cost/quality of quartz manufacturers

collageAugust 14, 2014

We're updating our kitchen following an extensive remodel 15 years ago by replacing our granite tile with quartz and refinishing our cabinets (shueller).

We selected silestone quartz in lyra (honed) which resembles cararra marble. I've been quoted upwards of $90/square foot. After spending several hours on this forum, it appears there are other brands of quartz I haven't seen, some of which may be less expensive with Pental being one of them.

I've searched to see if a thread on different brands of quartz exists as I'm curious about both cost and quality. I prefer the less manufactured look and would like a white with some gray marbling. Should I just stick with silestone lyra or is anyone aware of a more authentic looking one and/or a less expensive quartz option?

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I plan on using Pental Quartz in Carrara. It is very subtle with a greyish tone. I was also considering their Lattice, but then I saw a slab of it and it was too busy for me. I've been told that Pental is less expensive than the other major brands. I should be getting my quote within the next few days, so we will find out.

I had a quote for Ceasarstone London grey, and I think it was about $95/sq foot installed.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 12:54AM
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I love LG Viatera Roccoco. I've been told it's the same price as a mid priced granite.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 8:53AM
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Lyra is in my top 3 marble look alike choices. I also like Cashmere Carrara from Q by MSI. It's more subtle like Lyra, with a whiter background. No speckling and the veining doesn't look like its only on the surface. Minuet by LG Hausys is my 3rd option. It has bolder veining than Lyra, and is creamier in background. I haven't seen a full slab of it yet to see if the veining has that repetitive wallpaper like look yet. I haven't priced any of them out yet, but the local fabricator said they'd all probably be in the $80 to $90 range, with real carrara in the $80 range.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 9:11AM
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Some of the difference in price and quality depends on the manufacturing process and country of manufacture. If the manufacturer uses Breton technology, it's the same stuff--Cambria, Caesarstone, Silestone--all the big guys who have been around since the 1990s. I have Pental and it's made on Breton technology in Vietnam. I had two slabs which were $1700 two years ago and around $3000 fabricated.

The Chinese are in on the act now too, so you'll want to see if any of them use Breton or if they are using their own knock-off technology. Last I checked Q by MSI was Chinese and did not use Breton technology. All you can do is read and ask about the manufacturing process and hope to get a clear answer.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 9:20AM
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The vast majority of the quartz brands are all made on the same machines purchased from a company in Italy (Breton) and manufactured using a process license from Breton. For the end user this means that in most cases the differences in the actual material from brand to brand is insignificant despite the marketing to the contrary.

A greater determinant of the success of your project will be the expertise and fabrication quality of your countertop supplier.

One caveat: Cambria has done the most development to make quartz slab with movement (whirls and swirls) that mimics natural stone. In their process they sometimes get "resin pools" which have little or no of the coloring agents and can be anywhere from dime to almost dinner plate size. Cambria doesn't consider these defects so if you are picking one of those colors you want to approve the part layouts on the slabs so your tops don't include these defects.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 9:45AM
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Unfortunately I think your price is within range for high-end quartz. I got my mid-range quartz for 78/sqft and it is not even all that special.

BUT, quartz is a pretty good choice for countertops, very low-maintenance and easy to keep clean.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 10:59AM
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Thanks so much for all the responses. Anidsmom, I looked at the other two options you mentioned and MSI is actually pretty close to me. They told me that cashmere carerra falls in the least expensive of their 3 price categories and runs $10-$20/square foot for the material only. The estimated $90/square foot price I was quoted for Silestone lyra includes everything through to installation. It'll be interesting to speak with my contractor to see how much fabrication, installation, etc. is and how it compares to the $90 price tag. Looking forward to seeing the other two and comparing the look to lyra.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 12:41PM
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Wanted to add that I saw 3 options in Pental today (venatino, lattice and carerra) and found I preferred the look of lyra and was told that the pricing would be about the same as Silestone. So, other than the MSI Cashmere Carerra, which I'll be getting a sample of via mail, it sounds like I have my answer, at least in my geographic area. Thanks again for all the information.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 4:50PM
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Have you received your MSI sample yet? Have you made your final decision? My remodel doesn't start till Oct and I have yet to decide. I would love to hear what you end up doing. (And seeing pictures would be a real bonus!)

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 10:15PM
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Not yet, anidsmom...hopefully tomorrow as it didn't need to travel that far and I was told it'd be mailed last Monday or Tuesday.

I am a little concerned about May_Flower's comment about MSI not being produced with Breton technology and perhaps being Chinese. If I like the sample, I'll have to investigate further.

I did go back to the local store that has all/most of the Silestone, Caesar Stone, Cambria and Pental samples as there's another thread about Silestone chipping and staining that has made me nervous about Silestone Lyra but I just didn't see another pattern I liked. I'd prefer to go with a honed/matte finish and there just aren't a lot of options.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 2:38AM
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The Chinese source worried me as well. I tried researching it and only found one source, a fabricator or supplier, (not sure which) who said it was from India. The company founders are immigrants from India, and the company has been around since the 70's and claims to be the leading distributor of counters, flooring, tile and hard scape materials in North America. So, at least they don't feel fly by night to me. It's green guard certified and has a limited lifetime warranty. Sounds like I'm trying to sell their product, but I'm actually just trying to convince myself it's okay! Mayflower do you know where we can find out about where a quartz is made? Oh, I tried cutting my sample with a steak knife and no scratches. I whacked the edge with a heavy knife handle and it did create some white dust, but no chips, but sure dinged my knife!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 9:22AM
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Ask the person selling it how it's made and listen for that key word Breton.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 9:39AM
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I would like to remind everyone of a bit of countertop history. Ralph Wilson Plastics, the manufacturers of Wilsonart solid surface and plastic laminate, made in Texas, USA, also manufactured two of the worst countertop products ever invented.

The first was "blue glue" contact cement which sold and worked well for about 5 years when it suddenly let the plastic laminate go. Hundreds of thousands of small countertop fabricators got .33 cents on the dollar in a secret settlement with Wilsonart. Imagine installing a $1,000.00 countertop and having to go back and repeat the job 5 years later for $333.33. It was that or have your local reputation destroyed. (And I have to listen to folks complain about contractor risk on another thread.)

The other Wilsonart fiasco was their Solid Surface Veneer. It was 1/8" thick "Corian" contact cemented to a particleboard substrate. When problems developed, Wilsonart sold the SSV pre-bonded onto phenolic-backed panels. Unfortunately, that never solved its fatal flaw, the dissimilarity between the expansion and contraction rate of the SSV and the substrate. Wilsonart entered into a class action lawsuit settlement and customers were given a prorated settlement. I just fixed one of these last week; the 10-year settlement period had long since run out and the repairs cost the homeowner's just under $600.00.

The point is that a product made in the United States by a very old American company is no guarantee of quality or value.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 11:13PM
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We've had Lyra (island) for 2 years now. I'm surprised the price is still that high. We paid @ $75-ish? as part of a larger package of items.

I too read how some experience chipping and started to panic. I used quartz precisely because I am tough on my counters. No chipping here, but my Vitamix has left some black rubber scuff marks (so I keep it on a cork square pad now. I'm pleased with how it tolerates what we throw at it.

Good luck picking.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 11:50PM
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I found the MSI facebook page and messaged them about their quartz.: where it is manufactured and with what technology. This is the answer I got back:

"Hi, Cashmere Carrara is a beautiful choice. Our Q is manufactured from factories in several countries using both Breton and non-Breton machinery. Cashmere Carrara in particular is manufactured using Breton machinery and comes from Turkey. If there is anything else we can help you with, please let us know. Thank you, Nili"

As Trebuchet said, that doesn't guarantee anything, but it's nice to know.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 1:19PM
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They probably have to use Breton in other countries because otherwise they are violating patents, which they can get away with in China.

In speaking with a manager from Pentalquartz, I found they did not want to get their quartz from China because of shortcuts that could affect the quality of the product. Instead, they distribute Vicostone, which is made in Vietnam on Breton machines. They are a little cheaper than Cambria etc., being manufactured in an Asian country.

It'd be nice if Trebrutchet, with his contacts in the stone industry, could write a nice post to educate us about about what's going on in China in the quartz industry since more and more of it is being sold in the US.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 2:34PM
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"It'd be nice if Trebrutchet, with his contacts in the stone industry, could write a nice post to educate us about about what's going on in China in the quartz industry since more and more of it is being sold in the US."

The guy you want to talk to is named Lenny Elbon. He travels the world as a consultant to manufacturers and was an expert witness in the Wilsonart SSV class action lawsuit. He's a friendly guy and you could probably message him at Give him my best.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 3:55PM
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Wow, I thought I successfully posted this morning but don't see it. I received my MSI samples today and they both look very nice. Based on the samples I have (4"x4"), less gray veining than Lyra with the cashmere carrara having the least and the fairy white (which might be my favorite) being in between the 2. The background of the fairy white is also more white than the lyra which is more light gray in comparison.

I was told the same as anidsmom: cashmere carrara is made in Turkey and that it is made using Breton technology. I will have to ask specifically about fairy white to confirm that it's the same but assume so.

Now I wonder how I can find people who have MSI Q to hear how it's holding up. That thread about Silestone chipping and staining really concerns me. The last contractor that gave me a bid also said he'd had bad experiences with Silestone; he liked caesar stone although we didn't discuss other manufacturers beyond those two.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 7:01PM
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Collage, what did you end up going with for your counters? Are you liking your choice?

It looks like I am going to go with Q's Cashmere Carrara. Although I just saw that another marble look alike has been just released from Silestone. The Nebula Alpha Series. Unfortunately, my templating apt is for Monday and no one around has any samples yet. I suspect from my quotes it'll be out of my price range anyways. If anyone is interested, the quotes I received:

Q from MSI Cashmere Carrara $5451
Real Carrera Marble $6872
Silestone Lagoon $6900

Here is a link that might be useful: Nebula Alpha Series Silestone

    Bookmark   October 23, 2014 at 12:44PM
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Congratulations on your decision, anldsmom. It's interesting to see the difference in the 3 prices.

I've been on a long path and the ending is a just a little disappointing. I ultimately decided not to go with quartz and turned back to granite. We put granite tiles in years ago and I've regretted it for quite some number of years. After looking at lots of granite, I ultimately fell in love with granite that looks just like...the tiles we have. It would have cost $9,000 to make the change and I just couldn't justify it. So, for now, we're refinishing our cabinets, changing hardware, etc. but no new countertop.

Best of luck with your project!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2014 at 5:09PM
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I'm sorry you aren't getting quite what you hoped for, collage. It's crazy how expensive it is to buy counters now. I hope you will like the changes you are making!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2014 at 10:35PM
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Thanks, anldsmom. I tried to post about cabinet colors for our refinishing project and got kicked off gardenweb! I got a message back that my post was spam and, ever since, even with a new username, I'm unable to post. I'm anxious to see if this post works.

Best of luck with your post, anldsmom. I hope you'll post pictures when you're done.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2014 at 11:15PM
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that silestone nebula alpha certainly looks interesting!

    Bookmark   October 29, 2014 at 1:24PM
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