Home Design Showcase: Granite and Quartz Countertops

Posted: September 1, 2021 | Categories: News | Design and Decorating
By Highland Homes

Updated on March 25, 2024: This story was originally published on September 1, 2021, and has been updated with new information.

Cambria Clifton quartz countertops in a model home in lake Alfred, FL
Cambria Clifton Quartz

Countertops are a key focal point in kitchens and baths, and kitchen countertops are perhaps one of the most-used surfaces in your home. Understanding how various countertop materials perform is important when deciding which type of countertops are the best fit for your lifestyle. 

Wilsonart laminate countertops are included in most of our homes and offer benefits including a wide selection of different colors and patterns, easy maintenance, and a low price (more than low - they are NO additional cost when you choose an included option).

And, if you want to deck out your dream kitchen with natural or engineered stone, the Highland Homes design studio offers granite and quartz countertop options with a wide selection of colors to match any design scheme.

All granite and quartz countertop options are 3-centimeters thick and include an undermount sink, a stainless steel pull-down faucet, and a 4-inch backsplash, making quite a statement in kitchens and bathrooms.

Let’s break down the various materials and benefits, how to care for these countertops, and the gorgeous granite and quartz countertop colorways available for you to select at the Highland Homes design center.

Quartz Countertops

Cambria Hermitage quartz countertops
Cambria Hermitage Quartz

Quartz countertops are increasingly popular among Florida homebuyers – and with benefits such as super-low maintenance, it’s easy to see why! At Highland Homes, we offer quartz countertops from two brand-name manufacturers – Cambria and Silestone. Let’s learn more about this innovative engineered stone countertop option.

Product Makeup

Quartz countertops, also known as engineered stone countertops, combine natural quartz crystals with resins, polymers, and color pigments to create a resilient finished material. 90% or more of the finished product is natural quartz material, and the resins and polymers bind this together to create a durable finished product.

If, like many, you have heard of Cambria or Silestone and asking yourself what the differences are between quartz and these countertops, the answer is none – Cambria and Silestone are manufacturers of quartz countertops.

  • Cambria is family-owned and American-made using sustainable mining and manufacturing processes. With products manufactured from the finest pure white quartz, their signature surfaces are high-quality and include a transferable lifetime warranty.
  • Silestone is a sustainable, high-performance surface of premium minerals and recycled materials, covered by a 25-year transferable warranty. Sustainable manufacturing processes include a minimum of 20% recycled materials, renewable energy, and recycled water, with exclusive HybriQ® technology which reduces crystalline silica content.

Benefits of Quartz Countertops

Crowndale Cambria kitchen countertops
Cambria Crowndale Quartz

Quartz is a low-maintenance, ultra-durable product, which is why so many homeowners love it! The many benefits of choosing quartz countertops for your home include:

  • It is a non-porous material, which means sealing is not required, making it very low maintenance.
  • The non-porous material also means quartz is resistant to bacteria, mold, and mildew since it cannot absorb liquids.
  • And, this durable manufactured surface is resistant to stains, corrosion, heat, and cracks or chips from impacts, which makes it ideal for high-use areas such as the kitchen.
  • If damage does occur, it’s easy to repair scratches, chips, and gouges.
  • It is available in an abundance of colors, patterns, and designs, which are fade-resistant and will look beautiful throughout your lifetime.
  • The surface of quartz is smooth and comfortable to the touch (unlike real stone, which is cold and hard).
  • Quartz is incredibly easy to maintain (more on that below)!

Cleaning and Maintaining Quartz Countertops 

While quartz countertops are extremely durable and resistant to stains, heat, and scratches, they are not totally damage-proof. To prevent damage from heat, use trivets or hot pads underneath hot cookware versus placing these directly on the quartz surface. 

When you spill something on the quartz surface (which is bound to happen), remember that quartz is stain-resistant but not stain-proof – while liquids cannot seep into the non-porous material, they can leave a stain on the surface. The best way to prevent this? Wipe up spills as soon as possible.

To clean quartz countertops, simply use mild soap and a gentle rag. Avoid bleach, high-pH cleaners, oil soaps, abrasive chemicals, or abrasive cleaning pads. If sticky stains, grease stains, or hard stains such as ink or permanent marker get on your quartz countertops, Goo Gone or Easy Off are safe options – simply soak a rag, cover the spot for 5-10 minutes, and wipe away.

Quartz Color and Style Options

At the Highland Homes design studio, you can choose from 9 beautiful Cambria options and 8 exciting Silestone choices.

Cambria Sutherland countertops with a grey tiled backsplash
Cambria Sutherland Quartz

Cambria options include:

  • Sutherland, a soft alabaster crossed with dark and light gray veining that flows across this tranquil design.
  • Ainsley, with a cream-colored foundation and delicate gray veining in both tight and open patterns, creating lighter and darker pools of color. A dusting of shimmer adds depth and intrigue.
  • Hermitage, an elegant, warm design glistening with delicate gold veins that swirl in tight and open patterns.
  • Sandgate, designed with cool whites and grays and enticing silver flecks, evoking treasured beach memories.
  • Clifton, with cool white, soft sage greens, and glinting silver specks combining into the beauty of an idyllic seaside escape.
  • Berwyn, a more dramatic design of white, ivory, and cream swirls with subtle gray veins and hints of gold and silver radiance throughout.
  • Crowndale, a warm cream and beige that melds with darker tans for an intriguing design.
  • Bellingham, with marble-like waves of dark gray and black swirling on a backdrop of creams and light gray.
  • Blackbrook, with high-contrast white lightning on a chick and modern smooth black background. 

Our Silestone products are available in two levels. Level 1 Silestone options include solid Silestone colors:

  • Blanco City, a warm light tan designed to go with any neutrals or earth tones.
  • Grey Expo, a medium-dark grey ideal for a pop of color against white cabinets.
  • Blanco Maple, a mottled bright white that works well with any color of cabinets.

Level 2 Silestone products offer more diverse graining and flecks:

  • Desert Silver, a neutral grey with fine white veining inspired by classic marble.
  • Alpina White, a dazzling grey with a variety of white and grey-toned flecks.

No matter which quartz countertop option you decide upon, rest assured you are receiving a high-quality, high-value countertop that, with basic maintenance, will endure life for many years to come!

Granite Countertops

Giallo Ornamnetal Light granite
Giallo Ornamental Light Granite

What’s not to love about granite?! This natural stone material is beloved by homeowners thanks to its long-lasting luster, diverse and unique natural stone patterns, and because it is generally a cost-effective, high-value design option. Let’s dive in and learn more.

Product Makeup

Granite is a 100% natural stone that is mined from quarries all around the world. One of the things that makes granite unique is that no two pieces are ever the same, and it’s available in a variety of different patterns and colorways thanks to its natural production.

Benefits of Granite Countertops

New Caledonia Granite

Granite is durable, affordable, and unique, and has a number of benefits making it the top countertop choice for many homeowners:

  • This natural material is resistant to scratches, chips, stains, moisture, and heat – unlike quartz, hot pans can be placed directly on the surface without any harm.
  • When sealed, granite also resists bacteria and dirt.
  • Granite is repairable using an epoxy, acrylic, or resin product, should chips or cracks occur (though it’s unlikely).
  • It’s the most unique option, as no two slabs of granite are ever the same!
  • Granite is one of the most affordable stone options.
  • Despite its price point, this popular countertop material adds value to your home.
  • Granite is relatively easy to clean and maintain (more below)!

Cleaning and Maintaining Granite Countertops

Peppered Ash Granite

It’s important to ensure your granite countertops are resealed regularly to help ensure their longevity. Granite is a porous material and sealing can help prevent liquids from being absorbed into the stone, stains from setting in, or other damage. 

It’s also important to remember that because granite is porous, a high-impact blow can do damage to the surface in the form of chips or cracks. If this happens, it’s best to have a professional make repairs to ensure the longevity of your granite.

Granite countertops should be cleaned daily with soap and water or a mild household cleaner, and wipe up spills as soon as possible when they occur. Certain oils and acids can stain granite, so using a cleaner specifically designed for granite or testing a small area first is important to keep your granite surfaces gleaming.

Despite these traits, granite is an incredibly durable material that is resistant to many kitchen elements including heat. You’ll never have to worry about what happens to your countertops if you accidentally set a hot pan straight out of the oven directly onto the surface! 

Granite Color and Style Options

White Wave granite countertops
White Wave Granite

Highland Homes offers 6 unique granite colorways:

  • Giallo Ornamental Light, a bright white base color with golden, beige, and creamy tones
  • New Caledonia boasts shades of grey, with white and black patches
  • Santa Cecilia, a beige base with burgundy, gold, and dark grey veins throughout
  • White Wave, a level 2 option with beautiful grey, black, and white waves throughout
  • Black Pearl, a level 2 option that is a dark grey stone with speckles of golds, silvers, browns, greens, and shades of grey, although from far away, it looks fairly uniform 
  • Peppered Ash, a soft grey base with white, cream, and tan flecks throughout

Granite provides an affordable, high-value, and durable countertop surface that will add a gorgeous gleam to your kitchen or bath, and with an estimated 30-year life span, it will please for longer than you’re likely to live in your home.

Choose the Perfect Countertops for Your New Florida Home

Not sure which countertop option is right for you? When you build with Highland Homes, our professional designers at the Highland Homes Personal Selection Studio will walk you through your options and help you design the kitchen and bathrooms of your dreams! You can also get design inspiration by browsing our kitchens and bathrooms in our online Inspiration Gallery!

Reach out by phone or email to our Florida New Home Specialists today to begin the process of building your new home!

Tags: design features design trends kitchen design Personal Selection Studio personalize your dream home Silestone Cambria Granite