I’ve installed quartz countertops in two of my houses and I love living with them! If this is a material you’re looking at for countertops I thought I’d share my experience and what I love (and don’t) about quartz counter tops- what you need to know to order and live with them.
what is quartz?
Forever, I have been obsessed with having marble- that grey look with the beautiful veins. I’d daydream about it, but the thing I didn’t like is that it is super sensitive, can stain and chip easily, and so you have to be very careful with it. That’s now how I want to live, so when I heard of quartz, I was excited! So what is quartz?
Quartz are a man made engineered stone. Most of the countertops (90%) are made of small pieces of quartz. The rest is what holds the quartz pieces of quartz together- resins, polymers, and pigments. Once combined, they create a beautiful countertop that is hard like granite.
Let’s start with the video tutorial so you get an overview on selecting and caring for Quartz countertops. Then, I’ll dive in with more details below:
If the video doesn’t work here, you can watch it on YouTube here. I’d be over the moon happy if you subscribed to my YouTube channel! Videos are actually released on YouTube first (usually the night before they’re published on the blog). Thank you!
what does it look like?
The appearance or quartz can vary greatly and depends on how the quartz is ground. The finer it is ground creates a smooth appearance. While the coarsely ground quartz has a more flecked look
One thing I love about quartz is it can look like a natural stone. There are also a variety of neutral colors- beige, black, grey, or white. It can look like marble (what I love!) or it can look like granite, it can also stand on its own and look like a composite.
Here’s a few examples. Can you tell how number one looks kind of like marble while number two definitely has a more composite look?
what is the maintenance on quartz? What should I avoid putting on it?
- Clean with mild soap, water, and a soft cloth.
- Wipe up stains immediately before they have a chance to dry.
- For dried spills or heavy stains, use window cleaner and a soft sponge.
- Exposure to heat above 150 degrees can cause the quartz to crack. Always use a hot pad or trivet on your counter tops with pots and pans and Crock pots.
- Candles can also cause pitting, so put something underneath those too.
- Extreme heat is hard for quartz countertops. A bag of ice on quartz can also cause cracking.
- Knifes will scratch quartz, so always use a cutting board.
- Quartz does not require sealing in order to resist stains.
how much does it cost?
Quartz costs $55-$200 per square foot (that includes the stone and installation). You can get it cheaper if you have a smaller kitchen and can use a remnant. It is now on average about $125 per square foot. It just depends on the vendor, thickness, and style selected.
For my kitchen, I needed a slab. That cost $1200.
Then for installation I got multiple quotes and they ranged from $1000 to $2200.
If I was to do my kitchen again, the second I had my floor plan finalized, I would have started getting quotes. That would have been in February- 5 months again.
Then, after getting the cheapest quote, I would have gotten in the schedule with the installer. Why? The home building and renovation industry is very backed up right now. Most installers were 8-10 weeks out.
I was in a hurry to get my countertops done and had to go with who could get me in. My installation cost $2000. So the total was $3200 (in June 2021). If I would have planned better, I could have saved $1000. Ouch. So learn for my mistakes.
In November of 2020, I had countertops installed in my kitchen in Florida. The price for a slab and installation cost $2200. It took 7 days to have the quartz cut and installed after templating.
HOW DOES QUARTZ COMPARE TO GRANITE AND MARBLE?
Quartz is kind of the sweet spot between granite and marble. It’s the most durable of the three. It’s harder than granite and not pourous like marble and granite. That means that stains don’t soak into the stone. It’s also doesn’t etch.
On the other hand, it’s not heat resistant like granite.
Price wise, granite is the least expensive option while marble is the most expensive. But if you’re spending around $100 per square foot of quartz for a high end choice, it’ll cost about the same as marble.
what are the negatives about quartz countertops?
Like with anything, there are a few downsides to quartz. Let’s go over those-
- Heat- Excessive heat can damage quartz countertops. Above 150 degrees, the resin on countertops will be compromised. This means a hot pan, burning candle, or a crock pot shouldn’t be placed right on the countertops.
- Price- Quartz can be expensive. They are not the cheapest option and the more countertop space you have, the more it’ll cost to have quartz countertops.
- Style- some quartz countertops are more contemporary. Since they’re man made they also look less “natural.” If this is a concern, granite, marble, soapstone, or butcher box may be preferred.
do quartz countertops increase a home’s value
Yes! Quartz does increase a home’s value. I’ve read that it can be an increase of 3 to 7% of the home’s value. So I’d consider them a good investment.
is quartz bad for the earth? What is it made of?
No! Quartz is actually considered a green material so it’s great for the earth!
Why? The stone that forms the base of quartz countertops are actually waste from quarrying and manufacturing stone. So quartz is a by-product of other stone. This makes up 90% of quartz countertops.
The other 10 percent of a quartz countertop are made of resins, polymers and pigments. The combination makes a very strong countertop material.
Since most of it is made of stone that would have been wasted, it’s like using recycled materials for making a countertop!
quartz installation process
Here’s the process to get your counter tops installed-
Find an installer
You can google “quartz + your city” and you should be able to find a good variety. Make sure to read reviews of each company to make sure you select a reputable company and someone you’re comfortable with.
get some quotes
I am on a budget for this kitchen renovation, so before I selected anyone or left my house, I emailed 3 quartz providers. I got a quote from each of them. It helped that I knew I wanted a marble looking quartz so they could give me their best price over email and then I could visit to confirm everything.
Note- you’ll need an electronic copy of your kitchen floor plan for this step so that they can see your layout (which effects the cost). Ikea provides one with their kitchen planner service so that was simple to email over.
Like I mentioned above, start getting a quote early in the kitchen planning process. This will save time and money. Plus, the sooner in the kitchen renovation you can get counters installed, the sooner it’ll feel like a real room and it’ll be somewhat functional.
For my kitchen, I’m using Hanstone Quartz for my countertops. They are the quartz manufacturer. Most fabricators (the company who cuts and installs the quartz) will have samples you can check out so you can see them in your space.
Or, you can order samples directly from Hanstone Quartz here. $5 for a 4″x4″ size or $10 for a 5″x10″ size.
Once you’ve selected a fabricator, go to their store front to see the stone in person. Bring your kitchen plan so that the fabricator can give you suggestions. Then you can check out a few samples.
You will also want to know the sink, faucet, and sprayer you’ll be using. Or, if you need an accessory hole for something like a soap dispenser or if you’re using a garbage disposal button on the countertop.
if needed, see a slab yard
If your fabricator doesn’t have enough variety, you can also visit a slab yard (where your fabricator buys the slabs from). The slab yard will usually has a good variety of different stones to see.
It’s nice to see the movement of the veins, the full color, and touch them in person. Plus, this is the fun part! You can pretend you’re on a TV show ;).
If you aren’t able to see the full slab in person, it’ll be ok! Look online at a picture of the full slab and a picture of it installed in a kitchen. This will give you a great feel for how it’ll look in your your space.
Quartz fabricators will sometimes offer accessories that you can buy right from them. Things like sinks, faucets, sink grids, etc. This is convenient because then they have the exact measurements needed for cutting the quartz!
I sourced all my own items, but for lots of people, this is a convenient way to get multiple items from one place.
selecting the quartz
After looking at samples and slabs, it’s time to finalize what will be the quartz you select. Here’s some things to consider-
- color. White, beige, grey, or beige- there’s lots of options. I like a white quartz. Look at kitchens on Pinterest and see what color countertops you’re drawn to.
- veining. Quartz can have veining in it. This gives the stone movement. It can be subtle or very pronounced. And it comes with different colors of veins.
- composite. On the other hand, quartz can also have little flakes of color or metallic. This can add sparkle and a mid century look.
- in stock. Is the quartz available? Obviously that makes the selection process narrow down quickly if you can’t get it.
- size of slab. The slab I selected is a jumbo at 65″x130″. This ended up being the perfect size to avoid needing a seam in the countertop! A standard quartz slab is usually 60″ wide by 120-126 inches long (or 33 square feet).
I ended up going with Calcutta Gold. I liked the white background, the gold veining, and it was a great size to avoid seams.
Next, when lower cabinets are installed and level, it’s time to schedule a time for a template to be made for the counter tops.
The quartz fabricator will send someone over to house to digitally measure for this. They make an exact drawing of the countertop with crooked walls and everything!
What this means is there is super fun (haha) part in your renovation where you have to have your base cabinets in without a sink and counter tops for 2 weeks or more.
Two or more weeks or so after the template has been made, the counter tops will be cut to size and the they will be delivered and installed- cue the happy dance!!!
Our installation took a few hours and three guys. I didn’t take any pictures during the process, I didn’t want to be in the way. But I have picture of it after installation!
They installed my sink. And they ended up cutting the holes for my faucet and disposal button once the sink was installed.
To say I’m thrilled for fancy countertops is an understatement! I just believe that your home should be a beautiful backdrop for the story of your family’s lives. I was sick of my dingy, broken, hard to use kitchen. Living in a renovating mess isn’t fun, but making your dreams come true is. You’ve got this 🙂
The kitchen is done, the Calcatta Gold quartz countertops are in and we LOVE them! They’re a clean white with warm gold veining and I’ve never had nicer countertops in my life. They’re beautiful and 100% worth the splurge!
These clean up easily. I love wiping up my fancy countertops after cooking because they’re so gorgeous! The installers specifically put the veining where it’d be seen most and its really pretty in person.
It’s a little hard to tell in these pictures, but we made sure the cabinets were tall enough for the countertops to be cut to go in the window sill too. It’s seamless and the perfect spot for plants.
Anyway, I hope it’s helpful to know what to expect when ordering quartz counter tops and how to care for them once they’re installed. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments.
Catch up on all the Kitchen One Room Challenge Posts!
Floor Plan / Interior Window / Mood Boards / Stairs Plan / Demo & Flood / Drywall / Rainbow Wallpaper / Cabinets, Floors, & Ceiling / DIY Fireplace / Cabinet Doors / Reveal / Stair Railing Installation / Kitchen Cost Breakdown / Quartz Countertops