SIOUX CITY -- With home sales booming in the Sioux City metro, Laurie Baldwin, co-owner of Solid Fabrications, Inc., said she's "blessed and stressed."
It's a busy time for the solid surface fabricator located at 2515 Murray St. Baldwin said she works with a lot of customers who are looking for a new countertop simply because they're planning to sell their homes in the near future.
"I think it's always a good idea to upgrade your kitchen, because it's one of the rooms that people look at when buying a new home," she said. "We actually have people who come in and say, 'I'm going to sell my house. I need a new countertop.' Why don't you get it now and live with it for a few years before you sell your house?"
Baldwin said quartz, an extremely durable and non-porous mineral that won't stain and doesn't require sealing, remains one of the top choices for kitchen countertops. Quartz is mined, crushed up, mixed with resin and then poured into slabs.
"I'd say it's been growing within the last 10 years, for sure," Baldwin said of quartz. "The product came out in the late-'90s. It's really just been taking off."
Although white and gray are still very popular for countertops, Baldwin said she has seen an increase in a request for softer off-whites and beiges. She said the latest designs from Cambria, a family owned producer of quartz surfaces, feature green veining against a white backdrop.
"There are many different options available as far as color. You can start from the original rocky look, and it's kind of trended to more movement and subtle changes in the countertop," she said. "Now, the latest trend is to have the big large vein movement."
Baldwin said sometimes homeowners will opt for a more neutral, quieter pattern for the perimeter and then choose a design with a lot of movement and color for an island.
When it comes to selecting a quartz countertop, Baldwin suggests picking a color group first and then considering how much movement you want in the pattern. Entry level pricing for Cambria, which offers a lifetime limited warranty, begins in the upper $80s per square foot. Baldwin said there are a dozen different front edges available with Cambria quartz at no additional charge.
"Obviously, the color is the main choice, but some of the other options are what kind of a sink are you going to like -- a quartz-type sink or a stainless steel sink," she said. "Another thing to think about is the backsplash -- if you would like a 4-inch backsplash, no backsplash or a backsplash that goes all the way up to your upper cabinets."
Baldwin encourages customers to take samples home with them so they can see what the product looks like in their spaces.
"Obviously, their light is different. They might have more natural light than we do," she said. "Color looks very different in different environments."
Baldwin said turn around time from template to installation for a Cambria quartz countertop is about four weeks. She said it generally takes half to three-quarters of a day to install a quartz countertop in a standard kitchen.
"Our templator draws it and then we send the file our supplier in Omaha and they cut it. When we get it, it's all ready to install," said Baldwin, who noted that there is no waste with Cambria quartz. "These other brands that we carry, you have to get the whole slab. If your project needs a slab and a quarter, then you'd have to pay for the two slabs."