When it comes to countertop designs it can often feel very overwhelming as there are many beautiful options and new releases coming to market non-stop. And then it’s not as simple as just choosing your countertop design selection when it comes to the overall design of your project.
You must also decide on the finish, thickness, edge profile, if you want a backsplash or not, the height and then there’s the overhang. Then you need to know who to call, when to measure, how long will it take to install, and more.
Today we wanted to walk you through how the countertop process works as well as share with you our favorite top 11 Cambria Quartz countertop designs we’re crushing on currently in 2021 and ones that will live strong into 2022.
How Countertops are Installed + Understanding the Process
When undergoing a remodel or a simple refresh and installing new countertops, it’s important to know the overall process ahead of time to help save on time, mistakes, and prepare you for the things you need to decide on to not feel overwhelmed in the moment of construction. The last thing you want to do is demo your countertops and then start the research as you will be sitting without countertops for quite some time. If you are informed, plan ahead, and prepared – this will be a seamless process.
Figure out who to Hire
First, you need to decide who you want to hire when it comes to the install. Beyond the material and brand of the countertop, you have to choose the fabricator and installer.
Kitchen countertop fabricators help you choose the material, are quality control coordinators, and they will ensure you’re getting what you pay for.
What we always say is to hire someone that is reliable and backs the product they’re selling. We always work with Select Surfaces and without a doubt can say we have never had a complaint and when we have run into issues, they are resolved quickly.
One of our favorite things about Select Surfaces is that they are family-owned and run their business just like that, they treat you like family. They have a variety of brands they work with but when you walk into their showroom, their floor displays are oversized slabs of Cambria. Which we use 99.9% of the time within our projects for a number of reasons, which we’ll dive into. With this combined team, there are never any shortcuts, chips, cracks, large seams, and I could go on and on. Working with these two brands over the last 10 years it’s always been smooth sailing within our client projects and personal homes.
The fabricator and installer
Choose your Material
Granite, quartz, soapstone, marble, ceramic tile, laminate, wood or butcher block, concrete, or stainless steel. There are a lot of options to choose from when choosing your material for a countertop.
We always recommend a quartz product for a number of reasons, especially within a kitchen. One of the biggest reasons is because it is not porous like granite and many other stones. This means no chicken juice is getting into those counters and it’s relatively bacteria-free. Quartz is also a bit more forgiving so it won’t chip or crack as easily.
There are a lot of beautiful stones and countertops out there and they have all of their pros and cons, but quartz is where we are always drawn to for those reasons. We also love the new designs that Cambria keeps rolling out quarter after quarter.
Once you know who you’re hiring and the material that you are choosing, it’s time to understand the overall process. And templating is first.
In order to cut the slab you’ve selected to the correct size for your countertops, first, a template needs to be created. This is done by sending a skilled installer, like our friends at Select Surfaces, to measure by hand and create a physical template of the space.
Depending on who you are hiring, they may want the countertop demoed out or it can be still intact. This will also depend on the scope of the project and overall design, will it be a new layout or replacing the exact existing countertop. If new design, more than likely, the original countertop will have to be taken out.
The next step is the layout. The template of your countertop is taken and is laid directly onto the stone to determine how the stone will look once cut and shaped. You can allow your installers to make those determinations, but if you want a certain part of the stone, movement, or color to be featured in a certain spot on your countertop, the installers will help with this.
Fabrication is the artistic step of the process. Cutting, fabricating, edging, and hand polishing your stone to the template and layout, and your specifications happens during this process.
While all of the above is going on, your old countertops will be ripped out to get ready for the installation of the new ones. Depending on your type of remodel, typically a contractor will do this a day or two before the installation.
However, if it’s a full gut and remodel, it’s a different story.
Once your new countertop is fabricated and your old countertop is removed, your installers will bring your new countertops and install them, ensuring that everything fits to plan and meets your approval.
It’s as easy as that! We love Select Surfaces and Cambria because they work with us every step of the way for seamless completion of the process and that you aren’t living too long without any countertops.
Design Needs When Choosing your Countertop Design
Before you have any team come out to measure, you’ll want to know these answers for your overall countertop design.
Once you’ve figured out who to hire, it’s time to pick out the overall slab design. This is why it’s great to work with someone who has a gorgeous showroom so you can visually see the large slabs in real life. We encourage you to walk around a showroom, take down notes of the slabs that immediately grab your attention, and then work with a designer to narrow it down.
Once you have chosen your overall design, next up, choose your finish! Polished, honed, matte, leathered, and more but we always recommend either polished or matte. In our personal home, we have a matte finish. Jamie wanted that look and won that battle but I will say matte does cost more and it shows a lot more fingerprints. Polished is your standard and quite honestly, I love them both but appreciate the cleanliness as a busy momma that polished brings.
Then there is the thickness of the countertop! Again, many options here. The industry standard thickness for kitchen, bathroom and other countertop surfaces in natural stone is 1.25 inches. This thickness provides the strength and stability required to create an unbroken surface without the need for stabilizing it with a plywood backing. But you can also switch it up throughout a space. For example in our personal home we did the 1.25 inch throughout the surround and then for the island we added on another inch to set that apart. This also adds height and we like the idea as many of our guests when entertaining stand around the island.
You can go very ornate to simple and cleans lines. Cambria offers 19 different edge profiles. But our go-to is called Ridgeline. This simple, yet bold profile has a 1/8 radius. Available depths: 2cm, 3cm, 4cm, 6cm. And you can see exactly what each of these look like and all of the specifications here.
Go big or go home is our motto when it comes to backsplashes! In kitchens, we never recommend going 6″ as we love a good statement backsplash but when it comes to bathrooms – we like going for 6″. It gives a statement without feeling too overpowering. And being it’s for water splashes when washing your hands or your face, your typical 3 – 4″ doesn’t quite protect and get the job done.
Then you need to determine your overhang. If you get too crazy with the overhang you will need supports of some sort whether that is posts or metal backing underneath. If you are thinking about island seating, I always say go one foot, just enough without having to add supports. But even for your traditional standard countertop, there will need to be some sort of overhang which ranges from 1/2″ to 3/4″.
And then there are more options like having a waterfall design on the sides of an island!
Our Favorite Quartz Designs
Blackbrook by Cambria is such a stunning selection for a countertop. For our flip house, Black Lake, we knew we wanted something that was different and fit with the vibe of the space. We wanted this bathroom to have a modern element to it, which is why we used mostly black accessories throughout.
Blackbrook can be available in a high gloss or matte finish. White lightning strikes dramatize a smooth black background. It’s both stark and chic, with modern and elegant simplicity to it.
We love the specs of white and the white veining throughout Blackbrook. It makes the countertop pop as well as stand out. It’s a true statement piece, which we knew this bathroom needed to compete with the shower design we came up with.
The veining plays off of the floor tile and ties it all together.
We love the subtle emerald green and blue veining on a warm white base of Ruxley. The cooler tones white veins add balance to the design as well Once we had the custom design for our Mercury Mosaics backsplash, we knew we had to match it with an equally unique countertop, which lead us to Ruxley.
It stands out against the natural white oak cabinets and thinks it makes the perfect addition to our Black Lake kitchen.
Another one of our favorites, and one we’re putting in one of our projects coming soon, is Hemsworth.
This one is similar to Ruxley that we did in the Black Lake Place in the veining and the pattern of it. Hemsworth features high-contrast and deeply saturated black veining that makes its way across a cool white background, which then intersects with softer veins that crackle out for that one-of-a-kind unique design.
It creates a modern feel for a space, which is why it was the perfect addition to our #tonkatowntreasure project for their kitchen countertops.
The Bentley design features a white background that intersects black and charcoal veins that stand out against the muted light gray spatters. It embraces the look of natural marble, while adding in an intricate design.
Our tried and true and one we go back to over and over. Delgatie by Cambria is one we will always stand by! We spec it for the majority of our clients. It’s luxurious looking with the gold specs throughout it and stands out in any space.
Cambria is more of a subtle design of Cambria’s. It has white-on-white tonality with warm-toned veining throughout. Its more understated demeanor blends in well with its surroundings while still maintaining to stand out.
We have it in our kitchen in the matte finish and love looking at it and using it every day! If you’re looking for a white countertop that’ll mesh well with whatever cabinetry or backsplash you chose, this one is for you.
We always recommend going with quartz countertops. With quartz, you never have to worry about sealing it, ever. You also don’t have to worry about bacteria of any sort getting into it. Cambria has a lifetime guarantee, so if anything happens, it’ll get replaced. Not only that, but they are also super professional to work with. We work with Select Surfaces for our countertop installs, who are personable and fun to work with, but also very respectful of your time.
We love our friends at Cambria and Select Surfaces and would recommend them to anyone. They’ll take care of you and have the best products.
Smithfield is a soft white countertop with very faint veining in it. It’s more subtle but just as stunning.
Ella is a multi-dimensional countertop with gray veining on a soft white base. It has a marbled look to it and looks so timeless with any kind of design.
It has an elegant warm white base with crisscrossed veining in navy, gray, and black. The finishing touch to this design is the subtle gold flakes throughout that draw your eye to it.