Quartz or granite complaints?

kay161December 18, 2011

Argh! DH has decided he really doesn't want soapstone. So, back to the drawing board...

Please offer advice on quartz vs. granite. Anything you DON'T like about either? He likes the wider range of colors with quartz, but I can't seem to get past the unnatural "bubbly" look of the surface. Anyone have the Leather texture?

Any insights on Silestone vs. Caesarstone vs Cambria?

Thought we'd moved on to lighting. Bah humbug!

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There are 10 or 20 different manufacturers of quartz. All good. It's the same stuff from one to the other. Quartz is strong.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 5:07PM
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Silestone puts "Microban" in the resin to kill bacteria. There's know way of knowing what's in that. It is supposed to protect the counter from certain kinds of staining. (It doesn't claim to keep diseases down). It's a Spanish company, but I can't remember exactly where the stuff is made. It's imported.

Cambria is made in the USA.

Caesarstone was the original quartz counter, and has some deluxe colors/textures that are significantly different from what the others have. It is made in Israel, where it was invented.

There's a company in Italy which is known for making the equipment that most or all of the quartz companies use.

There may be small differences in the composition, but all quartz counters are ground up quartz stone engineered into a slab and bound with resin. Light colors can yellow over time if they're exposed to sunlight or other sources of UV.

"Granite" isn't always geologically granite. I was just reading recently about some of the things they do to granites to meet market demands, as well, such as coloring. Granite is a crystalline stone that has a lot of feldspar in it and quite a bit of quartz. Some granites are crumbly and have to be held together with resin. I've even seen a gorgeous slab where a lot of crumbles had been shed and it had been filled in and levelled with resin, so that you could actually see into it. Some versions are quite porous and require regular reapplication of sealer. Some versions are minimally porous and don't require sealing at all. And many things that are labelled granite at stone yards aren't really granite at all, by any definition.

Both surfaces in their basic, polished form, are shiny, slick, and easy to wipe off.

I'm not sure what you mean by "bubbly" surface, but if you don't like the mottled texture of the quartz you've seen, keep looking. There are ones that have veining, others that have slices of whole stones in them, and a few that have a very solid color look.

If you're looking at manufactured, you might also be interested in some of the recycled products. You can get recycled marble, for instance, in a resin substrate. It has all the convenience of quartz, but all the natural beauty of the marble chips (it kind of looks like chipboard made of marble rather than wood).

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 5:53PM
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I had Silestone for 10 years in my last kitchen. Loved it. Now I have 2 granites in my kitchen, Blue Pearl and Bianco Romano. The Blue Pearl is absolutely gorgeous, but I am constantly cleaning it. It streaks so easily. The Bianco Romano is easy to keep streak free, but needs to be sealed. I really wished I had gone with quartz again. At the time I was making choices for the new house, quartz was getting a bit of a negative response here on GW, and granite seemed to be what everyone wanted. The argument being it was natural stone, etc. If I had to make that decision again, it would definitely be the quartz. So many more colors and patterns than when I picked it 10 years ago.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 5:55PM
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Davidro & Joyce: Thanks for the positive feedback. I do NOT want to have to take special care of counters.

Pillog: Thanks for all the good information. It's the mottled surface of the quartz that bugs me, especially when the light shines directly on it. I hadn't seen anything with veins, but will definitely look.

I have a feeling price may end up being the deciding factor. Our appliance choices have ratcheted up thanks to GW:-)

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 6:36PM
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I absolutely *heart* my samples of Caesarstone Pebble....it doesn't have the weird blotchy effect I associate with quartz. It has just enough pattern I think it won't show the flour or the breadcrumbs too much. It comes in honed and polished but there is not a huge difference IMO.

As one with a messy hubby, a baby soon-to-be-toddler, soon-to-be teenager (!!), I can't imagine a world where soy sauce, red wine, and olive oil don't spend the night on my counters...so quartz for me!

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 7:28PM
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We have Caesarstone and couldn't be happier with it. Clean, modern look and very low maintenance.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 8:01PM
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We went with Kashmir Gold granite. No fuss, no muss, no complaints. Definitely no babying, and it has a lifetime seal.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 8:10PM
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I agree with your husband about not liking the "bubbly" look... to me that was representative of the 1st generation quartzes. Funny thing, some granites have that look as well. The newer colours/collections of all the bigger companies are much more natural looking as posters above have mentioned. I have Cambria and they sent me a "free" cheese board; that was nice! There tolerances/measurements were outstanding as well on my job. It's extremely low maintenance for my needs. Try to see big slabs in person, much easier to sense to full look than even the 12x12" samples.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 9:31PM
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We got quartz from Lowes in the color Angel Ash. It's stunning. There is not a bubbly look. We have had many guests, including friends with granite. Everyone thinks it's granite. I like that it's beautiful, low maintenance, strong, easy to clean and does not have to be resealed.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 11:37PM
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We have quartz! Lg Viatera in Cabo. I don't know if it's "bubbly", but it has a speckled look. We like it a lot: Very easy to clean up, very forgiving, no issues so far (chipping, cracking, etc.)

A lot of people think it's granite.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 12:09AM
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I am about to buy Angel Ash. I love that you love yours. Is there any way you can post a photo??
I would be so grateful!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 10:03PM
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Can quartz be "leathered?"

We had shiny Blue Pearl granite in the house we rented - great for hiding crumbs unless you have all the lights on - then all the smears really show up in the reflections. Very pretty granite though.

Our polished zany quartzite, which has basically every color, shows NOTHING, even with shiny reflections. We have to touch it to find spills and stains - others find that icky I guess.

Our leathered Cambrian Black "granite," which is some kind of real stone, doesn't require too much maintenance, just the normal kind we used to do on our textured formica in the old house. Oil spills, tomato sauce splatters, etc. Doesn't really have shiny reflections - see attached. On the other hand, we don't really do much to it that we didn't do with our old formica - we don't cut directly on it (ouch for the knives!), put pots on it without something under them, or shoot bullets at it. So I don't know if it is truly "bullet-proof."

Cambrian Black is very close to some quartzes we looked at. We had a shiny sample of it, and a sample of the quartz that was closest. It wasn't speckly/bubbly like some of the other quartzes - it was nice. My impression at the time was, "that quartz is trying REALLY HARD to look like real stone - it almost makes it." Then it was more expensive than the CB, so that did not make it a hard decision. We're happy with it, 6 months in.

Final caveat - no pets/kids.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 12:11AM
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I am a fabricator and deal with the differences between quartz and natural stone every day. the following is real info devoid of any marketing hype.

1. both quartz and most natural stone options are extremely durable.
- all quartz brands are made on the same machines so pick a quartz based on color and fabricator quality. The actual brand is irrevelant.
- some stones used in kitchens are NOT durable; they are either too porous or too soft (often both) unless you are willing to live with a lot of wear. Carerra Marble is an example.

2. there are far more color options in natural stone than quartz. literally thousands for stone vs. a few hundred at most for quartz. The most popular quartz colors are those that most closely mimic natural stone.

3. the primary liability for natural stone is staining. The primary liability for quartz is damage from heat. neither type of damage occurs very often. Less than a dozen times in either case over 12 years and several thousand jobs. stains can usually be removed. burned quartz is ruined. Maintenance is virtually identical except for the recommended annual resealing of granite which takes about 10 minutes in an average kitchen.

4. quartz is getting cheaper as Korean and Chinese suppliers come on line. Some granites have also gone down in price and new colors are continually introduced.

So ... pick a color or look you love and get a quality fabricator to do the work. don't use marble, limestone, or travertine in a kitchen unless you can live with etched areas, chips, and stains.

my 2 cents

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 10:25AM
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I put mystic black zodiaq quartz in my last kitchen reno and after only 1.5 years had many chips along the edge. The edge was the most simple, straight edge with very little rounding so that may have been part of the problem.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 10:51AM
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Which one do you prefer? Before we started our remodel, I was convinced that I wanted quartz but once we looked around, we decided that we preferred the way that granite looked. DH wasn't a fan of quartz.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 1:05PM
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At my house, we are evenly split. My partner loves, loves, loves granite - it just isn't doing anything for me. Except for the linear granites, marbles and tone-on-tone stones which are often quartzite, which I absolutely love but don't really necessarily fit the house.

I generally prefer far quartz. I even like some of the corians (rain cloud, et al), which I used to hate.

He loves the movement and busy-ness of granite. The busier the better. In quartz, he likes the ones with little sparkley multicolors in them. He even likes the polka dot materials, or the ones with bigger globs. I don't.

I am just drawn to subtle, consistent countertops. I like the quartzes that look like concrete or limestone or just have subtle movement that is more tone on tone. They just seem, I dunno, somehow organic and soothing and zen. Which is what I want to achieve with my remodel.

I think I am going to win this one...

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 1:37PM
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