Manufactured quartz slabs are composed of three main ingredients: particles of mineral quartz, resins, and pigments. The quartz particles can vary in size from about 5 millimeters down to less than half a millimeter. Polyester resin binds the mineral pieces together. In some cases, the resin is mixed uniformly through the slab, and in other cases there are visible areas of resin, depending on the design. The same is true of pigments; some designs are the same color all the way through, while others have ribbons or accents of different hues, which are often meant to imitate the naturally occurring patterns in natural stone.

Manufactured quartz slabs are made by blending the ingredients, then pouring the mixture into a mold. Different manufacturers use different processes, but some combination of vibration, compaction, heat, and a vacuum are applied to cure the slabs from a slurry to a solid. 

Quartz countertops may include greater or lesser quantities of actual quartz, but they include no solid quartz and likely have lots of other materials in them, as well. 

Because quartz is man-made, it can be a less expensive option than quartzite for large, complicated jobs. However, it is not as heat or scratch resistant, and this makes a big difference in how the material performs in the kitchen.

Quartz comes in several color options, because pretty much any color pigment you want can be added in when the material is being made, so you can find quartz that looks fairly natural, like a real piece of stone would, or some that looks colorful and trendy, with obviously unnatural coloring designed to make a statement.


Onyx is a natural stone that is considered semi-precious and is appreciated for its beauty as well as functionality. Its characteristically translucent and striking color traits make it stunning in backlit installations, such as kitchen, bathroom and bar countertops. The latest trend is to mount a sheet over a light box on a wall as a piece of art.

Like Marble or Travertine, Onyx is softer than Granite and must be sealed and maintained. Care must be taken to avoid etching or scratches. However, in all but the most demanding uses, Onyx makes an excellent counter or bar top.

Talk to our design team to learn more about the benefits of Onyx.

The first thing to do is make sure your Onyx is sealed at the time it is installed. This helps greatly in preventing staining, dulling and etching. Your installers should do this for you.

Regular maintenance includes wiping up spills as they occur—don’t leave a spill overnight. Be especially careful with acidic liquids such as vinegar, wine or fruit juice. Periodically use a soft cloth with non-acidic cleaning products to remove dirt and amplify the stone’s shine.

Do not spray cleaner directly onto the counter top. Spray onto the dry cloth instead, to prevent the stone from absorbing the cleaner. Wipe away excess cleaner as you go. Use a cutting board when preparing meals on an Onyx countertop to avoid scratches.


When it comes to selecting kitchen countertops, classic white marble remains the top choice for many homeowners. It’s no surprise that marble countertops are so popular—the material has been attracting fans for millennia. “It’s a natural material with great variety, depending on which species you select and how it’s cut,” says AD100 architect S. Russell Groves. “It creates a really lovely natural pattern, which you don’t get with a lot of artificial materials.”

“You won’t find anything as white in nature as white marble,” adds Evan Nussbaum, a vice president at Stone Source in New York. “You just don’t get that color and kind of figuring in any other type of natural stone.”

Good-quality marbles, such as the world-famous products from Carrara, Italy, are dense and relatively nonporous—which makes them durable and stain-resistant.

Some acidic liquid like lemon juice or vinegar may etch marble, but shine can be easily brought back by buffing, although several designers will prefer to leave it, as it looks antique.

Marble does not stain, and does not become yellow with time, as it may happen with Quartz (engineered stone).

Marble will support hot pans on the surface and it is fire resistant, it will never catch fire.

As long as you choose carefully, know what to expect, and care for white marble countertops, they will be a beautiful, functional choice for your kitchen design that lasts a lifetime.


Granite has a rich beauty that few other countertop materials can match. It is a natural product with a timeless aura and appeal. Granite countertops take a high-quality kitchen to the next level visually and often become the centerpiece of the room. With hundreds of granite to work with, you’ll find one that blends perfectly with your kitchen cabinets, flooring and walls.

Granite is a very hard substance and is not susceptible to scratches. While not ideal to work on because it will dull knife blades, it will take normal wear and tear very well. Granite resists heat too, so its use near a range or cooktop is ideal. When you have to set down a hot pan fast, granite can take the heat without being damaged or weakened. In the bathroom, placing a hair tool on it that is still warm won’t be a problem.

Granite can be very resistant to stains and won’t absorb liquids when it is properly sealed. A good professional installer will be able to seal it correctly so that it maintains its attractive good looks indefinitely, or you can do it yourself.

While these counters are very durable, a heavy object dropped on a corner might crack or chip the granite. This isn’t common, but it can happen under the right circumstances.

Granite countertops are ideal for rental units, as it is almost maintenance free and difficult to damage.