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Kitchen countertop

The Complete Guide to Granite & Quartz Countertops

Whether you’re designing your dream kitchen from scratch or are simply looking to update your existing kitchen space, choosing the right countertops can make all the difference. In many ways, countertops are the heart of your kitchen and one of the most eye-catching aspects of your kitchen design.

At The Window Depot, you’ll find the quality countertop materials you need to achieve the kitchen of your dreams. From natural granite to beautiful quartz, we have options to suit your needs and budget. Meanwhile, our granite countertops and quartz countertops are stocked in standard cabinet/island depths and include finished edges to help you cut down on installation costs.

Are you considering granite or quartz for your next kitchen countertop material? We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to these popular options for your reference.

Types of Countertops You’ll Find in the Southwest & Western United States

Before you decide on the countertop material that’s right for your home, it’s a good idea to consider some of the most popular countertop material options. These are materials that you’ll find in many residential kitchens across the southern United States.

Granite

One of the most popular options right now is granite countertops for kitchens. This natural stone delivers eye-catching beauty that is truly unique; that’s because each granite slab is quarried from the Earth so that no two slabs are exactly alike. Meanwhile, granite countertops are extremely durable, heat-resistant, and scratch-resistant—making them an ideal choice for kitchens. Aside from occasional seal-coating, granite countertops also require very little maintenance.

Quartz

Another option for homeowners to consider is that of manmade or manufactured quartz countertops. This material has become especially popular for use in kitchens due to its extreme durability. Unlike granite, quartz does not need to be sealed, so it is essentially maintenance-free. Likewise, because quartz is manmade, it comes in a wide array of colors and styles.

Marble

Another natural stone option, marble, has become increasingly popular for use in kitchens. It’s a great choice for those who want to brighten up a kitchen space while giving off a sophisticated look. Because of its lighter color, however, it can be more prone to staining and discoloration than some other stone options.

Laminate

Laminate countertops have come a long way over the years. They are a budget-friendly option for many homeowners, and there are even laminate options that are designed to mimic the appearance of natural stone. Of course, unlike natural stone, laminate countertops can be more easily damaged by heat and kitchen utensils.

Vanity countertops

The Main Purpose of Your Countertops

Kitchen countertops serve a number of purposes in the heart of your home, which is why selecting a practical and durable countertop material is so important.

Elevate the Appearance of Your Kitchen

For starters, your countertops can make a huge statement. The right countertops will enhance the appearance of your kitchen, giving the space a more cohesive and appealing look. For example, manufactured quartz countertops can make your kitchen look more elegant and high-end than “traditional” laminate countertops. And of course, this can add resale value to your home as well.

Provide Kitchen Prep Space

One of the most important practical purposes that your kitchen counters serve is to provide useful prep space while you’re cooking. You rely on your countertops as an area to chop vegetables, measure out ingredients, and much more. Having a quality countertop material here means that you won’t have to worry as much about accidental spills, heat damage from hot pots/pans, or scratches caused by sharp kitchen utensils.

Potential For Additional Dining Space

If your kitchen has an island or peninsula, you may also rely on your countertops as a space for additional gathering and dining. This is yet another reason why using quality countertop material is so important. The last thing you need is for a guest to spill a few drops of red wine and stain your countertops—or for a small amount of spilled salad dressing to cause etching/damage to your kitchen counters.

Two Common Countertop Materials

If you’re looking for countertop options that are as durable as they are beautiful, you’ll likely be narrowing your choices down to granite countertops and quartz countertops.

Now, let’s take a closer look at how these materials are similar and different, as well as some of the potential advantages of each in a kitchen countertop application.

Granite Countertops

Available in a wide range of colors and styles, granite countertops are a very popular countertop material. They come from natural stone, so colors tend to be more neutral. However, the design of granite can vary greatly depending on the veining and other characteristics of the stone when the slab was cut.

Aside from its beautiful and one-of-a-kind appearance, there are many other characteristics that make granite countertops a top choice among homeowners. For a natural stone, granite is one of the more affordable high-end options on the market. This makes it a great choice for homeowners who want the appearance of natural stone without spending a fortune.

Likewise, granite is very low-maintenance by its very nature. It is not easily damaged by spills, heat, or even sharp kitchen utensils. It also does not stain easily, provided that the granite has been sealed properly. As far as maintenance goes, homeowners simply need to re-seal their granite every six months or so. This takes just a few minutes and is a simple DIY project that homeowners can easily accomplish with a store-bought stone sealer.

Quartz Countertops

Unlike granite, quartz countertops are manmade. Specifically, quartz countertops are made when natural quartz crystals are mined and then ground into a fine aggregate. From there, the dust/aggregate from the quartz is combined with a resin that solidifies into a slab under high levels of heat and pressure.

So, while quartz countertops do come from natural quartz materials, they are engineered to achieve a specific look. Unlike granite, quartz can be combined with colored resins to achieve just about any color imaginable. This makes quartz a popular choice for homeowners who want a countertop color or style that is harder to find in nature.

Like granite, quartz is extremely durable and resistant to heat, scratches, staining, and other damage. It does not need to be sealed; in fact, quartz is among the only countertop materials that doesn’t really require any maintenance at all.

Finished Edges on Your Countertops

Whether you opt for quartz or granite countertops, there are a number of different edge finishes to choose from. The below is not an exhaustive list of every edge available, but it does include some of the most popular choices among homeowners so you can get a better feel of what’s out there.

  • Flat Edge – the edges of the countertop are slightly rounded for safety, but no additional finishing is done. Flat edges are an ideal choice for modern and traditional kitchens alike.
  • Ogee Edge – the edges of the countertop have more of a curved or “S” shape, achieving a more dramatic and elegant look. This is a popular option in larger kitchen spaces.
  • Beveled Edge – the top edges of the countertop are finished at a sharp, 45-degree angle. There are many different bevel options to choose from, ranging from 1/4 bevel to 1/2 bevel and more. This is a cost-effective option that is ideal for homeowners looking to add a little extra character to their new countertops.

Best Countertop Suppliers

Ultimately, the countertops you select for your kitchen project will only be as good as your suppliers. At The Window Depot, we work with some of the industry’s most reputable and trusted suppliers to ensure that you receive a quality product every time.

Learn more about a few of our suppliers below!

MSI

With a longstanding reputation in the industry dating back to 1975, MSI is dedicated to offering quality countertop materials across the United States and Canada. They are proud members of the Natural Stone Institute, The Natural Stone Council, and the United States Green Building Council. With countertop materials ranging from quartz and granite to marble and prefab options, MSI continues to grow its offerings with each passing year.

Best Cheer Stone Inc.

Priding themselves in their unrivaled selection of quartz, Best Cheer Stone Inc. offers a wide range of the most popular quartz brands. This includes BCS Quartz, Quarella, and BCS White House Collection. Quartz is not all they do, however, BCS Inc. also offers granite, marble, tile, mosaics, and more. With more than two decades of experience in the stone market, BCS is known for standing behind their products with a 2–year limited warranty on slabs.

Chemcore Industries

Another popular supplier we rely on is Chemcore, a wholesale supplier known for their quick turnaround and a large selection of sink drain assemblies, sinks, and more. With finishes ranging from stainless steel and porcelain to cast iron, acrylic, and clay—Chemcore Industries has options to suit any kitchen design.

Kitchen Countertops

Hot Countertop Styles in 2022

As you consider which countertop materials and edge finishes are best for your dream kitchen design, you may want to draw on some inspiration from the top kitchen trends in 2022 and beyond.

Mix-and-Match

Can’t decide between two stone slabs for your countertops? One option to consider is that of mixing things up a bit. There are no rules stating that you have the use the exact same countertop style throughout your entire kitchen. In fact, a mix-and-match approach to kitchen countertops has actually become quite trendy in recent years.

This is especially true if you have a kitchen island or peninsula that you’d like to stand out from the rest of your kitchen design. In this case, you might consider using one type (or color) of countertop throughout the majority of your kitchen and then using a different style on your island/peninsula for a truly unique look.

Honed Finishes

While glossy finishes are what you’ll most often find on stone and engineered stone countertops, a honed finish has become increasingly popular in recent years. Specifically, a honed finish on stone gives it more of a matte look instead of a polished look. This could be a great choice if you’re wanting to achieve a more industrial or distressed style in your kitchen, though it’s certainly not for everybody.

Waterfall Countertops

If you really want to take your kitchen design to the next level, consider installing a waterfall countertop for an elegant look that will be sure to turn heads. Specifically, a waterfall countertop involves continuing your chosen countertop material over the edge and onto the sides of your cabinet and/or kitchen island. The seamless continuation of your countertop creates a classy, modern look that can elevate your kitchen design without adding a lot of cost in the process.

Matching Backsplashes

Many stone countertop options (including those from The Window Depot) come with a matching 6″ backsplash. However, if you really want to add a unique touch to your kitchen design, you might actually want to consider continuing your countertop material all the way up your walls. This is a popular design choice for both quartz countertop styles and granite countertop styles.

What to Look For in an Installer

At The Window Depot, we are committed to providing our customers with the highest quality granite and quartz countertop at the best prices. With this in mind, we do not offer installation services; many of our clients are home renovation contractors who perform their own installation services. Likewise, many of the homeowners who shop with us prefer to find their own installers.

If you need to find a professional for your countertop installation, there are some tips worth keeping in mind to ensure that you find an experienced installer who will get the job done correctly.

Not sure where to begin in looking for an installer for your new kitchen countertops? Consider asking for local referrals, especially if you have any family or friends who have recently completed a kitchen remodel. Neighbors can be another great choice of referrals for a kitchen countertop installer.

A Longstanding Reputation

Start by looking for companies with a lot of experience installing the specific type of countertop that you’ve chosen. This means that if you’re putting granite countertops in your kitchen, you’ll want an installer who has specific experience working with granite. Different types of countertops require different skills and tools to properly install, and not all installers will specialize in all materials.

In addition to finding out how many years the installer has been in business, it’s a good idea to check out some testimonials and online reviews of an installer before making a decision. Third-party reviews can be a great resource and give you a better feel for what kind of experience past homeowners have had.

A Detailed and Honest Estimate

Any reputable countertop installer should be able to provide you with a detailed, transparent estimate. However, this should only be done after a visit to your home that includes taking exact measurements of your space. If an installer tries to provide you with an estimate without first visiting your home and taking any measurements, it’s probably not going to be a very accurate one.

When shopping for countertop installers, it’s wise to get at least a few estimates from a few different installers. From there, you can compare them to see which installer can provide you with the best value. When reviewing an estimate, be sure that it includes the details of everything you’re being charged for so that you can avoid any surprise charges later on.

For example, will your installer handle the demolition and removal of your existing countertops? If so, is this cost included with your estimate—or will it be tacked on at a later date?

Excellent Communication

When working with a countertop installer, communication is key. The last thing you need is to have an installer who doesn’t keep you updated on your completion timeline or other important aspects of your project.

You can typically learn a lot about an installer’s communication skills from your initial contact with them. Are they prompt to respond to any questions you have? Are they able to schedule a consultation/estimate at your home within a reasonable timeframe?

The Final Word on Granite and Quartz Countertops

Granite and quartz can both be excellent countertop options for your kitchen space. Both materials offer a beautiful appearance that will give any kitchen a more upscale look. Meanwhile, quartz and granite are durable and low-maintenance materials that can make your life easier.

Regardless of the material you end up choosing for your kitchen project, our team at The Window Depot has you covered. We take great pride in our quality countertop materials, as well as our included edge finishing that saves you money on your installation costs.

We hope this guide has been helpful as you navigate your countertop installation or replacement project. Reach out to our team to find out more about what The Window Depot can do for you!