In today’s blog post, I wanted to go over why we removed our granite countertops and chose to replace them with quartz. Whether you’re updating your kitchen, building one from scratch, or fully remodeling, you already know that the countertops are a big part of the “look” of the space.
Since I spend a lot of time at the Studio, where the kitchen is white and bight, I wanted something similar for my house without being the same. You can check out this post for all the kitchen details and this post where I talk about why I chose that type of sink.
Having a solid image for inspiration helped a lot; especially when it came to meeting with Rachel at Triton Stone in New Orleans. By walking in with my vision, she was able to piece together the look I wanted.
How to Choose the Right Shade of Countertop Against your Cabinet
For starters, if you don’t have a cabinet door that you can bring with you to the stone yard, at the very least bring a piece of wood stained with your cabinet color or the color wheel like we did.
It’s essential to compare your countertops against the cabinets, your backsplash options, and flooring to get a full picture of the result. Even though this wasn’t our first rodeo, I was impressed with Triton Stone’s attention to detail and service to ensure we were thrilled (not just happy) with the stone we selected.
At first, we picked the counters you see Rachel holding up the backsplash tile against, but, after we went home and painted a few cabinets, we realized that the entire space would be very grey and that particular stone would clash with our flooring (which we did not replace).
The more you can bring with you when you choose your countertops, the better.
Granite vs. Quartz
While I love the natural stone look of granite (it’s very earthy) the cool and clean look I was going for isn’t found naturally in any piece of granite I found.
The pros of granite:
It’s beautiful, and it comes in a lot of colors and patterns. They have a classic natural look that never goes out of style. It stands up well to splashes, and it hides cooking messes well – I tell you this from experience.
Granite holds up very well to cooking, knife nicks, heat, and daily wear and tear. With a family, it’s a great choice.
The Cons of granite:
Like most stone, granite has to be sealed from time to time, and it loses its shine over time. Ours looked dull, and the dark island became streaky when cleaned with certain cleaners.
It’s heavy so you’ll need sturdy cabinets to support its weight.
What is Quartz?
Quartz is a natural stone that is finely milled and crafted into a surface with a resin (think of it like glue). That is why they call it “engineered” quartz. It’s a natural stone, but it’s also man-made.
The Pros of Quartz:
Quartz is a solid surface that is non-porous, and it’s virtually maintenance free. It’s super tough and durable which is an excellent option for heavily used kitchens like mine. Although it can be susceptible to scratches, nicks, and burns, those can be sanded out (not possible with granite).
There are lots of colors and pattern options (way more than granite) in just about every color, and there are large sizes out there that can be custom ordered to eliminate or reduce seams (like we had to do).
The Cons of Quartz:
If you’re looking for a “clean” and “bright” look, quartz is what you want. However, if you want a natural stone-like and earthy feel to your kitchen, it’s not for you.
In the end, I wanted something bright, a countertop that could accommodate the grey shades from my cabinets and backsplash as well as a slight brown hue to tie the floor all in (since we weren’t replacing the tile). And for us, the Triton Stone’s Vicostone Statuario Quartz was it (#BQ8628).
What about Installation of the Quartz Countertops?
Another reason I loved working with Rachel and her team at Triton Stone is that when it came to installation, she was able to suggest a list of contractors in my area to install our countertops.
Whew! What a relief! I would not be left to my own devices trying to find somebody. After carefully interviewing our local installers, we chose River Rock Stone Works of Louisiana.
How to choose a countertop installer:
1. Ask your stone vendor.
This is one area that again, Triton Stone was super helpful with. This ensured me that they were vetted not just by them but also by their customers. Since customer satisfaction is at the top of their list, it only made sense that River Rock Stone Works of Louisiana only stayed on their list if they made their customers happy.
2. Ask to see before and after photos of their work as well as customer testimonials and references if available.
I was so impressed with the quality of work that Allan and his crew had performed in other homes that choosing them for my house was a no-brainer.
3. Make sure they can do the entire job you need to be done.
Because we needed to install a backsplash along with the counters and I wanted to manage the least amount of contractors possible, I was thrilled that River Rock could also handle the installation of our backsplash. Which by the way, I love it more and more every day.
Our backsplash stone is a 3-inch x 12-inch ceramic tile from the Alchimia Pearl Series by Soho Tile.
4. Get a time frame and written estimate upfront.
How your installer handles getting an estimate for the installation says a lot about the company. In addition, having an idea of how long the project will take is key.
For once, we finally found a contractor that not only showed up on time but completed the work. They also cleaned up after themselves (a rare thing) and texted when they were on the way.
This made a huge difference working with this crew this time around than at the Studio. We’ll definitely be recommending Allan and his crew for future jobs.
Basically, you don’t want to contact people that are not upfront and give you a bad vibe since you’re trusting them into your home.
5. Go with your gut feeling.
In the end, after coming to measure out our kitchen, how much materials we’d need, and receiving the written paperwork from Allan, we felt great about our choice.
Once you’ve chosen a contractor, it’s imperative that you ask all the questions about the process you might be unclear about -especially if this is your first time.
As a reminder, here is the before photo of our kitchen
And here is the after photo.
I’m grateful for the help that I received to make this upgrade possible from Triton Stone in New Orleans and River Rock Stone Works of Louisiana. Since I”m not an expert on remodeling or kitchen materials, I would suggest reaching out to both of these incredible businesses to talk through your dream stone projects.