10 May 2012

kitchen [countertops]

A number of readers have asked about our Cambria White Cliff countertops. We really like them! It's exactly what we were going for -- as pure white as you can get with quartz. However, there are two issues related to markings that need to be shared -- black spots and edge markings.

Black Spots
White Cliff has the potential to show black spots (but we knew that before-hand) -- ours has two.

Here's the background -- The following notice is found on Cambria's website and the back of the sample: "White Cliff™ is a unique, pure white color and can show markings caused during normal use."

I remember reading this just before we signed the contract with our fabricator/installer. Naturally, I needed to know more. Here's the email trail between me and the local fabricator/installer I was working with:

Me: Can you or your Cambria rep give any further insight on this statement -- its rather vague. I understand its a very pure looking color, with hardly any flecks/specks, but the finish itself is the same (as the Whitehall, for instance) and I'm not following how it will mark -- scuff? chips?

Local Fabricator/Installer: The further insight that I can offer you is what Cambri notes on our price list and I have copied and inserted below for you. The White Cliff is just as hard and “scuff proof” as any of the other colors in the line and equally as with the Caesarstone. BUT, we nor Cambria will address any dissatisfaction with regard to their precautions noted below.

White Cliff is an extremely pure bright white that will show markings during normal use. It may contain some small black or other color variations or spots and these should be considered during your layout process and worked around if possible. During the manufacturing process every effort is made to minimize these issues but they can not be totally eliminated. Please take extra care during your inspection and layout process to identify and address these issues.

It is extremely important that you educate your customers and set the correct expectations prior to starting any fabrication! Variation in the natural quartz in all Cambria color, pattern, size, shape and shade are inherent and unique characteristics are to be expected with the product. These variations do not affect product performance. Please be sure to thoroughly inspect all Cambria slabs prior to starting any fabrication. Thank You.

Edge Markings
After using the countertops for a week, we noticed that the edges show markings from where a belt buckle or jeans button would contact it. This is mainly apparent at the sink, where we do most of our leaning against the edge of the counter; but it also appears at any place where we do any amount of prolonged work. The good news is that we are able to wipe off these marks with a Magic Eraser.

Bottom Line
We'd make the same decision again!

Update: Having now lived with the counters for ~5 years, we would not make the same decision. If you'd like more info, drop us an email.


Kris said...

Hi Troy,

We're currently remodeling our bathroom and were thinking about installing the Cambria White Cliff. I see that you were originally in love with the stuff, but now you'd no longer put it in. Why? I'd love some insight on if it didn't hold up, shows way too many scuffs and marks, etc. Always good to know what we're getting into before purchasing it. Thanks!

troy. said...

So overall its just been a "high maintenance" color for a kitchen countertop. With pure white, you see ever crumb left behind and every water spot; and both my wife and I are very much neat freaks, so it's not due to a lack of cleaning.

In addition, I feel like we have to be cautious about different food packages we place on it. For instance, a bag of Romain that had a pink design on the front, it was a little wet when we laid it down on the counter and 15 minutes later when we took it off it had actually left a pink stain on the countertop. A magic eraser removed most of it, but there's still just a faint hint. Both of these examples would be almost prevented (unseen is probably a better word choice here) had we went with a color with a lot of the flecks and specks, as I call it, which tend to add interest to the look of the counter and detract from crumbs and other potential stains left behind.

End of the day, a​ny color w/ more of the specks and flecks is what we would have went with instead. I believe Whitehall was our second choice. When we did our bathroom, we went with a tannish, speckled color (Silestone White North) and couldn't be happier with it. Hope that helps! If you have more questions please don't hesitate to ask.