White quartz countertops have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their durability, low maintenance, and beautiful appearance. However, compared to other countertop materials like granite and marble, white quartz tends to fall on the more expensive end of the spectrum. Here is a detailed look at whether white quartz countertops are more expensive and the factors that contribute to their cost.
What is White Quartz?
Quartz countertops, sometimes referred to as engineered stone, are made from ground natural quartz crystals combined with polymer resins and pigments. The resins bind the quartz particles together to form a solid, non-porous surface.
White quartz contains light-colored quartz aggregates mixed with white resin to achieve a bright white appearance. It offers a clean, crisp look popular for modern kitchens and bathrooms. The most common brand of white quartz is Caesarstone, though other manufacturers like Silestone and Cambria also produce white quartz slabs.
Cost Comparison to Other Countertop Materials
On average, white quartz countertops cost $70-100 per square foot installed. This puts them on the higher end for countertop pricing:
- Laminate countertops cost $20-50 per square foot installed, making them the most budget-friendly option. However, laminate lacks the beauty and durability of natural stone.
- Granite countertops cost $60-100 per square foot installed. Granite has a similar price point to white quartz.
- Marble countertops cost $70-150 per square foot installed, making marble more expensive than white quartz on average.
- Solid surface countertops like Corian cost $55-100 per square foot installed, putting them in a similar price range to white quartz.
So while white quartz is comparable in price to premium materials like granite and marble, it still costs more than lower-end options like laminate. The extra cost comes from its durability, low maintenance, and resistance to scratches, heat, and stains.
Factors That Impact White Quartz Cost
Several factors go into the total installed price of white quartz countertops:
1. Slab Quality and Brand
Higher-end quartz brands like Caesarstone generally cost more than cheaper brands. Premium slabs have less variation and fewer imperfections. Big box home improvement stores offer their own exclusive lower-priced quartz lines.
The quality of the raw quartz and resins used impacts prices. Better formulations result in increased durability and scratch resistance.
2. Tile Size
Larger quartz tiles are more expensive than smaller tiles. A standard tile size is about 120 square inches (30”x40”). Going bigger adds to material costs. Smaller mosaic tiles raise installation labor.
3. Edge Profiles
Fancier edge profiles like ogee, bevel, and waterfall edges cost more due to extra fabrication work needed. A standard eased or straight edge adds the least cost.
Thicker 3cm slabs command higher pricing than 2cm slabs. Thicker materials have a more substantial, premium feel.
5. Custom Cutouts
Cutouts for sinks, faucets, and cooktops require custom fabrication and increase project costs. The more intricate the cutout design, the more labor involved.
Hiring an experienced professional contractor to template, fabricate, and install the white quartz adds labor fees on top of the base materials cost. More complex tile patterns or edge details require more installation expertise.
7. Regional Labor Costs
Like other home renovation projects, countertop installation labor rates vary regionally. HCOL areas like NYC or San Francisco have higher hourly install costs than LCOL locations.
Is White Quartz Worth the Extra Cost?
For many homeowners, the superior performance and low maintenance of white quartz make it worth the investment over cheaper countertops that may need frequent sealing (granite) or lack durability (laminate).
Benefits that help offset the higher initial price include:
- Extremely durable – Made from natural stone, white quartz stands up well to heavy daily use without chipping or cracking. It does not need sealing.
- Easy to clean – Non-porous quartz resists stains, won’t harbor bacteria, and wipes clean easily. No special cleaners needed.
- Neutral white color – Crisp white quartz provides a light, airy look that suits any kitchen or bath design style. The color does not fade or yellow over time.
- Resists heat and scratches – Thermally resistant and harder than granite, white quartz holds up to hot pans. It does not easily scratch or scorch.
- Low maintenance – Other than occasional cleaning, white quartz needs virtually no maintenance once installed. No yearly conditioning or sealing required.
- Long lifespan – With proper care, white quartz countertops can last many decades before needing replacement.
For buyers looking for an extremely durable yet beautiful countertop, white quartz often provides the best mix of form and function. Paying more upfront means avoiding costs down the road for replacement or upgrades. In the long run, white quartz delivers excellent value for the investment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is white quartz more expensive than granite?
White quartz and granite have similar average installed costs, ranging $70-100 per square foot. However, granite comes in a wider range of prices due to natural stone variation. White quartz pricing tends to be more consistent.
Is white quartz cheaper than marble?
No, marble countertops tend to cost more than white quartz. On average, marble runs $70-150 per square foot installed, while white quartz averages $70-100. Marble’s natural beauty commands a premium price.
What thickness of white quartz should I choose?
The standard thicknesses for quartz countertops are 2cm (3/4″) and 3cm (1 1/4″). 3cm offers more durability for heavily used kitchen countertops. 2cm is often adequate for bathroom vanities. If going extra-large with the slab size, 3cm provides more support.
Can white quartz chips or stains?
Quartz is highly resistant to chips and stains but not completely impervious. Dropping a heavy object on a corner can potentially chip quartz. Some dark liquids like wine or oil can stain quartz if left for prolonged time periods. Overall quartz maintains its beauty exceptionally well compared to other natural stones.
Is white quartz porous?
No, quartz has a non-porous surface that resists liquid penetration, unlike more porous options like granite, marble, and travertine. This makes quartz very hygienic and low maintenance with no sealing required.
While white quartz countertops come at a premium price point, their unparalleled durability, stain resistance, and low maintenance justify the cost for many homeowners. White quartz offers long-lasting beauty and performance ideal for busy kitchens and baths. Wise buyers consider the lifetime value that white quartz delivers rather than focusing solely on the higher initial price tag. With proper care, white quartz countertops will remain in impeccable condition for decades after installation. For those desiring the look of stone with outstanding functionality, white quartz provides an excellent investment.