Since quartz, quartzite, and granite countertops continue to be top contenders in renovation projects and new construction, a roundup of my best tips may be helpful in the search for the best fit for your lifestyle and budget. After all, purchasing a natural stone countertop can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so you want to see as many options as possible. Part of CRS Marble & Granite’s philosophy is customer education, so we feel it’s important to have customers review other suppliers’ stones in addition to our selection to be fully educated.

If you are looking for a wow factor, a one-of-a-kind look, consider an exotic stone. Well worth the additional cost, an exotic stone provides a unique look that makes a statement. Our longstanding relationships with quarries around the world put us first in line for a call when new, unique stones are found. This provides us with an opportunity to offer exotic granite and quartzite exclusively to our customers in Raleigh, Charleston, Virginia Beach, Austin, Nashville, and Houston. Consider the velvety red and charcoal black of Jacaranda quartzite or the unique blue of Azurite granite.

If high quality on a manageable budget is your particular need, both quartz and granite can serve as solutions. A natural stone combined with a small percentage of engineered resins, quartz is the choice for those who want a consistent look throughout their slab since there is more manufacturing control over color and pattern.

Although granite is priced similar to quartz and is one hundred percent natural, customers need to choose their slab based on sight, not by name. As a product of Mother Nature, granite’s patterns and colors may change from slab to slab, so view it in a warehouse environment with abundant natural lighting and full slabs to ascertain the correct effect. Be aware of added pigmentation in some granite, especially black, which will fade over time. If the price seems low, ask about color enhancing treatments, which are undesirable and will wear unevenly over time. Opt instead for granite untreated with color processing and well-polished to enhance its natural beauty. Ask your supplier if they conduct onsite visits to the quarries and fabrication plants to confirm the stones undergo a professional polishing job to enhance them as much as possible.

For the most pleasing long-term results, research suppliers and ask questions like: Does this company purchase sustainably-quarried products? Does it use dyes or inferior pigments? Is the pattern uniform? Does the light reflect evenly off the slabs showing an even polishing job? To which quarries is this supplier connected? Does the showroom have experienced designers on staff to help make selections?

Part of the process of selling stone includes the education process. Your chosen supplier should take the time to answer all of these questions and direct you to what you really need.

Sunny Surana is president of CRS Marble & Granite with six locations in the U.S., including Raleigh and two locations overseas. He has been sourcing high-quality stones from remote international quarries for more than twenty years in this family-business-turned-international success model. See full slabs of a wide range of quartz, quartzite, granite, and marble in the 60,000-square-foot Raleigh showroom at 7521 Exhibit Court or call 919-784-9282. Preview stone samples at