38AM
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I was told the same thing as goldengirl about the quartz- that is was stronger, less porous, and less prone to staining than granite. I made the choice so far to go with Cambria. The quarry series has a granite like look, but I agree if it is matched right up with granite to my eye the granite looks better somehow. But I think I'll be happy with the quartz when all is said and done have not really considered switching at this point. I'll be placing my order in about a week

    Bookmark   February 7, 2009 at 9:48AM
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We had quartz, Zodiac, countertops installed 3 years ago. Easy to clean and care for. Looks great and we have had several compliments on them.

Our installation was clean and we only have one seam - and it's hard to find.

Enjoy the journey.
eal51 in western CT

    Bookmark   February 7, 2009 at 10:05AM
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We had the Zodiaq quartz "Galaxy" installed one month ago. As far as maintenance goes there is no sealing, it can be cleaned with dish soap/warm water, dirt/streaks do not show easily ( have to bend over and squint at it) even though mine is black. I bought a stone polish for granite to shine it once in a while. The installer said not to use Windex. You can put hot pots on it with no damage. It is composed of stone (millions of tiny stones solidified together) and as such is cold like granite. Very pleased with the choice so far. Easy care and sturdy (oh, and it doesnÂt stain).

The biggest issue is do you like what it looks like? ItÂs very hard to get an accurate photo. IÂve seen some brands in showrooms that looked almost like the speckled corian. While in others IMO (Zodiaq and Cambria) the rocks are more obvious. What appears like gray spots in the photos below looks like the edges of tiny cut stones in real life. I guess IÂm saying itÂs more attractive (to me anyway) in person than I can seem to capture. Mine is not as shiny as granite, itÂs more of a satin finish than a high gloss. It doesnÂt make a big artistic statement like a granite with lots of movement, more of a subtle background for your cabinets.

Tried to show it compared to some surrounding objects, and near the sink the light makes it look overly speckled, while the farther away you get (cabinet shot) it looks totally black. The fruit bowl is probably the most realistic.

I hope this helps. Good luck with your kitchen! :)

    Bookmark   February 7, 2009 at 2:05PM
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Most (if not all) of that "buzz" is just false advertising. Really, between the two it's more a matter of taste than anything else.

We started off thinking we were going to go with a quartz but the more we researched and the more we looked, the less inclined we were to get it. That's mostly because we just could not find one that we liked yet we kept finding granites that we loved.

Our light-colored granite (it's actually probably a quartzite but that's another story) has been in operation for over a year and has been seriously abused (mostly due to the fact that we are still "under construction"). NOTHING has stained or marred it in any way.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2009 at 2:35PM
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I am following this thread with interest because we have ordered quatz countertops. Silestone in Kala Hari

I am one who love stone counters but does not like some of the very busy granite that I see. Some of it is lovely. My DH is a red wine drinker and constantly spills it and doesn't wipe it up right away so I wanted quartz to kind of DH proof the kitchen.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2009 at 3:08PM
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Thanks for the pics, biochem101, what a beautiful kitchen--from what I can see! Can you tell me what sink and faucet you chose?

Thanks to everyone else, too. This is all great input. The fabricator I spoke to uses Cambria and makes countertops for most of the kitchen design centers in the area. He said he's been doing more work in quartz lately, but I think you are all right when you say that a big part of the decision will be what we are ultimately seeking as far as the total look goes. I'll try to keep you posted! Thanks again.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2009 at 3:42PM
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Thanks for the pics, biochem101, what a beautiful kitchen--from what I can see! Can you tell me what sink and faucet you chose?

Thanks to everyone else, too. This is all great input. The fabricator I spoke to uses Cambria and makes countertops for most of the kitchen design centers in the area. He said he's been doing more work in quartz lately, but I think you are all right when you say that a big part of the decision will be what we are ultimately seeking as far as the total look goes. I'll try to keep you posted! Thanks again.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2009 at 4:02PM
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the pics are not there anymore??? server problem? did you move them?

I too recall reading not to use Windex (a/k/a ammonia) on quartz. I use a gel non-abrasive something that I can't remember the name of. blue container. Also, Windex makes a vinegar-based spray solution that would be good also.

I think some granite "movement" is like scotch... you have to acquire a taste for it!

Silestone came out with some textured surfaces too... "leather" is one and there's another I think.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2009 at 4:27PM
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Thanks! The faucet is a plain old Delta Victorian style in brushed stainless. This finish is low maintenance too. :)

I chose it because it was one of the lowest faucets at only 9 3/4 inches high. The first one I got, a high gooseneck, looked too big in my small kitchen and stuck way up in front of the window that is above the sink.

Here is a link that might be useful: Delta Victorian Faucet

    Bookmark   February 7, 2009 at 5:06PM
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My countertop guys said to use a damp rag or paper towel, and maybe soap if needed, to clean the quartz. They said all of those granite products weren't necessary.

It's an interesting thing, learning how to clean my new kitchen and bathroom...

    Bookmark   February 7, 2009 at 5:25PM
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We installed Silestone (Diana Pearl) about 7 years ago after fighting the tile/grout thing for 30 years.

The surface is virtually bulletproof, I have used almost every disinfectant/cleaner I have on it and I try not to cut on it, but I do. I try not to place hot pans on it, but I do. The surface remains smooth and even in spite of any inadvertant attempts to mar it. It has, so far, withstood everything thrown at it. I would not hesitate to recommend it.

That all having been said, we are remodeling our kitchen and all of the quartz counter will go and will be replaced with granite, simply because I just feel like it looks too sterile - kind of like a 50's formica with all of the little specks on it.

My first choice at the time was Kala Hari, but I got outvoted because it was so dark. I think if I still had that color, I wouldn't be thinking about redoing my entire kitchen so soon.

I think you can't go wrong with the quartz surfaces if you want easy maintenance and now there are now so many more earthy versions available - that it shouldn't be a problem. I have just longed for a more natural feel in my kitchen and will try the granite this time around.

We have granite in our bathrooms and it's the thing I like most in both of them, but there again, I like the natural look.

Good luck with whatever you chose - we're lucky to have so many options, aren't we! (Well, sometimes, not so good. ;-))

Here's a pic of my Silestone.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 7, 2009 at 5:56PM
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Sorry! The website I put the photos on overloaded. (Low bandwidth) I have moved them to Flickr now. Here they are again. Apologies for the apparent blank spaces.

Okay, apparently this forum won't let me link to Flickr. So I've had to put the website inside the message. Sorry.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2009 at 6:01PM
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I see what you mean socalusa, that is nice but a little uniform and sterile. It reminds me of Corian.

Now I am getting a little worried about my Silestone. I love the little 5" sample, but how will a whole counter look!!! Oh no!!

Mine is Silestone Sierra Madre

    Bookmark   February 7, 2009 at 9:26PM
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I was worried too. Those little blocks are okay for matching to the cabinets, but you keep wondering what a loooong stretch of it will look like. At least with granite they get to see the whole slab.

Anyway, I was vastly relieved and loved mine since the first day it showed up and don't think my color looks like corian in person. I see rocks. :D But some of the colors did [look corian-like] in store displays and it had me worried. Mine looks exactly like my little chunk only bigger.

I think the Sierra Madre you picked is beautiful.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2009 at 9:38PM
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I looked at a lot of different brands of quartz, and accumulated quite a few samples. The things that struck me were that (a) some colors looked *much* more "natural" than others, even within the same brand, and even with the same particle size; and (b) the samples often looked TERRIBLE even if a sample kitchen with that countertop looked good. Silestone seemed to be particularly guilty of the latter - their samples are very thin, and maybe that makes a difference because I thought all their sample colors looked "painted-on" like formica, but some of their colors looked terrific in sample kitchens at HD. I can't imagine why they'd send out such bad-looking samples. Very bad marketing! (I had a thread ranting about this once, but I can't find it now...)

I ended up going with Zodiaq because the colors looked the most like natural stone to me - they had some of the depth and translucency that you see in granite. I'm really happy with the way mine looks - I don't think it's as beautiful as granite - not by a long shot - but I do think it's "beautiful enough" and at least I don't have to worry about it etching or staining or remembering to seal it. (I'm really bad with these maintenance issues!)

    Bookmark   February 7, 2009 at 10:57PM
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For my powder room redo 2 years ago, I picked Silestone Mahogany and the real piece turned out to have much larger particles than the sample did. In that case, it worked out fine for me, but there is something to be said for seeing the real slab.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2009 at 11:32PM
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Hi, I just saw the pictures of your kitchen. I will be ordering my cabinets next week, and they are very similar to yours. Could you tell me what brand yours are? The ones I am ordering are made by Fieldstone and I will be getting them in a very light maple stain, almost natural, but a little darker.
I love the rope trim but I'm concerned that it might be too much on the 4 drawer cabinets I'm getting. Do you have any other pictures of your kitchen, so I might be able to get an idea of what mine will look like. Did you do a rope insert in the crown molding?


    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 1:06AM
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Wendyb - I think the Sierra Madre is a beautiful color as is your powder room with the deep toned Mahagony. My Silestone has light hitting it from 2 windows and tends to look more washed out because of that. My sister has a gold toned Caeserstone and not much light, so it looks deeper than it really is.

Just pick the one that YOU really like!

Another shot of the Diana Pearl.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 3:51AM
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I had a long thread on here that was posted last spring but the archive is gone for some reason. Try a search on resin pooling.

It took me almost a whole year to have our Cambria island replaced! We replaced it with granite from Lowe's. Since I've had both quartz and granite I can tell you the granite is so much nicer. It's easy to maintain and the color is gorgeous!! I don't miss that brown plastic dull quartz not one bit!

That radon thing is stupid so don't let that sway your decision. Why aren't people up in arms over the mercury in florescent lighting? How about the plastic in quartz? There are pros and cons to everything. I think the spotlight on granite is promoted by the quartz industry anyway.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 9:19AM
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Quartz styles range all over the place. If you want a more realistic look, you need to find the newer lines the companies are making, with larger and more varied chunks. Like granite, much of what you'll pick is a matter of personal choice. Some people like a wild and busy granite that demands attention, and others like a more subdued pattern.

Go with what you like, you can't lose with either quartz or granite. Frankly, the buzz either way is just Both have pros/cons, just educate yourself and make your own choice.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 9:47AM
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I love my Caesarstone Oyster colored c/tops.
The only problem I have is seeing the crumbs.

The little flecks of color are more visable
in person. Some of the flecks look like glass.
My favorite being the amber color.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 12:03PM
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I thought it very interesting that nearly all your posters were in favor of quartz. We had Zodiac Vela Brown installed about 5 years ago, and really like it. However, we put a new bathroom in our house last fall and I headed directly to the granite yard (and bought verde butterfly...). Your decision will all be based on what you like better!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 3:58PM
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    Bookmark   February 13, 2009 at 3:40AM
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Another thing to note about quartz countertops is the warranty. Every manufacturer of quartz countertops puts at least a 10 year warranty on the product. I think there may even be some brands with a longer warranty than that.

Usually granite does not have any warranty on it. One exception to that is granite from Dupont. It is impregnated and treated somehow and they do provide a warranty on their granite, otherwise granite has no warranty.

More than likely you will not have any problems with your quartz that would require any repairs. It is tough stuff. I was a Dupont warranty repair specialist, certified to make quartz repairs for 3 years. In all that time I only ever had one warranty claim on Zodiaq. That turned out to be a fabrication mistake and not a warranty issue at all.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 10:14AM
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We are having LG Viatera quartz installed in about 3-4 weeks. (Cabinets are being installed right now as I write--so exciting.) For the sealing the deal was actually seeing the quartz I picked in a display in a local appliance/furniture store. There is a 15 year warranty on this quartz; my color is Sapporo. For me the swirls of granite just never were appealing.

Good luck with your search.


    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 11:07AM
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We got the Silestone in White Zeus (see Silestone link above). It is a matte white. I wanted a mod look and I have white appliances. The plain white was less expensive because it doesn't have any colors or specs mixed in. I have medium beech cabinets in a Shaker style and they have quite a bit of veining. So for me the "natural" part of the kitchen is the wood and the porcelain foor tile that looks like stone. Mod parts are the counters and brushed nickel fixtures. The walls are BM Current Red, which seems to tie it in and I love it so far (not quite done).

Can't speak to the durability at this point.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 5:31PM
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I'm most likely going to put Caesarstone in my kitchen. I like the Caesarstone the best (compared with other quartz brands) but I can't explain why exactly-- I just think it is pretty.

To my eye, the quartz is really beautiful when it isn't trying to be granite. Some of the Caesarstones are super-smooth looking, which is very beautiful to my eye.

they look nothing like Corian-- if they do in the pictures it's because of the flatness of the monitor-- in person they are much prettier. I actually prefer Caesarstone to most granites.

Part of the issue might be that I'm doing a modern kitchen, in a small space, and that clean look is really pretty and useful in that situation. A really swirly granite (which can be beautiful, of course) would look ridiculous in my kitchen.

I also like that Caesarstone if environmentally friendly-- many of the colors are now even made with recycled material.

I've seen so much granite I wonder if it won't look dated in a 10 years, but then probably everything we are doing will! Oh well....

    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 11:47AM
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I have Silestone in my current kitchen in a color that's a light blueish/white/gray with silvery reflective pieces in it. It's been absolutely bulletproof. I've done everything wrong... cut on it, put hot things on it, clean with whatever, DH's coffe maker had a leak underneath that I didnt' see and it had coffee underneath the coffee maker for who knows how long on it. It's been in for about 8 years and look exactly like it did when I had it installed.

Now, with that being said, when I remodel our kitchen in our other house; I plan on all natural products (granite and marble). Not because of any deficiencies with the quartz; just because I've developed a love for the look and notion of natural stone. I also think I want a product with a lower sheen. The stones I prefer have wavy movement in them as opposed to "chunks". There are no quartz products that have that kind of movement. If it weren't for that; I'd get quartz again in a heartbeat. I really feel that if you go quartz; get one that you love for the beauty of the product itself; not for it's ability to mimic stone. It's like we're leaning toward the wood look porcelain tile for our entire living area. Not because I want to fool people into thinking we have wood in So Fla.; but just because we think the tile itself looks beautiful.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 12:04PM
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I very much doubt that granite will ever go out of style. I have seen some asolutely stunning granite slabs and some used on finished kitchens here on this forum.

But I am getting Silestone installed. I have a DH who does all of the cooking. He is one of the messiest cooks you could ever hope to see, but he is a great cook. He slops tomato sauce and red wine on a regular basis, which is why I opted for the silestone countertops instead of granite. It was a toss up, but for us I think silestone will make life easier.

We are waiting for countertop install now. In my area it takes quite a while. I will be very happy to finally get a countertop and sink as my poor knees are wearing out doing dishes in the bathtub. DH is still cooking like there is a full kitchen!!!

    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 12:11PM
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I have Caesarstone (quartz) countertops in two kids bathrooms, a powder room, and our kitchen. In the bathrooms, it has held up to nail polish and nail polish remover along with every other product you can imagine. The only thing I don't care for is the shine. We used honed Creme Limestone (name of the color, it is Caesarstone quartz) in the kitchen and I just love it. It is very understated and lets the hand-painted tile backsplash be the star. I have not found the honed surface to be difficult to clean or care for at all. Other posts have says that the honed darker colors like Raven are unforgiving of fingerprints and the like. In my opinion, the only negative for the quartz is the look. I have fancy tile that I wanted to show off, but I do think if the countertops are the focal point, granites and marbles are prettier. Still, I love the ease of maintenance of the quartz.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 3:04PM
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So it happened again - a thread appears addressing one of my concerns. I appreciate yoru imput.

astridh: I hope you do not mind answering a few questions. Do you have any pictures of your caesarstone creme limestone counters that you can post?

After spending hours combing the granite and quartz suppliers, I definitely feel that creme limsestone is the best choice for me. However, I have only seen the 10x10 inch sample. I welcome your imput as well as the opinions of other fellow garden webbers. How does it present: yellow, gold , neutral? Does the color vary from lot to lot like granite? Is it necessary to view the slabs prior to fabrication?

I have a small center island. In your opinions, should I use creme limestone or select a granite? Thank you all so much. Linda

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 12:33PM
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Hi, I'm a newbie here and I'm so happy I found this thread. I'm super thorned between Silestone Sierra Madre and Mahogany. I'm updating my kitchen and have already set my heart into getting Silestone. I just need some feedback which one looks nicer on a not-so-dark and not-so-light colored cabinets.

Appreciate any feedback :o) Thanks!





    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 1:59PM
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here is an album with with Sierra Madre countertops. The album focus was on the whole facelift (the GW discussion thread is gone), but countertop pictures may help . My Kitchen Facelift

And here's a link to my powder room with Mahogany. Again, the focus was on the whole room, not just the countertop.


As mentioned in other email, the cooler colors in Sierra Madre will most likely coordinate better with SS appliances than the warmer mahogany.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 11:25PM
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