Quartz countertops are an increasingly popular choice for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects. Made from engineered stone, quartz combines natural quartz crystals with resins and pigments to create a durable and attractive surface. With the look and feel of natural stone but more consistent coloring and patterning, quartz offers an upscale yet practical option for countertops. But where exactly should you look when it’s time to buy quartz countertops? This guide will walk you through the pros, cons, and key considerations for purchasing quartz countertops from different suppliers.
Purchasing Quartz Countertops from Big Box Stores
Large home improvement chains like Home Depot and Lowe’s offer a selection of popular quartz brands and affordable pricing. Here’s what to consider when buying quartz countertops from big box retailers:
Pros of Buying Quartz from Big Box Stores
- Convenience: With hundreds of locations across the country, big box stores are a convenient option for many homeowners. You can browse different quartz lines, colors, and patterns in person before purchasing.
- Affordable pricing: As major retailers with buying power, big box stores can offer quartz countertops at competitive prices. Sales and specials can bring costs down further.
- Availability: Big box stores maintain inventory of popular quartz styles and colors so you can purchase in-store or order for quick delivery.
- Familiar brands: Stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s carry well-known national quartz brands like Cambria, Caesarstone, and Silestone.
Cons of Purchasing Quartz at Big Box Retailers
- Limited selection: While stores carry popular options, selection is still limited compared to quartz suppliers and fabricators. Unique styles and designer collections are harder to find.
- No custom fabrication: Big box retailers sell pre-fabricated slabs. For custom edges, cut-outs, and seamless look, you need a fabricator.
- No professional installation: You’ll need to arrange for a countertop installer for precise measurements, delivery, and installation.
- Risk of damage: Pre-cut slabs are prone to damage in transport and handling without professional services.
Overall, big box stores offer a solid quartz shopping experience for many homeowners looking for convenient access to affordable countertops. Just be prepared to handle measurements, fabrication, delivery, and installation yourself or through a professional. Selection will be more limited than a dedicated countertop provider.
Ordering Through a Countertop Fabricator or Supplier
For the widest selection, custom fabrication, and turnkey installation, quartz countertops purchased through local countertop fabricators are a great choice. Here are the main benefits and drawbacks:
Benefits of Using a Countertop Supplier
- Custom fabrication: Get a seamless look with edges, cut-outs, engraved details, sinks, etc. fabricated on-site.
- Exact sizing: Fabricators take precise measurements and fabricate slabs to fit your space perfectly.
- Professional installation: Experienced installers deliver and install countertops for a quality, headache-free result.
- Greater selection: Fabricators offer a wider range of brands, styles, colors, and designer collections beyond big box options.
- Quartz & other surfaces: Many fabricators also offer granite, marble, onyx, and other natural stone in addition to quartz.
- Warranties: Reputable fabricators stand behind their fabrication and installation workmanship.
- Higher cost: With more services included, quartz through fabricators costs more than big box DIY options.
- Lead times: Fabrication and customization takes time, so expect at least 3-4 week lead times.
- Locating reputable suppliers: Research reviews and history to find excellent quality and service.
Using an experienced local countertop fabricator eliminates the guesswork and provides custom fabrication you can’t get through big box stores. The investment pays dividends in a truly customized, professional result.
Things to Look for in a High-Quality Countertop Fabricator
With so many countertop suppliers to choose from, it helps to know the hallmarks of a truly top-notch fabricator:
Excellent Reputation and Reviews
Seek lots of positive reviews over many years praising service, quality, and professionalism. Beware too-good-to-be-true prices from fabricators with no reviews or complaints.
Specialization in Countertops
Look for a countertop-dedicated business, not a general contractor or kitchen remodeler offering counters as an add-on service.
Choose a fabricator who has worked extensively with quartz and understands how to maximize its durability and beauty.
Fabricating on-site gives more quality control than outsourced fabrication.
Ask about installer training and certification. Manufacturer training is a good sign.
A supplier that also offers granite, solid surface, laminate, and tile has more fabrication experience.
Kitchen Remodeling Experience
Opt for a fabricator familiar with common kitchen projects and potential challenges.
Top Brand Partners
Reputable partnerships with leading brands like Caesarstone and Silestone indicate industry vetting.
Look for at least 10-15 year craftsmanship warranties, with lifetime options for premier brands.
Excellent Service Reputation
Look for rave reviews about customer service, communication, and professionalism throughout the process.
Doing your homework helps find quartz fabricators with the expertise and qualifications to provide a 5-star experience.
How to Shop for Quartz Countertops
When selecting quartz for your home, here are some tips for an informed buying process:
Browse Inspiration Galleries
Quartz brands like Caesarstone have gallery pages showing quartz designs in real homes to give design inspiration.
View Physical Slabs In-Person
Visit supplier showrooms whenever possible to view colors and patterns first-hand. Samples don’t always capture the full effect accurately.
Bring measurements of existing counters or spaces for the most accurate quote. Include odd angles and dimensions of cut-outs.
Consider Integrated Sinks
Quartz offers seamless one-piece sinks and counters for a high-end, hygienic look. Ask your fabricator about options.
Request a Detailed Quote
Get quotes in writing outlining costs, timeline, warranty, fabrication details, brand/color, and services included.
Ask About Repair Policies
Understand options if you ever need repairs, especially for designer finishes.
Ask quartz suppliers for client references to evaluate quality and service claims.
Following these tips when shopping for quartz helps you make the most informed choice.
Factors Impacting Quartz Countertop Pricing
Many aspects influence what you’ll pay for quartz countertops. Being aware of these factors helps you budget and avoid “sticker shock” when you start getting quotes:
- Quartz brand – Premium brands like Caesarstone and Silestone come at a higher cost than value collections.
- Color and pattern – Unique colors, designer finishes, and elaborate patterns increase price.
- Thickness – The standard 3 cm thickness keeps costs down versus thicker 2 cm options.
- Edge profiles – Decorative edges like ogee and beveled cost more than standard eased or straight edges.
- Level of customization – Special cut-outs, engraved details, added texture and special fabrication means higher pricing.
- Size of project – More surface area equals higher material costs.
- Integrated sinks – Seamless one-piece countertop and sink combos have a significant upcharge.
- Location – Countertop costs vary regionally based on supplier availability and labor/shipping costs.
- Level of services – Installation, demolition, plumbing, etc. impact total spent. DIY saves money.
Being flexible on factors like edges, sinks, and finishes provides cost savings. Knowing the price impact of customizations helps avoid budget pitfalls.
Pros and Cons of Quartz Countertops
Quartz is currently the fastest-growing countertop material. But is it the right choice for your home? Here is a brief overview of key quartz pros and cons:
Pros of Quartz Countertops
- Durability – Quartz stands up well to stains, scratches, heat, and impact.
- Low maintenance – Doesn’t need regular sealing or polishing. Cleans easily.
- Consistent patterning – Manmade creation results in uniform coloring and speckling.
- Stylish options – Quartz offers variety of patterns from stone-like to modern solid colors.
- Non-porous – Resists moisture, mildew, and bacteria growth. Good for kitchens and baths.
- Heat resistant – Can tolerate exposure to hot pans.
- Long warranty – Many brands offer 15-year or lifetime limited warranties.
- Resale value – Quartz counters add value for potential home buyers.
Potential Cons of Quartz
- Higher cost – Quartz is pricier than options like laminate. But competitive with granite.
- Repairs challenging – Seamlines and damage are hard to fix versus solid surface counters.
- Limited exotic options – Won’t find dramatic veining and swirls like in natural marble and granite.
- Requires professional install – Not a DIY-friendly material. Proper handling and fabrication is critical.
- Imports – Much quartz is manufactured overseas and exported from Asia and Europe.
Overall, quartz provides an excellent blend of aesthetics, performance, and maintenance ease. For many homeowners, the pros outweigh the cons, making it a go-to countertop choice.
Maintaining and Cleaning Quartz Countertops
Investing in quartz counters means keeping them looking like new for years. Here are top tips for quartz care and maintenance:
- Use mild soap and water or stone cleaner to remove cooking messes and spills as they occur.
- Blot liquids immediately to prevent staining. Don’t let spills sit.
- For stubborn dried-on grime, use a non-bleach scrubbing pad and rinse thoroughly.
Avoid Harsh Chemicals
- Don’t use products containing bleach, alkaline, or acidic cleaners which can etch and dull the surface.
- Vinegar, ammonia, oven cleaner, and abrasive scrubs can also damage quartz.
Prevent Heat Damage
- Always use trivets, hot pads, or cutting boards when placing hot pans on the counters.
- Damage can occur with direct exposure over 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
Re-seal After Fabrication
- Have your installer apply a penetrating sealant to the complete installation for added moisture and stain protection.
Address Spills and Stains Quickly
- Blot liquids immediately before they have a chance to soak in and cause permanent discoloration.
Deep Clean Annually
- Once a year, give counters a thorough cleaning using a stone-safe cleaner and soft brush to keep them looking like new.
Following these maintenance dos and don’ts helps your investment stay beautiful for the long run.
Popular Brands of Quartz Countertops
The quartz category has exploded with countless brands and options. Here is an overview of some of the most popular and widely available quartz brands:
One of the first engineered quartz manufacturers. Known for quality and style with patterned and solid finish options.
U.S. company offering a wide array of elegant quartz designs like the popular Brittanicca and Summerhill patterns.
Long-trusted Spanish brand with a diverse collection of quartz looks ranging from marbled to concrete inspired.
Quartz line by LG known for high-end luxury aesthetic and special technique creating distinctive veining.
Budget-friendly brand sold through home improvement stores like Lowes and Wayfair.
MSI Q Premium Natural Quartz
MSI’s line features nature-inspired neutral tones and bold colorful designs. Budget to high-end.
Dekton uses an ultra-compacted quartz formula for astonishing durability, suitable for counters and flooring.
Vietnam-based company crafting unique quartz with ethereal veining and pattern movement.
This covers some of the most common and reputable quartz brands to know. Visit showrooms to view brands first-hand.
FAQs About Purchasing Quartz Countertops
What should I consider when selecting a quartz color?
Choose neutral, versatile colors like whites and pale grays for the widest appeal. Bolder colors like black are dramatic but harder to match decor with over time. Think about the other materials and colors used in your kitchen or bath to find the best coordinating quartz shade.
What thickness should I get for quartz counters?
The standard 3 cm thickness is ideal for residential kitchen counters in terms of cost and durability. Some brands offer a 2 cm jumbo/mega slab up to 2.5 cm for a heftier, luxe look. But 3 cm performs extremely well in most home settings.
What edge profiles look best with quartz?
Quartz looks gorgeous dressed up with decorative edges like ogee, bevel, eased, and Dupont. But simpler square or rounded profiles also complement the patterned surface well. Match your edge to your kitchen or bath style.
Can quartz counters have an undermount sink?
Absolutely. Undermount sinks provide a seamless, easy-to-clean look. Just make sure your fabricator properly reinforces the underside support to bear sink weight without cracking. Integrated sinks also bond sink and counter together.
How far in advance should I order quartz counters?
It’s smart to finalize your order 4-6 weeks before your desired install date. This allows time for template fabrication, potential backorders on certain materials, and scheduling installation. Rushed orders risk delays.
Does quartz need to be sealed?
Quartz does not require regular sealing. But best practice is to have fabricators seal the counters once installation is complete. This gives added protection and prevention against staining. Reseal annually as needed.
Is DIY quartz countertop installation doable?
Quartz counters are too heavy, fragile, and challenging to install without experience. Plus any manufacturer warranties are contingent on certified professional installation. Leave it to the experts.
With the right combination of beauty, durability, and practicality, it’s no wonder quartz has become the countertop of choice for so many modern homes. Taking the time to carefully evaluate different quartz brands, colors, fabricators, and costs ensures you select the ideal counters to match your needs and style. Investing in high-quality quartz from a reputable supplier means enjoying your new counters maintenance-free for decades. Just be sure to care for them properly to keep them looking like new. With endless options to suit a range of budgets, your dream quartz counters are out there!
Recap of Key Points:
- Pros and cons: Quartz counters offer durability, consistency, and low maintenance. Higher costs and limited exotic patterns are tradeoffs.
- Big box stores offer convenience and affordability but less customization than fabricators.
- Top traits of quality fabricators include experience, training, positive reviews, and warranties.
- Shop smart by visiting galleries and bringing exact space measurements.
- Factors like size, edges, brand, and customization impact pricing.
- Maintenance involves daily gentle cleaning and avoiding harsh chemicals.
- Caesarstone, Cambria, Silestone and others are leading quartz manufacturers.
About the Article Writer
I am an experienced writer and researcher in home design, DIY, and remodeling. Helping homeowners make the most informed decisions for their home improvement projects is my passion. When I’m not writing, I enjoy touring model homes and newly built communities to stay current with the latest trends and innovations. Please contact me if you have any questions!