Quartz Counters: Why you should always double check

Quartz Counters: Why you should always double check

When it comes to countertops, I am typically specifying quartz counters or granite counters for bathrooms and/or kitchens.  In a recent project, I had worked with the clients to find the perfect creamy quartz counter for their kitchen.  As you know, there are various shades of white/cream so getting this right was super important.  Whites fall into 4 categories

  • blue white
  • true white
  • off white
  • cream

quartz counters

If you’ve ever had to choose a white before, you may realize just how many whites there are.  It’s super important to get it right!

Quartz Counters: The Benefits

Most of my clients are leaning towards choosing quartz counters for a couple of reasons:

  1. Quartz counters are loved due to the fact there is virtually no maintenance needed (as opposed to needing to seal granite from time to time).
  2. The quartz counter sample that you see is what will be installed.  There’s no need to go to the yard to select the exact slab (like I recommend doing with granite).

So what the hell happened?

Let me first say that this is not going to be a bashing post about the quartz company.  What you are going to read below are just the facts (that is why some people call me Frank: I’m honest and direct with my words).  Here are the events of this quartz adventure.

Quartz Counters: Selection

When I work with clients, counters are the third item we look at (after selecting the cabinet colour/style and flooring).  What was already solidified were the cabinet style, the cabinet colour and the flooring.  This particular renovation project is an entire home renovation.  The exterior walls were taken down to the studs and all interior walls were removed (except for one).  The reason I mention this is that every decision that was made was based off of our foundation palette and the path this home was going down.  The foundation palette falls in the ‘cream’ foundation palette.  There is not a stitch of true white, there is not an ounce of grey.  This is a creamy, warm house.  Period.

The cabinet colour is Cloud White from Benjamin Moore.  Cloud White falls in the off-white category so you would think there were many options for counters.  Not so.  Cloud White can work really well with greys however as I mentioned above, there is not a stitch of grey in this home.

quartz counters

After looking at many quartz options, we were down to two choices:

quartz counters
Caesarstone Snowy Cliffs

quartz counters
Caesarstone Himalayan Moon

With the entire home vision in mind, my choice for my clients was Snowy Cliffs.  It’s super soft compared to Himalayan Moon and would work perfectly.  Decision made!  Once we made that decision, the backsplash and wall colour were then chosen.  Giddy up – let’s get rolling!

quartz counters
Here was our plan.

Quartz Counters: Install

I always get excited when kitchen cabinets get installed and then I’m super excited when the counters go in.  For me, it signifies that we’re about 3/4 of the way done!  It also allows the clients to get excited too as they can now start to see their space come together.  Although the space has been in my brain since selections were made, it’s pretty hard for my clients to see into my brain and see what I can see (the vision of the space).

My fabricator came on his scheduled date and install happened without a hitch.  My fabricator texted me when he was done and then sent me a picture.  Let me first say that I know colour doesn’t show properly on a cell phone.  Knowing that, I almost shit my pants when the image came through.  The minute I saw the counters, I knew they were wrong.  When I arrived on site, I quickly called my fabricator to ask is Snowy Cliffs was installed.  He checked, double checked and triple checked his paper work and yes, Snowy Cliffs was installed.  I’m telling you, the counter I was looking at that was just installed was not Snowy Cliffs.

Subtle Colour Change

Now you may be thinking,

Really?  You are having an issue with the subtle colour change?

Here’s what I want you to realize.  While yes, the counter was not bad, it was not what we had picked out.  It was not part of the vision of this house (again – not a stitch of grey to be seen anywhere in this home).  What I also want you to understand is the big picture.  I know the flooring that was going into this home as well as the furniture coming into this home.  I know my clients’ tastes and likes and I also know every painstaking decision we made was based off of a warm and creamy feel for this home.  The Snowy Cliffs that was installed instantly turned this into a cool space.

Quartz Counters: What Happened?

After some phone calls back and forth between my fabricator and my Caesarstone rep, and to make a long story short, we found out the formula for Snowy Cliffs was changed.  Um…..what?  Yes, you read that right. 

The formula for making this particular quartz was changed. 

I had never heard of that before so I was a little bit shocked.  All I can say is that (thinking glass half full) that it was a great day as I learned something new.  It believe it’s always a great day when you learn something new.  Now, how to tackle this and make it right!

Moving Forward

Here is what I told my clients after the Mrs said, “Well, I can live with it if I have to.”

Absolutley not!

No one should have to ‘live with it’.  Especially when you’re going to the extent of a renovation like we are with this project and spending the dollars and time on a project.  We went back to Caesarstone and looked at other options.  One of the other options we looked at was Cosmopolitan White.

Since we knew that Snowy Cliffs had a formula change, we asked to see the larger slabs of Cosmopolitan White.  When we saw the slabs, guess what?  The large slabs were much greyer than the sample.  The Mrs. was not loving it and so this no longer became an option.

Final Choice

So….on to our next choices.  When we first looked at quartz, at the very beginning of this process, I had mentioned Vanilla Noir.  I had used it in a past project and it is such a delicious counter.  It is also quite striking to have the contrast of a creamy cabinets with a darker counter.  Although the counter was dark, the veining in it is creamy and warm.  We brought back many samples of Vanilla Noir, we then hand-chose 2 Vanilla Noir slabs (to ensure the veining was just what the Mrs. was hoping for), and called it a day.

quartz counters
Image source

While Vanilla Noir totally changes the look of the kitchen (compared to when Snowy Cliffs was installed), it is marvellous!  And while a darker counter may show a few more crumbs, the veining in this counter is also a great hider of crumbs.  I also know that the Mrs. is a great cleaner so I would be shocked to see any crumbs on the counter in the near future.  When you step foot in the door of this home, your eye immediately goes to the kitchen!  Vanilla Noir is truly the star in this space!

Quartz Counters: Why you should always double check

In the past, I never thought twice about using my large samples of quartz to make a very confident decision.  After this experience, I now know to be asking the question:

Has the formula changed?  May we please see a large sample to ensure the colouring is right?

I encourage you to also double check when choosing your quartz samples.  There’s nothing wrong with double checking to make absolutely sure you are getting what you think you are getting.

I also wanted to take this time to let you know that Caesarstone has been absolutley fantastic to us.  They have made accommodations for us to come and view big slabs, they have pulled various slabs from their warehouse and let us hand select our slabs to ensure we are all happy, and they have really provided us great customer service.  Obviously they did not do this on purpose.  I am thankful that we found a wonderful counter that still goes with everything and maintains the vision my clients have for their new renovation.  I told you this would not be a bashing post!

We are about 2 weeks away from being done this renovation that started in August!  I can’t wait to showcase all of the changes with you.  I hope you’ll stay tuned!


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