Don’t take pricey countertops for granite

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published December 22, 2015

 Typhoon Bordeaux granite offers a leathered, not shiny, surface.

Typhoon Bordeaux granite offers a leathered, not shiny, surface.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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METRO DETROIT — More granite suppliers worldwide and increased local competition have lowered the price of the popular kitchen countertop material. 

“A lot of suppliers from India came up in the market,” said Charmain Fazzalari, general manager of Preferred Marble and Granite in Fraser. “I’ve been doing this for 23 years. Over the years, the prices have come down.” 

Fazzalari said choosing from granite slabs kept in stock — including popular color options like black pearl or giallo ornamental — also helps keep prices down for kitchen remodelers. 

“We work with people in their budget,” she said. “We have a set square-foot price, but there are lots of variables. Every job requires a different set of circumstances.” 

Mari Margaret, director of operations at Borchert Kitchen and Bath in Washington Township, said that although granite is very popular, many of her customers choose quartz for countertops. 

“We do a really good job of explaining what the differences are,” she said. “Granite is an actual stone that is cut out of the earth, polished and installed.”

A quartz countertop contains crushed quartz mixed with resin, manufactured in a variety of different patterns and colors. 

“Quartz is very, very hard,” Margaret said.  “It is an extremely durable material. The color is consistent and will match everything we want it to. With granite, you pick out your slab.” 

Margaret said she lets customers make the decision between granite and quartz. 

“I never try to oversell one or the other,” she said. 

Higher-priced granite and quartz are comparable in price. 

“Quartz will compete with group B or C granite,” she said. “It is right in there, depending on the color, at under $100 a square foot.”  

“You will see a decrease in the cost in granite because there is such high competition in this area,” Margaret said. “That may not be the case in other areas. You have seen an increase in popularity in quartz, but granite is still No. 1 because of its availability.”

“Standard (granite) colors and materials have gone slightly down,” Fazzalari said. “But marble’s prices have jumped up — and anything from Italy.”

Quartz also offers an advantage over granite with its “green” manufacturing process, Margaret said. 

“Think about how they cut that (granite) stone out of the earth, leaving quarries,” she said. “Quartz can be mined in a different manner. There is less waste because it is color-controlled. You may waste a portion of a (granite) slab.”

Fazzalari said quartz countertop sales have risen 30 percent in the past year at Preferred Marble and Granite. 

“Quartz material can look like marble, but it is durable without being porous,” she said.  “Quartz comes in solid colors, where granite doesn’t. Now, everything is white and gray. Before, it was all brown and beige. I like watching the trends and what is going on; I really enjoy it. But there are too many options for people. It is a good thing and a bad thing.”  

Fused glass, concrete and laminate also are choices for new kitchen countertops, said Krista Cuchholz, Borchert kitchen designer. 

“Most of our customers are looking for an investment that is long term,” Cuchholz said. “Granite and quartz are a classic install — they are here to stay.”

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