Dayle Laing

The ‘coolest shade of green’ is the sustainable choice. Dayle Laing is a Professional Speaker and Author who uses her experience and training as an educator, a designer and a LEED Accredited Professional to empower Conscious Consumers to make practical yet beautiful choices for sustainable living, reducing their carbon footprint while enhancing their body, mind & spirit.

cambria_jane_lockhart_kitchen_500

“Marble countertops are way prettier” commented an attendee at a recent seminar I presented.

Do you agree? Have you noticed the frequency of marble counterops displayed in design magazines? Is marble practical for kitchen countertops? Are there other equally ‘pretty’ options available on the market?

 

cambria_showroom_ramsin_500I recently toured the new Toronto showroom of Cambria at 91 Parliament Street

to investigate marble alternatives. Impressively set in a historic building in the distillery district, design vignettes contrast the original beams, posts, and flooring antique features. Jane Lockhart incorporated reclaimed wood into her kitchen design and creatively used 4 different designs cut into backsplash tiles. Ramsin Khachi’s Loft Bath displays an exquisite use of both ‘New Quay’ and ‘Wellington’ in his elegant pair of soaker tubs.

parthenon_pentelic_marble_350Marble is a quarried metamorphic rock,

created by heat and pressure from limestone. It is characterized by veins, swirls and bands from different mineral components. Its beauty has been typified by Pentelic marble on the Acropolis in Athens. I shot this Parthanon photograph on a trip in 1991.

 

 

taj_mahal_makrana_marble_250taj_mahal_300The Taj Mahal in India was magnificently clad in Makrana marble. These are my 1985 photos of the Taj in Agra India. Both architectural wonders are splendid examples of the beauty of natural stone, which was locally quarried in both examples; Mount Pentelicus and Makrana, Rajasthan respectively.

Our current use of marble is less likely to contribute to a LEED credit for local use.

“Canada’s Marble”, quarried at the MacLeod Resources mine in Cape Breton Nova Scotia, began in 2000 and appears sadly to be gone now (phone out of service and website not updated).

Pakistan is the largest exporter of marble in the world and huge quantities are wasted due to quarry methods and lack of processing, according to a 2001 report from the European Commission.  Another report claims 40-50% typical waste for quarrying. A large quantity of water is required to cut marble slabs. Waste water slag usually contains rock dust and mineral contamination. MacLeod exported their slabs to Carrera Italy and then shipped the fabricated countertops back, citing skill and expertise rationale, but losing the local factor with this practice.

One practical and beautiful alternative is a quartz countertop from Cambria. Blasted from local Quebec quartz, there is far less stone waste, and water is not necessary. (Quartz is the hardest stone after diamond and topaz, and granite typically contains 40-60% quartz and other minerals that affect its porosity.) Cambria slabs are manufactured in Minnesota from 93% quartz and 7% resins and pigments. Countertops are fabricated at state-of-the-art facilities locally and off-cuts are sustainably used for road bed construction. Water used with saws and routers is recycled.

dayle_laing_kitchen_350Having already experienced design and installation of Cambria for my clients and my own kitchen, I appreciate the versatility of the water-jet saws for creating curves that would be much more difficult with marble or granite. My kitchen has Cambria 'Chatham' that has the appearance of granite.

cambria_new_quay_350Consider the beauty of Cambria’s “New Quay”, which has veins and swirls typical of marble and is in my opinion, comparable to the beauty of a MacLeod marble sample. Cambria’s new ‘Waterstone Collection’ certainly does have the appearance of marble.

macleod_resources_marble_350Marble requires frequent sealing to protect it from typical olive oil and red wine stains. I can’t help wonder what these marble countertops look like in a year’s time with normal kitchen use. The client may not mind the staining or the constant maintenance, but resale of the home may be more difficult. It is important that a home be listed accurately. I see listings mentioning "granite" that may actually be marble or quartz instead.

Cambria’s glossy surface never needs sealing. Cambria has 81% less water absorption compared to MacLeod marble’s technical data (0.02% vs 0.104%). You wouldn’t use an abrasive cleaner on either type of counter. However, Cambria boasts almost 4 times the abrasion resistance of MacLeod’s marble (223.0 vs 46.132) One should consider not only maintenance but also the hygiene of using porous surfaces for food preparation.

In summary, marble is chosen for being "pretty", but for sound green reasons, quartz resembling marble is a better alternative – better for efficient use of natural stone, less water use, less transportation, support of local industry, ease of maintenance and hygiene. A better performing product will last longer when clients are happier with the results.

For more information or to book Dayle for consultation or a speaking engagement, contact the office at 905-846-3221 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Comments (27)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Great article Dayle. There hasn't been much info on marble and how it's use effects the environment. Thanks for the alternative suggestion.<br />Colleen

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Thanks Colleen. We use many products without really thinking there might be a better alternative.<br />Dayle

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Thank you Dayle! That is very kind of you and I'm glad you like the space! It's a cool building anyway, so how can one but help to make it nice! Please notify me of any more seminars you are doing. I love listening to you and know I will enjoy...

Thank you Dayle! That is very kind of you and I'm glad you like the space! It's a cool building anyway, so how can one but help to make it nice! Please notify me of any more seminars you are doing. I love listening to you and know I will enjoy anything you present! Look forward to more brilliant insights from you!<br />Jane

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I used Caeserstone, a similar product, in the Lakehouse reno at Turtlehill three years ago, and will be using another quartz product in the house I am doing right now. I absolutely love these products...as pretty as marble is, Cambria and the...

I used Caeserstone, a similar product, in the Lakehouse reno at Turtlehill three years ago, and will be using another quartz product in the house I am doing right now. I absolutely love these products...as pretty as marble is, Cambria and the other companies making quartz composite materials have really come a long way since they first started. A great alternative to marble and granite.

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Jane,<br />Cambria's showroom is indeed in a cool building, but it takes a great designer to show off the space to its best advantage and acknowledge the historic elements present!<br />Dayle

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Sharon,<br />It is helpful to have choices that look like both marble and granite. Clients appreciate no maintenance or VOCs from the sealing products.<br />Dayle

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Dayle<br />Thanks for your insite into marble and granite. I have had both of them in my home since 2001 and have loved them. My granite counter is like the day it arrived but I am considering changing to quartz for many of the reasons you...

Dayle<br />Thanks for your insite into marble and granite. I have had both of them in my home since 2001 and have loved them. My granite counter is like the day it arrived but I am considering changing to quartz for many of the reasons you mentioned. Why did you choose Cambria?instead of Hanstone? They are both suppliers with different products and are their any stats? Thanks

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Hi Dayle<br /><br />So glad to hear you promote quartz. I too have it in my kitchen and chose it for all the reasons you stated - durability, easy maintenance, great look. Thank you for your insite!<br /><br />Sincerely<br /><br />Marg

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Hi Dayle<br /><br />So glad to hear you promote quartz. I too have it in my kitchen and chose it for all the reasons you stated - durability, easy maintenance, great look. Thank you for your insite!<br /><br />Sincerely<br /><br />Marg

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Hi Dayle,<br />Thanks for the informative article. These man made products just get better and better and when its a good thing environmentally, that's a bonus! I wonder why though if the quartz originates in Quebec, is there nothing made...

Hi Dayle,<br />Thanks for the informative article. These man made products just get better and better and when its a good thing environmentally, that's a bonus! I wonder why though if the quartz originates in Quebec, is there nothing made locally? <br />Thanks again for all of the great info,<br />Deborah

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Deborah,<br />If you are referring to the engineered quartz manufacturing process, my understanding from the fabrication tour is that this is quite a sophisticated process to blend the quartz with the resins and pigments to achieve consistent...

Deborah,<br />If you are referring to the engineered quartz manufacturing process, my understanding from the fabrication tour is that this is quite a sophisticated process to blend the quartz with the resins and pigments to achieve consistent quality and the various designs. The capital outlay for the equipment would also be huge, one would expect. Considering that most other products (both natural and engineered) come from Europe and Asia, Minnesota looks quite local to southern Ontario! Good question and glad you liked the information.<br />Dayle

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