Decision Time - Emerald Pearl or UbaTuba granite countertop

ssroxNovember 8, 2012

Hello everyone,

This has been very difficult and I did not realize that I have to spend lots of time trying to decide what countertop I want. My initial choice was a lighter color granite for my kitchen countertop (ie. giallo veneziano, santa cecilia, etc). Hubby and I have different opinions, he prefers dark-colored granite. I shifted from light to darker tones because I have a honey oak cabinet, picture attached, and flooring is maple. I thought it would be a nice contrast if we go dark. He convinced me that it would look more modern if we go with darker colors. Agree? Now we're down to two types of granite, Emerald Pearl (his choice) vs UbaTuba. I like Emerald Pearl because of the blings but I think i see more black than green which makes it a darker color. The Ubatuba has a variety of colors black, brown, dark green (correct me if i'm wrong). What should I choose? I want a striking look but pleasing to the eye and would not make the room smaller. Please help ASAP. The template guy will call me soon to measure because I already made the purchase.


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Here's the other side of my kitchen facing the family room to give a whole picture of the kitchen.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 11:44PM
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Between those two, I would definitely pick emerald pearl. I had it once and loved the depth and interest in it.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 6:28AM
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Just looked at both with similar cabs to yours and they both looked great. Personally, I kinda like the one with more greens in it. Let us know which one you end up choosing.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 6:47AM
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ssrox-we did the same thing - honey oak with white counters to uba tuba. I haven't seen emerald pearl in person so I can't comment but I thought I'd share the before after so you can get a feel for the difference going dark makes (that made me very nervous because the contrast was so great but I really like it).

Before (already had the formica back splash ripped out, hubby is fast):

Uba tuba and darker backsplash (we did do under cabinet lighting and I would recommend it - use it daily). Excuse the missing front panel at the sink - we weren't quite finished when I snapped this picture:

Good luck - I think you'll be happy either way!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 6:49AM
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I agree that the darker stones will look great with your cabs ; I looked up the EP and found this video, imo it reads darker than UT , I personally would use the EP, although I had vanities topped with UT , and in broad daylight, the variety of colours was amazing, at night it read blacker. You can't go wrong with either colours, flip a coin I would say.

Here is a link that might be useful: emerald pearl video

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 7:09AM
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I loved blue pearl granite and then saw some emerald pearl! I say emerald pearl will be what your looking for. Either choice is good. Good luck and please show us your finished kitchen!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 12:13PM
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I agree that either would be great, but I lean toward the emerald pearl with your cabinets.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 2:05PM
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Autumn, your kitchen looks great. What a difference!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 5:59PM
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I think either would be a great choice. I would personally choose based on which slab of either you like the most. I found Uba Tuba to range from a stone with either a lot of gold, or a lot of green. I would bring as large a samples as you can home and play around with them.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 6:18PM
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Autumn - Your kitchen looks very pretty! I like the backsplash design, what kind is it and where did you get them? The ubatuba does give a not so dark look in the kitchen.

berlingirl - I too loved the Blue Pearl at first but had to consider the walls and cabinets and it just didn't look like a good match. The reflective flecks is what caught my eye so Emerald Pearl became one of the choices.

The question I have is will the flecks/shiny part be a problem later? Does the bling make the eyes feel tired like there's too much shiny stuff on the counter? I know this is what it makes it more attractive, but did anybody had this experience???

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 9:57AM
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ssrox...I think the emerald and the blue pearl are very similar and like both. I do think if the bling getting old to you is worrisome at this point, you might tire of it and possibly then the ubatuba is a good choice for long term. It is hard to make a decision and I personally loved a few of the granites I have decided WON"T work with my life style. Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 10:39AM
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Thanks ellendi and ssrox. I forget out much of an difference it made until I see the pictures again.

ssrox-It was from FloridaTile - link is below. We ended up with the African Gold but the California gold was really nice was a tough choice and I think either would have worked nicely with our cabs and granite. Stared at the samples taped on my wall for weeks before I could commit, lol.

Scroll down to near the bottom it's the 2x4 tumbled slate. It's called Pietra Art Slate. It comes in many sizes and is on a mesh which really made installation much simpler.

Good luck.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pietra Art Slate Tile

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 7:27AM
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I think they would both work with your cabinets, but after looking at them side by side, I think I like the Uba Tuba a bit better. To my eye, it reads more green (which I like with your honey oak cabinets), while the Emerald Pearl looks more black/blue (which I would prefer more with cherry colored cabinets). Best of luck!

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 9:02AM
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I have emerald pearl and love it. I am more drawn to dark granite, and its less maintenance than light. Either of the dark ones you picked would be pretty, but I believe uba tuba is about half the price of emarld pearl. At least here where I live.

Don't want to confuse you further, but have you looked at verde peacock and green butterfly? both have some caramel color in it that would blend with your cabinets too. both are a dark green.

My emerald pearl looks black from the side, and then when you get up close and look down on it, you see the dark green and even some bluish spots. Like you - I was drawn to the bling in it. It looks more 3-dimensional than uba tuba.

You'll be happy with either, but when my husband opts for the more expensive choice - I jump on it!

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 9:14AM
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mountaineergirl - can I ask what kind of cabinets you have? I am a little bit scared of how long I'd like the blings. But this is what me and my husband likes about it, even when I only got the 2 pcs of 3x3 inches sample to bring home and I showed to my co-worker and she also immediately liked it. I did look at the verde butterfly and it's OK.

legallin & mountaineer - How's your experience with it, do you still like the bling?

autumn - thanks for link.

others - you input is very helpful!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 9:53AM
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Yes I still like the bling. I'm kind of conservative I guess, never was drawn to granite with movement. I like the granites that are consistant. But the pearls (emerald, blue, black) are interesting while consistant because of the mica in it. I've only had it for 2 years but nowhere near being tired of it yet. (wouldn't matter anyway - for $8000 we won't be replacing it EVER!)

My cabinets are white. We had water damage and are replacing the cabinets, but going with white again. They have removed my granite for now (scary thing!) but I had decided that even if it broke when removing - I was still going with new emerald pearl!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 9:17PM
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either would work but I'd pick the emerald pearl.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 7:42AM
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Autumn - Is your granite 2cm (3/4") or 3cm (1 1/4") thick? They told me that if I choose 3cm no need to use plywood underlayment. My cabs are 10yrs old. How about yours?

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 1:50PM
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Autumn4, You made your oak kitchen look beautiful with the stunning backsplash and gorgeous granite counters. Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 4:59PM
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I like the Uba Tuba.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 6:52PM
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ssrox-ours is (3cm) 1 1/4" thick. Cabinets are 14 years old and we do not have plywood underlayment. The granite is sitting right on top of the cabinet framing. FWIW the uba tuba was about $50 sq foot installed here in MI. We completed this 'facelift' in the summer of 2011.

I have to echo others sentiments in getting samples of the exact stone you are looking at. We had 2 samples of uba tuba and they were very different and especially in our light. One of them (that we didn't pick) read green but sort of a lighter green. Very different from any of the other slabs we saw. I liked it fine but it didn't go with our honey oak as well. The granite I really wanted actually had silver flecks in it but that doesn't really do the honey in the oak any favors. Make sure you post what you end up with. I am sure you will love it. :)

lyn2006-thanks - working with honey oak is a challenge but they were in such good condition we couldn't justify ripping them out. It's a far cry from what most share on here but it was a budget update and I think it turned out pretty well all things considered (if only the layout could be magically updated). I have learned a lot from lurking on GW.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 6:57PM
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Actually, I wasn't really thinking about what would look best on your cabinets, just which one I liked the best :)
The uba tuba is a "warmer" green (yellowish green?) and the emerald pearl is a "cooler" green (bluish green) if you know what I mean. With my stark white cabinets, the cooler green looks good, but on a honey colored cabinet the warmer green might be best.

I'm changing my vote to the uba tuba now haha!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 7:04PM
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Autumn.4, If my honey oak cabinets were as nice as yours (mine are builder grade particle board and laminated cabinets with wall paper sides, no hardware and warping of particle board shelves in some of the cabinets), I would do what you do since it is warm and I really like your updated kitchen so much. A friend of mine also added dark counters to her kitchen with a pretty backsplash (just not as pretty as yours) that has warm oak cabinets and since her cabinets are solid wood and nice with hardware, her kitchen looks nice. I am still trying to figure out what I want to do in my kitchen since I am on a budget but at least I have all new appliances with the oldest from the end of 2006 and the others at the end of 2007 and early 2012. All my almond appliances just fell apart so I slowly updated the appliances. I bought my tile about a year ago that I love (18" square rectified porcelain on a major sale) but that is why I was told the tile should go under the cabinets and then after interviewing so many installers, my little dog's seizures got worse with more doctor visits and then he passed away. I got so busy with continuing education for my job that I put the kitchen decision off until after my tax season. Then I had gallbladder surgery and then the Hurricane Sandy. But I want to have my kitchen finished before I have visitors to my home office (some clients sit in my family room that is open to the kitchen) and for peace of mind. I sure wish my cabinets were as nice as yours since then, I would follow what you did that really looks great.

For the poster, ssrox, I love both granites you are considering but after seeing Autumn.4's Uba Tuba granite counters with the oak cabinets, that would be my choice as it really compliments the oak cabinets.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 10:23PM
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Don't rule out verde peacock. It's usually as inexpensive as uba tuba, too.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 10:30PM
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Thanks guys for your postings. I am now torn between a 2cm granite or a 3cm granite.

To Autumn, how did they install your sink without the plywood? My hubby is concerned about how this would work if the sink area puts more weight on the granite and there's no plywood to support it? I also have the cooktop (not a range) and I wonder how the 3cm granite can hold this too. Hmmm. The sales rep did not really elaborate how this works, or maybe she did, but there's too much information at the beginning and my head was spinning, =)...Please give me your input how your installer did it. I tried calling the store today but she's out. Also, was there an issue on leveling with your cabinets that they had to make modifications or is the level just right that they just popped the granite in?

Can you guys tell me if it's better to go with 2cm or 3cm? There is $1000 price difference on the thickness. If not looking at the $$$, will it be better to go with the 2cm with the plywood underlayment or stick with the 3cm with no plywood. I ordered the 3cm but I have the option to change it.

Before the color (???), now it's the thicknesss??!!! Ayaayay!!!

I welcome all your input.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 11:53PM
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I just read that the 2cm is 13 lbs/sf and the 3cm is 19 lbs/sf. Here in the west coast, they mostly sell the 2cm with 1 yr workmanship warranty. There are only 2 big stores that carry the 3cm which offer 15 yrs warranty material & labor.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 12:00AM
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I've only seen a few slabs of 2cm granite, and I've been to nearly 20 granite/marble slab yards. I know because I spent forever trying to find 2cm antique brown in a leathered finish, and somehow found it at the same place where my search began--somehow I had missed it. But that was for a bathroom.

I would definitely do 3cm in a kitchen. Are you saying that 3cm is hard to find or that there are only 2 yards that offer a 15-year warranty? I got no warranty, so I'm not sure that's what I was really looking for at the time.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 12:24AM
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I've only started looking last month and I went to 6 stores so far, where 2 stores only sell the 2cm granite and 4 stores have the 2 & 3cm granite. I don't know if it's important to consider the warranty with a granite purchase, advice????

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 1:15AM
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Sorry guys, I meant 4 stores with 2cm granite and 2 stores with 2&3cm granite. I'm a little sleepy now that's why.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 1:33AM
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ssrox-our cabinets have plywood boxes and remember the sink is cut out (same with a cooktop I would think) so there is not near as much weight right there. I think this is common? We haven't had any issues. Also we have a 15" overhang on our peninsula and that does not have under counter supports. We actually didn't realize until almost too late that the tile we put down on the floor was thicker than the linoleum we pulled up so our stove would have stood taller than the counters - awkwardly out of place taller. So at the last minute we did put some oak trim pieces around the perimeter of the cabinets for the counter to go on as well but that was totally an almost afterthought and only due to the height issue. If you want other pics/views let me know.

Have you spoken to the fabricator about this concern for their input/suggestions? We bought our stone straight from a fabricator and he came out and did the measuring/templating himself.

lyn-you have really been through it! Doing a kitchen update is a process itself without all of the other life issues. Sorry about your doggie, know the feeling. We have 18" porcelain tile (we diy'd) and we did not put them under the cabinets. You have to be careful where the dishwasher is concerned and watch height of counters then (read above) but otherwise not a problem. Notice I didn't put up a pic of the other side of our kitchen....our appliances are so outdated and don't match (white fridge with nice faded yellow handles, very attractive)! They are all starting to die too and will be replaced as we go. Thank you for the compliments and make sure you post your pics when you get through yours. I am sure there are many more budget overhauls than we see. Really check out Lisa_WI's post it's current - she did her whole kitchen for $16k I think.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 7:07AM
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Hi ssrox,

I was just looking through threads and wondered how your granite decision turned out. I am having a 3cm granite installed on a bathroom vanity. From what I have heard some of the practical differences between the two come down to the edge, which would be thicker on a 2cm since they laminate it - making it a double thickness - and the fact that 3cm is stronger if you have an overhang, as on a breakfast bar. So for your purposes 2cm seemed fine as I did not see a breakfast bar in your kitchen pictures.

I hope you are through with this project by now and loving your kitchen. The hardest part of remodeling for me has always been the decision making process...I lose sleep over the decisions every time! The Garden Web has been my lifesaver!

Happy New Year to you!

    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 9:29AM
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With a kitchen and bath remodel one year ago, 2 cm was installed in my kitchen to save money and 3cm in the master bath because the installer had a half slab of the granite I wanted and gave me a good deal. Never have I wished that the kitchen had 3 cm also. If everything coordinates well it won't make that much difference. Upgrade to a spectacular backsplash. You'll get much better bang for your buck.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 6:45AM
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