White Marble Alternatives for Kitchen Counters

I did plenty of cooking and baking for Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday week, but didn’t have time to take any photos.  So I’m back, much sooner than I hoped or anticipated, with another kitchen renovation post.   I’m hopeful that this post will help my fellow kitchen design addicts who check Gardenweb forums and/or Houzz incessantly looking for photos of countertops.*

(*p.s. Does anybody else out there carry around half a dozen quartz samples to examine them in different lighting?  I’d love to know I’m not alone…)

Photo via Hooked on Houses

If any of you saw Something’s Gotta Give, then you might remember the kitchen above, which was, quite possibly, more popular than the movie itself.  But after almost a decade (!!!), it seems like the tides are shifting from black to white countertops.

Photo via The Decoist

Photo via Houzz

Photo via Decorpad

Photo via Knight Moves

You may have noticed that there’s plenty of Carrera and Calacatta (which has more dramatic veining) marble in my inspiration photos.  I considered getting Carrera or Calacatta counters for, oh, about five minutes or so… just about the amount of time it took for this little sample I bought home (below) to get some major etching and staining from a little test I did.  You can see the discolorations in the marble sample below.

By contrast, the quartz samples completely resisted staining, even after I left spills on them for more than 24 hours.

Marble might be a great choice for some people (those who like patina, those who don’t actually cook in their kitchens, etc.), but I don’t want to worry about guests accidentally spilling wine or tomato sauce on my kitchen counters.

While not necessarily any cheaper than the real thing, quartz has recently become a popular alternative to  marble.  And just as you’ll find lots of variation in marble, which you can see in the pastry slabs above, there’s plenty of variety in quartz as well.  Below are some of the light colors available from Silestone, one of the most popular quartz manufacturers.  Silestone is one of the only major quartz brands that sells out of a big box store- Home Depot.

I gathered as many light-colored and marble-look quartz samples that I could find and then threw in some Kashmir White granite and Corian Raincloud for good measure.  Here’s the round-up.

I wasn’t a fan of the busy pattern on the granite and the Corian felt to plasticky to me.   And although they look nice in these small sample sizes, I wasn’t a fan of the Silestone Bianco River or Silestone Lyra on the larger samples that I saw in various showrooms.

I threw the White Cliff out of the running because I don’t want a pure white… I’d rather a little texture to keep things interesting.  So that left me with Silestone Yukon Blanco, Silestone Lagoon, Caesarstone Misty Carrera, Cambria Torquay, and LG Hausys Viatera Cortina.

As I mentioned in my last kitchen renovation post, the Silestone Lagoon and the Caesarstone Misty Carrera are very similar.  From afar they definitely read as grey.

And the LG Hausys Viatera in Cortina seems like it’s a pretty good match for the Cambria Torquay.  They’re both creamy whites with grey and taupe swirls/veining.

Here are some photos of the large samples at a showroom that I visited.  In my mind the Torquay looks much more natural while the Bianco River almost has a snow leopard print feel to it.

Here’s that same sample of Cambria Torquay next to a sample of Silestone Lyra.  You can see that the Lyra definitely has a squiggly quality to it.

And there’s that Cambria Torquay sample one more time next to the Silestone Yukon Blanco.  The Yukon Blanco is a greige/grey that has a slight variation and texture to it… you might be able to see some subtle creamy white swirls.  It reads much more neutral or warm than Carrera marble, which typically has very cool grey tones.

Most of the photos that I’ve seen of Cambria Torquay online have been in bright, natural light, which always made the veining seem very subtle.  This harsh, indoor lighting inside the Homeowner’s Design Center really seems to make the swirling/veining more pronounced.

And finally, here’s the display sample of the LG Cortina.  I have several dozen other photo comparisons of the samples above, so if any of you are looking for more photos of one of the quartz varieties mentioned above, just let me know…

Update:  After I posted this, a couple new marble-like options came on the market.  My newer post, White Marble Alternatives for Kitchen Counters: Part Two, includes photos of those products.

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28 Responses to “White Marble Alternatives for Kitchen Counters”

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    mor krisher — December 2, 2012 at 3:39 am

    what about tne new caesarstone supernatural?
    http://www.caesarstone.com/en/The-Catalog/Pages/frosty%20carrina.aspx

    Reply

    • Cate — December 2nd, 2012 @ 9:05 am

      Ooohhh… I hadn’t even seen that one yet. Most of the local places hadn’t received any new samples from the quartz companies for 6 months to a year. Wish I’d seen it earlier since it looks really great! Thanks for letting me know about it Mor :)

      Reply

      • Jane Anderson — October 18th, 2013 @ 3:51 pm

        What about HanStone Tranquility. Best Carrera Marble quartz design I’ve seen. Love the whiter background.

        • Cate — October 18th, 2013 @ 10:10 pm

          I actually did a follow-up post, mostly to mention that very product (it hadn’t come until after this post). I love the tranquility- especially in a modern space. Thanks for your comment Jane!

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    s kinsler — December 4, 2012 at 9:37 am

    What did you finally decide.
    Tourquay has been my top choice. Trying to find a hard piece of whiter quartzite that is sr5 hardness (like granite) no luck so far. Tourquay is out of stock at the moment

    Reply

    • Cate — December 4th, 2012 @ 7:22 pm

      I ended up going with the Yukon Blanco. Initially Torquay was my first choice, but when I saw it installed in the showroom under the harsh lighting, I chickened out. I thought it might be too “squiggly”. Well that and the Torquay was going to be about twice the cost of the Yukon Blanco!

      I’ve heard good things about quartzite, but decided to just go with quartz since I was already so overwhelmed by all the choices :)

      Reply

      • MG Engle — March 23rd, 2013 @ 1:04 pm

        Help! I just installed a Silestone Yukon Blanco counter top over white cabinets and natural oak flooring. I CANNOT figure out what to do for a backsplash. I brought home Legno Scura limestone, white subway tiles, Claros silver travertine, and nothing seems to look right. I haven’t chosen a paint color for the walls so that may help. Any suggestions? I’m at my wits end, so any advice would really be appreciated

      • Cate — March 23rd, 2013 @ 8:35 pm

        Oh no! I’m actually surprised the subway tile didn’t work, although it’s hard to guess what would work without knowing the exact tones of your oak floors. If you click on one of my other posts (http://www.girlcooksworld.com/2012/11/hello-kitchen-renovation.html), it shows an Elle Decor Showhouse where they paired the Yukon Blanco with an Ann Sacks Statuary mosaic. That kitchen is probably what sealed the deal for me for going with the Yukon Blanco.

        Yukon Blanco sort of straddles the line between warm and cool, so I’d definitely avoid the cooler marbles like Carerra. I’m guessing that the Claros Silver was probably too cool as well. That’s what I liked about Statuary/Statuario and Calacatta… they’re much more neutral in tone.

        I also just saw a post from a Photography blogger that I follow that had a white cabinets with white/light greige counters with a pretty mini subway tiles that had quite a bit of sheen to it. I thought it was really pretty. Here’s the link if you want to check it out- http://kristineldridge.com/blog/commercial-long-beach-childrens-photographer/colorful-modern-home-orange-county-photographer/. Along those same lines, maybe a shiny penny tile in your favorite warm/neutral color? I always like the sagey-blues. That might work well, especially if you have yellow tones in your flooring.

        Also, the Elle Decor showhouse used the Yukon Blanco in several rooms paired with different tiles. It might be helpful to check out all the photos. Here’s the link- http://www.elledecor.com/shopping/shop-the-showhouse

        Good luck!

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    Cookie — December 7, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    I just love Carrera! But I hate to clean – so I know that marble will be a problem. Loved Silestone Bianco River, which I saw in the NY A&D building, on a full countertop and island. It looked great, and of course they had it also as backsplash, and had fabulous cabinets. I can’t seem to commit to it though. My little kitchen (galley style) won’t be as dramatic. Have seen most of your recommendations, but haven’t been able to find Cambria Torquay in NYC. Any suggestions?

    Reply

    • Cate — December 8th, 2012 @ 8:48 am

      I’d check out the Cambria dealer locater- http://www.cambriausa.com/en/choosing-cambria/dealer-locator/#. A quick search said there were 43 dealers within a 10-mile radius of NYC. One of them might know a commercial installation that was done in the area that you could check out?

      Or at least in my area they’ll have much larger boards in the showrooms. I’m doubting that any will actually have the slabs in NYC proper, but a quick drive to LI or NJ and you might be able to check out slabs. Good luck!

      Reply

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    Janet — January 5, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Do you have any more pictures of the Silestone Lagoon? I only have a small sample so its really hard to tell from that. Thank you.

    Reply

    • Cate — January 6th, 2013 @ 10:00 pm

      I think I still have that sample (had to return some of them)… I’ll email you to see what photo/comparison would be most helpful :) But I essentially found it to be pretty much a light grey without significant veining. It was VERY close to Caesarstone’s Misty Carrera but it seemed a little more speckled.

      So if you look really carefully it looks slightly more fake than the MC, but from normal distance it looks like a beautiful, soft grey that reads cool as opposed to the more neutral/warmer Yukon Blanco.

      Silestone actually has a dealer and store display locator feature on their website. If you’re really interested you might want to see whether anybody nearby used Lagoon on a store display.

      Reply

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    Jodi — March 26, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    I am SO excited to have found your post!! You used the exact paint color I’m using on my cabinets. Usually, I do a ton of research on my own, and lookie here – you did it for me! Thank you for sharing your work. :)

    Reply

    • Cate — March 26th, 2013 @ 4:48 pm

      No problem… glad it could be of help Jodi :)

      Reply

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    Linda — March 27, 2013 at 8:15 am

    I have been searching for a photo of a full slab of Silestone Lagoon, in the new suede finish. Is it possible that you might have one. I realize that this blog is from last year, but thought that I’d give it a try anyway. The new suede finish looks a lot like honed marble plus has the bonus of not showing fingerprints as do most honed finishes. It’s very difficult to read the true color from a 6 x 6″ sample. Looking for a soft white with hints of sage grenn. The Hanstone in color Aspen has green tones but is only available in a glossy finish.

    Thank you,
    Linda

    Reply

    • Michelle H — May 22nd, 2013 @ 2:36 am

      Hi there! I installed the lagoon in my kitchen last fall! I love it!! I have white cabinets in top, white subway tile on the walls, a white apron sink, and gray cabinets on the bottom. It all looks great together!!!

      Reply

      • Cate — May 22nd, 2013 @ 8:08 am

        Your kitchen sounds lovely! Definitely similar to what I’m going for as well :)

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    Barbara — April 23, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    I’m redoing a kitchen and was looking for some great carrera marble alternatives. Thanks so much for the post!

    Reply

    • Cate — April 23rd, 2013 @ 5:05 pm

      So glad it was helpful! I’m actually planning on doing another post within the next couple of days (hopefully) that includes some more photos as well as a couple brand spanking new products, so stay tuned :)

      Reply

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    Andrea — April 25, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Thank you for doing all the legwork for me. Ha! We are getting ready to redo our bathroom in our new (to use) 1940′s house and want to go with a Carrerra marble looking solid surface for the shower/tub walls and for the counter top. I have been leaning towards Cambria Torquay but now I have a bunch of others to check thanks to this post.

    I would so be the person lugging around a dozen samples in my purse….

    Reply

    • Cate — April 25th, 2013 @ 9:31 pm

      So glad it was helpful Andrea!

      Reply

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    Jean — April 28, 2013 at 2:25 am

    I am about to redo my kitchen, and like you, loved the idea of marble. But it is way too impractical for someone who really cooks. I am going with Schuler raised panel cabinets in saffron heirloom paint, and have been looking at lagoon in a suede finish. Will now also consider some of your other top choices. Can you please send me additional photos, as well as any updates on suede finish you may have?

    With thanks,
    Jean

    Reply

    • Cate — April 28th, 2013 @ 7:34 am

      I don’t have any suede finish samples, but I have a bunch of other photos collected as well as a new alternative or two. Was planning on doing another post in the next couple of days, so be sure to check back in soon :)

      Reply

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    Caroline @ The Home Depot — June 20, 2013 at 7:57 am

    Hi Cate!

    This is a great roundup of countertop options. I’d love to pin it to the Home Depot Kitchens Pinterest board if you don’t mind!

    Cheers,
    Caroline
    Senior Editor, homedepot.com

    Reply

    • Cate — June 21st, 2013 @ 5:14 pm

      Of course! I always appreciate any and all pins :)

      Reply

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    Kay — September 4, 2013 at 7:48 am

    Thanks for all the pics and advice! I am remodeling my kitchen but can’t replace some things. I plan to paint my cabinets a light to medium gray. The backsplash and one wall behind some cabinets is slate tiles. The slate has alot of bluish-gray colors in it. I can’t remove the slate.Do you think any of these countetops will go with slate? I know that is a stretch. Thanks for your advice!

    Reply

    • Cate — September 14th, 2013 @ 11:00 am

      Sorry for the delay in responding Kay… it’s always hard to guess without putting the actual samples next to the slate… especially since the quality and quantity to light changes things so, so much. You could always go with one of the plain, pure whites if you don’t mind no veining. But I would 100% recommend getting some of the small samples. Most stores have samples for you to take, or you can always order them online for a small charge. Good luck!

      Reply

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