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DWYER MARBLE & STONE  •  DESIGN NEWSLETTER  •  Vol. 1, Issue 5  •  Back Issues click to call: 248.476.4944
News & Views
Quartzite: Harder Than Marble But Just As Gorgeous

© UseNaturalStone.com

When Alan and Linda Dallas Reider, an empty-nester couple in Chevy Chase, Maryland, decided to take on a long overdue kitchen renovation project, they got a lot of free advice about what kind of natural stone ...   read more>>>

Understanding the Cost of Granite Countertops

© UseNaturalStone.com

Choices seem limitless these days, including the material available for countertops. If you're reading this article, you might be aware of the benefits of using granite for countertop surfaces. It is ...   read more>>>

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Quartzite: Harder Than Marble But Just As Gorgeous

by Scott Sowers

Quartzite Countertops | Beautiful & Durable

© Geoffrey Hodgdon Photography.

When Alan and Linda Dallas Reider, an empty-nester couple in Chevy Chase, Maryland, decided to take on a long overdue kitchen renovation project, they got a lot of free advice about what kind of natural stone to use for their countertops. "I definitely wanted marble and my realtor said that we had to use marble for resale purposes," says Linda Dallas Reider, "but when I did the research a lot of people said that marble was susceptible to scratches."

The tough countertop decision was just a single element in a renovation project with clear goals. The Reiders hired Bruce Wentworth, president of Wentworth Studio, in Chevy Chase, to help them correct some existing design flaws in the kitchen. "The client's goal was to get the kitchen linked better with the family room," says Wentworth, "so we reconfigured some spaces to make it work."

Reconfiguring the spaces meant making better use of a butler's pantry that leads to the dining room. A misplaced kitchen island was changed out for a functional gathering spot, complete with a sink, dishwasher, and casual counter-height dining. Listening to his client's desires and concerns also sent Wentworth on a quest for just the right stone.

© Geoffrey Hodgdon Photography.

"The client wanted a white kitchen and a light colored stone," says Wentworth. "She was very attracted to Carrara marble, but wanted better durability. First we suggested Danby marble from Vermont, but in the end we found a white Macaubas quartzite, which she felt was perfect."

Quartzite is sometimes mistaken for granite and is comparable in price with marble. It's not considered a rare stone and is readily available in the marketplace. Quartzite is rated as harder than marble and can work with a variety of different styles of decor. Overall, designers find people love the clean white background and the simple veining which makes it popular, especially in modern kitchen design schemes.

Whether it's used in modern or more traditional applications, quartzite starts off as quartz-based sandstone, but heat and pressure toughen it up. Marble is rated four out of ten for hardness on the Mohs scale; granite is a seven and quartzite is an eight.

The stone is so tough that crushed quartzite is used as railway ballast — which is what the tracks are laid on. Quartzite is quarried in Norway, Brazil, Pennsylvania, and the western United States, but the Reiders didn't have to go that far to get a better look at one of the world's hardest natural stones.

© Geoffrey Hodgdon Photography.

The design team piled into the car for a drive to a warehouse in Frederick, Maryland, about forty minutes northwest of DC, to find just the right slab. The Reiders settled on Macaubas quartzite for the kitchen countertops, the butler's pantry, and the island.

"We picked which pieces would go where based on the veining and the color of the stone," says Reider. Wentworth always recommends field trips to find the perfect fit. The right selection for the Reiders meant getting acquainted with the rock solid qualities of quartzite. "Everybody I talked to said lemon juice would etch marble and wine bottles would leave rings," Reider says, "but the quartzite has none of those issues. We love it."

Thinking about the future of your home is also a good reason to go with something fairly neutral, tasteful, and functional. Wentworth says: "She was eager to have a white kitchen — with a more updated look. They are rather traditional design style people and they thought this would work well for them in the time they remain in the house and for the time they decide to sell and downsize."

If you're trying to pick a durable natural stone countertop and want white, there are many options to choose from. Following the decision process while including the descriptors, "white," "durable," and "luxurious" takes you to one destination: quartzite.

© UseNaturalStone.com

Understanding the Cost of Granite Countertops

by Rusty Brevik

Choices seem limitless these days, including the material available for countertops. If you're reading this article, you might be aware of the benefits of using granite for countertop surfaces. It is beautiful, durable, and no two pieces are the same, so your countertop will truly be one-of-a kind. For those of you who have firmly decided on granite, congratulations on selecting this timeless natural stone. The next major question, of course, is "How much do granite countertops cost?" Cost is a major deciding factor in most purchasing decisions. There are many factors that go into the process, which makes every homeowner's situation unique. Factors include: color, dimensions, customizations, and installation costs. Where you live can also play a role in how much you can expect to pay.

I reached out to an industry expert whose family has been in business since 1932. Dave Syverson, Vice President/Sales Manager of Syverson Tile & Stone in Sioux Falls, South Dakota has been in the family business since 1993. With his years of experience, he was able to offer up some invaluable advice on what homeowners should consider when selecting granite as their countertop choice. "Trust your fabricator and develop a relationship with them," says Syverson. Syverson Tile houses a showroom, a stone yard, and a fabrication shop where it does custom work for other granite shops in the area. Syverson spoke at length about granite countertops and the many factors that go into the cost of installing granite countertops.


Location impacts costs for stone suppliers. Syverson recommends shopping around, but staying local. "On the coasts, the prices on imported stone will be cheaper because of proximity to seaports," he notes. Using a local stone distributor will cut transportation costs, which can be added by the supplier if the location is out of their coverage area. Syverson also recommends finding a supplier that will both fabricate and install your countertops, as this could lead to substantial savings on your part.


Granite is found worldwide and is produced both domestically in the United States and imported from countries such as Brazil, China, Italy, and India. The type and color of stone you choose will impact cost. Local showrooms will carry a variety of choices, so keep in mind that names can vary from one location to the next.

Square Footage

Knowing the dimensions of your countertop is crucial. Most kitchen countertops will incorporate an L-shaped design and often include an island. You'll also need to consider the cutouts involved for your sink, faucets, and cook tops. Prior to installation, the fabricator will come to the home and make a template of the countertops to use for cutting the granite in the shop. Smaller projects, such as bathrooms, can be considerably less expensive.

Installation Costs

One of the biggest elements that factor into the price of granite countertops are the installation costs. These are typically included in the estimate/quote provided by your stone fabricator. Be sure to hire someone who is licensed and trusted.

Check your quote and see if the removal of your old countertops is included in the installation. If it is not, there will likely be an additional charge for this service. If there are any electrical outlets or plumbing that complicate the removal then there could be additional charges for that as well. Make sure to have your faucets, sinks, and cook tops on site to ensure a successful installation.

Backsplashes & Edge Treatments

Backsplashes and edge treatments come in a variety of selections and can enhance the look of your countertops. Different edge types include mitered, ogee, and bullnose. Common backsplash selections are 4-inch or full height in design. Discuss your plans with your fabricator and expect that there will be costs associated with customizations.

© UseNaturalStone.com