Absolutely nothing has happened in the house during the last week. We still have not decided on an exterior paint color, we still need to make decisions on door knobs, and we still have no floors (although word on the street is that those will be going in starting today). We do, however, have drywall and primed walls and a lovely sketch of on the kitchen wall of where the cabinets will live.
I’m a huge fan of our new mural because it really gives a sense of how the kitchen will flow once the cabinets are built. I can’t wait to see how the tile looks.
With the one day that my husband and I were both in town this week, we made a trip to yet another countertop supplier to see if we could find the perfect countertops for the kitchen. There are a ton of articles out there about how to select the perfect countertops for your lifestyle (and perfect countertops because some designer said they are perfect). I’m not going to bore you with one more of those articles. I have learned a few things in the process though that I think are worth passing along for those thinking about a kitchen remodel (or a bath remodel with new countertops).
We knew that we wanted quartz from the get-go for durability and ease of cleaning. I’m also a believer in white counters in the kitchen because I like to see my mess right out in the open so that I am reminded to clean it up. This is super helpful when living with kids because you and I both know that kids *never* see a mess on the counter. I love the look of marble countertops but the stress of keeping up with it was totally not worth it for me. Kids + red wine + not enough time in the day = headache. And yes, they make marble-look quartz now, but anything-look is just not my style.
So getting back to the point, we knew what we wanted but we had no idea where to look. I will be the first person to tell you that I am not a kitchen designer (or a window coverings designer – bless all who specialize in that particular niche), so for resources, I was dependent on my builder. There are a lot of different companies that specialize in quartz. As with anything, there is a wide range of available price points (as in hundreds of dollars per slab to thousands of dollars per slab). There is also a range in quality. I know I sound like a broken record, but if you don’t have time to do the research and look at all the stone shops, I would definitely look to hiring a kitchen designer.
I was surprised to learn that not only is not all quartz created equal (sorry for the double negative there), but you can’t just walk in and buy a slab of quartz to have delivered to your fabricator. When you walk into Lowe’s to buy your slab, you sign on to use a fabricator that is licensed by the quartz manufacturer and contracted by Lowe’s to install your countertops. Your contractor may also have someone that she subcontracts the countertop work to, who has her own sources for countertops. Make sense? In our case, we started with the fabricator’s picks and have been broadening our circles.
The other thing that I never understood is how quartz is purchased. Again, when you walk into Lowe’s, you will see quartz priced by square foot. But most suppliers actually price it by the slab, which is typically 10’ by slightly less than 5’. So that makes the price comparison even more confusing. It also means you may be buying more quartz than you need. If you are only needing a countertop for your master bathroom that is 6’ x 2’, you are going to have a whole lot of quartz left over.
In our case, we are purchasing for an entire kitchen that includes an island and bar plus three bathroom countertops. The most cost effective way to select countertops in remodel the size of ours is to select one surface for the entire house. Fat chance that’s happening. Some fabricators also have remnants that can be used for smaller countertops like vanities and bars. We were able to find a marble remnant for our powder room and have our fingers crossed that the quartz we picked for the master bath (in the photo below with our floor and shower tiles) will show up somehow as the perfect size remnant on our fabricator’s yard.
I’m cool with using the same countertops in the kids’ bath as in the kitchen because white. BUT just like with paint, remember that not all whites are created equal either. If you are going white, make sure that you bring samples into your space to assure that you have selected the correct white. We went through at least four different white samples before finding one that would work both with the tile in the kitchen and the tile in the kids' bath. In retrospect, I would pick my countertop materials first and then my tile, but then again, I would also hire a kitchen designer if I had the budget, so there is that.
So there you have it. Pay attention to how much countertop you need. Check with a kitchen designer if you are concerned about quality. Remember that not all whites are the same. Shop the remnants. And have fun.