Is Quartzite hard to find in a lot of areas?

Molly PhillipsDecember 21, 2012

We live in western NC and I can't seem to find anyone around who carries quartzite. In fact, most installers around here pooh-pooh the stone in general, but I'm figuring out it's because they don't sell it themselves.

We're a couple of hours from Atlanta so I'd assume stone places would have them there, but I'm not sure they'll travel this far to install.

Should I just give up and move to another counter? I'm not committed to anything yet - I saw an Alabama White granite the other day that looked nice and I'm also considering quartz, but every time I see photos of quartzite on here I swoon and at least wanted to get a price quote. Kind of hard to quote a non-existent stone, though.

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What you're going to run into is that not only will it be scarce, it will be super expensive. It might only be expensive and somewhat hard to find in a major metro area, but in a remote area, there won't be anyone familiar with fabricating it and it will have to be trucked in special, etc. And, a lot of fabricators will charge extra for the insurance factor to fabricate something unfamiliar and expensive as well. That can turn a $120 a square foot stone into a $220 square foot stone in a heartbeat.

So you may need to look beyond local people and find someone willing to fabricate and travel. Again, that will add costs to an already expensive stone. If you love it, you may be willing to bear those costs if it's an appropriate stylistic and monetary expenditure for your home. But, since it IS so expensive, be double sure that it does go with the home's bones. Because you won't be changing it out later if you get tired of it.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 3:19PM
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I'm not seeing much of it in San Diego either and it is a large metro area. Lots of marble, granite in every possible finish and oodles of exotic onyx, but few quartzite. One place told me many of their customers who want the look of marble go for marble and others who want a light countertop are trending toward contemporary and/or don't want the upkeep or wear of marble and are using Cesarstone.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 8:17PM
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Molly Phillips

Thanks, livewireoak. I thought that might be the case and while we are budgeting for a nice counter, I'm not in love with - or willing to pay for - anything enough to pay extra just because it's "special" in my remote area. I'll just remind myself to do more hiking and take in that scenery instead of feeling guilty every time my kitchen isn't magazine-worthy clean because I owe it to my super expensive counter.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 8:20PM
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Molly Phillips

Was posting my reply to LWO and just saw yours, island. It's actually a little comforting to read it's hard to find in a metro area like San Diego. Since I live in a town so small the closest Target is an hour away, I sometimes feel left out of the latest and greatest.

So what are you going with, Island? I'm stuck...know we're going with light cabinets but don't even know if we're doing a contrast or complimentary color at this point. *sigh*

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 8:41PM
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I expect that San Diego would have quartzite - it isn't that rare. Often places have it with the granites. Ours wasn't labeled as quartzite - it was in amongst the granite slabs. When we first found it and showed a sample to a friend who is a soil scientist, he identified it as quartzite.

We found our Azul do Mar quartzite at Bedrosians - they have a branch in San Diego. It wasn't $120/sq foot - more like $55 - so an expensive stone but not outrageous. The mostly white marble-look ones may cost more because they are in high demand now but I wouldn't expect them to be as much as LWO said.

Our fabricator didn't raise his quote when we chose it. On the one hand quartzite takes longer to fabricate because it's so hard that they have to run the machines slower and it wears the bits more. But on the other hand, it's pretty strong and stable so they didn't have any fabrications problems such as chipping.

Once installed, it has been a perfect counter - strong, easy to clean, not needing resealing (6 years now).

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 3:37PM
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Hi Lovetodream. Not sure what I'm going with since I'm just starting to think about the process, deciding on a KD, etc. I want a white kitchen this time around and they just don't seem to be popular here. Several KDs and GCs have tried to talk me out of it. Most shown in the local design mags and design tours have stained wood or are very eclectic. The latter may explain why when I find quartzite it's more colorful than the neutrals I want and see on this site. Lots of wild colorful granite too which is not what I want. Recently have been seeing a lot of white macaubus which is beautiful, but the veining is more linear than what I have in least for now. Hoping to see madre perla in person, but no such luck yet.

Other than quartzite, what else are you considering?

Cloud Swift thanks for the info on Bedrosians. Never heard of that place, but will look for it.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 5:35PM
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I don't live in a metropolitan region and I installed Madre Perla quartzite- to replicate your example Target is 30 minutes away. I do live in an area where craftsmanship is very valued as is quality of materials and durability.
I went to a stone fabricator who would get me slabs from anywhere. They had lots of slabs, granite, marble, Silestone, Cambria, limestone but I didn't see anything I loved, that was durable enough for my liking, and in my budget(because I loved some of the marbles).
Then I looked through the remnants and found an 18" x 40" piece of M.P. I said that's what I want.
My fabricator found some slabs(I needed 2) in a neighboring state, she showed me pictures and asked me if I wanted them shipped to her. I said yes, and if upon arrival I hadn't liked them I could have walked away, there was no deposit at all at this point. When the slabs arrived I got to see them in person and at that point I purchased the slabs.
Funny story, when I saw the photos of the slabs, there was a dark smudgy area and I only told her to go ahead and order the slabs based on the fact that my kitchen could have been fabricated without using those areas. From the photos, I did not want those dark blotches. However, when I saw the slabs in person, I found out the smudges were actually streaks of amethyst and wanted them featured on my island- so, you never know.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 8:29AM
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Molly Phillips

I'm finding this process so difficult. I know we want something "quieter" so that leaves out a lot of granites. I got a quartz quote the other day and it was much higher than I expected it to be. Heck, I don't even know if I want a grayish counter or whiter counter at this point! The Madre Perla's I've seen all look so great to me....I think that's my "it" counter (outside of marble, which is too impractical) but I'm not willing to pay that much.

What I do know is that counters are more of a pain than cabinets - there are just too many steps (the stone seller, the fabricator, the installer) to get easy quotes and compare apples to apples.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 9:56PM
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I looked at a Super White Quartzite for my kitchen three years ago. I wsa able to take home a piece and put it through a few tests with lemon, red wine, ketchup, etc. The lemon etched it terribly. That sealed it's fate for me. So if you do find a slab I'd highly recommend doing a test on it for etching. Those quartzites are beautiful though so if you do find one I hope it works for you! And - go with your gut - not what the salesperson says - the more someone sends you in the other direction, the more you should check out that stone :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: Picture of Super White Quartzite

    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 11:12AM
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