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ARTium Design Build - Partner Profile

Counter Intelligence

Ottawa's Urban Quarry Sheds Some Light on Custom Countertops

Just Basements and ARTium Design Build have been designing and building stunning spaces for close to 20 years. One of the more exciting finishes of any renovation is the addition of solid surface countertops to the design. The benefits of these surfaces installed to kitchen and bar cabinetry, custom shower, as well as other applications, transforms not only the design aesthetic but the functionality and durability of any renovation.

We have been working together with Urban Quarry for more than a decade, creating close to 100 wonderful spaces together. Urban Quarry has been custom fabricating and installing high quality stone surfaces for more than 30 Years. Their Ottawa showroom and manufacturing facility is a combination of countertop design heaven and technological wizardry

Our in-house design team works closely with UQ during our renovation design phase to find the best style, colour and finish solutions for our discerning customers.

We've invited Shanna Hebert, our Urban Quarry account representative to answer some of the most common questions renovation customers have about stone surfaces.

Q - What types of hard surface countertop materials are available to consumers?

The most common material used today is, by far, quartz surfaces which overtook granite within the last 10 years. Granite, a natural stone product, is still widely used being the next most common countertop consumers are working with today. Other materials used less frequently include marble, soapstone and limestone.

Q - Where does Urban Quarry fit into the hard surface countertop market?

UQ specializes in the fabrication and installation of natural stone surfaces such as quartz and granite for various types of applications that might be needed. UQ is a wholesaler of quartz and granite to kitchen and bath dealers, builders, renovators, designers, architects and design-build firms like ARTium Design Build and Just Basements.

UQ is an exclusive fabricator for Eastern Ontario of Cambria natural quartz surfaces, a high quality & durability, high design quartz product.

Q - What does "fabrication" mean?

UQ receives our material in a raw slab form, uncut from the manufacture or stone supplier. The material has to be shaped, cut and polished to suit its application. Most of the fabrication happens at our state-of-the-art 45,000 Ottawa facility. Slabs are shaped using computerized, hi-tech, machines such as waterjet saw and CNC polishing to meet the final specs.

Q - Tell us a little bit about the difference between Quartz and Granite materials you work with.

Granite is a natural stone product, quarried generally throughout the world, mainly in Brazil or India, and even a few varieties that come from right here in Canada. There are a wide variety of colours and formations, however, as a natural product these characteristics can vary dramatically.

Quartz is a natural stone that is engineered, allowing for a multitude of designs, colours and styles. Cambria and Urban Quarry offer 146 unique designs, emulating natural stone formations from around the world. This massive variety of designs is a major attraction to the residential design and building industry.

Q - What are some of the most common questions consumers have regarding your products?

Will my counter top be durable?

Although considerably stronger than other countertop options quartz and granite are not indestructible. Both these products can last a lifetime if some general care is taken. Hard surface countertops can be chipped or damaged if struck with hard or heavy objects, particularly at edges. And, of course, cutting boards are recommended to keep your countertop in good condition. Minor chips and damage can often be repaired if they do happen.

What maintenance is required?

As a natural stone products are porous and should be sealed periodically depending on the type of stone selected for any surface and application.

Cambria Quartz surfaces is a non-porous product that is easy to maintain requiring only standard clean-up of mild liquid soap and water after use ,to keep its beautiful look and feel like new for many years down the road.

What sizes do the slabs come in?

Granite generally comes in slabs that are approximately 118" x 54". UQ offers quartz slabs ranging from 119" - 131" x 54.5" - 64.5" allowing for less seaming in certain installations.

Standard countertops are 3 cm thick, although 2cm materials can be produced if required.

What about seams?

Although no seams would be a preference for any countertop, they may be a reality of your kitchen design and even the size of your front door! Urban Quarry uses several techniques to minimize seams including; hyper-accurate CNC machines, a dry-ft test process, specialized installation machines and colour match epoxy seam adhesives.

Thank you Shanna for your insight, customer service and beautiful products. It is always a pleasure to work with you and Urban Quarry.

For any questions, please don’t hesitate to email us at

This article originated from our upper level division, Artium Design Build

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