Why white quartz worked best for my kitchen remodel

On August 8, 2017 in Home ImprovementKitchen Remodel

Why white quartz worked best for my kitchen remodel

By Lyndsye Felsman, Houzz

After moving into a new-to-us house in the fall of 2016, my husband and I were eager to make it feel like a home for us and our three boys. Knowing the kitchen is the heart of our home, we wanted to remodel it first. I love minimal, modern farmhouse style, and I’ve dreamed of a white-on-white-on-white kitchen for years. But I wanted the look without it feeling cold and impersonal.

With the countertops being a focal point in the kitchen, I was drawn toward clean, white quartz, but I had many questions before committing to the material. Here’s how I ended up choosing the perfect countertops for our budget, style and needs.

White quartz countertops in modern kitchen
Ann Lowengart Interiors, original photo on Houzz

Why I was drawn to quartz

I knew I wanted a nice, clean and bright kitchen, so white countertops were the obvious choice. I was specifically drawn to quartz because it gives the room a feel of luxury and longevity. That last one is especially important because I have three boys and I love to entertain. And if I’m being honest, I was drawn to the way it seems to glitter ever so slightly in different lights.

The material itself is an engineered product that’s made mostly from ground quartz compressed with different amounts of fillers or resins under intense heat and pressure. The more filler added to the material, the less expensive the quartz countertop gets.

White quartz countertops in a white kitchen
Cambria, original photo on Houzz

Budget matters

For this remodel, we had to first look at what we were willing to spend. I was skeptical we could even afford quartz. I knew it wasn’t the cheapest option out there because I had priced it for interior design clients.

Evaluate the space: I had to consider the shape of my countertop would drive up the price. We have an extra-wide peninsula, and an unusual 45-degree angle in the corner by the sink. Those factors can drive price up because of the quantity of material needed and installation costs.

Get quotes: Even though I knew I wanted quartz, I also got quotes for granite for comparison. I got the quotes knowing granite might be a busier look, but I wanted to at least look. Then I really dug into my quartz options and prices. Although some companies and lines of quartz are pricey, my local countertop representative found a company that was running a promotion on some of its lines. That was a huge help on the budget.

Stay within budget: Of course, I was worried that a more budget-friendly option wouldn’t look as nice as the more expensive, higher-end quartz counters. Other ones I was initially drawn to had more color variation, such as flecks of gray or veining running through them, but also cost more.

Those more expensive quartz options (upward of $5,300 for my countertop) were more natural and had less resin in the end product. I chose a quartz with a slightly higher amount of resin but the durability and beauty of some of the leading brands. I was able to get what I needed for just under $2,500 installed and did not go over budget. The granite I quoted came in at a similar price — about $2,500 — but the quartz at that same price range had more of the look I wanted.

Price tips:
○ Visit local stores or call or email online retailers to learn more about their products and what they offer. This will help you get an estimated price. I especially love checking with the smaller stores in my town because they have relationships with certain companies and can help you get a great price.
○ Ask the installation company whether the price of your countertop installation includes removal of the old counters or just installation and delivery of the new countertop.

White quartz countertops in white and blue kitchen
Studio Dearborn, original photo on Houzz

Style Selection: I knew I wanted to pair the quartz countertop with white subway tile backsplash.

Compare samples: I had a sample of subway tiles from our local building materials store and held them up to quartz samples to find the right pairing. Some quartz countertops have more flecks of gray or marbling. Other quartz countertops are more engineered, so they have a more controlled, consistent finish. The latter finish matched the minimal, modern farmhouse style I wanted to achieve with the white subway tiles.

Try different light: When picking a countertop material, have all your countertop samples in hand and look at them against your cabinets and backsplash in all lights. For example, morning sun casts a very different light than your ceiling lights in the evening. This is why it’s important to not just pick your color at the paint store, under their fluorescent lights. Check them in morning, afternoon and evening lights.

Pro tip: You need to love the material in every kind of light. If you don’t, keep looking.

white quartz countertops below hanging light fixtures
Garbett Homes, original photo on Houzz

Family Needs: We have three boys, so I didn’t want something that would get marked or scratched easily. I wanted it to wear well without worry.

Pros of quartz: You’ll dull your knives before you end up leaving a noticeable scratch. Most companies have a 15- tor 30-year warranty, and some even offer a lifetime guarantee.

Cons: The white quartz can stain ever so slightly if a red wine spill sits too long on the surface. It is still a natural element, after all.

Cleaning tip: A little baking soda or glass ceramic cleaner usually cleans it off completely, or pretty close. In my experience with many countertops, they all can get marked or scratched eventually over time.

All the pros of quartz outweighed the cons for our family. It’s one of the best materials I’ve seen and used for efficiency in a busy kitchen.

See my kitchen countertop transformation

Older kitchen with dark countertops
Before Photo, original photo on Houzz

Before: The purple laminate countertop was the first thing I knew had to go in the old kitchen. It made the space feel dark and did not mesh with the modern farmhouse style I envisioned for the kitchen.

I’ve grown and evolved in my design styles over time so I was eager to have this canvas to try out some new looks. And I had someone to help me make my design visions a reality. My husband is a handy guy who for years owned and operated a construction business that built custom homes. This is great for me but not so great for his to-do list.

White quartz countertops in author's kitchen
Lyndsye Felsman // By Design Podcast, original photo on Houzz

After: The quartz we chose — White Zen by Cosmos — was the white I was looking for. It’s so pretty, glistens in the morning light, cleans like a dream and has brightened the space considerably.

Another view of the author's kitchen with white quartz countertops
Lyndsye Felsman // By Design Podcast, original photo on Houzz

It ended up being more brilliant and beautiful than I could imagine. The classic, neutral base will age with our family for years.