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Quartz is becoming popular as countertop choice

Kelly Ybarra, owner of Versatile, a tile and stone supplier on Cameron Street in Las Vegas, said in order to find the best material for a kitchen countertop, establishing the look you’re going for and how often you plan to use your kitchen are key.

“I always ask our customers, ‘what’s your style, what look are you going for and how durable of a surface do you need?’ ” she said. “There are so many different types of slab materials so it really matters how much use you’re going to get out of your kitchen.”

While Ybarra said granite and quartz are sturdy surfaces, granite requires a small amount of maintenance over time whereas quartz, which is manmade, does not.

“A lot of people inquire about quartz because they hear about it,” she said. “It offers a more contemporary and clean look.”

According to Ybarra, large format porcelain panels are a recent addition to the industry and provide a similar look of white Italian marble for a fraction of the cost.

“It’s more cost-effective and you don’t have to worry about staining,” she said of porcelain. “A lot of people like the look of classic Italian white marble, but you can’t put that in your kitchen if you’re really using it because it’s porous and soft.”

As for colors, Ybarra said grey and taupe colors are trending big time right now.

“People are steering away from browns and golds and leaning towards taupe and greys, which are cooler contemporary colors,” she said. “The Tuscan style was in for so long, but now there’s a change of pace and people want cleaner lines and cooler tones so we’re selling more greys than browns these days.”

Though contemporary styles are becoming more popular, Ybarra said choosing a countertop style and color comes down to being able to easily transition changing tastes in the future.

“Large, flat open spaces are much more common than tiered spaces as are big islands,” she said. “Hop-up bars are also becoming a thing of the past.”

In the future, Ybarra said she anticipates seeing concrete and glass countertops as well as integrated sinks that are made out of the same material as the counter.

“People want less seams and a solid surface so it’s easy to work on as opposed tile or grout in their kitchen,” she said. “Waterfall edges, which wrap all the way to the bottom of the kitchen cabinet is also huge right now.”

Like Ybarra, Gerri Chmiel, North America residential design lead at the Formica Corp., which specializes in the design, manufacturing and distribution of surfacing materials, said the use of grays on kitchen countertops is increasing.

“Grays have been popular for some time now, and with the popularity of painted white or gray cabinetry, homeowners and designers alike are free to use wood and other patterns on the countertop,” she said. “Usable grays and concrete looks are a balance of urban and trendy, of neutrality and style — ensuring that they will withstand the test of time.”

According to Chmiel, homeowners are also seeking wood, concrete and other man-made surfacing materials as alternatives to stone.

“Young and urban homeowners are finding this trend particularly desirable as they search for their own individual and eclectic style for their homes,” she said. “Laminate is a great option for people who want the look of stones and woods, but need a material that is durable to withstand daily wear and tear, and affordable to fit into family budgets.”

A simplified countertop pattern and color, as well as modern edges and detail, will continue to grow in popularity, Chmiel said.

“A wrapped island will turn the kitchen island into a modern piece of furniture, pencil-thin countertops with no overhang will almost become invisible as they are flush with cabinetry, and cantilevered tops will create a peninsula off the main kitchen counter to add extra space for an eating bar while remaining airy with no cabinetry underneath,” she said. “Younger homeowners are very eclectic in their design choices and the importance of durability, ease of use and installation will continue to grow.”

Beau Usselman, Las Vegas area sales manager at FM Distributing, said that 10 years ago everyone was asking for granite countertops but have since shifted to man-made surfaces with less or no maintenance. Usselman said that during the late 1990s and early 2000s homeowners sought thick countertops, however, he’s now seeing a new trend pop-up.

“We’re seeing thinner countertop profiles as thin as a half an inch and smarter surfaces that are incorporating phone-charging stations into them,” he said. “The kitchen counter is a big area in a home that doesn’t do much so it’s great to see the use of these surfaces getting smarter.”

While granite is still being used by entry-level homebuilders, Usselman said mid-level homes are incorporating quartz and luxury homes are turning to marble, porcelain and exotic quartz.

“The industry is changing every five to 10 years,” he said. “Fifteen years ago I said I’d never install quartz but boy was I wrong.”

— Contact reporter Ann Friedman at afriedman@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4588. Follow @AnnFriedmanRJ on Twitter.

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