Leathered/Brushed Quartzite Countertop

lazyjane75April 16, 2014

Hi All, I have gathered so much helpful info from these posts as I have been obsessing over my kitchen remodel. I am now at the stage where I am ready to order countertops and was hoping to gather some opinions.

Our cabinets will be white, shaker-ish & frameless (cabico espresso line). We will have dark hardwood floors (1-1/2" boards, which will match the original floors in the living & dining rooms of our 1930 colonial house). I would say that I'm overall going for a mostly traditional look, leaning transitionalish. I especially don't want anything too fussy. I have two young kids (4-1/2 & 2-1/2) and one on the way.

I am drawn to the idea of white quartzites given their indestructibleness + marble look. But I don't want to totally break the bank either. I went to a stone supplier earlier this week and saw something called Angelica Quartzite w/ a "satin finish" (this was bumpy, I think similar to leathered or brushed, brought out the sparkly bits). My KD got a price from a fabricator that is pretty close to what the price would be for a black granite (which I'm also considering - like via lattea or virginia mist) or River White granite.

I'm pretty excited that I've found a reasonably priced quartzite that I really like. They price I got for the calacutta quartzite would be about 50% higher. I brought a sample home and my husband thinks the satin finish is wierd and that we'll regret it. I can probably talk him into it. But is he right?

Thoughts? What would you do? I'm going to try to post a picture of the slab (the door in the picture is the same color as my door but my door will have a flat panel).


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That slab is gorgeous! I wish they had something like that in my area. I gave up looking for quartzite because everything I saw had too much veining. I love the shiny look myself but there are many here that love the leathered look.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 5:29PM
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I have leathered marble. I really like it, it will definitely help hide any future etches. However, it is very different. I had laminate, and could justslide stuff around on counters. Dragging the ceramic cannister with coffee beans out from under cabinets, and pushing it back, very different with leathered. I put furniture felt sliders on the bottom of my ceramic canisters, and that has made it more like it used to be, but I wouldnt do that on stuff like cookie sheets. Other than not sliding stuff across counters, I dont miss yhe flat surface.

You may be able to have the fabricator hone/polish the slab for you, some have the equipment to do that. Then you and DH can both be happy. Very pretty slab!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 5:35PM
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The slab is gorgeous, but the leathered look and feel is very different from one that is glossy or even one that is honed. I don't think you'll regret it if you like the look.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 5:46PM
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I had my KD ask the fabricator if they could polish the slab, but it sounds like it would be expensive & might not work out very well (risk that it could cause "swirling"). She is checking with another source to see if we can find some polished slabs (I need 2), but it seems to be an unusual stone and I'm not getting my hopes up there....

I'm so torn!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 6:22PM
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I have brushed Madre Perla Quartzite and I love it. I didnt want the shininess of a polished slab. If you love the look of the leathered finish I can't see tiring of it.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 6:34PM
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My problem is that, while I love the look of the slabs generally, I would probably prefer a polished finish. I don't really mind the brushed finish, but I don't love it in and of itself. I'm just not sure that if I went for it, I'd be settling on something I shouldn't settle for. Or if this is a special stone that is worth making a little compromise....

For those of you that have done more shopping around, is it unusual to find a pretty quartzite at a price comparable to low-mid range granite? All the other quartzites at the place I went to were 50% more expensive & up from there....

I have seen pics of Ootm__Mom's and localeater's brushed/leather counters, which are quite lovely. But there don't seem to be many others out there, especially brushed countertops made of a light colored material. Any one have more pics?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 10:30PM
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Lazyjane75, what area do you live in? Im in southern california and I haven't seen any slabs like that. There are a lot of Taj Mahal, Madreperla and Perla Venato (?). I have also noticed that a lot of yards are showing the leathered/honed finishes now so it must be gaining in popularity. I actually did find one slab that didn't have a lot of veining and I really liked it but didn't get it because it didn't have the shiny finish. Maybe it just takes getting used to.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 11:34PM
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Personally, I love our leathered countertop. It's a granite, not quartzite. But, I love the "softness" - it just feels good to the touch. Somehow, it just seems "warm".

I love that it isn't shiny overall - our UC lights aren't up, but one of the things that seems to be true is that the LED light "dots" don't reflect like they do with a shiny granite.

When it was vertical at the fabricator's shop, I actually didn't really see how much texture our slabs had...when the light comes through right and you look across, you can really see the texture and I like that there's an additional dimension to it.

Our granite has mica in it and where that is located, the leathering process caused that to create grooves/dips, so we have a lot of both subtle and more obvious textural interest. I haven't yet taken photos that really show off the texture aspect to it's full extent, but I've attached one photo that does kind of give a bit of an idea.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 11:41PM
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can123 - I'm in the Chicago 'burbs. Yes, perhaps honed/brushed finish stone will be the new thing. Of the 4 or 5 black granites they had at the stone yard I went to, I think all came in either a honed or brushed finish in addition to polished. That wasn't the case with the other colors of granite. And the rest of the quartzites they had were polished. I didn't venture into the marbles or onyx, etc...

Andreak100 - your granite is beautiful, so dramatic! I'd be interested to know what color cabinets you have & the overall style of your kitchen. Do you have a backsplash yet?

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 12:11AM
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Jane - thank you...we fell in love with our slab as soon as we saw it. I was convinced it was going to be sold out from under us, so we moved pretty quick when we saw it. Honestly, before seeing this slab, we never considered a leathered finish, and none of our local friends have it, so it was a real leap for us...went with the bit that I heard from others on here. It seems that those of us with the leathered surface adore it. But, I think many never consider it because it's not the norm. And in our area (western PA), there were not many leathered slabs at all...in all of our looking at the various fabricators AND the granite yards - seeing literally hundreds of slabs, I think that I can count on my two hands the number of leathered slabs. That may be quite different now since we picked our granite about 1 1/2 years ago (and it sat waiting for us until just very recently!)

We are (well, really our GC is) moving along at a snail's pace. We have our tile picked, but in the first batch, a good number of pieces came in damaged, so we're still waiting for the replacement batch. I do have a photo of the sample against our countertop that I'll attach here. Our kitchen style is what I consider a "warm contemporary" (darker cherry, grain-matched slab cabinetry) and we are going with a glass tile that is a combination of shiny and matte, which echos our counter being mostly matte with a few shiny areas.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 12:36AM
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Andreak, I like your tile choice with the granit. I saw the texturing of your granite done in a display with glass tile. The granit they used was black and it had that ripely texture to it. I had never seen it before. I like shiny but I have to say it looked pretty good and it didn't look as flat as some of the leathered or honed I have seen.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 3:15AM
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Andreak - love that glass tile! I think it will be perfect w/ the shiny/matte finish of your granite. I am thinking that maybe I would do something similar if I end up going with the Angelica, but worry that it will be too contemporary-looking for my kitchen. Maybe ceramic would be better.... Oh well, I guess I'll probably wait to decide until the countertops are actually installed!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 11:01AM
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cani - we wound up going WAY over budget for the tile unfortunately, so it's nice to hear that others like the tile too. Like you mentioned, I'm not sure that I would like a totally matte finish, so with our granite having the mica in it, it gives that little bit of shine.

Jane - thank you...what you mentioned about the shiny/matte with the granite is exactly why we knew that we needed to go with the tile we picked. The tile also mimics the lines we have going with the slab cabinetry. I don't know if something like what we decided on would look too contemporary in a more traditional kitchen...it might. I think what you mentioned about getting the cabinets in, the counters installed and then pick the tile is a good idea...what we thought we were going to use as tile originally wound up being different than what we wound up with.

I wonder if this kitchen looks anything like what you might be planning...I'd consider it a bit more on the transitional side:

Transitional Kitchen by Chicago Interior Designers & Decorators Tom Stringer Design Partners

And if you're interested, here's the rest of the house:

Here is a link that might be useful: Hyde Park Renovation

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 9:37PM
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Lazyjane, I'm pretty sure that Angelica is from TM Supply, correct? I have a sample of that too, and I also got excited that it was a lower priced quartzite. Unfortunately I had it verified that it is actually a granite. A clue is the sparkles you mentioned--granite has that, quartzite does not. Also with my sample, the broken side edge flakes off tiny pieces with my fingernail. Quartzite would be stronger than this. Sorry to burst your bubble! They should know better!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 9:59PM
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I have leathered antique brown granite on the sides and a polished white macaubus quartzite island. The leathered finish is so wonderful. It's my favorite. Feels so soft and luscious on the hands. I really love it. I also love the polished quartzite island because it's sort of a showpiece, and the coloration is beautiful.

I think the slab you posted looks very beautiful. Have you done the scratch test to make sure that it isn't really marble? Some stoneyard people mislabel marbles, calling them quartzites.

I don't know how to put a link here, but there's a seies of GW threads called "Countertop Geology" and there are about 5 threads by now I think. It's very educational and you can learn how to do the scratch test to make sure you are not accidentally buying marble, thinking it's quartzite.

We have 4 kids (and 24 family members over here almost every weekend!), and we are not afraid of making a mess in the kitchen. So to address your original question about durability, so far it's all been fine. Our leathered dark countertop looks great and the polished white quartzite island looks great too. I cook from scratch everyday, and the kids cook and bake too, and we make a fair mess. We do clean up of course, but sometimes when you're in the midst of it, messes sit on the counter a while before you get to them. We don't panic and wipe up constantly while we're working. We cook, bake, eat, and then clean up later. If a countertop can't handle waiting 2 hours or so before cleaning it up then it's not tough enough for our family. So far it's been fine with the counters we chose.

Good luck, and I think the counters look wonderful - do the scratch test!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 11:25PM
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For those of you who have had leathered quartzite for a while, can you share you experience thus far? Did you also get it sealed, in addition to leathered? I have gotten so many conflicting answers from dealers and fabricators, I just don't know what to believe!

We are considering a light slab (Madre Perola/Mother of Pearl/Madre di Perla, Dolce Vita/Austral Dream, Taj Mahal, or White Macaubus), so I'd be particularly curious about hearing form folks who have had one of these lighter quartzites leathered.

Thanks so much for sharing any insights!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2014 at 7:14PM
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We are considering leathered green marble. I wonder how to care/clean it? Any special concerns. It was interesting to learn about not being able to slide canisters across it. I did not think of that but I do not think it would stop me from purchasing the marble. It is a gorgeous slab. I thought that having the slab of marble leathered it would not show scratches/stains etc.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 11:16AM
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lazyjane, did you end up going with the angelica quartzite? I have a sample of that as well and it is beautiful! It passed my stain/etch tests, too. I'm wondering if anybody has this quartzite and what their experience has been?

    Bookmark   December 12, 2014 at 9:21AM
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We ended up going with a brushed White Macaubus. Leathering didn't seem like it was going to be a great choice for this particular stone. It definitely etches with water, but the color/pattern hides it really well. We LOVE it!

    Bookmark   December 12, 2014 at 9:40AM
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I'm wondering about your brushed white macaubus. Why do you think it etches with water?

I thought that the finish (polished, leathered, brushed, honed) didn't change the properties of the stone as far as etching and staining.

I'm confused about this. The stone business is hard to figure out anyway.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2014 at 11:03AM
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The addition and first floor "redo" is moving along. We started 25 August and hope to be finished mid January. The leathered green /with white vein marbe was just installed. It is beautiful but concerned as there is a major crack in it. Waiting for the fabricator to return my call. The minor cracks are not noticeable with the leather but this one concerns me. It is beautiful with the white Plain and Fancy cabinets but that is another issue as so many of them arrived damaged or not proper size! Vanity for powder room sink arrived with not place for the sink and the drawers and doors did not line up. Outside construction went perfectly while cabinets are a disaster.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2014 at 11:10AM
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We were given conflicting info about honing the White Macaubus -- some said it would be more susceptible to etching/staining than polished, others said less. It was pretty troubling that there doesn't seem to be a consensus among the pros. Realistically, I think most natural stone etches, regardless of the finish. I think you have to accept that, in a kitchen especially, stuff gets spilled, bumped, etc., and if you want natural stone for your countertops, they are going to show wear and tear...

    Bookmark   December 12, 2014 at 11:15AM
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We were given conflicting info about honing the White Macaubus -- some said it would be more susceptible to etching/staining than polished, others said less. It was pretty troubling that there doesn't seem to be a consensus among the pros. Realistically, I think most natural stone etches, regardless of the finish. I think you have to accept that, in a kitchen especially, stuff gets spilled, bumped, etc., and if you want natural stone for your countertops, they are going to show wear and tear...

    Bookmark   December 12, 2014 at 11:43AM
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Agreed Amy, it is troubling. The info is conflicting because people are passing along incorrect information.

The surface treatment doesn't change the etching one way or another. Hard water deposits aren't the same as what most people call 'etching' because etching removes material by dissolving it. Hard water adds material by leaving dissolved minerals on the surface.

A lot of confusion is because so many marbles and quartzites are mixed up. Since many people aren't really sure of the difference you get all kinds of anecdotal stories about how the stones behave.

But yes, countertops take a beating and folks are well-advised to know that ahead of time. Good point!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2014 at 8:55PM
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